If I am honest, the score to Jurassic World was disappointing at best, which makes me all the more surprised at just how much better the score to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is. Well done, Mr Giacchino.
Now let’s be honest, Michael Giacchino had an impossible task with the Jurassic World film scores. Given John Williams’ more than iconic scores to the Jurassic Park films, it was fair to say that Jurassic World’s and its sequel would more than likely not live up to them. Especially considering the choice Giacchino had to make. That being; “should I use the Jurassic Park theme?”
It’s a dilemma, to be sure. By including Williams’ theme, he risks it massively overshadowing his own work for the Jurassic World films, but it would fit with the movie style more and bring nostalgia to the audience, as well as helping to bridge the two franchises. On the other hand, not including it would make Giacchino’s own work stand out more but it would risk fan backlash and massive (maybe too massive) musical differences between Jurassic Park and Jurassic World.
In the end, it seemed Giacchino decided to use Williams’ theme but only sparingly, for example in the first Jurassic World it appeared in full near the beginning and then dotted around in small samples for the rest of the score. The problem with this however was that whenever Williams’ theme ended and Giacchino’s music started, all you wanted was for the theme to come back, and a fair few (myself included) spent that score waiting for the Jurassic Park theme to crop up again rather than appreciating the music for Jurassic World. It also didn’t help that Giacchino’s new music paled in comparison to Williams’ classic theme (which was inevitable) and so by using it he only succeeded in showing his own music up.
And if I am honest, it is a similar situation in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
It is obvious though right from the start that Michael Giacchino has tried a lot more in the score for the sequel. This Title Makes Me Jurassic starts off in a spooky “something’s coming” style, and slowly builds up into what presumably is the main theme for Fallen Kingdom. The theme is loud, menacing and makes great use of brass and vocals. It is a very different approach to a theme for dinosaurs than that of John Williams, which to be honest is a good thing. I do think for Giacchino to really shine in these films he needs to step away from the music of Jurassic Park, and here he seems to be doing just that.
The Therapod Preservation Society however is a step in the opposite direction. Now don’t get me wrong, this piece is fantastic. It is uplifting, joyous and makes great use of strings to convey a sense of peace and happiness. It is a very nice track to listen to, right up until you hear the opening notes to Williams’ Jurassic Park theme.
As soon as I heard that, I remember thinking “Noo! You were doing so well!” The notes finish as quickly as they showed up, but its already too late. Already I wanted to hear more, and suddenly Giacchino’s music became secondary as I desperately wanted that iconic Williams’ theme to continue.
Despite its name, Nostalgia-Saurus doesn’t start out with a full blown rendition of the theme to Jurassic Park. In fact, here Giacchino doubles down on his new scary Fallen Kingdom theme. Or at least, he does initially until playing a few more notes from Park. It’s like a reflex action, Giacchino doesn’t seem to be able to help it.
Lava Land is the first proper action piece of the score, and it is actually pretty good. You can hear the composer’s signature use of brass frequently throughout, as well as a few samples of the new Fallen Kingdom theme to add some menace to the already fast-paced and exciting track. The score really shines for the first time here, which reinforced heavily to me that Giacchino really doesn’t need to use the Jurassic Park theme.
Raiders Of The Lost Isla Nublar (you really can’t help it, can you Giacchino?) continues the menacing nature of Lava Land, with heavy brass and fast-paced strings working great together to create another fantastic edge-of-your-seat action cue. There are also continued references to the Fallen Kingdom theme, which sounds as terrifying as ever.
If there’s one thing Michael Giacchino can do, its action music, and he really shines here.
The action continues pretty much all the way through until Declaration Of Indo-Pendance, which is a very interesting track. Here the composer heavily references the action music style of John Williams before mixing it expertly with his own using the Fallen Kingdom theme in tandem. For the first time in the Jurassic World soundtracks the two massively different Jurassic musical styles work together, and it works really well. It is a shame that this only lasts for thirty seconds or so, but it gives me a great deal of hope about the next score (there’s bound to be one).
To Free Or Not To Free features an amazing sounding victorious rendition of the new Fallen Kingdom theme that reaches all the heights a fantastic new theme should, before diving straight back into the safe zone in At Jurassic World’s End Credits. Here we get a full rendition of the secondary main theme to Jurassic Park before Giacchino goes off on a joy-to-listen-to ten minute suite of the new Fallen Kingdom music. Now credit where credit is due, the new rendition of Jurassic Park sounds absolutely fantastic. However, it also does a great job of massively overshadowing Giacchino’s new music, and drawing away from the score as a whole.
Overall then, the score to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a step in the right direction with a scary but great main theme as well as some killer action music, but Giacchino’s insistence on using the Jurassic Park theme drags it down a lot. Unfortunately, it just so happens to be one of the most iconic pieces of music ever made, and so it does overshadow Giacchino’s new compositions. In my opinion, it is also not even needed. Giacchino has proved that he can compose fantastic new music, and he shouldn’t rely on the Jurassic Park theme because frankly he doesn’t need to.
Michael Giacchino’s music is great all on its own.
Standout Cue: 26. At Jurassic World’s End Credits