Composer crafts robust themes for 'Up,' 'Trek'

With Paramount’s “Star Trek” and Disney/Pixar’s “Up,” Michael Giacchino continues to demonstrate his flair for crafting robust themes so evocative and so memorable that moviegoers can take them home in their heads.

“If you listen to a score from beginning to end, you should envision the entire film in your head,” says Giacchino about his m.o. “When I was a kid, there was no DVD, no VHS. The only way to re-live a movie once it was out of the theater was to listen to its film score.”

Giacchino’s anonymity stems from not leaving the same set of fingerprints behind on a score with trademark instruments or rhythmic build-ups. One would never know he’s the same guy who composed for “Star Trek” and 2004′s “The Incredibles.”

“I pride myself on creating something original to a story,” Giacchino says. “I don’t want them to say ‘that’s Michael.’ I want them to say that’s ‘Up’ or that’s ‘Star Trek.’

“Facing the challenge to write a new theme for the reboot of “Star Trek,” Giacchino found his title track not in retreaded sci-fi fanfares but in the emotional bond between Kirk and Spock. French horns signaled Kirk’s nobility and a Chinese stringed erhu denoted Spock’s alien nature. Muted trumpets and jazz strings made up the warbled ’30s jazz in “Up,” a perfect fit for the nostalgic demeanor of protagonist Carl Fredricksen and his elder role-model, aviator Charles Muntz.

“I’m still my 10-year-old self as far as the way I look at what I want to work on, the way I interact with my kids and the way I approach life. If you boil those melodies (of your life) down, they are out of the past and you never lose that aspect of yourself.”

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