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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Giacchino’

LIGHTYEAR – Michael Giacchino

June 21, 2022 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In November 1995 the upstart studio Pixar released the film Toy Story, and kick-started a revolution in animated filmmaking. Within years most of the main studios had their own animation departments and were churning out massive amounts of content for kids, but the origins of the boom all traced back to a simple story of a little boy, his toy cowboy, and his toy astronaut. That astronaut was, of course, named Buzz Lightyear, and the in-movie conceit was that he was an action figure from a movie in that universe that none us of had seen: we just had to accept that it was real. Well, now Pixar have actually made that movie – the Buzz Lightyear origin story that the toy in Toy Story is based on! It’s a classic sci-fi adventure in which Buzz, a hotshot Space Ranger astronaut in Star Command, becomes marooned on an apparently hostile alien planet after suffering the effects of time dilation on his space craft, and has to find a way back home – all while confronting a threat in the form of the evil Emperor Zurg. The film is directed by Angus MacLane and has a voice cast that includes Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, James Brolin, and Taika Waititi, with Evans replacing Tim Allen as the voice of Buzz. Read more…

JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION – Michael Giacchino

June 14, 2022 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Pitched as the third and final part of the Jurassic World trilogy, and the sixth film overall in the series which began back in 1993 with the original Jurassic Park, Dominion is the film where – finally – the two main casts of this long-lasting dinosaur disaster franchise come together for an exciting, combined adventure. The film is set several years after the end of the last one, Fallen Kingdom, and finds Owen and Claire, former employees of the Jurassic World park, now working to protect the dinosaurs that are living free in the world. They are also the surrogate parents of the clone child Maisie Lockwood – until she is kidnapped by a mysterious group that wants to exploit her unique DNA. Meanwhile, Ellie Sattler reconnects with her former partner, paleontologist Alan Grant – from whom she has been mostly estranged since the events of Jurassic Park – to ask him to help her find the source of a plague of mutant locusts which is devastating crops, and which appears to contain dinosaur DNA. The two groups come together when the two plot strands – Maisie’s kidnappers, and the source of the genetically modified locusts – leads them all to Biosyn, a successful tech company owned by the enigmatic Lewis Dodgson that runs a dinosaur habitat high in the Dolomite mountains, and where scientist Ian Malcolm – another veteran of the original Jurassic Park – now also works. Read more…

THE BATMAN – Michael Giacchino

March 8, 2022 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When Warner Brothers announced that there was going to be yet another Batman reboot movie, with a sixth actor donning the famous black cowl, I admit I initially rolled my eyes. How many more different versions of this story do we need? How could they possibly differentiate it from the character portrayals by Michael Keaton, Christian Bale, and most recently Ben Affleck, among all the others? I was getting bat fatigue, and went into this with somewhat low expectations, despite the caliber of the actors and filmmakers involved. Well, I’m very happy to eat my words because Matt Reeves’s The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz, is excellent: the caped crusader re-imagined as a film noir antihero. It’s important to remember that the media behemoth we know now as DC actually began as Detective Comics, and that the character was originally that – the world’s greatest detective. The Batman is very much a return to those roots, pitting the character as an ally to the Gotham City police, helping to solve the murders of several local politicians and public figures in increasingly disturbing ways. Read more…

SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME – Michael Giacchino

December 24, 2021 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS PLOT SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN THE FILM, YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER WAITING UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE DONE SO TO READ IT.

I feel like I spend an unusually inordinate amount of time talking about the ends of trilogies in musical terms. Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit scores, John Powell’s How to Train Your Dragon, John Williams’s Star Wars sequels, the various Avengers movies that lead into Infinity War and Endgame, and so on and so on. There’s a nice symmetrical quality to trilogies which allow for development and dramatic catharsis, and this is certainly the case with Spider-Man: No Way Home, the third film in director Jon Watts’s Spider-Man trilogy, which is itself a part of the enormous Marvel Cinematic Universe that now comprises 27 films and half a dozen or more live-action TV series. The film picks up almost exactly where the last film, 2019’s Far From Home, ended, with Spider-Man’s secret identity being revealed in the aftermath of his battle with the super-villain Mysterio. Now faced with being a public pariah, Peter decides that it would be better if he could find a way to change things – so he visits his old Avengers comrade Dr Stephen Strange, and convinces him to cast a spell that will make everyone forget that Peter Parker is Spider-Man… but when the spell is cast it has some unexpected unintended consequences. Read more…

