Thor Composed by Patrick Doyle
Disney Records (2011)
More soundclips below provided by AmazonMp3
in the film, DOYLE’S score works wonders, providing enthralling
heroism and electrifying action. Yet, when heard alone, it’s hard to
shake the feeling that for all its merits, DOYLE may have been
holding something back when scoring THOR.”
Doyle and Thunder!
Review by Tracksounds Gang
The translation of THOR from Asgard to the big screen may prove to be the
biggest challenge that Marvel Studios will face in its ambitious AVENGERS
project. Granted, getting a human hunk of flying iron, a gamma-green
behemoth, and genetically altered hero of WWII all into the same
contemporary world is no small feat, but we are talking about a
mythological god here.
The announcement of director Kenneth Brannagh as THOR’s director was met
by a good deal of surprise and countless questions. Not the least of these
was whether he’d bring along his long-time collaborator, PATRICK DOYLE,
back into the breach. The thought of it was just full of the most electric
In THOR, Brannagh delivers a distinct Shakespearean edge to the Nordic
triangle of power: Odin, Thor, and Loki, while simultaneously providing an
approachable, contemporary world of New Mexico, which has just seen its
first visitor from another world (at least outside of Roswell).
We're then left with the question, "Just how well does Patrick Doyle's
score perform in, as well as connect, those worlds?"
The Tracksounds staff gang-tackles that question...
DOYLE sometimes has a distinctly ambiguous style of subdued ardor or
restrained explosion, not unlike say, Jane Austen's characters. There is a
tremendous amount of emotion under the surface, but the music never lets
it run free of stoic British discipline. THOR, I found, fits very nicely
in this model. Both aspects complement and balance each other like yin and
yang. The dramatic, softer moments hint at and rein in the vigorous
passion underneath, which has heightened meaning when it finally sings.
And does THOR sing! This score gives us a vivacity and exhilaration that I
haven't really heard from Doyle since his INDOCHINE (1992) days (not even
in ERAGON). Whether it is because Doyle has finally given in to using
synthesizer beats or because he finally found a hero movie worthy of his
adrenaline zest, THOR is Doyle's most energetic score in nearly two
decades. But it's not just the action cues that gets my standing
ovation--"THOR Kills the Destroyer" 20 --wow, just wow. The slow, lyrical
ones, such as "Science and Magic" (17) and "Forgive Me" (19), are
beautiful too. The man does things with strings that give me goosebumps
The main theme is a hummable, heroic tune that you hear in "Ride to
Observatory" (5) and "To Jotumheim" (6). But where THOR really shines, for
me, is in tracks like "Frost Giant Battle" (8) or "Brothers Fight" (21),
where the music goes all out with those flying strings and pounding drums.
They are not all five star tracks for me, especially at the beginning. But
I can't help but give the score 10/10, because by the end of the album, I
had simply fallen in love with THOR. And when you're in love, everything
is perfect, even the flaws.
Helen's Rating: 10/10
me, PATRICK DOYLE has always been an outlier in the "old guard" of film
composers. He is undoubtedly gifted with the same craft and musicality as
some of his contemporaries, but for some reason his music has tended to
evoke a sterile quality to my ears. He has rarely moved me or given me
cause to re-listen to cues, especially in his recent works. Classic older
scores such as INDOCHINE are cut from a much more appealing cloth and seem
to represent the high point in his career.
And so, while the energy of THOR initially made a good first impression on
me, successive listens have served to dull the appeal. Standout cues where
the mighty Asgard theme appears, as in "Sons of Odin", "Ride To
Observatory", and "To Jotunheim" are unevenly spaced on album, and the
result is a number of sections where the score simply meanders about in a
manner that doesn't seem to fit the god of thunder. This is especially
evident in the middle stretch, before the finale action tracks appear to
alleviate the boredom.
There is also the underlying impression of a struggle between Doyle's more
modest musical sensibilities (honed over many years scoring quieter
dramas) and the bombastic modern edge that he was no doubt asked to call
upon (and copy, it seems, if you compare "Hammer Found" with Jablonsky's
"Einstein Was Wrong" from Transformers 2). The bright side of all this is
that the successful parts of THOR represent a more intelligent take on the
typical action material we hear so much of. The downside is that those
successful parts are interspersed haphazardly in a soup of sleepy
underscoring more befitting a god of marshmallows than of thunder.
