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Michael Giacchino vs. David Arnold

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Out of the two, who would you rather moved into the very forefront of traditional film score craft, at this point? I say these two because to my mind out of all the current and upcoming talents working in the film score business today, Giacchino and Arnold come closest to the score approach and sensibilities of JW and JG. Neither are as good and I doubt they ever will be, but they both strongly represent the kind of scores we come to this board for, so what do you think?

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This is a hard one. I'd probably just inch Giacchino ahead, based on the fact his best work is better than Arnold's. But I think Arnold writes better action music. But Giacchino is able to capture emotion better, or at least it seems a bit more pure. I think Abrams should solve this by having Arnold score Star Trek 2.0.2.

However, my real choice would be Desplat.

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Desplat came to mind when I referred to "upcoming" talents, because he has only really begun to gather momentum recently; compared to his stylistic peers (JNH, Howard Shore) - good in their own right, but I personally consider them to be very different to Arnold and Giacchino.

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Out of the two, who would you rather moved into the very forefront of traditional film score craft, at this point? I say these two because to my mind out of all the current and upcoming talents working in the film score business today, Giacchino and Arnold come closest to the score approach and sensibilities of JW and JG. Neither are as good and I doubt they ever will be, but they both strongly represent the kind of scores we come to this board for, so what do you think?

Try Frederic Talgorn, his scores are hard to come by but he is really the closest you can get to Williams (without simple mimickry).

Chariot Race

Old Style Fanfary Williams

As for Arnold or Giacchino, although they both did similar stuff, they are both better with other styles.

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I think Giacchino is more consistant, but Arnold is more varied. Two scores can quite comfortably sum up Giacchino for me, while Arnold would need at least 4-5. But it's been a while since Arnold had a score that really grabbed me. Giacchino wins it for me. Neither for their similarity to Williams, btw. Inasmuch as they do sound like him, I don't really care. Desplat is actually closer to the sensibilities I love in Williams.

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Not in sound, but in his approach to the orchestra. Desplat's command and ability with the orchestra reminds me of Williams, the way casually makes a point of deviding the orchestra into sections, getting very precise effects from them. The elegance in his music is something that neither Giacchino nor Arnold regularly have (though Ratatouille is often a very elegant score, it is the exception).

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His Firewall shows that he can do that quite convincingly.

BTW I'll go with Arnold. He is more interesting and I'd like him to do something other than Bond films (which are fine).

Karol

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Not in sound, but in his approach to the orchestra. Desplat's command and ability with the orchestra reminds me of Williams, the way casually makes a point of deviding the orchestra into sections, getting very precise effects from them. The elegance in his music is something that neither Giacchino nor Arnold regularly have (though Ratatouille is often a very elegant score, it is the exception).

I have yet to warm to Desplat but I'm hoping his Potter score will convince me.

For the record I enjoy David Arnold's work, however I prefer Michael Giacchino. There's something about his music that clicked with me when I first heard MOH.

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I agree that Independence Day and Tomorrow Never Dies are better than any single score Giacchino has done. The problem is that I only really like those two scores plus Stargate from Arnold, while there are a dozen Giacchino scores I like, and he continues to make good ones every year.

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I can't think of a Cappuccino score that's better than Independence Day.

The MoHs are very, very close, but I'd probably give you that one. But I can't think of another Arnold score that could top anything in Giacchino's top 5 or so. 10 if you do count the MoH series.

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David Arnold has done some great stuff, Stargate, Independence Day, and a couple of his Bond scores.

I do find though that he has a perchant for using a LOT of techno / synth elements in his scores post ID4, especially with some of his Bond scores, so he's blending this contemporary "pop" approach with a great orchestral style, with varying degrees of success.

In looking at Giacchino, he's much more old school in his approach, right down to the way he likes to record his scores, having all of the performers in the same room, with very few electronics, and showing on occasion a Goldsmith-like sense of experimentation and atonality (Lost reminds me a little of Planet of the Apes).