AN AMERICAN PICKLE – Michael Giacchino and Nami Melumad

August 11, 2020 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Something unusual has been happening to Seth Rogen lately: he’s becoming a really interesting filmmaker. The man who started as the guffawing stoner in films like Pineapple Express has, of late, been tackling much more challenging material, blending drama with comedies that have a much more satirical and intellectual undertone. The Interview almost started a political international incident with North Korea in 2014, and Sausage Party was a swipe at organized religion hidden behind raunchy sex jokes, while The Long Shot proved his potential to be a slightly more conventional leading man in a romantic comedy. Now, with his new movie An American Pickle, Rogen is taking a surprisingly deep look at themes relating to loneliness, family, heritage, and Jewishness, in the context of a fish-out-of-water comedy. Rogen stars as Herschel Greenbaum, a Jewish man who emigrates to New York from Eastern Europe with his pregnant wife in 1919. Having secured work in a pickle factory, disaster strikes when Herschel accidentally falls into a barrel of brine, which somehow manages to preserve him perfectly. He wakes up exactly 100 years later to find Brooklyn very much changed; his only living relative is his great grandson Ben (also Rogen), a lonely app developer who no longer considers himself a practicing Jew. However, despite their initial happiness at finding each other, problems soon begin to arise, most of which are exacerbated by Herschel’s old-fashioned attitudes, and Ben’s lack of interest in his heritage. Read more…

JOJO RABBIT – Michael Giacchino

November 12, 2019 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

I’m trying to imagine the pitch meeting that writer-director Taika Waititi had with the executives at Twentieth Century Fox regarding Jojo Rabbit. “It’s a comedy set in Germany during World War II where the hero is a little boy who’s a Nazi and has an idealized version of Adolf Hitler as an imaginary best friend.” This starting off point is utterly ludicrous but – contrary to every reasonable thought process – the film works. Waititi’s film is not only hilarious and clever and subversive, but it’s also profoundly emotional, and it has some vital and important things to say about racism and the power of propaganda that are just as pertinent today as they were in 1943. 11-year-old Roman Griffin Davis stars in the title role as young Jojo Betzler, who lives in Nazi Germany and has been so affected by the pervasive propaganda that he dreams of joining the Hitler Youth and has a friendly version of Der Führer as his imaginary best friend and surrogate father figure. However, things change enormously in Jojo’s when he discovers that his patient and loving mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) is harboring a devastating secret that could have a profound effect on everyone’s lives. The film co-stars Thomasin McKenzie, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, and Stephen Merchant, as well as Waititi himself as old Adolf. Read more…

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME – Michael Giacchino

July 17, 2019 3 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

With Avengers Endgame having smashed almost every box office record in existence, it was always going to be difficult for Marvel to build on that movie’s enormous success. The two-part Avengers finale was one of those rare things that is both a commercial and cultural touchstone; it also marked the end of the ‘Third Phase’ of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in which the existential threat of Thanos was finally eliminated, and the circle of movies that began with Iron Man in 2008 ended with Iron Man’s death. Spider-Man: Far From Home, despite being officially the last part of Phase III and the 23rd Marvel film overall, is actually something of a coda, acting both as a rumination on the events of Endgame and as a bridge to the Phase IV series which is scheduled to begin in 2020; it also seems to have successfully maintained the interest that peaked with Avengers, enjoying huge box office takings and good critical reviews. The film is set 8 months after Endgame and again stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man; he is still coming to terms with Tony Stark’s death and longs just to be a normal teenager again. As such, he agrees to go on a trip to Europe with his high school classmates, including his potential girlfriend MJ (Zendaya); unfortunately, Peter can’t escape from his responsibilities even there, and is called upon by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to assist a multi-dimensional warrior named Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) in saving the world from creatures that wreak havoc by controlling the power of the four elements. The film is directed by Jon Watts and has an original score by Michael Giacchino. Read more…