Marius' Rating: 6/10
penultimate piece of THE AVENGERS puzzle is now in place. With the release
of each film, the anticipation surrounding the 2012 release grows ever
stronger. Of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”, THOR carries arguably the
greatest expectations musically, and so PATRICK DOYLE was called upon to
deliver a god-like score.
The two themes that instantly command your attention are those for THOR
himself and the theme of the brothers THOR and Loki. The former appears as
restrained, yet beautiful renditions in “Prologue” (2), and “A New King”
(4), before being unleashed in full majestic glory in “THOR Kills The
Destroyer” (20), and “Earth To Asgard” (24). The latter, and perhaps
standout theme in THOR, appears in the ceremonial “Sons of Odin” (3),
before erupting as it accompanies the visual splendor onscreen in “Ride to
Observatory” (5). The versatility of these two themes allows DOYLE to
meander between breathtaking bravado and a more subdued and modest
variation, the route taken dictated by onscreen events.
In an act of balancing, THOR’S romantic subplot is given an achingly
delicate theme that is heard in “Science and Magic” (17), “Letting Go”
(22) and most pivotally “Can You See Jane” (23). All three pieces are of
such gentle composition, one fears they might float away on the wind.
Heard in the film, DOYLE’S score works wonders, providing enthralling
heroism and electrifying action. Yet, when heard alone, it’s hard to shake
the feeling that for all its merits, DOYLE may have been holding something
back when scoring THOR. It never quite reaches the summit of intrepid
thematic release that one might be anticipating come the climax of the
score, but what it does do is deliver a multitude of captivating and
rousing themes that will have THOR’s fellow avengers seething with envy.
Richard's Rating: 8/10
Kenneth Brannagh seems to have pulled off the impossible - getting a
mythic, Norse god, into our contemporary world, PATRICK DOYLE’s original
score for THOR doesn’t quite attain the same success. By far, the
strongest points of the score match Doyle’s compositional strengths. He
delivers a number of memorable themes: for Asgard, for Thor, and for Jane,
the physicist/love interest. However, to my surprise and disappointment,
more than a few of Doyle’s action cues and villainous pieces are barely
adequate. In the end, THOR’s music leaves an impression far shallower than
One can feel some depth in the music when Asgard is either on screen or
referenced such as in "Sons of Odin" (3), “A New King” (4),or “Science and
Magic” (17). The emotional zenith of the score is found in the most
heartfelt pieces like “Forgive Me” (19) “Letting Go” (22) and “Can You See
Jane?” (23). No doubt that this is where DOYLE’s talent for
mesmerizing, lyrical music shines brightest. As DOYLE so often has done on
his previous scores, he works a particular brand of magic on strings,
woodwinds and piano, whic gives this superhero film heart.
Now when it comes to the action set-pieces and moreso the villainous
elements, the score falters more often than I anticipated. “Frost Giant
Battle” (8) ,”The Compound” (15) and “Brothers Fight” (21), for instance,
have flashes of interesting moments, but overall play as generic and dull,
offering little by way of personality to their respective sequences.
Additionally, the well-discussed Remote Control-influence, intentional or
coincidental, is a distraction at best. While “Hammer Found” (12) is the
poster-child for this zimmery-faux-pas, tracks such as “Prologue” (2) and
“Earth to Asgard” (24) contain further references. Of course DOYLE
isn’t alone in doing this. Many-a-frustrated-composer has had to
incorporate “that sound” into their own original works. The problem I have
is that DOYLE’s natural style just doesn’t mesh well with it and so you
may find some surprisingly low ratings on some of the tracks for this very
In the end, THOR’s biggest musical successes happen when there are
relational moments with deeper dynamics taking place on the screen.
DOYLE nails such occurrences but his action cues are apparently from the
world of Averagard, just adequate for their scenes and outside of that
context provide far too little thrill to represent The God of Thunder!
THOR's score has
garnered both praise
and haze from our
merry band of
reviewers; however the
ratings range from a
perfect 10 to the
6. Below you'll
comparison and how
PATRICK DOYLE's score
pounded out a final