Danny Elfman “Planet of the Apes” scoring session (2001)

*warning, extreme plot spoilers for this film and the 1968 original appear below

220px-Planet_of_the_Apes_(2001)_poster

Danny Elfman “Planet of the Apes” scoring session

There are two iterations of the Planet of the Apes franchise that most people know very well. The first is the original film series led by Charlton Heston beginning in 1968. This was the first of a series of five films created between 1968 and 1973. The other is the ongoing reboot that began with Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011. Inbetween the two is the sometimes forgotten (at least by me) remake Planet of the Apes that launched in 2001.

The 2001 Planet of the Apes was directed by Tim Burton and starred Mark Wahlberg as the astronaut who finds himself stranded on “the planet of the apes,” where apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, etc.) are the dominant species and humans are treated like animals. Unlike the 1968 original, which ends with Charlton Heston’s astronaut discovering that the “planet of the apes” is in fact the planet Earth in the distant future (he finds the twisted remains of the Statue of Liberty on a beach and realizes this is the ruins of Manhattan), the 2001 film ends with Mark Wahlberg’s astronaut using a space pod to launch himself back to his own time. Except, when he crash-lands in Washington D.C., everyone is still an ape (an ending that is never fully explained and was criticized by some for being too confusing).

Though the 2001 film was a financial success, Fox decided to not make any sequels and instead rebooted the series in 2011 with the hit “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” series starring Andy Serkis.

The music for this film was composed by Danny Elfman (of Batman fame), as Tim Burton was directing and the two are well-known for their collaborations. The above clip is a short excerpt from a recording session of the film’s soundtrack. It seems to focus primarily on the brass section, which is great because the music is stunning. I hope you enjoy this brief look at the music of Planet of the Apes (2001)! -Becky

If you’d like to learn more about the film scores of Danny Elfman, see here

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*poster image is the property of 20th Century Fox

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3 thoughts on “Danny Elfman “Planet of the Apes” scoring session (2001)

  1. thoughtsallsorts

    Thanks for reminding me of this…the music is really lovely and I actually quite enjoyed the movie itself. On a personal note, the clip had me smiling because I too love percussion and made it the focus of my final year composition piece – loads and loads of percussion with big timpani sections! Interesting that you say the ending was too confusing because I read into it not that everyone “was” still an ape but that the apes had taken over Washington (maybe I need to re-watch it)

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Film Music Central Post author

      maybe that was the case, that’s why I find it confusing lol. In either case, Wahlberg’s astronaut is still in a world different from the one he originally left, which really stinks since a sequel was never made and we never find out how this resolves itself.

      Liked by 1 person

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