Giacchino returns with another marquee assignment, this time for the film
based on the classic anime series, "Speed Racer." The soundtrack is brought
to us by Varese Sarabande and offers 20 tracks of Giacchino's score. The
running time is generous (over 1 hour of music) and the sound quality is
above average. It's a nice release, especially when you consider that this
could have been a derivative song compilation album. That's one for the
In this era of filmmaking, most composers
should accept the fact that a lot of what they'll be called to write is
music based on existing material. Giacchino not only accepts this situation
-- he seems to genuinely embrace it.
Giacchino is no stranger to writing
music that had a previous existence. Case in point, "Mission Impossible III"
and the upcoming "Star Trek" reboot are two example of projects he has
already scored or soon will be. "Speed Racer" is a project that falls
squarely in that mold and makes for a good barometer to see what direction
the composer is heading in. From what I heard on the CD, all signs indicate
a green light -- "Speed Racer" is a terrific score.
soundtrack is a mix of styles that work cohesively together. Giacchino has
been able to take the nostalgic elements of the existing music to create a
score that has modern trademarks associated with it. In some ways, one could
make an argument that if sound quality of this nature could be generated in
the 60s, along with the tools to create it, of course, than this would be a
score that would fit into that era perfectly.
into this project, there were a lot of questions as to how the main theme
would be used. The motifs of the source material are brought to life both as
featured cues and as background elements. The use of it was so effective
that I was feeling nostalgic and I had never regularly watched the cartoons
that the movie is based on. Now that's effective writing! Indeed, Giacchino
was able to create a bonafide tapestry by weaving the different phrases of
the source material into this soundtrack.
pace of the score is quite rapid, as one could imagine, but there are also
some nice melodic chords that are heard throughout. These softer cues make
for a more 'fan friendly' appeal. Also nice are the moments in which
Giacchino uses a bit of vocalization in the score, specifically during Track
9, "Casa Cristo." It's tracks such as this one that gives "Speed Racer" a
modern spin and also distinguishes Giacchino's own voice in the proceedings.
main Speed Racer theme is heard in various facets. My favorite use of it is
when it drives on in the background during some of the major action cues,
thus becoming more than just a reference to the original and a major player
in the score. You see, a theme's depth should be judged by the various ways
in which a composer can use it in a score and Giacchino's approach played
out nicely. Not too much, not too little and enough variations to keep it
interesting. Core fans should not worry about the Speed Racer song, either,
since that is what caps out the album on the last track. It's more or less a
retro tribute to the song, with some old school instrumentation that should
bring back some memories for fans of the long standing series.
is a highly energetic, entertaining score that will please most ears.
Specifically, listeners who appreciated the style of "The Incredibles" score
will especially want to hop on board with this one as Giacchino once again
shows that he isn't afraid to take chances with his work. Well done.