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A Review of Up: The Original Soundtrack by Michael Giacchino

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

By

Up - Michael Giacchino

Up - Michael Giacchino

Walt Disney Records

The Bottom Line

Michael Giacchino has been nominated for an Oscar before, but with his original score for the movie Up, he won the coveted Academy Award for Best Film Score in 2010. Not only that, he won the Golden Globe several weeks before. However that may be, unless you want to support the film by buying the album in its entirety, you may be better served by buying just a few of the most popular tracks on iTunes or Amazon. The album boasts 26 tracks, but most are relatively short at just under a few minutes. The movie's main theme, apparent in the majority of them, can be summed up in just a few songs.
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Pros

  • Unique, light-hearted score reminiscent of 1920s and 30s
  • Academy Award and Golden Globe winning soundtrack

Cons

  • The majority of the album's tracks are less than 2 minutes long

Description

  • Released: May 2009
  • One Disk, 26 Tracks
  • Total Play Time: 53:12

Guide Review - A Review of Up: The Original Soundtrack by Michael Giacchino

Having listened to the album in its entirety, there's one obvious theme played throughout. If you've seen the movie or listened to any of the album's tracks, you know what that theme is - a very simple four note melodic line. This theme represents the protagonist's memory of a loved one and their lifelong goal, and is used in conjunction with the film's underlying forward moving plot. It is first stated in the album's second track, "We're In the Club Now." This short track, clocking in at only 43 seconds, is used solely to introduce the theme. In the following track "Married Life", arguably the album's most popular song (largely in part to the corresponding movie scene), the theme takes center stage. It's a beautifully composed score, both heartfelt and deeply moving. The piano passages are simply wonderful.

The next notable track on the Up soundtrack, "52 Chachki Pickup", is played during the movie's first major problem (how will the floating house safely make it's way through a giant storm?). Though the song is just over a minute long, Giacchino makes great use of dissonant strings, loud horns, and clashing symbols to represent the storm's violent nature. He immediately follows with angelic strings using tight harmonies and lofty melodies to resolve the problem in the track "Paradise Found."

Further along in the album, you'll hear "Escape From Muntz Mountain." Giacchino juxtaposes the main theme with music of great discord to represent the uncertainty of the hero finishing his goal. The next notable track, "Seizing the Spirit of Adventure", is similar to "Escape from Muntz Mountain." This track corresponds to the films final conflict between the hero and the villain. Again, Giacchino employs the main theme with conflicting harmonies. It's not the greatest "bad guy" song I've ever heard, and one that you'll probably not want to listen to on purpose (well, at least 99% of the time). Lastly, Giacchino concludes the Up soundtrack playing the main theme in various instrumentations.

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