Cars 2uneup: The Score

Hi everyone. Just wanted to let all you know that the scoring for Cars 2… has begun! We had our first day on Saturday, and are now busy recording the music to the movie.

For those who don’t know, I am NOT a Pixar employee, but a studio musician who has played on many of Pixar’s films. Please note that I have a strict “No Spoiler” policy and absolutely will not reveal spoilers (doing so is bad form, and not my place). I have written accounts here on Pixar Planet of what it was like to work on some of the previous Pixar movies… and if you’re interested in that sort of thing, you might want to check them out as well, as I explain a lot about what the process is like, and many of your questions might be answered there.
The posts on scoring Wall-E start here: Composer speculation - #82 by miafka
And the posts on scoring Up start here: … =46&t=4131

We’re scoring Cars 2 at Warner Bros (where we scored Up a few years ago), and Saturday began with John Lasseter coming up to the podium with Michael Giacchino and producer Denise Ream to tell us a little about the movie. A very friendly guy, he mentioned that while the first Cars was a slower film, this was one we’d need to buckle our seatbelts for… but that most of all, he wanted to make a film that was fun – and one that we’d have fun working on. He said one of his favorite parts of making films is coming down to watch the scoring process (joking that it’s one of the few times he doesn’t have to work, and can just enjoy it). And it sure seems like the crew is having as much fun at the sessions as we are playing the score.

As everyone knows from the trailers and publicity, the movie is something of a spy-caper, and John said they didn’t want to go for the same old, typical spy-caper music – but that it had to be cool. Well, it is. A couple times on the first day John came out to yell “That was awesome!” or “Cool!” – and I totally agree. I think Michael’s just done a fantastic job with this one (and it’s absolutely so much fun to play). I’m glad there’s going to be a CD release for it.

It’s worth pointing out that none of the music in the trailers or previews you’ve heard up to now is actual music from the movie – because we didn’t actually start recording it until two days ago. However things move fast, and the clip that was just released on Sunday ( is the first one to have actual music from the movie (released just hours after having recorded it). Actually, I’m glad that clip was released, because it gives you all an idea of how cool the score is (Hammond organ, surf guitar – and just a lot of fun). Everybody has different tastes of course, but for my money, you won’t be disappointed. If you want to know what the score is like, just listen to that clip.

As far as the movie itself… I have to say, when I first saw the early trailer for it a while back, I wasn’t sure… but from what I’ve seen over the last couple days, I’m very much relieved. It looks really good – and a lot of fun. Though I won’t post spoilers (sorry, you’re going to have to wait until June), I will say that there are some clever puns and in-jokes in the movie. Remember the “BuyNLarge” pun from Wall-E? Something similarly clever here. Also, there are some clever visual jokes referencing other Pixar movies (of course). And for those who keep track of such things, the great track titles remain (including at least one new version of an old standby).

Though a lot of the film is fully rendered by now, there were still some scenes that weren’t, at least in the print we were working with. Occasionally the backgrounds would simply be white… and there was even one very brief scene where there was nothing but simple colored squares representing where the cars would eventually be. Still, the majority of scenes looked complete or nearly complete, and looked really nice.

Today we all got Cars 2 hats, and the crew set up a small video camera so that everyone up at Pixar’s studio in Northern California could see a live feed of the session. On Saturday there were some folks walking around with cameras, taping both in the booth and out on the stage, so who knows, there might be some shots of us on a “making of” featurette sometime in the future.

Well, there’s not much else to say. Just wanted to report that the scoring for the movie has begun, and that both the score and the movie are looking really good.

I think I might just have fallen in love with you. Or your post, either one. Simply awesome, thanks for sharing all the “inside” info!

Hi miafka,

Will give your analysis a detailed read later, but just wanna bring up this point:

Do you know the trailer editor? Could you confirm for me whether the opening music in this trailer is from Mikey G or is it from the Vantage Point soundtrack?

This is a point of contention I would like to raise, because a lot of fans are under the false impression that this is Pixar’s OST when in fact it is borrowed from a lesser-known composer for the use of this trailer.

One more thing: Are you saying that the music used in the Finn McMissile escape clip is not from the OST either? In that case, who composed that score, or is it just a ‘test filler’?

Lemme know. Thanks,

TDIT :slight_smile:

Well the first day of scoring for Cars 2 didn’t happen until two days ago (Saturday) – which means that unless there was inter-dimentional time-travel involved, any music that you heard before that date in previous trailers or screenings is not music that will actually be used in the movie. I have no idea who wrote the music for that early trailer you mention, but for the vast majority of movies, the music used in a movie’s trailer will never appear in the actual movie. I wrote a long post about what generally happens for trailer music on Page 5 of the Up Tempo thread (click here: … 1&start=60 and scroll down just a bit). Music is almost always one of the last things completed in a movie, and trailers have to be made long before a movie’s score is recorded – often while the movie is still being filmed.

