Film scores

Soundtrack review: Tomorrowland (Michael Giacchino – 2015)

tomorrowland

“Tomorrowland” is the latest Disney epic, a fantasy about people traveling to a place somewhere in time and space where their actions directly influence the world and themselves. The name is taken from a set of theme lands in all the Disneyland parks. Sounds like a wonderful place, the one in the movie, and I wouldn’t mind following George Clooney’s steps. The movie shows promise especially since it’s penned by Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof, two guys with no lack of imagination and with a huge history with this composer. This also means the beginning of Michael Giacchino’s 2015 world domination. This will be his year and after the magical start with “Jupiter ascending”, it’s time for the first of his three June releases. It’s Giacchino so I am in the front row. My expectations are very high and that’s always a risk. And I am already smiling at his wacky puns from the track titles. That’s always a lot of fun to read, he never disappoints in that regard.

We are welcomed into the “Tomorrowland” world with a theme that hits the trifecta magic / inspiration / threat. I love the small shadow of doubt in the middle. It’s just a few seconds long but I felt it. “Prologue” doesn’t sound very Giacchino like but once again this is what I want from a fairy tale score. The orchestra turns from a soaring eagle to a little humming bird in the course of this cue. The composer chose to start this score on the low key and almost minimalistic in sound. I get the sensation listening to it of a playful creature hiding from me, inviting me to play. I don’t see much yet but I know that if I follow it to the clearing I will be witnessing something spectacular. “You’ve peaked my Pin-trist” brings these thoughts to me and also the first funny title from the score. “Boat wait! There’s more” is the next one and I will stop mentioning the funny titles because the focus here is the music.

“Edge of Tomorrowland” is where the fun starts and this is where I remember Giacchino’s brilliant animation background. He knows how to hit the spot with adventurous and fun cues like this one. There’s not a dull moment… I see ribbons and colors and rainbows and creatures running and time and space acting weird and I just want to be in the world depicted by this cue. There’s a fanfare, there’s triumph, there’s joy and I love it. This could very well work as the “happy ending theme”. I would get this sensation a lot during “Tomorrowland”. I guess each scene has some sort of finality or the movie is made of a lot of twists and turns because quite a few cues could work as end credits. This is a great sensation to have while listening to a fairy tale / fantasy score because I feel the story could end at any point and it would be just as satisfactory.

I would compare my experience of listening to “Tomorrowland” with sitting on a bench and watching a busy playground I stumbled upon. It’s fun and rewarding to see all those contraptions and colors and happy people and kids and to hear the screams and laughs and to see, every now and then, something interesting and even more amusing develop in some corner. But once the afternoon is over I get up satisfied and go home with a very pleasant sensation but without the need to return to the same place.

Don’t expect bold, spectacular Sci-fi Michael Giacchino here. No, this is Michael at his most playful and almost laid back. There is wonderful adventure in the music, both childish and adult, innocent at times and menacing at others but always fun. It’s great to hear him get back to this sound and even if I wanted another “Jupiter ascending” my thoughts changed and I embraced what I got in “Tomorrowland”. My high expectations were for great music, not a specific genre, and I got that. It’s a breezy and light score and I probably won’t return to it very often but I do know that when I will play it again, I will enjoy all of it.

Cue rating: 88 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 32 / 73

Album excellence: 43%

Highlights:

  1. A Story About the Future
  2. A Prologue
  3. You’ve Piqued My Pin-Trist
  4. Edge of Tomorrowland
  5. Casey v Zeitgeist
  6. Pin-Ultimate Experience
  7. All House Assault
  8. Electric Dreams
  9. End Credits

 

 

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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