'Pixels': Hear Tracks From the Soundtrack Early (Exclusive)

Find out why composer Henry Jackman and director Chris Columbus went with an orchestral symphonic score instead of using more 8-bit/midi elements for Pixels.

Normally when you think of old school video games, you think of 8-bit graphics and sound effects. Then why would the video game movie Pixels use an orchestral symphony for it's soundtrack? The Hollywood Reporter recently spoke to Henry Jackman about his approach to scoring Pixels to find out the answer.

"Since we already have the iconic characters and sound effects, we discovered early on that 8-bit music made the whole thing pretty silly," said Jackman. "[Director Chris] Columbus wanted to utilize an orchestral symphony to celebrate the era of film making like E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars."

In Pixels, friends Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler), Will Cooper (Kevin James), Ludlow Lamonsoff (Josh Gad) and Eddie "The Fire Blaster" Plant (Peter Dinklage) find their lives in different places than they had planned. Their only real skill set is competitively playing old-school arcade games. These arcaders have their mettle tested when an alien race wages war against humanity using classic video games. These unlikely heroes become earth’s last line of defense from these "space invaders."

The maestro’s already impressive resume spans animated features from Wreck-it Ralph, Big Hero 6, Puss in Boots to some notable franchises like X-Men: First Class, Kingsman: The Secret Service and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. His upcoming projects include Anthony and Joe Russo's Captain America: Civil WarUncharted 4: A Thief’s End and The 5th Wave starring Chloe Grace Moretz.

Jackman is preparing to work on Captain America: Civil War, and for those wanting clues as to what the film score could sound like, he suggested listening to the track "The Winter Soldier" for it's industrial elements. He cautions it's just a jumping off point since the Russos are looking for something new — similar with a twist. 

The Pixels soundtrack contains titles like "Centipede" and "Q Bert," so THR had to ask Jackman if he was an "arcader" himself. Jackman says, "I played the whole lot of them but I was particularly quite good at Zalaga [a clone of the original Galaga]."

Listen to "Centipede," "Gobble or be Gobbled" and "Roll Out the Barrels" below:

Speaking about the track "Centipede," Jackman said, "I wanted it to be very Spielberg-ian, to create a moment of wonder and awe as the mothership comes into view, similar to Close Encounters of the Third Kind or Independence Day.”

Pixels opens in theaters on July 24, and the soundtrack release date coincides with the film’s release. You can pre-order the soundtrack now through the record label Varese Sarabande.

Here is the full track list for the album:

1. Invasion (1:31)

2. The Arcaders (:55)

3. To The White House (1:28)

4. Conspiracy Theory (1:34)

5. Level 2 (:40)

6. Hand-Eye Coordination (1:27)

7. Centipede (3:01)

8. Pest Control (:37)

9. Call In The Cavalry (2:03)

10. Unconditional Love (1:21)

11. Power Up (1:33)

12. Gobble Or Be Gobbled (2:59)

13. Trophy For The Victors (1:04)

14. Sweet Spot (2:24)

15. Q Bert (1:03)

16. Shoot 'Em Up (1:53)

17. A Dream Come True (1:42)

18. Mothership (1:51)

19. Roll Out The Barrels (5:28)

20. High Score (2:03)

21. Arcaders '82 (Bonus Track) (1:33)

Still on the fence about the movie? Then check out the trailer.