Tag Archives: Pixar

My Thoughts on: Incredibles 2 (2018)

*warning, minor spoilers ahead for Incredibles 2

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Wow, Incredibles 2 is simply incredible! (pun intended!!) The long-long-LONG awaited sequel to The Incredibles was fourteen years in the making and I am happy to report that this story is completely worth the wait. Incredibles 2 beats the odds and is a sequel that is not only the equal of its predecessor, it might actually be just a little bit better.

As promised, the story picks up immediately after the first film with the coming of the Underminer. The Parr family (helped by Frozone) work to stop the devious criminal, but it proves to be very difficult and there is a lot of collateral damage. Unfortunately, despite everything, being a superhero is still illegal and the Parr’s aren’t sure what they’re going to do. But then a media tycoon, Winston Deavor and his sister Evelyn come forward with a proposition. Using the technology and resources of DevTech they want to use a series of publicity stunts to create good press for superheroes to create pressure to re-legalize superheroes. And the poster child for this endeavor will be…Elastigirl!!

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A major plot point in this story is Bob Parr adjusting to life as a stay-at-home dad taking care of three kids while his wife does hero work for DevTech. Bob’s heart is in the right place, though he’s initially frustrated by staying at home, he never tries to shirk his duty towards his children, but at the same time he is painfully unprepared for the amount of work it takes to take care of three kids. Complicating this task is the revelation to the family that Jack-Jack has superpowers (apparently they did not notice what happened when Syndrome had Jack-Jack at the end of the last film), as well as…complications with Violet’s social life.

And speaking of Jack-Jack, that adorable baby steals just about every scene he’s in. One that I can’t resist highlighting is a hysterical scene that takes place between Jack-Jack and a raccoon. The baby sees the raccoon (with his “mask”) and confuses the critter with a bank robber and decides to go attack it. The poor raccoon is subsequently thrown around and terrified as Jack-Jack displays a wide variety of powers.

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And on top of all this, there’s the mysterious villain Screenslaver, a mysterious figure that has taken to hijacking the airwaves to cause mayhem (and has a thing against superheroes). Anytime Screenslaver shows up things get weird in a creepy way. Syndrome from the first film was scary in a cartoony sort of way. By contrast, Screenslaver is scary in a genuinely dark and twisted sort of way. And as for the identity of this villain…I had my theories going in but the truth surprised me.

The scene with Bob, Jack-Jack and Edna Mode is everything we’ve ever dreamed of and more. The fashion designer is back in all of her glory and you will not be disappointed.

I am a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see Honey, Frozone’s wife. Hopefully if/when there’s an Incredibles 3 we’ll get to see this character in person.

In conclusion, Incredibles 2 is a great film, possibly the best of the summer and I highly recommend it.

What did you think of Incredibles 2? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Animated Film Reviews

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Patrick Doyle talks Brave (2012)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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Patrick Doyle talks Brave (2012)

Brave is a gorgeous animated film that was created by Pixar and released by Walt Disney Studios in 2012 (Disney acquired Pixar in 2006). The lead character, Princess Merida, has a distinct honor: she is the first Pixar character to be named an official Disney Princess.

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In Brave, Merida, a headstrong princess of the clan Dunbroch and the eldest child of King Fergus and Queen Elinor, is upset to learn that she will be betrothed to a prince from another clan. During an archery tournament that is meant to determine who she will marry, Merida secretly enters and wins the contest, shaming the other princes and infuriating her mother, who desperately wants Merida to act like “a proper princess.”

 

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Wanting to change her fate, Merida defies her family with near-disastrous consequences for all involved. She follows will-o’-the-wisps to the hut of an elderly witch and receives a spell in the form of a cake which she is told to feed to her mother. Upon doing so, Elinor is transformed into a bear and loses her ability to speak. Upon returning to the hut, the pair find the witch gone with a message that explains that “the bond torn by pride” must be repaired by the second sunrise or the transformation will be permanent. Merida must work to repair her relationship with her mother and also prevent war from breaking out between the clans due to Merida’s actions at the tournament. Part of the plot involves respecting tradition while also learning to change for the future. Ultimately, Merida is able to convince the other clans (with subtle help from her mother) that the firstborn of any clan, male or female, should marry in their own time to whoever they choose.

