Film Review: Jurassic World | Consequence of Sound
Jurassic World is a 2015 American fantasy film directed by Colin Trevorrow and starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and Vincent D’Onofrio. It is the fourth instalment in the Jurassic Park film series. The last one was Jurassic Park III in 2001. Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfil a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor’s interest, which backfires horribly. The score is composed by Michael Giacchino.
So it’s finally here, the fourth film in the Jurassic Park series. I remembered there were rumours about it many moons ago, but nothing happened. The first movie will always be special for me. I remember the first time I saw the dinosaurs how awesome it was and coupled with John Williams fantastic score, it hasn’t been beaten since. The sequel was good and the third one was interesting, but musically they have always had such great quality. I quite liked Don Davis ferocious score for the third film. With John Williams sole focus on the new Star Wars film, no wonder he had to give up this but there had to be a point where he was asked, because he is John Williams. It must have been heartbreaking for him to have to turn it down. It was always in the cards that Michael Giacchino were doing this. He was rumoured to be involved in Star Wars before John Williams was announced and there’s plenty of star power in Giacchino in recent years. It will be interesting to see if he can create something special and unique because there will be nods to Williams’ score, I guess there had to be. It’s interesting that in the booklet there are three cues marked with “Contains Jurassic Park Theme by John Williams”. Giacchino is not new to the Jurassic Park franchise though as he creates a very fun video game score to The Lost World, although it was very different from Williams main score for the series. The score starts with ‘Bury The Hatchling’ and as it should, it starts with a big bass boom and some horns coming with an ominous theme. The mood that is created is one of fear. The choir is coming in, and this is one scary choir. Quite an interesting opener. From scary moods to a playful mood with ‘The Family That Strays Together’, a light but a bit sad moment as the music with strings and horns create a nice canvas. And now… ‘Welcome To Jurassic World’ which, yes you guessed it, has John Williams marvellous themes and I’m truly sorry to Giacchino and everyone else involved, but all else is put to shame at this moment. It’s simply beyond comparison.
‘As The Jurassic World Turns’ contains some new and great ideas from Giacchino starting at 38 seconds in. There’s a heroic theme being played with notable percussion. It is really beautiful in fact. This must be the new main theme Giacchino created for the movie and it lasts quite a long time as well. Not until 1:50 does the music change into a more calmer state, but it returns again in playful state. Giacchino sure can write great themes, without question. There’s a difference though between great and iconic and I’m not sure it was a smart move to put Williams’ theme in here at 4:59, because it really crushes all competition. Still, it’s great to have Giacchino’s theme and Williams theme in there together. Makes for a fantastic cue. ‘Clearly His First Rodeo’ is the first action track and it is lively and fun. Reminds me in fact of some of the action music Williams wrote for the Star Wars in parts, particularly the horn blasts in the beginning. After the great opening, the music goes into a more dark and ambient mode, a mood setting mode. At 2:14 the cue totally changes into a playful and innocent “children” theme which is fun, but I would sure have liked them separate. Still, it’s great and it sounds so positive. With that kind of action music and the playfulness Giacchino shows in that cue, this score might be headed for greatness.
Some more tense music in ‘Indominus Wrecks’, and I really enjoy the mood Giacchino creates here. It’s dark, but I love how it’s put together. The music is literally alive and there’s always something interesting in the mix. This is definitely a by-the-numbers score by Giacchino. This is a fun and exciting vacation into Jurassic World for sure. One of my favourite cues are ‘Gyrosphere Of Influence’ which contains the main theme and the playfulness that Giacchino has so carefully sprinkled upon this score and the tense exciting music with small but important musical moments such as the shaking woodwinds tumble in there. Lovely! ‘Pavane For A Dead Apatosaurus’ has one of the best renditions of the main theme and a really fun secondary theme just around the 3:20 mark. It sounds like a military theme. Really nice. I’m quite sure Giacchino is having fun bringing back his Medal Of Honor days now, first with that military theme in ‘Pavane For A Dead Apatosaurus’ and more World War II hi-jinx in ‘Fits and Jumpstarts’. Fun stuff! More fun ahead in the zany ‘The Dimorphodon Shuffle’. It’s so fun in fact, I had to listen to it twice. Up there with the best I have heard so far. Hah! Puns! Giacchino has always had fun with the cue names (even though he probably had help like with Tomorrowland). ‘Love In The Time Of Pterosauria’ is awesome, pun-wise, but also musically. It’s an action cue that almost lasts from start to finish, and it’s amazing to hear. Giacchino can be great at these, and in this score he thankfully is. There’s even a lovely “love” theme or hint at it near the end.