Are you saying that the music used in the Finn McMissile escape clip is not from the OST either?

If by the Finn McMissile escape clip you mean the one that was just released Sunday that I linked to in the first post (, then as I said… this clip is the first to have the actual score in it. :sunglasses:

“100 ____ Dash” should be pretty easy for this movie :stuck_out_tongue:

thanks miafka for the update, so happy for have read your post, very but very interesting, please keep all this crazy pixar fans updated with official news,

Thank you, miafka, for giving us the inside scoop on the Cars 2 score! I always enjoyed reading your posts on the music for Up, and look forward to hearing more from you about Cars 2. Giacchino is Awesome! (Oh, and I loved the intro to the clip, ha ha, JL.)

Thanks for clearing that up, miafka. I know for a fact that the Toy Story 3, Wall-E and Up trailers, for example, used music from trailer music production houses like Two Steps From Hell and Non Stop Music, so your statements just confirmed my suspicion. There are some exceptions of trailers where they actually have OST tracks in them (like Rio, Rango, Despicable Me, and Cars), but most of Pixar’s film trailers and others like Legend of the Guardians, 9, and Tangled use songs from popular culture or ‘trailer music’.

Also, sources like ‘The Pixar Times’ say that the music used in the escape clip is not Mikey G’s final version. While I’m kinda disappointed, I’m also excited because this means that he has the chance to improve the soundtrack for the final cut. As I mentioned, I’m somewhat disappointed by the score in the clip because it lacks a definite theme and there were some moments where it could’ve been less ‘generic’. But since this is apparently not the final version, that leaves room for improvement. :slight_smile:

I’m sorry to play the ‘Devil’s Advocate’ here, but I feel the need to provide a contrasting opinion in the overwhelming face of all the fan-gushing here. :unamused: Not trying to be contrarian here, I’ll give credit when it’s due. But all too often people don’t critique something they love, and I try to do this even with films or stuff I’m absolutely crazy about.

Good for you! I know exactly what you are saying and sadly, I am one of those people that fall into the category of not critiquing something I love. I try to, and sometimes I do a little but when it comes to something I REALLY love I can’t. :stuck_out_tongue: It takes a lot more will-power and an open-mind than you think so I applaud you for that! On a side note…I was at the theatres the other day and I saw a preview for Rio. Oh my gosh, I’m so excited to see it now!

But I thought Pixar confirmed that that score from the clip wasn’t actually Giacchino’s score from the film…? I’m confused.

This is just me personally but I think unless you had a part in making the film,nobody should be judgeing anything…but that’s just me though. I do see your point though TDIT,I’ll admit there are certian things I don’t like in Cars…lol :stuck_out_tongue: 8D 8D

I agree with you. I love Mikey, but yes I felt it was missing something also. the beginning part music didn’t really go with mcmissile speeding away, and then the explosion part’s music didn’t really go with it… It didn’t give me goosebumps. But michael knows what hes doing, which is why hes still working on it.

You’re back? :astonished:

Well, I’m glad you share my enthusiasm, but remember, the trailers always show the good bits! Hopefully there’ll be more of such scenes in the actual movie. :wink:

Yup, one of my maxims is that we shouldn’t judge something unless we’ve seen it. If one hasn’t seen ‘Ratatoiing’, one’s opinion is null, even though the general consensus is it sucks. Or if one hasn’t seen ‘Wall-E’, again, saying it’s awesome is nix. It is only by experiencing something, be it food, another culture, another country, a book, a new sport, et cetera, that we validate our opinions. One can have an opinion, but sometimes it’s from ‘hearsay’ or the ‘imagination’.

And before the fans get angry on those who are skeptical of Cars or its sequel, bear in mind that you, too, have an opinion, albeit a more positive and optimistic one. The best approach is to maintain a level of excitement, but also a ‘cynical awareness’ so that you aren’t easily fooled by opportunistic marketers and brands. Remember, all studios, Pixar, Dreamworks, Blue Sky, Disney, Studio Ghibli essentially want your money in exchange for their product (in this case, a totally awesome movie). By looking at what they’re offering as a whole, and not falling for the ‘hype’ or silly gimmicks of their marketing campaign, you can be clever and confident enough to make an ‘informed decision’.

What I’m saying is common sense, but is not followed by enough people, which is why we’ve got financial problems like the subprime crisis, or credit card debts, or toxic liabilities, etc.