The score for this film was composed by Patrick Doyle, a Scottish film composer best known for his work on several Shakespeare films (Henry V (1989) and Hamlet (1996)) and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005). In this five minute interview, Doyle talks about the score and how he created a musical theme for Merida.

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Have you seen Brave? What did you think of it? Did you like the music? Let me know in the comments!

See also:

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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Michael Giacchino talks The Incredibles (2004)

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Michael Giacchino talks The Incredibles (2004)

In 2004, Pixar Animation Studios released The Incredibles, the story of a family of superheroes who are forced to hide their powers and live normal lives (after a series of events forces all superheroes to retire).

Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible, his wife Helen/Elasti-Girl, their son Dash (super-speed) and daughter Violet (invisibility/forcefields) and youngest son Jack-Jack (revealed to potentially have multiple powers at the end of the film), are doing their best to blend in when the former Mr. Incredible, extremely dissatisfied with living life as an “ordinary person” is given an offer to destroy a robot on a distant island. But there’s a lot more at play here than just a runaway robot, and soon the entire family will find themselves embroiled in a huge conflict with a strange figure from Mr. Incredibles’ past.

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As it turns out, The Incredibles was the first major film commission for composer Michael Giacchino (known today for such works as Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness and Zootopia). Director Brad Bird noticed Giacchino after hearing his work on the tv show Alias (2001-2006). Prior to this, Pixar had only used the music of Thomas or Randy Newman in their films, so Giacchino’s jazzy style was a significant departure for the studio. To help give the score that “old-style” feel of the 1960s, Giacchino deliberately recorded the score on analog tapes (as opposed to digital recording).

The featurette linked above gives an in-depth look at the recording process of the film’s score, as well as how Giacchino initially developed the music on the piano. It’s always interesting to see where a major film composer first got their start, and I bet there are some people who don’t realize that Giacchino’s first film score was for an animated family film.

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I hope you enjoy this behind the scenes look at the score for The Incredibles. With news of a sequel due out in 2019 (a long three years away sadly), I am happy to report that Michael Giacchino will return to score that film as well. It will be very interesting to hear how the composer’s style has evolved over the years since the first film came out. Have a good Friday!

See also:

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

*poster image is the property of Walt Disney Studios

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Thomas Newman talks Wall-E (2008)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link

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In 2008 Pixar made the leap into outer space and released a film named WALL-E, a touching tale about a waste-cleaning robot named WALL-E who works all alone on a garbage covered Earth in 2805. Having spent so many years alone (the other robots having long since broken down), WALL-E has developed an individual consciousness and identity of his own: he salvages items he deems “special” and keeps them in his “home” (such items include an ancient tape copy of Hello, Dolly). The monotony of WALL-E’s life changes dramatically when he discovers a plant seedling; not long afterward, a strange ship arrives bearing a feminine robot named EVE. WALL-E (being very lonely) falls in love and embarks on a huge adventure that, ultimately, will save the long absent human race once and for all.

Thomas Newman talks Wall-E (2008)

Composer Thomas Newman had worked very well with director Andrew Stanton on Finding Nemo (2003) and began working on the score as early as 2005 (EVE’s theme was first arranged in 2007). Newman found the score to be a good challenge, as the first portion of the film is largely silent (with no dialogue in the traditional sense). Stanton had originally envisioned a purely orchestral score, but Newman eventually included electronic elements as well. Several scenes also include selections from previously composed works, most notably Hello Dolly! and La vie en rose (as performed by Louis Armstrong) during a sequence between EVE and WALL-E on Earth. Newman’s score was nominated at the Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song, but it lost to Slumdog Millionaire (2008).

Interestingly, with the film making several references to Hello Dolly!, it’s cool to note that Thomas Newman’s uncle Lionel Newman (1916-1989) worked on that production.

