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Thor by Patrick Doyle

Thor

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Thor (Soundtrack) by Patrick Doyle
Thor (Soundtrack) by Patrick Doyle
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Thor (Soundtrack) by Patrick Doyle

Thor
Composed by Patrick Doyle
Disney Records (2011)

Rating: 8/10

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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.

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 of potential.

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...

Helen says...

PATRICK 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 either way.

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

 

Marius says...

For 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

 

 

Richard says...

The 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

 

 

Christopher says...

While 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 Thor’s hammer.

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 reason.

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!

Christopher's Rating: 6/10
 


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 slightly above-average 6.  Below you'll see our track-for-track rating comparison and how PATRICK DOYLE's score pounded out a final rating of...

 

Rating: 8/10


Track

Track Title Track Time Helen Marius Richard Chris  Ave Rating
1 Chasing the Storm 3:11  ****  ***  ****  ****  ****
2 Prologue 3:09  ****  ****  ****  ****  ****
3 Sons of Odin 1:48  *****  *****  ****  ****  *****
4 A New King 3:01  ****  ***  ****  ***  ****
5 Ride to Observatory 2:10  *****  *****  *****  ***  *****
6 To Jotunheim 2:19  *****  *****  *****  ***  *****
7 Laufey 3:40  ****  **  ***  **  ***
8 Frost Giant Battle 4:22  *****  ****  ****  ***  ****
9 Banishment 1:53  *****  ****  ****  ***  ****
10 Crisis in Asgard 2:19  ****  ***  ***  **  ****
11 Odin Confesses 2:43  ****  ***  ****  ***  ****
12 Hammer Found 1:11  *****  ***  ***  ***  ****
13 Urgent Matter 2:21  *****  **  **  **  ***
14 The Compound 7:40  *****  ****  ****  ***  ****
15 Loki's Lie 1:53  *****  **  ***  **  ***
16 My Bastard Son 2:39  *****  *  ***  **  ***
17 Science and Magic 2:53  *****  ****  ****  ****  ****
18 The Destroyer 2:57  *****  ***  *****  ****  ****
19 Forgive me 2:39  *****  *****  ****  ****  *****
20 Thor Kills the Destroyer 1:53  *****  *****  *****  ****  *****
21 Brothers Fight 6:59  *****  ***  *****  ***  ****
22 Letting Go 3:17  *****  ****  ****  ****  ****
23 Can You See Jane? 2:23  *****  *****  *****  *****  *****
24 Earth to Asgard 2:33  *****  *****  ****  ****  ****
  Total Running Time (approx) 72 minutes          

 

 

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