War for the Planet of the Apes

Composed By: Michael Giacchino

Distributed by: Sony Classical

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


           War for the Planet of the Apes, the third film in the Planet of the Apes reboot film series, takes place two years after the war between apes and humans for control of Earth led by Caesar (Andy Serkis).  Suffering great losses at the hands of The Colonel (Woody Harrelson), Caesar embarks on a quest to avenge his kind.  But when Caesar and The Colonel come face to face, their epic battle will decide the fate of human and ape alike…and the future of their planet.

The musical score of War for the Planet of the Apes was created by New Jersey native Michael Giacchino, who began his filmmaking career in his backyard at the age of ten.  Eventually studying filmmaking at the School for Visual Arts in New York City, Giacchino got a marketing job at Disney and began studying music composition at Juilliard and UCLA.  Giacchino became a producer for the Disney Interactive Division and wrote music for video games.  He then moved on to the DreamWorks Interactive Division where he scored the video game The Lost World: Jurassic Park.  He gained notice from J.J. Abrams, and the rest is history.  Since then, Michael Giacchino has created musical score for such notable television and film projects as Alias, Lost, Mission Impossible III, Star Trek, Super 8, Star Trek Beyond, Zootopia, Star Wars: Rogue One, Spider-man: Homecoming and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

According to the composer: “Planet of the Apes was one of my first childhood obsessions. As a kid, I used to draw the Apes from the film non-stop, including creating little flip-books about them.  In fact, the MEGO Planet of the Apes toys that I played with as a child have a special place on the shelves in the office that I write in today. So if having the opportunity to write the score for the latest installment of one of my favorite film franchises from my childhood isn’t enough, I have had the added pleasure of working on it with the equally Apes-obsessed director Matt Reeves.  We both approach our work on these new films with the very same enthusiasm that we had as children, and that makes us one very happy team. Filmmaking is demanding and filled with days of intense work, but it is still FUN for us.  I hope you can sense some of that joy and reverence for what came before in this new work for War for the Planet of the Apes.”

The War for the Planet of the Apes has a tribal feel with percussion and chanting.  Random drawn out flute notes are a nice throwback to the old Planet of the Apes films (if you are old enough to remember those soundtracks, as I am).  Choral and louder music signify the dramatic moments of battle.  Higher piano key notes offer a glimpse at lighter, gentler moments…perhaps moments of reflection or the rare moments in which there is a lull in the battle.

I loved the score for War for the Planet of the Apes.  As a fan of the original films, Michael Giacchino understands the significance of the older films and offers a nod toward them with portions of his score, making a fan of the pre-reboot films very happy.  But he also understands the significance of the reboot and the subtle differences, so he adds a more exciting…more dramatic…flare to the score.  A terrific listen that I would recommend to fans of both the original and the new films and even those who have never watched a single one!


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