How Michael Giacchino compares Up's score with Trek, Land of the Lost

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Prolific film and TV composer Michael Giacchino told SCI FI Wire that his score for Disney/Pixar's upcoming 3-D animated Up is more traditional than his other recent scores, including ones for J.J. Abrams' Star Trek and for the Pixar films Ratatouille and The Incredibles.

"It is essentially a love story about Carl [voiced by Edward Asner] and his wife," Giacchino (Lost, Fringe) said in an exclusive interview at Up's Hollywood premiere last weekend. "So it was just about going there and finding out [what] that means. What I ended up doing was doing this very simple waltz that grows and twists and turns through the whole course of the film. As Carl goes on this adventure, everything just changes, [and] the music changes with him and his character as he develops and he grows."

Carl is a curmudgeonly, elderly widower who decides to attach balloons to his house and fly it up, up and away into the wilds of South America. "Which is very representative of their love," Giacchino said. "And so that is where it all begins. In many ways it's a very traditional score, as opposed to what Ratatouille is, which is a jazz-European thing, and The Incredibles, which is jazz, too, but more American orchestra. So this is a more traditional film score, which was really fun to do but also one of the most emotional movies I ever got to work on."

Giacchino faced a different challenge with Star Trek, which he did for longtime collaborator Abrams. "[Replicating such iconic music themes] for Star Trek was the fear in the very beginning," he said. "I thought, 'Oh, God. What am I going to do?' Because all this great space music has already been written, and so it was truly a fear. And then, in the end, we all just sat down and said, 'You know what? This is really just a story about two guys who become friends. And let's not forget that.'"

Giacchino's work will also be heard in the upcoming Land of the Lost re-imagining, starring Will Ferrell; he had to work around the infectious theme song for the Sid and Marty Krofft TV show on which the movie is based.

"Will Ferrell sings a bit of the theme song in the movie," Giacchino said. "It is very funny when he does it. He is great in this. When Brad Silberling, the director, came to me and was telling me about the project, all he had to say was, 'Will Ferrell and dinosaurs.' And I was like, 'OK, I'm there.'"

Giacchino definitely knows of what he speaks and plans to honor the fans of that groovy early-'70s TV series. "I watched Land of the Lost as a kid, you know, incessantly," he said. "I loved it. Me and my brother watched it every Saturday. And so getting to work with [creators] Sid and Marty Krofft, that was fantastic. [When it comes to the song,] there is a little surprise in the film, yes, but I don't want to ruin it. But I wasn't going to do that film and not hint at that theme somewhere."

Up opens May 29.