- Composed by Patrick Doyle
- Walt Disney Records / 2011 / 71:55
Kenneth Branagh seems an unlikely candidate to direct a Marvel superhero film, but he was the choice to make Thor. A little odd – like Ang Lee making Hulk, perhaps. Film music fans were hoping a similar fate didn’t befall Branagh’s favourite composer, Patrick Doyle, as befell Lee’s, Mychael Danna, on that earlier film (where the studio rejected the score). Fortunately, it didn’t – and the reason for that may be the thing that seems to have proven unpopular about this score with many, that Doyle chose to take a “modern” (read: Zimmer-like) approach to aspects of the music. There are certainly elements (the synths and drums, the simplistic nature of the composition) that clearly owe something to that school of film composing, but actually Doyle brings his own take to it, so you’d never mistake this for Steve Jablonsky.
I love the fabulous main theme. It’s vibrant and dynamic – but, yes, simple. I don’t think that’s particularly a problem for a film like this. Unlike some of his other action/adventure scores, Doyle doesn’t just restate it over and over again – so, while there might not be the sophistication of something like Eragon, neither is there the dull repetition. There’s some good action music here too – it comes with the simplistic Zimmer touch, but it doesn’t come with the cheap sound. You can tell that even if he might be “writing down”, this is still music written by a proper composer who knows how to get the best out of an orchestra. Tracks like “The Compound” are particularly exciting. I’d say that you could take 35-40 minutes of highlights from this and have a fabulously entertaining album. So, my inevitable comment – actually, the album’s twice as long as that. It ruins it. I can live with the dumbing down, since this style of music can be very entertaining when done well (and Doyle does it far better here than any of the Zimmer clones do) – a shame that the album doesn’t present it in the best light. Chop out the filler and you’d have a real keeper. ***