Those who say that Giacchino isn't as diverse as Arnold needs to listen to the likes of Up and Rattatouille, then contrast with M:I:III, Lost and Star Trek, which to me demonstrates effective scoring in several disparate styles, while maintaining his own voice.

Arnold has had some diverse scores, but is not quite as inventive, and has a more modern approach in some ways.

For me, Giacchino has a very slight edge.

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I don't know Giacchino's work well, but given that none of the scores I heard managed to catch my attention, and that the Star Trek score still leaves me utterly unimpressed, this is a clear choice: Arnold. Can't wait to hear his Narnia score.

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I do love Giacchino's score for Star Trek, no denying that. However, my vote goes to David Arnold. I have always liked his music and he's got three kick ass scores under his belt that are my top personal favorites (ID-4, Stargate and Godzilla).

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I only have one Arnold score, ID4 (the OST, not the expansion), and while I like it, I rarely listen to it. It's just good, not great or even very good. Whereas Giacchino has written scores that I continue to come back to (Up, The Incredibles, M:i:III, "Roar!"). I vote Giacchino by a large margin, but I feel I can't really be considered an informer voter given I've barely heard Arnold's works.

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Indy4,

I bet if you got the La-La Land expanded version of Independence Day you may like it a lot more. A lot of good music was left off from the OST, especially the final battle parts.

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I think Arnold has been type cast or stuck in a certain mode for a majority of his later works. He certainly started out with a bang with Stargate, ID4 and Godzilla.

Giacchino has aligned himself Pixar, J.J. Abrams and Spielberg. All of those have a good ear for film music.

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Giacchino has aligned himself Pixar, J.J. Abrams and Spielberg. All of those have a good ear for film music.

Exactly, that's a big plus. Those guys are some of the few remaining that actually care about a good score instead of just getting the usual off the production line.

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I used to be a huge advocate of Giacchino but he's failed to live up to my initial enthusiasm. There's something very generic about his approach to his film scores- LOST was engaging because it gave him a limited (self imposed) canvas to work with but even after a while, those downward glisses on the trombones wore our their welcome. I think Giacchino's best cues are from Ratatouille- specifically Heist to See You and Paper Chase where he introduces this 6 note triplet figure and then continues to develop it on Paper Chase. This is what Williams and Goldsmith did so effectively and what Desplat does as well. But mostly Giacchino's music fails to have a life on its own and if we're putting him up against the likes of Williams and Goldsmith, then we have to take that into consideration. I like Giacchino's ROAR but it's nothing I haven't heard Ifukube do before. He does pastiche very well indeed and manages to avoid direct lifts like Horner but I find his thematic writing clunky at times. I really hate his Star Trek theme. It's way too basic compared to Horner's or Goldsmith's.

As I said, and my old posts will attest, I was a huge supporter of Gia but he's not developed in a direction that engages me. He effectively scores his films but I would much rather hear Desplat, Chris Gordon, Yared, or even John Powell (although he has this irritating MV hangover of using way the hell too much drum loops).

As for Arnold, he dropped off the map for me after ID4. Too much bombast and noise. I loved Last of the Dogmen and Stargate. His Godzilla score was so sappy and cliche'd. I thought Mark Mancina's Twister score was scarier (Mancina probably would have ended up scoring Jan De Bont's infinitely better version of American Godzilla but the project never came to fruition).

I like Desplat because he does stick with traditional scoring and if you listen to parts of Twilight New Moon there are some pretty ballsy moments to that score. Not everyone has to throw clusters into their music to sound edgy.

As for sheer toughness, James Peterson's Red Canvas is probably the ballsiest score I have heard from a guy my age in a long time. He managed to get that edginess from traditional scoring techniques too, not modern gimmicks. I hope he continues to get more work. I'm a big fan of his.

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I tried listening to Petersen, and it was all very pretty but very empty. Didn't impress me.

