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REVIEW: Michael Giacchino at 50

Good day to you ladies and gents, how’s it going? Last night I had one of my favourite experiences of 2017 in the form a concert held at the Royal Albert Hall entitled Michael Giacchino at 50.

Image from royalalberthall.com

So what is this event about? Well, essentially it was a concert where you had an orchestra play several pieces of music from the numerous films, TV shows and video games that Giacchino’s score over the years. If you’ve checked out this blog for any amount of time you’ll know I have not only massive love for good film scores, but for Michael Giacchino in particular, so when I heard about this even back in February, I bought my ticket as quickly as possible. And so finally, the time had come yesterday, alas the London Underground was closed by the time I arrived at St Pancras just after 6pm, so I had to use Google Maps to run down to Royal Albert Hall, luckily after taking a few wrong turns and running through a dark park with no lights, I got to the venue with around 30 minutes to spare.

And I’ll say it right now, the concert was frigging awesome! We were introduced to a gentleman with a sousaphone (whose name I cannot recall, unfortunately) who played the birthday song and got the crowd involved. From there we were introduced to Adam Savage, the host for the event and he was wonderfully funny and charismatic, and in between the music, he’d appear in interesting costumes and introduce the special guests too. And speaking of the guests, we got to see several of the directors Giacchino’s worked as well as some actors featured in the films he’s worked on come onstage and share some kind words about Giacchino and his work. There were appearances from Colin Trevorrow, Andrew Stanton, Gareth Edwards, Matt Reeves, Carlton Cuse, Pete Docter, JJ Abrams, Benedict Wong, Raffey Cassidy, and Gonzo too. 😀

So what about the music? Well, it was all delicious! The concert started off perfectly with The Incredibles, taking all of the key themes from film and blending them together to show off the bombastic, sassy, playful and badass music, clearly, the people behind this show knew what the deal was by opening with that Pixar classic. Next up was some music from Medal of Honour, I was never into shooting games but I really felt like I may have missed out on something special as the music had some gorgeous sounds which felt like a mix of Lost and Jurassic Park. Though I don’t recall much from Jupiter Ascending, the music was and still is really intense and wonderful. Jurassic World had some lovely pieces which I had honestly forgotten about, the compositions Giacchino made for that film were so heartfelt and made me almost shed tears. The Marvel suite featured music from the Marvel Studios logo sequence which was great, the awesome sounds of Doctor Strange (mainly “Strange Days Ahead”) and the upbeat and heroic sounds of Spider-Man: Homecoming. The music for Rogue One had a selection of the best material from the middle and final parts of the film which was really special and powerful. And then there was Lost, so glad I watched the first season recently as the piece they used from the end of the first season and it was frigging perfect and made me well up because it was hella beautiful. And so that ended the first half.

In the second half we had some of the key music from Up which was beautifully handled by the orchestra and the string quartet Bond, then there were the humourous sounds of One Man Band and the final piece of Pixar piece was from Ratatouille. From here my memory gets a little hazy so excuse any mistakes I make if you attended and have the programme. There was also a haunting piece from Cloverfield I think before going on to do the sounds from War for the Planet of the Apes which was really dramatic and cool. Next up was the really beautiful sounds of John Carter, I’d honestly had forgotten about that film and hearing that music really brought back some memories of certain scenes I remembered from 2012. Oh, and the sounds from Tomorrowland was quite nice having a hopeful and majestic sound. And then we had the Star Trek suite which had the sounds of the 2009 film, Into Darkness and Beyond which was easily a highlight for me as it is some of my favourite material in any film ever. Then we had Gonzo come along and had some fun with the audience and then did a bit of a duet with Giacchino on “I’m Going To Go Back There Someday” from The Muppets Movie. And the final music was from Super 8 played with some archive footage of Giacchino’s childhood films he made with his friends which were perfect. But it wasn’t over, after a standing ovation we had our first encore was in the form of Speed Racer,  and then the next encore was a preview of Coco which was so playful and catchy and the final encore was from Alias.

Musical highlights:

  • The Incredibles
  • Jurassic World
  • The Marvel Suite
  • Lost
  • John Carter
  • Star Trek Suite
  • Coco

Overall Michael Giacchino at 50 was a fabulous session and I was glad I was able to attend, there was a lot of laughs and comedy, and insightful and heartfelt moments from Giacchino, his home movies and the kind words from his friends/work colleagues, and of course the work put in from conductor Ludwig Wicki, the Cinematic Sinfonia and the English Chamber Choir was nothing short of amazing as they brought Giacchino’s music to life in such a special way.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2017 in Films, Media, Music

 

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REVISITED: The Incredibles & Super 8

Good day to you ladies and gents, time for some film reviews and today I’m going to start a new series of reviews under the title REVISITED, and what that means is that I’ll be reviewing films I haven’t seen for a while and checking out how they hold up since my last watch. And today’s reviews will be of films I’ve been meaning to rewatch for a while and they are The Incredibles and Super 8.