THE INCREDIBLES 2 – Michael Giacchino

August 14, 2018 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

14 years ago, in 2004, Michael Giacchino became the first composer to successfully make the transition from video games to movies when he was asked to score a Disney-Pixar animated action adventure super hero film called The Incredibles. Giacchino’s career to that point had been filled with high quality scores for games such as The Lost World, Call of Duty, Secret Weapons Over Normandy, and several entries in the groundbreaking Medal of Honor series, plus work on TV shows like Alias, but The Incredibles was his first film work of any significance. It was a sensation – the combination of jazzy John Barry-style big band arrangements and broad, exciting action music was a breath of fresh air, and essentially launched a career which has seen him become one of the most in-demand and well-loved composers in Hollywood, with his musical fingers in multiple franchise pies comprising Star Wars, Star Trek, Mission Impossible, Planet of the Apes, Jurassic Park, several Marvel super hero movies, and many other Pixar films, including the Oscar-winning Up. Now, after all this time, Giacchino is returning to the place it all started, with his score for the long-awaited sequel The Incredibles 2. Read more…

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM – Michael Giacchino

July 20, 2018 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The second film in the re-imagined Jurassic Park franchise is Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, directed by Spanish filmmaker Juan Antonio Bayona. It takes place several years after the events of the first Jurassic World film, in which the fully operational theme park was, as one would expect, fully overtaken and virtually destroyed by the genetically modified dinosaurs it housed. Claire Dearing, Jurassic World’s former operations manager, is now the head of a dinosaur rights organization; when a volcanic eruption on the Jurassic World island Isla Nublar threatens to wipe out the remaining animals, she is called to action by multibillionaire philanthropist Sir Benjamin Lockwood and his aide Eli Mills, who say they want her to help them move the dinosaurs off the island to a safe location. To this end Claire recruits Owen Grady, Jurassic World’s dinosaur expert and her former lover, to accompany her and a team of mercenaries on the mission. However, once Claire, Owen, and the team arrives back on the island, it quickly becomes clear that the priorities regarding the dinosaurs have shifted. The film stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, and James Cromwell, and has an original score by the composer of Jurassic World – Michael Giacchino. Read more…

COCO – Michael Giacchino

November 14, 2017 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Coco is a beautiful animated film from Disney and Pixar centered around the traditional Mexican holiday of Día de Muertos, the Day of the Dead. The story centers around a young boy named Miguel Rivera, an aspiring musician who idolizes Ernesto de la Cruz, a popular singer/songwriter and film star, who died years previously. Unfortunately, Miguel’s family despises music because his great-great grandfather abandoned his family to achieve his musical dreams. On the Day of the Dead, Miguel plans to enter a talent contest in order to convince his family of his love of music, but things go awry, and circumstances contrive in such a way that Miguel finds himself ‘crossed over’ from the land of the living to the spirit world – not dead, but unable to return home without help. After reuniting with long-deceased members of his family, and meeting with an insouciant rogue named Hector who agrees to be his guide, Miguel embarks on an epic adventure in the Land of the Dead in a desperate attempt to cross back to the human world before time runs out and he is stuck in the afterlife forever. The film is a wonderful amalgam of music, emotion, humor, excitement, and staggeringly beautiful visuals; it’s directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, and features the voices of Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, and Benjamin Bratt. Read more…

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES – Michael Giacchino

July 18, 2017 5 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

War for the Planet of the Apes is the third and – at the time of writing – final installment of the rebooted Planet of the Apes film series, inspired by the novels of Pierre Boulle and the 1960s film series originally starring Charlton Heston. It continues the story of Caesar, the leader of a community of increasingly intelligent apes. In the first film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar was given increased intelligence and the ability to speak after being infected by a genetically modified virus intended to cure Alzheimer’s disease, but which accidentally killed a large portion of the world’s human population instead. In the second film, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar is struggling to create a stable ape society while trying to broker an uneasy truce with the humans remaining in what is left of San Francisco. Now, in this new film, Caesar and his ape colony are embroiled in an all-out war with a platoon of human soldiers under the command of a brutal colonel, a situation so dire that Caesar resolves to find a new home for his people, far away from the conflict. Read more…

