"The Incredibles" is far and away Pixar's most exciting dfeature, and this first-class score follows suit. Director Brad Bird is obviously a major fan of '50s and '60s sci-fi/spy/caper movies, and brought in a most impressive talent for the musical chores. Michael Giacchino is a new name to me, but the South Jersey native has scored both quirky TV adventures ("Lost",
"Alias") and military-themed video games ("Medal of Honor"). This is his first major movie score, and it's a killer. From the horn-heavy main theme, which conjures up Lalo Schifrin's brassy, high-energy music from "Mission: Impossible" and "Mannix", to a nifty bit of Mancini-esque lounge jazz heard as we watch Bob Parr work out, Giacchino blends the styles of at least half a dozen classic movie composers- John Barry's obvious, but there just might be a little Bernstein (Leonard and Elmer) too- into his own. I think he deserved an Oscar nomination- given the low-key winner in this category ("Finding Neverland"), he just might have won it.
The production, too, is fantastic, especially considering that this was an animated movie. With an orchestrator/conductor from the Seattle Symphony, a full 50-to-60-piece orchestra in
"all-live" mode (no synths here, and he's proud of it), and even a 70-something engineer who used '60s-style, reel-to-reel equipment- you can see how it was done on "The Incredibles" DVD-
this score has the brightness and immediacy that really makes it work. Giacchino may be young, but he looks and sounds tickled to death that he was able to create and oversee a score recorded, in his words, "the right way- the way I heard all that great movie music as a kid."
I've watched the movie several times over and always note how great, and distinctive, the score is. It should be great to hear on its own as well- I, for one, would love to check out that Mancini-style track as well as the powerhouse horns on the opening and from sequences like Dash-in-the-jungle.
"The Incredibles" is not only a true animated masterpiece- and a damned good superhero caper- but marks the arrival of Michael Giacchino as, just maybe, the best young movie/TV composer of the new decade. Highly recommended.