Watch: 90-Minute Coversation With JJ Abrams and Michael Giacchino

In June Star Trek director JJ Abrams and Star Trek composer Michael Giacchino held a conversation event at the Hammer Museum at UCLA. The full video of this entertaining talk between two long-term collaborators is now online and you can watch the full 90-minute event below. 


A Conversation with JJ Abrams and Michael Giacchino

The following talk with Michael Giacchino and JJ Abrams was recorded June 12th at the Hammer Museum at UCLA as part of their "Hammer Conversations" series.

 Here is the official description:

J.J. Abrams is the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning co-creator of the television series Lost. The producer, screenwriter, director, and composer is also creator of the TV series Alias, co-creator of Felicity and Fringe, and director of several films, including Mission: Impossible III (2006) and Star Trek (2009). Michael Giacchino is the composer of scores for the films Up, Ratatouille, and the television series Lost, among many others. He has received numerous awards for his work, including an Emmy, multiple Grammys, and an Academy Award. (Run Time 1 hour, 26 min.)


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I guess that locks Giacchino in as the score writer for the next movie.
Darn it!

90 minutes lost that could have been spent on the next movie ;)

They are trying to gin up Business for the next film.

The next Trek film needs to make money and let start trek move on to new Frontiers.


Bill, I think you have inadvertently stumbled onto the title of the sequel……


@2 “90 minutes lost that could have been spent on the next movie ;)”

Exactly! If I have to see one more story about a JJ “in the round” interview, or Orci and company Star Wars Planking or talking about video games, I am going throw up. MAKE SOME PROGRESS ON THE DAMN SEQUEL, PLEASE!!!

I am too lazy to listen to it all. Are they speaking about anything interesting in regards to Star Trek?

All I know is that when Giacchino was struggling with the Trek score, trying to come up with something suitable in the fold of the Goldsmith and Horner works on prior films. Abrams told him “It isn’t a Star Trek movie. It’s a movie about two guys that meet and become friends.”

Must admit I kinda lost a bit of faith in Abrams when I heard that, esp when I also heard recently that one of the other Trek creative crew saying he always liked Star Wars better.


1 – Bob Tompkins.

Why “Darn it”? I love Michael Giacchino’s work — musically rich, emotionally powerful. He’s my favorite composer working in movies and TV today. (And no, I don’t know the guy personally.)

@9 I agree with #1. Did not care for Giacchino’s Trek score, aside from perhaps one cut. Would really prefer another composer get a shot at it, when and if another movie ever gets made. I also realize that’s almost certainly not going to happen.

I’ve heard Giacchino’s work in some other movies, such as the Incredibles and Cars, and find it to be good, but not great; often a bit too shrill and busy.

@10. Goodness, his work for “Up” was the opposite of shrill of busy — lilting and heartrending, I’d say. And in my opinion, Giacchino’s music was a major source of the emotional impact of “Lost.” He also wrote a fantastic score for “Let Me In,” the more-than-respectable American remake of “Let the Right One In.”

@11 Goodness, his work for “Up” was the opposite of shrill of busy

And I didn’t include Up in that list….

Hey, you like him, I’m less enchanted of his work, and that’s fine. That’s the beauty of differing opinions. I just found his Trek score to be decidedly underwhelming and unremarkable.

As much as I love the work of the late Jerry Goldsmith, among other great composers who have worked on Trek, I do admit that the last two scores for the last two Star Trek TNG films Insurrection and Nemesis were kind of stale and boring. While they were definitely better listening to than watching the actual movies, still I’m sure that the quality of the movies themselves didn’t help the staleness of the scores. I feel that Giacchino breathed some new life into Star Trek music, just as Abrams breathed new life into the franchise as a whole.

I hope that whenever they do a new TV series they follow the examples of recent sci-fi series that have had great music like Stargate, Battlestar Galactica and Lost and realize that music is just as important to TV as it is to movies, rather than the approach that Berman took where for every Star Trek series he worked on they just used the same chord progression over and over and over again (with a few exceptions).

I loved Giacchino’s music for Lost and Fringe as well and saw up and enjoyed that as well…so Giacchino as composer for the next film? I’m all for it. I loved how he didn’t go into the main Star Trek theme until they were all together on the bridge at the very end, it felt like the music was taking the same journey that the crew of the Enterprise was taking.

Wow… I loved Giacchino’s music in all the above. He has a wonderful ability to compose music that correctly reflects the viewers emotions at the right moment in the film. The music in the film must be as good as the writing in my opinion to make a film work, and he made it work.

I’ve been waiting to hear if he would be returning to Star Trek again as well, and I am relieved he will be back as well.


A better way to “gin up” business for the next film is to actually make the damn thing!

Great conversation between Michael Giacchino and Mr. Abrams.

“When you feel something,then, you’re at the movie’s mercy…”
Jeffrey Jacob Abrams.

