Musical Score By: Patrick Doyle
Distributed by: Buena Vista Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
My first introduction to Thor was as a kid reading about various cultureís mythology. The Norse god known as Thor wielded a mighty hammer, went on many adventures and bested his foes in many a battle. I soon learned there was another Thor, very similar in some aspects, who was a major hero created by Stan Lee who first appeared in Marvel Comics in 1962. As it turns out, he was modeled after the Norse legend.
On May 6, 2011, Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment released a new film based on the comic book series from Marvel Comics. In the movie version of Thor, we meet Thor, Prince of Asgard (Chris Hemsworth), whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. As punishment, Thor is banished to present day Earth. Stripped of his godly powers and forced to live among humans, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain from Asgard sets his sights on conquering Earth.
The musical score of Thor was created by British composer Patrick Doyle in what marks his ninth collaboration with director Kenneth Branagh. Their first collaboration took place in 1989 with Henry V and subsequent and equally successful collaborations include Dead Again, Frankenstein, Much Ado About Nothing, Loveís Labourís Lost, As You Like It, Hamlet and Sleuth. Doyle has also worked on the musical scores of Carlitoís Way, Sense and Sensibility, Bridget Jonesí Diary, Godsford Park, Eragon and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
I have enjoyed Patrick Doyleís work in the past, but it seems that with Thor, the composer has outdone himself. This is a beautifully stunning musical score that perfectly describes Thorís greatness, his subsequent humble rebirth, the romance that takes place between Thor and Jane (Natalie Portman) and the battles between good and evil. Recorded at the Air Lyndhurst Studio in London by The London Symphony Orchestra, the Thor Soundtrack begins with a somewhat calm but ominous flare segueing into an action/adventure sound complete with strings, horns, percussions and choir. Things truly open up with the third track, Sons of Odin. It was at this moment, when listening as the symphony began this beautiful piece that I happened to be driving along the countryside. The music filled me with an adventurous spirit and allowed me to enjoy the passing scenery as I never had before. The music was the perfect accompaniment to rolling hills and country landscape.
Another example of incredible composition is the Frost Giant Battle which features a fast-paced score filled with horns, clashing cymbals, vocalizations, hammer strikes, and strings building to a crescendo and culminating in a tremendous horn fanfare. You can almost see the battle taking place before you. Remember, I havenít seen this film yet, but I can actually visualize a battle taking place between Thor and some rather difficult foes simply by listening to this musical score.
But this soundtrack isnít completely about action and adventure, there is also sorrow, romance and regret. The best example of this is Forgive Me, a beautiful symphonic track heavy on strings. Another example can be found in an even lighter and perhaps more beautiful track, Can You See Jane?, which features a rather striking violin solo set against strings and harps.
When a musical score perfectly offsets the visuals in a film, we call it a successful composition well-suited for the movie it was created for. When a musical score infuses the listener with such emotion as does the score created for Thor by Patrick Doyle, we call it a masterpiece. Patrick Doyle has created a composition that, as a stand alone album, evokes visions of mighty power, striking beauty, valor, strength and romance, thus making the Thor Soundtrack an album no music aficionado can afford to miss out on.