Disney and Pixar aren’t just known for their excellent use of animation to tell stories. They’re also acclaimed because of how their music elevates and captures the whole essence of their storytelling. With Michael Giacchino, Up’s soundtrack is so emotional yet still full of adventure. It is also not the first time Michael Giacchino has worked with Pixar, as he also scored The Incredibles and Ratatouille.
The film features a lot of themes, but we can easily categorize them into two: Carl’s and Muntz’s. Carl is one of the main characters in Up, an older man living in a simple household in an urban block. With the passing of his better half, Carl is set to accomplish what both of them have been dreaming for, and that is to live far away from the city, somewhere near a waterfall.
Accompanied by a boy scout named Russel, the two had a fun and epic adventure, despite being against some adversaries, one that sticks out the most being Charles Muntz.
Carl’s theme is often calm and waltz, with a bit of change that happens from time to time, which is also greatly reflected in what’s on the screen. “Married Life” is a great example of this definition. “Memories Can Weigh You Down,” however, used this theme a bit differently. In this case, the theme was a bit energetic, and the rendition was able to encapsulate a fleeting feeling, something that can also make you relate to the character you’re watching.
The final rendition of this theme can be heard in “Up with End Credits,” where literally, a whole orchestra did an amazing performance. That particular music is incredible and mesmerizing at the same time. It’s just unfortunate that it’s an ending piece where most people would likely leave the theatres or switch to other applications on their devices since the film is already finished. Even so, “Up with End Credits” is such a treat.
“The Spirit of Adventure” is another great piece of music depicting what we would call Muntz’s theme. Compared to what music they did for Carl, this is much more explosive and adventurous, which is great because the duality is much needed.
“Walkin’ the House” is a bit memorable because it greatly engrossed anyone who watches as it is played where Carl and Russel are struggling since they found themselves in the jungle.
“Canine Conundrum” is also great, leaving a good taste because of how much different it sounds from the other piece of the soundtrack. Where this music is played, the film introduces the dogs of Muntz, and it features an energetic and perhaps a bit warrior-centric sound. “Canine Conundrum” is very familiar, and it is perhaps paying homage to something that is already old; well, it’s all up to you to decide once you’ve heard it.
“Escape from Muntz Mountain” displays how capable Giacchino is of producing sounds that are well-fitted for action sequences. At this point, we could also hear Carl’s theme being played but in a different way. This level of incorporation is a brilliant display of how Giacchino understands film music or scoring in general.
Michael Giacchino’s performance as the head scorer of Up is very impressive. Compared to his contemporaries, Giacchino is definitely ahead despite only having little experience in scoring animated films. Up’s soundtrack is more than just a piece of music; it is an adventure filled with charm, youthfulness, and, most importantly, emotion. Emotion is definitely up there, on what film music should always be doing. It should pull people towards the story and accompany the animation to deliver an effective scene that will never be forgotten.
What you can feel with Up’s music is definitely also the same thing Giacchino felt when he’s scoring it. The soundtrack is very fun and friendly towards the ears, and even if there are a lot of changes and variations, they’re most welcome as they’re not at all a nuisance to the core idea of the movie.