(Mancina probably would have ended up scoring Jan De Bont's infinitely better version of American Godzilla but the project never came to fruition).

And thank fuck for that.

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I tried listening to Petersen, and it was all very pretty but very empty. Didn't impress me.

(Mancina probably would have ended up scoring Jan De Bont's infinitely better version of American Godzilla but the project never came to fruition).

And thank fuck for that.

Not sure the f-bomb was warranted here... I have the script for that film and I've seen the designs and it would have been a lot better than that giant turd that we ended up getting. And a Goldenthal Godzilla score would have been the bomb IMO.

OT- Charlie, my mom's family name is Brigden- do you have relatives in the New Hampshire/New England area? Just curious...

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I tried listening to Petersen, and it was all very pretty but very empty. Didn't impress me.

(Mancina probably would have ended up scoring Jan De Bont's infinitely better version of American Godzilla but the project never came to fruition).

And thank fuck for that.

Not sure the f-bomb was warranted here... I have the script for that film and I've seen the designs and it would have been a lot better than that giant turd that we ended up getting. And a Goldenthal Godzilla score would have been the bomb IMO.

OT- Charlie, my mom's family name is Brigden- do you have relatives in the New Hampshire/New England area? Just curious...

Goldenthal, yeah that would be awesome... but you made no mention of him beforehand. I'm just A: not impressed with any of De Bont's directing efforts, and B: not a fan in general of what America has done to the Big G over the years.

OT- I have no idea! My dad had relatives in Canada, but I'm not sure about anywhere else - he never talked much about his side of the family. It's always good to hear of fellow Brigdens though - they are few and far between :)

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I tried listening to Petersen, and it was all very pretty but very empty. Didn't impress me.

(Mancina probably would have ended up scoring Jan De Bont's infinitely better version of American Godzilla but the project never came to fruition).

And thank fuck for that.

Not sure the f-bomb was warranted here... I have the script for that film and I've seen the designs and it would have been a lot better than that giant turd that we ended up getting. And a Goldenthal Godzilla score would have been the bomb IMO.

OT- Charlie, my mom's family name is Brigden- do you have relatives in the New Hampshire/New England area? Just curious...

Goldenthal, yeah that would be awesome... but you made no mention of him beforehand. I'm just A: not impressed with any of De Bont's directing efforts, and B: not a fan in general of what America has done to the Big G over the years.

OT- I have no idea! My dad had relatives in Canada, but I'm not sure about anywhere else - he never talked much about his side of the family. It's always good to hear of fellow Brigdens though - they are few and far between :)

I hear you re: Godzilla. I think fellow kaiju enthusiast Mark O will also attest to this. Goldenthal at one point and time was the salvation of film scoring for me. He could do no wrong. Then he kinda petered out. The last thing that was terrific was Titus. I think he did film scoring to get the money and then turned back to concert composing. Can't say as though I blame him either. I mean, compare anyone from MV or Giacchino or Arnold to Goldethal's seminal works like Alien3, Demolition Man, Interview with the Vampire, Cobb, Heat, Titus, or even Golden Gate and they come up short bigtime. A Goldenthal Star Trek would have been awesome IMO. That guy had range, chops, the whole shabang!

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Stargate was pretty great for a newcomer. ID4 is fun bombast, though I don't find it awesome in any way (I think Arnold's comments in the LaLa liners represent it fairly well). Casino Royale is pretty cool and supports the film well. Arnold's a cool guy, completely bonkers judging from his Twitter feed, and I still wonder why he didn't take his winter coat off during his talk in Vienna last year. But overall I'd rank him as solid.

Giacchino, on the other hand, has done some impressive stuff. I love what he did with Alias (it's been years since I listened to Arnold's electronic Bond stuff, but I remember finding it merely good) and Lost as a whole might count as seminal. He seems to have got caught in a certain style range recently, which worked perfectly for Lost and quite well for Star Trek (a fun score, and absolutely spot-on in the film). But his video game scores, Cloverfield and the awesome Ratatouille show that he has a much broader range, and I hope he'll explore that in the future (I've never been too big a fan of Up).