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING – Michael Giacchino

July 4, 2017 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s been just fifteen years since Hollywood released its first big-screen movie about the popular comic book super hero Spider-Man. Tobey Maguire took the web-slinger through his first three iterations before the story was ‘re-booted’ and the Spidey suit was passed on to Andrew Garfield for The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012. He only lasted for two movies as now, building from his cameo appearance in Captain America: Civil War, the character has now been re-booted for a second time in order to facilitate his full introduction into the Avengers universe. The new Peter Parker/Spider-Man is played by English actor Tom Holland, and the film is another “origin story” of sorts, in which Parker tries to prove his worth to the de-facto leader of the Avengers, Tony Stark/Iron Man, by battling with super-villain Adrian Toomes/Vulture, while simultaneously dealing with the usual high school issues faced by a 15-year-old kid. The film co-stars Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., and Marisa Tomei, and is directed by Jon Watts. Read more…

ROGUE ONE – Michael Giacchino

December 20, 2016 7 comments

rogueoneOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS PLOT SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN THE FILM, YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER WAITING UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE DONE SO TO READ IT.

When the Walt Disney company bought Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion, the company’s new CEO Kathleen Kennedy announced that not only would they continue the Star Wars story by releasing episode seven, The Force Awakens, in 2015, but that they had also commissioned a handful of spin-off stories that flesh out the Star Wars cinematic universe and focus on side-stories not directly connected to the main saga. The first of these is Rogue One, written by Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy, John Knoll, and Gary Whitta, and directed by Godzilla’s Gareth Edwards. Although strictly not a part of the linear Star Wars saga, the film can be considered an immediate prequel to the original 1977 film, as it tells the story of how the Rebel Alliance took possession of the plans to destroy the original Death Star. Read more…

DOCTOR STRANGE – Michael Giacchino

November 11, 2016 4 comments

doctorstrangeOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Doctor Strange is the fourteenth entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series of super-hero films that includes the Iron Man, Captain America, and Avengers franchises, and is the first to depict the origin story of a completely new character since Ant-Man last year. Directed by Scott Derrickson, it stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange, a brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon, whose life is shattered when he severely damages both his hands in a car accident. Seeking new and experimental procedures so that he can fix his hands and resume his career, Strange eventually finds his way to Nepal where he meets Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a student of the so-called Ancient One (Tilda Swinton); however, rather than simply fix his physical injuries, the Ancient One sees further potential in Strange, and begins to train him in various mystical arts which allow him to enter the astral plane, conjure objects out of pure energy, manipulate reality, and even bend time. Eventually, Strange’s proficiency in these new abilities bring him into conflict with Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), a former student of the Ancient One, who now seeks to use his powers in the service of evil. Read more…

STAR TREK BEYOND – Michael Giacchino

July 26, 2016 2 comments

startrekbeyondOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Star Trek Beyond is the third film of the ‘rebooted’ Star Trek series, and the thirteenth film overall since the original Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979. Directed by Fast and the Furious veteran Justin Lin – taking over the helm from J. J. Abrams – the film sees the crew of the starship Enterprise half way through their five year mission to explore the farthest reaches of space, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine). After briefly docking at the new starbase Yorktown, the Enterprise is dispatched to conduct a rescue mission inside a previously uncharted nebula, but falls victim to a surprise attack by a lizard-like warrior named Krall (Idris Elba), and crash-lands on a mysterious world. Left stranded in a rugged wilderness, Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto), McCoy (Karl Urban), Scotty (Simon Pegg), and the rest of the crew must now battle a deadly alien race while trying to find a way off the hostile planet. Read more…