With the long overdue Incredibles 2 movie on the horizon, I felt it was time to revisit one of the most iconic superhero scores ever made – Michael Giacchino’s The Incredibles.
In 2004, Michael Giacchino created a superhero score that even today is held up as unique and definitely one of the more interesting takes on heroic music. Its jazzy retro style nods way back to the 60s and hints more than a few times at the James Bond-style of music from that era.
The Glory Days as an opening cue illustrates the style of this score beautifully. The brass kicks in immediately as we get an epic rendition of the main Incredibles theme, followed by diving straight into some jazz-style action music as Mr Incredible goes about saving the day. What sounds a lot like a saxophone or instrument of that style takes point for much of this track, making for a unique and very classic sounding piece with modern elements dotted around here and there to let you know this has been created in 2005, not the 60s.
Adventure Calling starts off softly, with woodwinds taking centre stage. Slowly it builds up into a rather heroic version of the main Incredibles theme as Mr Incredible reminisces about the glory days. It is a very hopeful piece that builds quite nicely into the next track; Bob V.S The Omnidroid. This one starts off with soft brass in a stealthy manner as Mr Incredible sneaks around the Omnidroid Island, and Giacchino hints heavily at John Barry’s style of music used in Bond movies such as Goldfinger. Before long though the music switches up again into a fast paced action piece but still continues to reference old Bond music in places. It is a very 1960s action cue and it sounds tremendous as a result.
The score returns to a more jazzy setting in Life’s Incredible Again, an upbeat piece that plays as Mr Incredible trains up to become a superhero again. The main theme for the film is heard here and there, along with accompanying brass that make for a very pleasant sounding track. One of the best things about the score to The Incredibles is how unique a sound it has, and that sound really shines in this particular cue.
Kronos Unveiled is a very ominous piece. It starts out softly, using strings and soft brass to illustrate Mr Incredible continuing to sneak around the Omnidroid Island. Then a fifteen note theme begins, that starts to repeat itself. With each repeat the brass becomes a little louder and a little more prominent over the strings. Eventually the music builds into its climax as Mr Incredible discovers the sinister plan for the Omnidroid, and the brass reaches its loudest point. This is one of the best tracks on the score as the build-up to the reveal is incredibly (ha) well done. Giacchino uses the slow implementation and then volume increase of each instrument expertly in order to hammer home that feeling of utter dread in the film.
100 Mile Dash is probably the fastest paced cue on the score, and for good reason. This action track does a very good job at being Dash’s theme and illustrating just how fast he can go. Listening to it really makes you feel like you are actually running at incredible speeds. This theme is also blended quite well with the action music style used in the majority of the score, which continues from here all the way to Road Trip, the next fantastic piece. Here we get another upbeat and heroic piece as the Incredibles arrive in Metroville to save the day. Brass and percussion are used very well in tandem here to illustrate this.
Giacchino continues this upbeat and hopeful streak in The New Babysitter initially, before diving straight into a loud and frantic rendition of the main Incredibles theme as Syndrome kidnaps Jack-Jack. The jazzy style of previous tracks makes a return here also, particularly towards the end of the cue as the Incredibles face off against a new enemy. Here the main theme makes another triumphant return before building straight into the standout cue of the score; The Incredits.
The score goes all out in this end credits suite, pulling out all the stops orchestra-wise. The main theme is illustrated particularly well in a very jazzy manner as a saxophone takes centre stage for a large portion of the cue. Giacchino also makes many more hints at the classic Bond-style spy music from the 1960s, and in combination it all sounds simply fantastic.
The music then moves on from the main theme and goes through some of the standout villain and action cues of the score. The fast pace is kept throughout however, making for a well refined and highly enjoyable piece. And just before it ends, the suite treats its audience to one final and brass-heavy version of the main theme to close out this amazing score.
The Incredibles is one of those movie scores that has been and will be remembered for a long time to come. Even fourteen years after it was first released it is still renowned as one of the better scores ever made, and points are given particularly for Giacchino’s brilliant use of instruments such as the saxophone to score a superhero movie – a highly unusual move. The heavy nods to spy music from the 1960s also work amazingly well and help to construct a very memorable score to the film.
Michael Giacchino’s score to The Incredibles is just that; incredible.
Standout Cue: 19. The Incredits