WALL-E is such an adorable film, and it’s commentary on society (most notably how it deals with consumerism) makes it a must-see for all ages. Please enjoy this behind the scenes look at the score of this film.


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See also:

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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*poster image is the property of Walt Disney/Pixar

Michael Giacchino talks Ratatouille (2007)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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Michael Giacchino talks Ratatouille (2007)

In 2007, a lot was happening in my life, I graduated high school, got accepted to a university, and in the film world, Pixar released its eighth animated feature: Ratatouille. The film tells the story of a French rat named Remy who absolutely loves to cook, and who desperately wants to be a chef (despite the fact that he’s, you know, a rat). Remy ends up crossing paths with the son of his cooking idol and together Remy attempts to realize his dreams.

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Director Brad Bird had already worked with composer Michael Giacchino for The Incredibles (2004) and they’d gotten along so well that Bird decided to bring him back for this film as well. Giacchino and Bird have become a rather reliable duo over the years, and to date they have worked together on: The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Tomorrowland, with Giacchino slated to score The Incredibles 2.

 

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For Ratatouille, Giacchino created two themes for Remy: the first theme describing his life as a thief (which, for the other rats, is what life is meant to be about), and the other theme describes Remy’s hopes and dreams. The score was so well-received that it gave Giacchino his first Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score (losing out to Atonement. He would finally win with his score for Up.)

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In the interview clip found above, Giacchino takes us through the process of scoring the film, and as always, there are some wonderful shots of the orchestra in the process of recording, while the director and composer watch a rough cut of the film (I would love to sit in on the scoring process, and with my career aspirations, maybe I will some day!) Enjoy an inside look at Ratatouille!

See also:

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Michael Giacchino talks Up (2009)

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So, I have a confession. It took me WAY too long to see Up (2009). All of my friends were raving about it when it came out, but for some reason I was not into the movie at all, so it was years later before I saw it. And then there’s that crazy huge bird, the talking dogs, a half-crazed explorer, etc. etc. But, I digress….

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Michael Giacchino talks Up (2009)

Up tells the story of retired widower Carl Fredrickson (Ed Asner), who turns his old house into a flying machine via thousands of balloons so that he can fulfill the last dream of his deceased wife: to visit Paradise Falls in South America. Almost immediately he picks up a stowaway: a young “Wilderness Explorer” named Russell (Jordan Nagai) who needs to earn his final merit badge for assisting the elderly.

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The journey is full of surprises, including an unexpected encounter with Charles F. Muntz (Christopher Plummer), a legendary explorer that Carl idolized as a child. Decades ago, he returned from an expedition claiming he’d discovered a new type of flightless bird, but was ridiculed by the scientific community as a liar. He departed, vowing to bring back a live specimen, and had never returned. As it turns out, Carl and Russell end up encountering a certain flightless bird (dubbed “Kevin” by Russell) which inevitably brings them to Muntz’s attention.


The music for this whimsical (and at the same time, deeply touching) film was composed by Michael Giacchino, whose prior work includes such films as Mission Impossible III, Star Trek and the sequel Into Darkness, The Incredibles, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Jurassic World.

The opening of the film is what always sticks with me the most. In it, we see a montage of Carl’s life, from meeting Ellie as a young boy, to falling in love with her, to sadly discovering they can’t have children of their own, to the pair growing old. Over time, they continually save up to make that trip to Paradise Falls, but something always happens to stop them. Finally, Carl has the tickets purchased, but as he prepares to surprise his wife, she collapses and has to go to the hospital. That’s why Carl is so determined to make the trip, he knows it’s what Ellie would have wanted him to do. This part still makes me cry every single time I see it.

In this interview segment, Giacchino, along with the director, discuss how the score came together, and inbetween the moments of talking, there are wonderful scenes showing the orchestra in the recording studio (I love watching moments like these). Giacchino is an immensely talented composer, and Up is a great addition to both film and film music.

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Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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*all images are the property of Walt Disney Studios