How ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ Score Pays Homage to Jerry Goldsmith’s Original Themes

“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” marks composer John Paesano’s first foray into the Apes franchise

Published Time: 10.05.2024 - 07:31:29 Modified Time: 10.05.2024 - 07:31:29

“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” marks composer John Paesano’s first foray into the Apes franchise. Following in the footsteps of Jerry Goldsmith (“Planet of the Apes”), Michael Giacchino (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”) and others, he knew he’d have big shoes to fill. The first thing he thought about was the “musical legacy as well as the “giant music” associated with the scores.

The film picks up 300 years after Caesar’s death, in a post-apocalyptic world where the Apes rule. Even though Paesano was telling a new story, he wanted to honor the music that had come before him and respect the fans, while also finding a way to take the score in a new direction while keeping everything as organic as possible. Speaking with Variety, Paesano said, “I wanted to take it to a place where the franchise is headed.”

Paesano kept everything organic, including his instruments. A detuned, imperfect piano was something that features prominently in the score. “The idea was to use instruments that could exist in the world they were living in, and maybe that piano had been sitting in a schoolhouse for 300 years, and they stumbled across it,” Paesano explains.

Furthermore, he kept the percussion base which borrowed from Goldsmith’s original motifs. Paesano added to it by using oil drums, again with the notion that the oil drum existed in the kingdom.He built his score around three recurring themes. “There’s a discovery theme based on the humans and the apes discovering this new world, the eagle clan theme, and Noa’s theme,” he explains.

The story follows as Noa (Owen Teague) is a young ape forced to defend his home and is forced to go on a journey of self-discovery. Paesano tapped into Noa’s innocence, an ape living in a sheltered world, and the key to finding Noa’s motif was simplicity. “I wanted the viewer to hear his theme, the beauty of it, and h -

ave that idea grow and become more elaborate when he leaves the Eagle Clan village,” Paesano says.

When Noa leaves, there’s a tonal shift when Paesano’s cues go from an idyllic world to “entering Jerry’s world, and we enter the ‘Forbidden Zone.’ It’s new to him and the music goes into the original 1968 film, and then we go into Proximus’ kingdom.”

The music turns out wild and aggressive notes with the metallic oil drum rounding out the percussion. He says, “There’s also more borrowing from Jerry, where we have French horn players, but they blow through the air pieces and not the actual body. It gives it that breathy sound.”

By the film’s climax, Noa’s theme has grown stronger and builds. “In the water chase sequence, when he says, ‘Climb, Eagle Clan, climb,’ you really hear it come together and it’s at its fullest at that moment,” says Paesano.

“Human Hunt” also calls back to Goldsmith’s music. The memorable scene featured in the 1968 film, and accompanying it were Goldsmith’s harsh and syncopated rhythms driven by percussion as armed apes on horseback chase humans.

Paesano’s goal was to bring it in as the scene began. “I rearranged the first 30 seconds of Jerry’s hunt cut, and that’s how we start. It brought everything to life,” Paesano explains as he gives the audience yet another snapshot of the Goldsmith sound. “It was fun utilizing the DNA of that 1968 film and locking it in. It shows the DNA and that this franchise is going to live forever.”

Listen to the cue above.

Most Popular

Must Read

Sign Up for Variety Newsletters

A Variety and iHeartRadio Podcast

More From Our Brands

ad To help keep your account secure, please log-in again. You are no longer onsite at your organization. Please log in. For assistance, contact your corporate administrator.