Thanks! Again, while I’m somewhat disappointed, I’m holding hopes out that Mikey G will do a better job in time for the final cut. He has not disappointed me with The Incredibles and M:I:3 score, and I have faith he will do justice for Cars 2. But as we always say… only time will tell.

Hi everyone. Well, the scoring for Cars 2… has finished. Today (Thursday) was the last day of one very fun week. It took us only five days to record the entire movie – something you can do when you have a great composer, orchestrator, and director.

The final day today started with us going back to re-visit some of the cues we had recorded earlier in the week to make some changes (including the cue heard in the just-released clip). Then we went on to finish the few small remaining cues left. When it was time for lunch, Pixar treated everyone to In-N-Out Burger (they’re a hamburger institution here in California), and after lunch, John Lasseter got up with Michael Giacchino to thank the orchestra & crew and say a few words. John gave a very heartfelt speech, in which he talked about how this was a very special film for him, because with all the new duties he has now, he wasn’t sure that he’d ever get a chance to direct again – something he really loves. He said he wants to give other directors a chance, but that he’ll come back to direct every few years because it’s what he loves to do. He talked about how one of his favorite parts of directing is being able to come down and watch the scoring of his movies, and was sad to have it have to end.

After lunch, we recorded some miscellaneous things (source music cues, and a few additions to previous cues), then actually finished up the day by recording the music to a Pixar short that will be released next year (with music written by Michael). Sorry, no spoilers – not even its name or director, as I don’t think any information has been released about it yet. I’ll just say though, that it’s a really nicely-done short, with a beautiful (and very fitting) score by Michael. The director came out to the podium to say hello afterwards.

On a personal note, looking back at this week, I have to say how impressed I am once again with John Lasseter (and the entire Pixar crew). All of us have played for a lot of directors over the years, and I can’t think of anyone more friendly, personable, totally approachable and passionate about his craft. For most of the week in fact, while we were enjoying his movie up on the screen, he was walking around the stage talking to us and taking pictures of us as we played. I can’t say I envy all the jobs he has to do… but they’re in good hands with him.

Regarding comments on the score heard in the clip: of course be honest with what you think… but remember that you’ve only heard 20 seconds of it in a trailer – and remember what I wrote in the first post here: that they were specifically trying not to do the typical spy-caper music style. Give it a chance. Once the movie comes out, you can take in the whole movie and score together. Everyone’s going to have different opinions and tastes of course, but I can tell you that those of us working on it were constantly talking about what a great score it is – and how much fun it’s been to play.

Just a couple more misc. observations: as the week progressed, more of the scenes later in the film weren’t as fully rendered (a lot looked about halfway rendered). Interestingly, when not fully rendered, the tires on the cars aren’t all black, but have white or grey sections on them (I guess to make it easier for the animators to show speed and movement – otherwise the tires would just be black blobs in early rendering). And finally, there’s at least one clever wordplay with a certain Pixarian’s name.

Well, I guess that’s it for now. The week seemed to go by in a flash… but I wish every week could be like this one.

congratulations, great report miafka , John has always seemed to be one of the kindest directors on earth, I can percive his enthusiam,

so excited, wonder know more about it

one question, I am sure I am gonna love the score, but will we find an specific melody that will make us recognize Cars 2 instantly, I mean something like married life, this masterpiece score was the anthem in up

I’m just gonna venture a guess and say Yes, because that’s how Giacchino normally does with his films (or at least at Pixar). We’ve had some awesome ‘anthems’ in the past, with Glory Days, La Festin, and of course, as you mentioned, Married Life. So I can’t see why Giacchino wouldn’t do the same with Cars.

This is new. :open_mouth:

Thanks for an incredible report. Being a musician myself, I appreciate everything you guys do. The scores always end up being one of my favorite aspects of Pixar films, and I’m sure this will be another masterpiece.

Thanks for the insight miafka. :slight_smile:

After hearing a member here rave about it and now your comments that JL treated you to this joint, I feel a hankerin’ to try it again (I did on my visit to America, but that was six years ago).

That’s the right attitude. While I love JL and the movies he’s made (it scares me how much he shares my interest in Hawaiian shirts, cars, and spy movies), I think it’s time Pixar let other people ‘have a go’.

Interesting. Well, I’m certainly looking forward to listening to it as a whole. As other members have speculated, I hope there’s a specific cue or theme song. Again, Casino Royale is a great example, you can hear bits of the main theme woven into the soundtrack throughout. And with Mikey G’s weaving of themes into various tracks like he did for Incredibles, Ratatouille and Up, I hope he pulls a David Arnold too.

With the film a little more than two months away, this bit of news is worrying me. Pixar is cutting it close… I hope they can pull through in time for the release.

Hmmm… I wonder.

michael giacchino interview: … lks-cars-2

This was taken before the recording of Cars 2.