After fourteen long years The Incredibles have finally returned, and given the amazing nature of the first film’s score it was reasonable to assume that Michael Giacchino could deliver another iconic piece; an assumption that was sadly, wrong.
Michael Giacchino’s The Incredibles score back in 2004 was heralded as almost a masterpiece. His use of a jazzy musical style plus heavy references back to the Bond-style of spy music in the 1960s was a unique and frankly brilliant way of scoring a superhero movie. The combination of styles worked fantastically well and made for a very memorable score that still holds up to this day as one of the better scores ever made.
However, it wasn’t just the style of music that made the soundtrack amazing. The main Incredibles theme was also absolutely amazing, and had moviegoers humming it as they exited the cinema for a long time. It wasn’t quite along the same lines as John Williams’ Superman, but a fantastic superhero theme it was. Throughout the score Giacchino also had some pretty amazing tracks, for example the upbeat Life’s Incredible Again and the dramatic Kronos Unveiled that really helped to boost up the rest of the score from just another superhero score to one for the CD shelves.
All of these different factors combined made The Incredibles an iconic score, and sadly The Incredibles 2 lacks a great deal of these. It has the amazing main theme sure, but not much else.
Take Consider Yourselves Undermined, for example. It begins as the first Incredibles score did with a loud brass rendition of the main theme to open the movie, but sounding a little clearer and a tad more modern given that this album was made 14 years after the first. The music then dives straight into action music as presumably the Parr family battle the Underminer from the end of the first film. The jazzy style returns in full form and to be honest the music sounds fantastic. It is fast paced and dramatic, and does a great job of illustrating what is going on in the film. However, it just doesn’t have the same level of fantastic that the first one did. It’s not as memorable, nor does it have that edge that the first film had that made it more than just action music. It sounds like somebody trying to imitate Giacchino’s first Incredibles score, rather than a sequel to it made by the same composer.
It’s hard to describe exactly what it is that makes this different, so I’ll let you guys decide for yourselves. Here’s the aforementioned track:
And here is the first and one of the best action cues from the first Incredibles movie:
I personally think that The Glory Days sounds much better and is definitely more memorable, and I also think that much of the score for The Incredibles 2 lacks that iconic touch that the first one had.
Diggin’ The New Digs seems to be trying to be the new Life’s Incredible Again, but like much of this score it doesn’t hold a candle to the original. It uses that original jazzy style once again in an upbeat and interesting manner, marking one of the better pieces on this album, but still not being that amazing.
One thing I will point out though is how good the music sounds on this album, this track included. It sounds very crisp and of high quality, which is a surprisingly rare thing to achieve in this day and age of music, so props to Giacchino for how well he has recorded this.
Elastigirl Is Back is a very interesting piece. Here we have the first individual theme of the franchise, Elastigirl’s Theme. This is the first brand new music on the album that isn’t leaning heavily on the Incredibles theme or similar music, and because of that it sounds really really good. This track doubles down on the 1960s Bond-style spy music and combines it really well with some jazzy brass and a fast pace that just sounds fantastic. In places it does sound a little similar to the score for Johnny English, which gives you an idea of how good this piece is given how amazing that score was. Johnny English also followed a similar idea to The Incredibles in its imitation of older Bond music but in a goofier fashion, so the scores were bound to sound similar in a few places.
Searching For A Screenslaver is another original piece on this score, being the villain theme of The Incredibles 2. It sounds very mysterious and quite eerie, making for a very contrasting theme to the loud and upbeat main one. Syndrome didn’t really have a theme in the previous film, instead having several different pieces of music to represent different aspects of him (the Omnidroid, the Island etc.) so it is nice to see Giacchino doing a full villain theme in this movie. It sounds good, and works really well against the main theme.
From A Bridge Too Parr (for crying out loud, Michael) through to Elastigirl’s Got A Plane To Catch is the main action sequence of the score. In places it uses the new Elastigirl and Screensaver themes, but sadly not enough, instead relying heavily on the main Incredibles theme and similar music. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but having heard the main theme a lot in both the previous and this score it would be nice to let the new themes shine a little, especially considering they are really good. Like the beginning of the score this action music also doesn’t sound as iconic or as interesting as that of the first, sounding again like an imitation of the first rather than an expansion.
The Incredits 2 is an exception to the rest of the score, being absolutely amazing. It starts off in the same way that the first Incredits did with a fast-paced and brass heavy rendition of the main Incredibles theme before moving on to a suite of the best parts of the score, including Elastigirl’s and Screensaver’s brilliant new themes. Some of the action music is tossed in there as well as a few more renditions of the main theme to create a really enjoyable suite.
Overall the soundtrack to The Incredibles 2 is disappointing. It relies heavily on re-using the main theme from the first film, which while not being a bad thing does limit the score. The main theme is never expanded on or built on, being exactly the same as the first film. It does also get in the way of letting the new themes shine through, as while Elastigirl’s and Screensaver’s themes are great they do not get much time on the album. The action music also sounds like a poor imitation of the first film’s and not a sequel that should by all rights (given that it is 14 years after the first) be building and expanding on the music from the first and not relying on it to boost it up.
Finally there are a fair few iconic pieces on the first album that really help to hold up that as one of the better scores of all time (Kronos Unveiled, Life’s Incredible Again) and The Incredibles 2 simply does not have anything that good, which drags it down further.
After fourteen years of hype, the sequel score doesn’t hold a candle to the first.
Standout Cue: 26. Incredits 2