One of my favorite current composers is Michael Giacchino. In 2013 I wrote a whole blog about his work and why I loved it. So when I found out he was going to tackle not two movies, not three, but FOUR big exciting summer films, I was stoked. Giacchino excels in bringing energy and excitement to his film music.
One of the biggest hits of this summer was Jurassic World, and Giacchino provided the perfect score. He took the template John Williams created back in 1993 and used it as a starting point. Giacchino does uses a few quotes of William's themes, but beyond that he builds his own themes. These are very much Giacchino in style, but they use the same orchestral colors and feel that Williams used. The result is a great fit for the sequel, a shift from the original sound, but still very much part of the same series. Film music fans also got a treat when hints from The Lost World and even a video game for the franchise that Giacchino scored when he was first starting out get little audio cameos. One of the best tracks is As the Jurassic World Turns, featuring Giacchino's wonderful new themes, and ending with a fun quote of John Williams music from the original film.
Michael Giacchino has worked with director Brad Bird and Pixar for a number of years. So it was really no surprise that he would be working again with both this year. Brad Bird helmed the poorly reviewed Tomorrowland, a film that seemed to have quite a bit of potential, but appears to have an ending that makes the journey feel hollow. One thing that didn't feel hollow was the music. Gicchino captures the spirit of wonder, adventure and fun in this score. It is optimistic and really reminds me of The Rocketeer in places. This score is a bit repetitive. However, Giacchino really does some interesting things with his simple theme. Check out this track, The Pin-Ultimate Experience to hear some uplifting adventure music.
Teaming up with the folks at Pixar won Michael Giacchino an academy award of Up. So expectations were pretty high for his music to Inside Out. For this film Giacchino went to his jazzier side, something he did really well with for The Incredibles, Speed Racer and portions of his Mission:Impossible scores. His main theme is really cute and memorable. But he crafts several key themes, creates some bouncy traveling music and even some thrills an spills along the way. It doesn't have the gravitas of the three other scores, but it really is non-stop fun and so energetic. It just might be my favorite of the four. So many great tracks on this album, but I'm gonna share The Joy of Credits. This is a wonderful end credits suite that takes you on a trip through all the themes from the film.
But if you are craving some huge adventure scoring, gigantic moments of choir and some huge orchestral bombast, then the score to Jupiter Ascending is the one to seek out. This is a massive score accompanying one of the worst reviewed films of the year. But Giacchino's music is film score gold. It has wonderful themes, moments of beauty, chaos, power. The action sequences are some of the best action writing he's ever penned. His villain theme is wicked and snaky, but gets some overwhelming power behind it in places. Giacchino was asked to write some suites for the film before he even saw it. Given a basic concept for the film he went to work and created four movements that are really the heart of the score. My favorite is 3rd Movement a tremendous building cue that just brings the house down. This huge score actually required a 2 CD release, and for many is one of the best film scores of 2015.
So yeah, Michael Giacchino has had a banner year. And fans of his music have been enjoying it too. I think he's going to take a little break, but I can't wait to see (and hear) what he cooks up for 2016.