Monday, 14 July 2014

An incomplete history of Michael Giacchino's awful cue title puns

I ruddy love Michael Giacchino. Not as much as I ruddy love John Williams, John Barry, Hans Zimmer, Bernard Herrmann, Danny Elfman or David Arnold, but Giacchino can sleep soundly knowing that he's probably tucked away somewhere in The Incredible Suit's top ten film score composers, like, ever. His music is by turns cock-tinglingly thrilling and heartbreakingly lovely, and I fully expect him to take over Star Wars duties once John Williams forgets where he left his baton.

All that said, Michael Giacchino is a menace to the English language. His propensity for naming his cues with some of the world's worst puns is tantamount to wurder (word murder, yeah?), and now he's committed multiple punnicide with his Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes score. Have a look at these, if your eyes can take it:
"Gibbon take". "GIBBON TAKE".

Giacchino has been at this for years, and as much as I love him, it's time to expose his crimes. Stand by to cringe your face off because most of what follows, while in no way exhaustive, is certainly exhausting.

Giacchino started small with a couple of minor puns in his first major feature score: Lava In The Afternoon, which refers to Mr Incredible's volcano-based meeting with femme fatale Mirage, and Lithe Or Death, a nod to Mrs Incredible's loose-limbed bendiness. The Incredits seems innocuous enough, but even the most notorious serial killers begin by pulling the legs off spiders, and this was a mere hint of what was to come.

Michael Giacchino went literally insane with the puns for his cues for JJ Abrams' equally mad TV series, shoehorning character names into random phrases like a man being paid per homophone. Unforgivable punnery over six seasons of Lost include Getting Ethan, Thinking Clairely (ugh), Booneral, Shannonigans, Kate's Motel, Claire-a Culpa (seriously?), Heart Of Thawyer (what?), Jintimidating Bernard, All Jack-ed Up, Benundrum, Nadia On Your Life, Of Mice And Ben, Keamy Away From Him, Helen Of Joy, None The Richard and Hugo Reyes Of Light.

Giacchino reseved a special place in pun hell for Terry O'Quinn's John Locke though, working overtime on the likes of Crocodile Locke, Locke'd Out Again, Through The Locke-ing Glass, Locke-ing Horns, Locke-about and Locke At It This Way. People have been LOCK-ED AWAY for less, hahaha kill me.

Giacchino gave us a triple whammy in J-Jabs' 2006 Cruiseathon: Helluvacopter Chase and Shang Way High (because Ethan Hunt's on a Shanghai rooftop, yeah?) are pretty bad, but I do have some grudging admiration for The Chutist, combining as it does Hunt's joint loves of firing guns and parachuting.

Probably the raciest pun ever seen in a score for an animated film popped up with Ratatouille's Kiss And Vinegar, while Granny Get Your Gun and Heist To See You were mere appetisers for the truly atrocious main course that is End Creditouilles. Jesus.

Giacchino's terrific Star Trek score may be the work of a genius, but that genius is evil. For all the musical wonder and fairly mild punnery of Enterprising Young Men, it doesn't cancel out the horror of Hangar Management or Matter? I Barely Know Her!. And if you thought one play on the words "Nero" and "near" wasn't enough, you're in luck: just for you, Giacchino squirts out Nero Sighted and Nero Death Experience.

There's a bird in Up called Kevin. He has a beak. Therefore: Kevin Beak'n. Not sure if this counts as a step in Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon.

Swamp And Circumstance is as bad as we've been led to expect, but Pterodactyl Ptemper Ptantrum is something else. I think it might actually be genius but I suspect not.

Although GIacchino only composed a couple of cues for Fringe, his fingerprints are all over some of the other cue titles. The name of the series' supernatural location Reiden Lake was used to replace the word "riding" TWICE, with Reiden Out The Storm and Reiden Out To Madness. On a particularly bad day, Giacchino also apparently came up with Connecting The Fringe-cidents. And yet until now, nobody has ever investigated his own paronomasial activity.

As upsetting as My Heart Goes Vroom, Towkyo Takeout and Mater Of Disguise are, they're still not as woeful as the film to which they belong. And when all's said and done, The Turbomater is actually a little bit brilliant.

Location-based double entendres are the order of the day here: Give Her My Budapest, Kremlin With Anticipation, From Russia With Shove and Mumbai's The Word allow Giacchino to go global with his gobbledegook. He didn't forget those character-based puns though: Moreau Trouble Than She's Worth, Eye Of The Wistrom and Launch Is On Hendricks are all as forgettable as the characters on which they're based.

With no less than THREE puns based on John Carter's nemeses the Therns, Giacchino scores a hat-trick of horror with A Thern For The Worse, A Thern Warning and Thernabout. Fortunately he Therns it all around with the quite excellent Thark Side Of Barsoom, so I'll pardon him on this occasion.

Despite being set in space, we're brought back to Earth with a bump for a bunch of half-hearted lulz in the over-abused sequel: Meld-merized, The Kronos Wartet, Earthbound And Down, Warp Core Values and Buying The Space Farm all seem like a cry for help from a spent man. Only Brigadoom shines through the darkness, but by then it's too late.

Giacchino graced this Halloween TV special with some fine tunes, but then went and called some of them Motel Me A Scary Story, I've Got A Bag Feeling About This and Iguana Be Kidding Me. Truly terrifying.


With the evidence thus laid out, it seems only right that Michael Giacchino should be forced into pun-silence for the rest of his career. Fortunately for him there are mitigating circumstances, which are that all of these cues, no matter how appallingly-named, are quite, quite brilliant. The defendant shall walk free, but he should know that for a very long time he'll be on pun probation. Punbation. Proba-pun. Propuntion? That'll do.


  1. I'd forgotten the spoilerific "Booneral" from LOST.

    Minor point of pedantry... MI:3 was helmed by Abrams, MI:4 by Bird. The latter is of course the better flick but PSH at his bonkers best in MI:3...

  2. Of course it was! I really am quite the tool. Thank you.

  3. HAHAHAHAH, thank you for compiling these.


    May he never stop.

  4. Oh come on these are funny. Lighten up

  5. How can you say he's a genius?! His titles betray the fact he's a hack! He takes the music of other more talented composers and somehow manages to bend all the notes off key a bit, reorder them and then make them sound like a cartoon version of what the music should be.
    I nearly cried when I heard he was scoring Jurassic World after suffering through the Jurassic Park Lost World and Operation Genesis Games over a decade earlier. No sense of menace in his music, it's all over the top cheese. Fine if your a child I suppose, but a real film music fan will throw this guy into purgatory alongside Hans Zimmer!