- Composed by Michael Giacchino
- Walt Disney Records / 2013 / 22m
The first Toy Story television special, Toy Story of Terror! follows Woody, Buzz and the gang who are forced to spend the night in a spooky motel. It’s produced by Pixar and features the big stars reprising their voice roles. Sadly not reprising his role is composer Randy Newman, a vital part of the Toy Story cog beforehand. There’s no slouch in his place, though – it’s Michael Giacchino, who seems to have become Pixar’s house composer; and this is his only score of 2013 other than Star Trek: Into Darkness. As well as the big movies he’s done for the studio, the composer has written the music for a number of shorts, often providing delightful accompaniment to the usually delightful films; this welcome release, albeit download-only, is the first music from any of Pixar’s non-feature work to have been made available for purchase.
Sadly, it’s the least memorable thing Giacchino’s written for the studio. After a bright, amusing opening which offers a brief hint of Randy Newman’s style before moving into a stylised Halloween theme, the music becomes technically-accomplished, highly-polished but sadly rather generic orchestral action/adventure. Newman’s brilliance in capturing the joy of these stories while writing highly-literate, ever-interesting music is unrivalled in the modern day – Giacchino attempts to do a similar thing, but even a composer of his quality isn’t able to get anywhere close, which just goes to show what an amazing job Newman has done over the years. The music here is fast-paced and well-orchestrated, but the only thing you’re likely to remember about it is the few bars of Newman quoted in “World’s Worst Curtain Call”; otherwise the best thing is the witty cue titles. It’s distinctively Giacchino and fans of the composer will hear many of his hallmarks throughout; but sadly it’s at the Land of the Lost end of the scale. All very slick and professional, but just a bit too bland.