What I like most about the score is that it’s in the spirit of adventure. It is varied within it’s context. It can be playful, it can be action filled, it can be romantic, dramatic, tends and it always changes. On top of that (or buried underneath) are these small moments in the score that makes it constantly interesting. It’s so fun to listen to that I just don’t want to stop. I don’t think you can say that this is a Dinosaur score though, because what it? Even John Williams score to Jurassic Park wasn’t a “Dinosaur” score. I think I mentioned in that review how the music is so great it could practically be for anything and still sound great. Much of it applies here. I can see a score like this work for Indiana Jones or even a sci-fi. It’s exciting and fun! The action alone in cues like ‘Raptor Your Heart Out’ and ‘Costa Rican Standoff’ might sound chaotic, but it’s in perfect order. Every note is used to push the message of danger, but also fun, adrenaline pushing fun. And how about the choir in ‘Our Rex Is Bigger Than Yours’? Sublime! I am in awe of this action music. Some of the best action music in years surely (when compared to purely orchestral scores). There’s emotions ahead, particularly in the awe-inspiring cue ‘Nine To Survival Job’ which is an epic theme, sweeping music. Just gorgeous. One more Williams reference in ‘The Park Is Closed’ and why not? Williams deserve a big piece of the pie and he is given one. The small reference is just that because this is mostly Giacchino’s new theme saying goodbye and in this context it almost makes me cry. Beautiful. It all ends with a massive 13 minute suite called ‘Jurassic World Suite’ and a few bonus tracks (digital exclusives?). Anyway, back to the suite. I love lengthy tracks, particularly suites and particularly when the score is as good as it has been. Strangely though the suite doesn’t seem to pick much from the best until around 7:30 when the military theme arrives. It’s actually a bit disappointing for a suite, but it’s still very good. The best part of the suite is the ending from 11:20. I am addicted to Giacchino’s action in this score.
Finally there are 4 “bonus” cues starting with ‘It’s A Small Jurassic World’ a fun and perky march. Kind of quirky, but never blatant comedic. Love it. ‘The Hammond Lab Overture’ is another version of the previous cue it seems. Very march-like and “old” sounding. Very beautiful. ‘The Brockway Monorail’ is another superb “old” sounding “march”. So perky and fun. What’s not to love? Reminds me of something he could have scored for a fun Pixar movie. Finally there’s ‘Sunrise O’er Jurassic World’ that is a stunning little cue that reminds me of classics like Star Trek TMP and even Superman and also JNH’s Dinosaur. This is a brilliant ending to a brilliant score.
Giacchino has written some great scores over the years, but maybe this is his best one? He’s still a young composer, but look what he has accomplished already. I think the only thing he really needs now is an iconic theme coming from somewhere, but is it possible in this day and age? If he managed that, he might just become close to the greats. In fact, if he’s managing to create an iconic theme that will be remembered forever in the current film scoring climate, I’m doubly impressed. How long was it since John Williams created his last iconic theme? Harry Potter? That’s a long time ago. Maybe the era of iconic themes has ended. Or just maybe, Giacchino is the man to do it. It’s not happening with Jurassic World, but that’s ok. This score is bundles of fun. Really terrific. Just drop the comparisons with Williams’ masterpiece Jurassic Park, there is no point. This is Jurassic World, a brand new movie in the franchise, it’s a different time, it’s 2015. On it’s own it’s just great, one of the best scores of the year.
Film Review: Jurassic World | Consequence of Sound.