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Soundtrack review: Thor (Patrick Doyle, 2011)

Composer of the month Patrick Doyle month

Soundtrack review: Thor (Patrick Doyle, 2011)

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After years of Shakespeare adaptations, Kenneth Branagh changed the scenery and the planet and got the interesting and difficult task of directing the first Thor movie. A great comic book adaptation directed by a Shakespeare scholar…A wonderful combination to enjoy.
So, naturally, Patrick Doyle got to write the score. It was a slight departure from his usual comfort zone, and this wasn’t his usual orchestral wonder score. Sure he shines in the more intense action sequences like “The destroyer” or “Thor kills The Destroyer”, and the theme “Sounds of Odin” is interesting. But the problem with this score is that I got to review it after Brian Tyler came up with “Thor: the dark world”…It would have been hard for any score in the universe to compete with that, but unfortunately, this is the only other Thor score so far and it pales in comparison. Just like Loki lived in his brother’s shadow all their lives, so Patrick Doyle’s score will forever live in the shadow of its sequel.
“Thor” is ok, an enjoyable listen, but Doyle didn’t take any risks here. He came up with the themes he thought would benefit the character and theme. Nothing too bold, everything safe. The heartfelt cues are beautiful, and they remind me that this is a Kenneth Branagh film. The first movie is superior to the second. The score however…Once I’ve heard where the music of the Thor universe can be taken, I can barely see Patrick’s Doyle composition from up in Asgard. I’m sure my review would have looked much different had I written it before the second score came out.
In spite of all that, Patrick Doyle’s effort does contain a few gems. The end suite comprising “Letting go”, “Can you see Jane” and “Earth to Asgard” have a sensitivity that’s missed in the second score. The composer did a wonderful job of showing the unsurpassable distance between Jane’s planet and Thor’s planet, the impossibility of merging the two planes and the sadness brought by this realization. It’s a heartfelt ending to this score, a strong finish that leaves me nodding with satisfaction.
Patrick Doyle’s “Thor” didn’t miss the mark. It was just a lower mark than I realized a score for Thor could hit…
My ratings:
Cue rating: 74 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 35 / 72
Album excellence: 49%
Cues to listen to:
Chasing the storm
Prologue
Sons of odin
The destroyer
Thor kills the destroyer
Letting go
Can you see jane?
Earth to asgard
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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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