So first we have The Incredibles, a film that is not only in my top 3 Pixar films but also one of my favourite animated films ever. Funnily enough, I never watched this film in a conventional way, I missed it in the cinema and saw at least the first half of it on a pirated DVD and then saw it properly on TV a few years later. I’m pretty sure this film was made for me, it is a superhero film with elements of the spy genre and family drama mixed in too. I loved being introduced to this world of superheroes learning about how they operate, how they were phased out and how it affects the main characters down the line. For all of the fantastical elements, this film has a lot of realistic material at its core. This film deals with a lot of issues relating to death, revenge, missing the simplicity/glory days of youth, having marital issues, being able to truly express yourself and sacrificing your wants and needs for those you love. This film does a good job of balancing between the humour, drama and action, and there’s a lot to enjoy for audience members of all ages. The characters are all great, they all have wonderful quirks, strengths and weaknesses, confidence issues and specific personality traits that make them shine, like Dash for example. Also, the voice work is really good especially from Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter as Mr Incredible and Elastigirl, Jason Lee as Syndrome, Samuel L. Jackson as Frozone and of course director Brad Bird as Edna Mode. Visually the film is so very beautiful, artistically the film is very distinct and colourful, the animation is super smooth and the camera work used during the action sequences is very kinetic and has some amazing tracking shots. Oh, and the creativity in the use of the abilities of all the superpowered individuals was so creative and badass. Equally as good is the film score from the brilliant Michael Giacchino, besides Star Trek (2009)The Incredibles has my favourite Giacchino score overall as it is some of the sassiest, upbeat and bombastic material of all his compositions. The score has a varied sound that works in all situations, besides having a deliciously jazz-inspired soundtrack that harkens back to the days of old spy films, there are also lovely dramatic and emotional moments that stick out a lot too. My favourite pieces were during the action scenes with Dash and Mr Incredible training montage. In the end, this film is still as fun as the day I first saw it.

Ah Super 8, I remember this film well, the hype behind this film was quite notable because of the mystery surrounding the film and the well-crafted yet intriguing trailers that had a lot of interesting shots but no major plot details revealed. I recall upon this film being released that the reception was quite mixed, a good few people liked it, but a lot of people found it boring and unengaging especially given the lack of information about the film beforehand. I remember enjoying the film for the most part but thought it the reveal of monster and main story towards the end lost some steam. Either way, I haven’t seen this film since it was in cinemas 2011 and I’ve wanted to check it out again for ages. So how was my experience 6 years later? Pretty good actually. I feel like Super 8 is one of those films that benefit from a second viewing, once you understand how the story works in terms of the style, pacing, mystery and character arcs I believe it is a more enjoyable experience. I found it interesting how this film combined a coming of age story with a sci-fi plot and I feel like it works for the most part. You have a story dealing with friendship, growing up, dealing with traumatic events of the past, mysterious events that have dangerous ramifications and the search for truth. I enjoyed the adventure, while there were some issues with the hit and miss humour and some less than interesting story stuff when the kids weren’t involved, I thought it had some really cute, funny and dramatic material that worked well. I thought the cast of kids were good, they acted well and had good chemistry, bouncing off of each other in a natural way, Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning, were really good, and I also liked Riley Griffiths and Ryan Lee too. As for the adults, they were fine, but Kyle Chandler was the most memorable even those his character wasn’t very likeable. Visually the film looks nice, the lens flare is less than usual, and while it was a little too dark during the night scenes, there were some really cool-looking action sequences including one of the most impressive train crashes I’ve ever seen put to film, it is a beautiful massacre, so much crashing, smashing, flying debris and explosions. It is truly a wonderful spectacle. Also the film score from Michael Giacchino is really nice, Super 8‘s score feels like it has elements of Jurassic Park and Star Wars, but most notably has shades of Lost in the sense that there are subtle/emotional vibe moments mixed in with these uplifting and hopeful sounds that swell and engulf the scenes they’re used in. Overall I was glad I saw this film again and if you’re interested to give it a watch.

So have you seen these films and if so what do you think? Also if you’ve seen them more than once do they hold up better, worse or the same as before? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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