- Composed by Michael Giacchino
- Walt Disney Records Download / 2009 / 53:23
Expectations can be a dangerous thing. Having raised the bar so high – and consistently outdone themselves – I was expecting Up to be another Pixar masterpiece. It’s good – its first half, very good – but sadly it’s no masterpiece. An old man looks back on his life and realises that he never did the one thing he promised his wife he would do – and so sets out to do it following her death.This is Pete Docter’s first directorial outing since the brilliant Monsters, Inc. – but is a very different animal. Michael Giacchino scores his third Pixar film – and given that his previous score for the studio, Ratatouille, is the best thing he’s done – again, my expectations were sky high; and, perhaps inevitably, not met. This is decent enough music, anchored around a pair of strong themes, but it doesn’t quite have the magic that most Pixar scores from the past have done. The old-fashioned jazzy main theme is very pleasant and the waltz theme for the main character and his wife is full of whimsy; but somehow it never feels quite as special as one feels it should have done.
Curiously, the best track on the album, “Married Life”, is an example of this; it’s also the film’s outstanding moment, but the music doesn’t make it quite so oustanding as it could have – the montage sequence is very powerful for what is nominally a children’s animation film and the extended version of the waltz theme is really charming – but I just don’t get the magic from it. The number of very short cues probably don’t help – the music flits about all over the place, from the aforementioned whimsy to a surprising amount of all-out-action, and it does so with frequency. It’s all professionally-done, of course, and much like the film, might not be quite as good as I had hoped but is still far better than the equivalents from other studios. But I can’t help but think that the fact that I have to keep reminding myself of that while listening, really can’t be a great thing. So my recommendation is a slightly cautious one (don’t expect anything on the level of Ratatouille) – but a recommendation all the same. Mystifyingly, Disney chose to release the score as a download only. ***