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Michael Giacchino turns 50 – a look back at his incredible Pixar career

Today is composer Michael Giacchino’s 50th birthday, and what better day to celebrate his (quite literally) incredible contribution to Pixar movies?

Michael Giacchino is responsible for the film scores of many Pixar works, including both feature length and short films. He wrote the music for The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, Cars 2, Inside Out, and the short films “One Man Band,” “Lifted,” “La Luna,” “Toy Story of Terror!,” and “Toy Story that Time Forgot.” He’s received numerous nominations and awards for these scores over the years, including 6 awards for The Incredibles, 2 for Ratatouille, and 10 for Up. Next month, we’ll get to hear the soundtrack he has created for Coco and it’s sure to be vibrant and full of life.

Some truly iconic Pixar pieces have been written by Giacchino, including “Married Life,” “Bundle of Joy,” “Free Skating,” and the entire theme of The Incredibles. His music is suited perfectly to Pixar movies – it brings emotions to the forefront and can tell a story purely through the notes, themes, pauses, and swells. For a shining example of this ‘story-telling through music’, look no further than “Married Life” from Up – with no dialogue and set against one of Pixar’s most famous scenes, the score is able to bring to life the poignant story of Carl and Ellie’s married life together. I love the way Pixar often chooses to set dialogue aside and instead rely on expressions and body language to communicate to the audience. These scenes (or even entire short movies) would be nowhere near as powerful without the music of composers such as Giacchino.

There are a few composers that Pixar keep coming back to – and with good reason! It really makes their films feel and sound more unique and recognisable. Nothing is quite as characteristic of Pixar as a Randy Newman piece (Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc), and Thomas Newman’s (Finding Nemo, WALL-E) almost other-worldly sound never fails to transport me to the unexplored worlds of the ocean and outer space. Michael Giacchino always manages to capture the emotion, excitement and character of each of the movies he’s worked on.

So – happy birthday, Michael Giacchino. Thank you for making so many Pixar movies that much more special. I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say we can’t wait to hear your scores for Coco and The Incredibles 2 (and hopefully even more Pixar movies in the distant future!)

Michael Giacchino and Brad Bird teasing the beginning of work on The Incredibles 2 in May this year

Who is your favourite Pixar composer? And what is your favourite Michael Giacchino score or piece? Let us know in the comments or on our Twitter and Facebook!

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