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Cars 2 by Michael Giacchino (Review)

posted Jun 28, 2011, 7:02 PM by Kaya Savas

Giacchino and Pixar go together like peas and carrots. Ratatouille got him his first Oscar nomination and Up won him his first Oscar. So it wasn't surprising when it was announced that he would be taking over for Randy Newman on the Cars franchise. I don't know exactly what warranted Newman losing scoring duties, but it probably was because production on Cars 2 started while Toy Story 3 was finishing up. I don't know how Pixar does things but I would like to think they have their composers involved early on in the process. Whatever the reason this is the score we have now.

The Cars 2 score is pure fat-free joyous scoring from Giacchino. The way I can describe it is if someone took the song "Secret Agent Man" by Johnny Rivers and turned that into a feature score. The score has 1 spy infused theme and let me tell you that you will become very familiar with this theme by the end of the experience. The music is monothematic but I never got tired of it. Mater has some southern infused banjo plucking but most of the music stays in the spy realm. To be honest there isn't much else to discuss with the score without beating it to death. This is a very plain and simple score that ends up being rather fun because of the amount of character and sonic identity Giacchino pumps into it. It's in no way as good as Ratatouille, Up or The Incredibles. It also lacks an emotional side to it and that means the score doesn't bury that deep. Then again when you look at how plain and simple the Cars movies are the score fits like a glove.

This is not Giacchino's best, but it's certainly not his worst. This score has all the right elements to be a fun summer ride for the kids. I enjoyed the style he went with to give it the 60's spy feel the movie demanded. I can see this score as something I may stumble upon every now and then and listen to a few tracks, but most people will enjoy it and forget about it. With 3 Giacchino scores this summer I think I'll be okay till Mission Impossible 4 comes out this winter, which will see Giacchino re-teaming with Brad Bird for the third time on his first live action film.