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The Incredibles, Pixar Animation Studios moves into slightly more adult-oriented terrain, tapping into the nostalgic world of the streamlined ‘60s superhero—house roofs angled like jet wings, Jaguar E-Types, open-concept homes, elegantly simple furniture and wall units, muted colors that soothe the soul—and something that’s been missing in movies for quite a while: the orchestral jazz score. More specifically, the dynamic, adrenaline-goosed, big band and small combo music that many kids grew up with during the ‘60s—alongside those streamlined and sometimes psychedelic animated backgrounds.

In the ‘50s, the Warner Bros. cartoons used some of the distinctive, minimalist designs of Maurice Noble, a major visualist who placed characters against elaborately extended, abstract backgrounds devolving into stylized line drawings. Urban cities, Ali Baba caves, interstellar space stations and Satan’s Hell were gloriously colorful fantasy lands, but during the mid- to late-60s, illustrators went for a look that was either psychedelic (as with Ralph Bakshi's Rocket Robin Hood as well as bits of Spiderman) or reflected the most beautiful shapes, curves and shadings of then-popular consumer goods and pop art.

In the animated feature film Iron Giant, director Brad Bird created a world that evoked the innocence of growing up during the Red Menace ‘50s, the dawn of Sputnik, and the marvelous fantasies that existed within comic books. Tantamount were characters and story, and those aspects left a potent impression on composer Michael Giacchino back in 1999.

The Spice of Life

“I'm about as picky as anybody when it comes to watching movies—in looking at story structure and all of that—and when I saw [The Iron Giant], 1 thought, ‘Wow, this is someone who came from the old school...and I remember when I first heard about The Incredibles, 1 thought, ‘Oh my God, if I could have any first movie to do, that would be the one I would do,’ and | thought that there’s just no way they're ever going to let me do it’

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