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Soundtrack review: Incredibles 2 (Michael Giacchino – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Incredibles 2 (Michael Giacchino – 2018)

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“Incredibles 2” is a 2018 American 3D computer-animated superhero film, produced by Pixar Animation Studios for Walt Disney Pictures. Written and directed by Brad Bird, it is the sequel to 2004’s The Incredibles. The plot follows the Parr family as they attempt to put superheroes back in the spotlight while dealing with normal life, only to combat a new foe who seeks to turn the general public against all supers. While several of the characters and voices from the previous film return, the sequel includes new characters voiced by Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Sophia Bush and Bill Wise. Michael Giacchino returned to write the score.

Regardless of the amazing franchises he has taken over through the years, like Star Trek, Jurassic World, Planet of the apes and even writing a Star Wars score Michael Giacchino never gave up on his love for animation scores and he is back to write the music for the “Incredibles” sequel. The score is quite fragmented, 32 cues for a little more than an hour but it’s animation Giacchino so he can shape it any way he wants it, the man won my “Score of the year” for the past two years running with “Rogue one” and “War for the planet of the apes”.

As the score opens and the first couple of cue “Episode 2” and “A Tony perspective” grace my ears I am taken over by quite a strong feeling of nostalgia: with the spy like opening and the big band extravaganza that follows I lift my eyes looking for either Roger Moore or Timothy Dalton on my screen playing James Bond; you don’t have to be a huge John Barry fan like myself to feel this and get the most amazing flashbacks. I’ve always considered Giacchino as the heir to John Williams but let me tell you, these “Incredibles” scores are such perfect retro spy compositions that he could very well write for James Bond as well. The exaggerated horns and fantastic percussion in “Consider yourselves undermined!” that make me half expect Shirley Bassey to start singing her Bond theme “Diamonds are forever” and I am just giddy with excitement for this score.

This really is what “Incredibles 2” is all about: non stop big band spy fun from beginning to end; that wonderful, unique and immortal combination of over the top brass and percussion for the action moments and jazzy tip toeing for the comedic scenes. The score is simply spectacular, effervescent and soulful. The pacing is just right, with frantic moments and quieter ones as well, the retro feeling is all over the place and it’s a throwback to the most wonderful era of film music. What’s even better is that in between all this there was still place for the little Giacchinisms to be woven into the fabric without altering the experience; his stabbing string motifs, his danger motif as well, I hear them in between the big band numbers like nice little signatures.

“Incredibles 2” can be summarised with “Michael Giacchino does John Barry”, and does it perfectly; if you like the old school spy sound or if you are nostalgic for the spectacular, infectious big band James Bond scores of the 70s and 80s this one will do just fine. A score like that with the added bonus of being written by Michael Giacchino with his wacky cue titles and his orchestral craft is just the best thing that could happen. Every single thing about this score, including the awesome retro teaser themes or each character, is wonderful. Run to get this one and listen to it, in the context of the movie, or standalone, it doesn’t matter because it will get you grooving and smiling and making gun signs with your fingers. The end titles suite alone is worth the price of the album. MG is on top of his game and with Jurassic World next in queue, it’s just a wonderful time to be a film music fan.

Cue rating: 90 / 100

Highlights:
A Tony Perspective
Consider Yourselves Undermined!
Diggin’ the New Digs
Elastigirl Is Back
Ambassador Ambush
World’s Worst Babysitters
Helen of Ploy
Hydrofoiled Again
A Bridge Too Parr
Looks Like I Picked the Wrong Week to Quit Oxygen
Incredits 2
Here Comes Elastigirl – Elastigirl’s Theme
Chill or Be Chilled – Frozone’s Theme
Pow! Pow! Pow! – Mr. Incredible’s Theme
Devtechno!
Chad Tonight Talk Show Theme
Chad Tonight Newscast Bumper

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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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