So, no contest for me. Giacchino by far.

Re Goldenthal: Is he actively composing at all these days? At least film-score wise, he hasn't done much since Frida (mostly sticking to his wife's films now apparently), and concert-wise the last thing I've heard of by him was Grendel (of which a CD or DVD or Blu release would be highly welcome). Ever since his accident while composing that I've been slightly worried about him.

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Re: Arnold- a big problem is the all-loud all-the-time syndrom of his Emmerich scores, fun and exciting as they can be for short periods. I would love to hear him go more in the direction of Last of the Dogmen or The Stepford Wives.

@Quint: re Desplat's elegance- I meant the clarity of the writing, and the force he gets through very precise means. Yes, a lot of his writing is very flowery and waltzy...but when he wants to let loose, he can get pretty damn thrilling. True, his Firewall score is more Goldenthal than Williams...but Goldenthal-ian action is not a bad standard to aspire to.

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If you think that Giacchino has a wider range than Arnold, then clearly you haven't listened to everything by the man!

When it comes to emotional writing, they're pretty much equals, but when it comes to action music, which is often Giacchino's weakness, Arnold is much, much superior.

Edit: wow, I was just looking up how old these guys are, and Giacchino has already passed the 40!

In fact, Desplat, Arnold & Giacchino are all pretty much the same generation (with Gia being just a tad younger); the one just came to us a bit earlier than the other. Amazing.

Well, among these guys, who are by far my favourites of the 'new' generation, I'd rank Giacchino third, but I'm having a hard time 'deciding' between Arnold, which I've always been a huge fan of, and my 'newfound' discovery, Desplat.

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but when it comes to action music, which is often Giacchino's weakness, Arnold is much, much superior.

Yeah, Gia is able, but fairly generic. Arnold has a certain flair for it, and a reconisable style.

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It's nice to see Desplat getting more props these days. I think Harry Potter could possibly gain him some more fans too if he approaches it in the same respectful manner he's done with his other projects. Also, I have read interviews where he lauds John Williams so I believe he will honor maestro's original work on this franchise.

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The Medal of Honor series, Secret Weapons Over Normandy, and Star Trek prove that Giacchino can write some awesome action cues.

Oh, but he can! Sometimes it's even sensational: Jehosafats and Chutes and Matter, for instance, are terrific; and Star Trek for the most part is a very welcome exception to my statement. But most of the times the action music on his soundtracks is the least interesting and enjoyable, and occasionally even annoying. He takes a motif, lets it play ff, and doesn't go anywhere interesting with it. It's often like he's a bit stuck in videogame writing, where indeed an action cue needs to be consistent throughout its length. It's too loud for a too long amount of time, and the brass is often too shrill (trumpets playing loudly can be annoying), and obviously the recording technique he wants doesn't help that. My musical vocabulary is a bit limited but I hope you know what I mean. Mission: Impossible is an excellent example of it, as - to a more limited extent - is The Incredibles. The same goes for many parts of Lost and Up.

I'm not bashing Giacchino; I'm a fan myself; but what I find most appealing is his emotional music and his suspense music: give me "Bon Voyage, Traitor" over "Peace through Superior Firepower" any day, for instance! The great parts of Mission: Impossible are the Italy parts (the sneaking around bits and the pay-off) and the Lost-y bits, not the loud action music in the beginning.

While Arnold is often even louder and more bombastic (in his early years), it's much more bearable; I feel there's often more build-up and more suspense within his action cues.

It's nice to see Desplat getting more props these days.

Concerning action music, Desplat is in a league of his own, too! Best example is Largo Winch, there's already terrific action music throughout the album, very exciting though mostly still controlled, and then he lets it all loose in "Roof Fight". Phenomenal stuff.

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