Hopefully, just as you did with Star Trek 2009 , you will give me “something to feel, something to care about” ,with the sequel,as well.

watching it atm, I’ll comment after

I guess the primary way I would characterize my problem with Giacchino’s score, particularly in the way it deals with the emotional aspect of a film, is that often it seems his music tries to *insist* you feel a certain way, rather than *accompany* you as you are drawn into a movie’s given dramatic situation authentically. Cars 2 was a good example – as if the frenetic pacing wasn’t enough, Giacchino’s score was the frenzied accompaniment that seemed to say “okay, this really frantic now, don’t forget.”

Now I will freely admit that my problem with Giacchino’s score tends to contradict this criticism, because my problem with his Trek score was that it was barely perceptible. There was no theme. “Enterprising Young Men” comes close, but builds up to a fairly bland fanfare. Now, there’s little disputing that “Love’s Labor Lost” (forgive if that’s not the correct cut title) is really a good piece, but I still found the broader score just lacking.

As for his treatment of the Courage opening at the end, my understanding was that, originally, that was to be shown at the *beginning* of the movie as the opening title, but was moved to the end during editing. I don’t know if Giacchino had a hand in that decision.

I’ve been a fan of Giacchino right from the moment in The Incredibles when the title is revealed. Everything since has been a masterpiece in my opinion. In a time when scores are replaced with pop music and most composers work just doesn’t “do it” for me (to put it politely), knowing Giacchino’s scored a film makes me look forward to not only some great films but some great soundtracks to look for.

I think Giacchino is a fine composer. He’s already accumulated an impressive body of work, and has been recognized for it with numerous awards. You can’t take that away from him. This man is gonna be around for quite some time.

@2 “90 minutes lost that could have been spent on the next movie ;)”

Exactly! If I have to see one more story about a JJ “in the round” interview, or Orci and company Star Wars Planking or talking about video games, I am going throw up. MAKE SOME PROGRESS ON THE DAMN SEQUEL, PLEASE!!!

Nice tantrum, but I don’t think it’s going to get you a sequel any sooner. You see, even when these guys ARE working on Trek, it’s not the center of their universe, just another part of it.

Great interview that I wouldn’t have known about without this article. Keep em coming Anthony!

#21- And THAT is my complaint with it all, summed up very nicely.
Trek WAS at the center of Harve Bennett’s universe when he was involved. Ditto Berman and Roddenberry.
It’s an afterthought to these guys and that cannot be in any way denied by anyone.

Let these guys do the other projects they wish to do, and I wish them well. They are all obviously very talented and very commercially hot. Find some talent who will make Trek the Center, as it should be!

Like some of you, I am growing tired of the whining about the Star Trek schedule. Just because those working on the film do other things besides work on the film doesn’t mean they are not hard at work. None of you works on only one thing constantly, with no time for other aspects of life.

Trust me, if J.J., Damon, Bob and Alex did nothing else but Star Trek, they would burn out in a month and the movie would be a piece of crap.

Let these men do their jobs and live their lives. They earned my trust with the first film, and I’m sure we will be richly rewarded.

Good gosh, Star Trek fans can be incessantly whiny. Why the Supreme Court would want to even take on a bunch of mewling teenagers is beyond me.

They are braver and more resilient than I.

@13, Insurrection wasn’t memorable in any way, and unfortunately that included the score. But I don’t get why the Nemesis score gets bagged on. I really liked the Romulan theme, and how it got reworked throughout the score. I also hear echoes from First Contact and STV, like there were little motifs the composer had been playing with in his head for years. For a guy who was dying of cancer at the time, I thought what we got was nevertheless a gift.

As for Giacchino–it was a solid effort, enjoyable, and I’d like to see (hear) what he comes up with for the second film. (Whenever the second film happens.)

25 “I don’t get why the Nemesis score gets bagged on..”

Hmm…from what I’ve read over the years, the Nemesis score was one thing that has been fairly consistently praised, not bagged on.

In general, while Nemesis certainly wasn’t the greatest movie in Trek’s history, I do think it tends to get “bagged” on a bit more because it happened to be a very average movie at a *horrible* time in Trek history – people were tired of Trek, it was oversaturated, and it no longer captured the imagination. Obviously bringing in Baird was a horrendous mistake, but I’m not sure anyone could have made a Trek movie that would have done what most of us would have considered gangbuster business.

Just saw the video. Wish someone would have asked Giacchino about the cue or track titles on his albums. Is he the one who comes up with them? If so, is he just trying to be different? What’s the deal?

That “None whatsoever” line from Mr. Abrams had me laughing. (around the 45 minute mark).

Off-topic from the Abrams/Giacchino chat, but reading a few posts up has prompted me to say how much I liked Goldsmith’s music for Nemesis. One part never fails to choke me up, almost to tears whenever I hear it and one of the fundimental problems I had with Data’s demise, would have been solved with a haunting piece that you can only hear a brief snatch of, as the end credits are rolling.

Disregard the Enterprise footage (that was my own pet project, now DOA) and listen to this

and this

which was supposed to underscore the sacrifice made by a much loved character.

Sadly not prominent enough in the film for me. Perhaps if there had been the traditionally opening title sequence at the start, starfield on route to Romulus, with that music playing.

I for one liked the score it’s very different in my opinion :):) loved the End Credits, Enterprising Young Men