Released: January 24, 2012
Format: Digital (56 min)
Review: Incredibles, The
4 / 5 Stars
Turn on Cartoon Network and you'll likely see some great old cartoons from the 1960s: "The Flintstones", "The Jetsons", and "Jonny Quest". Turn on TMC and you'll probably see some classic films from that same era: The Pink Panther, James Bond, and others. Go to the Sci-Fi channel and watch old episodes of "Lost in Space" and "The Time Tunnel". All of these have something in common: the scores are all jazzy orchestral scores. From Hoyt Curtin, to Henry Mancini, to John Barry and John Williams - all of these guys wrote fun swinging scores that nowadays tend to be used as parody more than anything else. Not so in the case of The Incredibles. Composer Michael Giacchino ("Alias", Medal of Honor) makes his feature film debut on a Pixar animated movie about a family of superheroes, and the mid-life crisis that the dad is going through. Giacchino's approach involved creating a soundscape that pulls us back into the fun jazz orchestra method of scoring, without devolving into satire.
Giacchino delivers a healthy dose of nostalgia, without being cheesy. From the opening cue, "The Glory Days", where we get brassy action and swinging rhythms, through to Mancini-inspired muzak of "Off to Work", the music takes us through various idioms and styles. "Adventure Calling" is a tender cue full of longing and memory of the days gone by. Of course, there are plenty of references and homage throughout the score. Whether it's the wailing brass and pounding timpani in "Saving Metroville" or the use of tremolo strings and vibraphone in "Lava in the Afternoon", everything feels familiar, yet new. Big band swing infuses "Life's Incredible Again", and tense Bond-styled action fills "Missile Lock". "100 Mile Dash" is a great action cue, with some heart-racing rhythms and string-work.
"The Incredits" is a great end title suite which showcases the main theme as well as a few of the other motifs used in the score. Giacchino has done a solid job with the score, and it will help establish his place among some of the best composers working today. (So look out everyone!) Running almost an hour in length, The Incredibles is a great album full of exciting music that will take you back to the days where your imagination would let you be your own superhero.