Michael Giacchino

Rating: 8.2

Michael Giacchino is probably the fastest rising star in the film music scene. Beginning with his very popular Medal of Honor game scores, each successive release has been greeted well by fans and critics alike. When the production team for Ratatouille ran into complications during production and brought in director Brad Bird, with whom they had previously had great success in the popular The Incredibles, it came as no surprise that his composer of choice would be Michael Giacchino, whose score for The Incredibles had been met with as much enthusiasm within film music circles as the movie had with the general public.

With the release of Ratatouille, it is safe to say that Giacchino has established himself as one of the, or perhaps the preeminent animated movie composer working today. He has also become well known for his incredible ability to write within any musical style, and create a unique listening experience. In Ratatouille he pulls both of these attributes together to create fun, stylistic score.

A word of warning: If you cannot abide the sound of the accordion, stay far away from this score. Giacchino makes extensive use of it, employing it as if it were a normal part of a jazz ensemble, and this is the trick to Giacchino's combining of French textures with playfully animated music. Much of this score sounds more like band music than full-blown orchestral textures. Acoustic guitars and bass guitars are around for much of the score, combining with a drum kit, as well as many orchestral instruments, such as strings and woodwinds, while the brass gives it all the band flare. While this may seem like a broad range of instruments, it is orchestrated well, so that it never becomes overbearing, but instead uses its differing groups to create a playful effect, jumping back and forth constantly between instruments.

"Colette Shows Him Le Ropes" is probably the best example of the above outlined style which Giacchino chose for this project, and is definitely a standout track on the album. "The Paper Chase" is in a more traditionally orchestral vein, and uses the main theme to great effect. Which brings us to "Le Festin", the one song on this album. It is well known that I usually disapprove of the pop songs which often get thrown on to a movie. This time, however, we are given a taste of how a song could fit and improve a score wonderfully, and it would do movie producers good to take notice. The melody for "Le Festin" was originally written by Giacchino as a theme for the movie, and only later did the idea of turning it into a song and having French singer Camille sing it come about. Because of this, the song and score keep continuity with each other, and each compliments the other. The theme makes frequent appearances in the score, and works wonderfully in every context.

The general opinion of this score seems to be that it is fun, but not as good as The Incredibles. While The Incredibles may be the more impressive of the two, just because of the precision with which Giacchino succeeded in imitating a genre, I confess that, as a listening experience, I prefer Ratatouille. Giacchino has yet to let down his fans, and, having been given the scoring duties for the coming Pixar release Up!, great things are on the horizon. Until then, however, I will be perfectly happy to keep listening to Ratatouille.

-Colin Thomson

Track List:

Le Festin
Welcome To Gusteau's
This Is Me
Granny Get Your Gun
100 Rat Dash
Wall Rat
Cast Of Cooks
A Real Gourmet Kitchen
Souped Up
Is It Soup Yet?
A New Deal
Remy Drives A Linguini
Colette Shows Him Le Ropes
Special Order
Kiss & Vinegar
Losing Control
Heist To See You
The Paper Chase
Remy's Revenge
Abandoning Ship
Dinner Rush
Anyone Can Cook
End Creditouilles
Ratatouille Main Theme

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