While Michael Giacchino’s Jurassic World Dominion score doesn’t quite hit the high thematic heights of Fallen Kingdom, it still features several pretty fantastic new action cues, many an appearance from both intriguing new and iconic old themes, and a beautifully crafted end credits suite that overall make for a pretty amazing musical finish to the Jurassic franchise.
Another year, another Michael Giacchino soundtrack trilogy completed! Last year it was Spider-Man, and this year; Jurassic World. Just like with Spider-Man, Giacchino has built a richly versatile thematic world for this second Jurassic franchise, having first provided a memorable main theme to lay the groundwork (see “As The Jurassic World Turns” from the first film’s 2015 score) and then continually expanded from there with motifs for characters, settings and dinosaurs for both the first and Fallen Kingdom movies (not to mention continual callbacks to John Williams’ iconic motifs for the original Park films) until now the third and final act has been reached; Dominion. With this last prehistoric franchise entry Giacchino has expanded his musical world even further, introducing a whole host of new themes to join forces with the established ones – both his own and John Williams’ – across a rather expansive nearly two hour soundtrack album. So, with introductions now out of the way… shall we?
Opening track “Jurassi-logos/Dinow This” begins rather moodily, with lengthy, drawn-out and low pitched brass notes setting a quietly ominous tone in the first few seconds. Ominous strings then start to play the first of Giacchino’s new themes for the third film; the Dominion theme. Rather like the dramatically foreboding Fallen Kingdom main theme from the last movie, this similarly sinister piece shrouds the score in moody darkness for much of its first minute, before the orchestra then starts to pick up and tensions begin to ease as additional brass enters the fray. At this point another theme is introduced, this time a counterpointingly grandiose new motif that we’ll call the “Adventure” theme (given its tendency toward dramatic, fast-paced flair in its various album appearances here). With two new main themes established the logos cue then builds to a rather emphatic crescendo, finishing on a loud crash of ferocious percussion. Tensions are then kicked up a notch in the subsequent “A Dinosaur In The Ranching Business”, with loud punches of aggressive brass and frantic percussion leading a call to action for several worrisome minutes. “It’s Like Herding Parasaurolophus” however then reprises two motifs from Giacchino’s first Jurassic World score; first the dramatic raptors theme which propels the action forward on fast-paced drums and strings through the first half of the cue, with the gently hopeful main Jurassic World theme then fading wistfully through to close out the track. “Upsy-Maisie” then continues with the latter motif on gentle piano notes, closing this action-heavy chapter on a warm, rather comfortable musical note.
Another theme from the first Jurassic World score makes a return in “Clonely You/The Hunters Become The Hunted”; the family theme reprises in typically warm, hopeful form across the first minute or two of the cue on gentle piano notes and slow, cheerful strings. This appearance doesn’t last for long though as another new theme is then introduced in “The Campfire In Her Soul”, this time a quietly melancholic, almost mournful piece that plays on heartfelt strings together with a few downtrodden but unmistakable notes from John Williams’ iconic Jurassic Park theme. These two motifs then reprise together in “A Sattler State Of Affairs/Alan For Granted/Sattler, I Barely Know Her” (Michael, please), with the melancholic new theme playing first on low-pitched, moody brass and John Williams then raising spirits with a happily lengthy Jurassic Park rendition on quiet, optimistic strings.
Another musical team-up then occurs at the start of “The Wages Of Biosyn”, as the new adventure theme and a few notes from Jurassic Park play in wondrous orchestral tandem. Tense strings and brass however slowly build up to action in the subsequent “Free-Range Kidnapping”, with this new rapid pace then continuing across a plethora of subsequent action cues, beginning with the adventure theme playing boldly on grandiose brass in “A-Biosyn’ We Will Go” before the musical style then switches up in “This Dodgson Burns Bright/The Maltese Dragons” as some rather Mediterranean-esque instrumentation enters the fray. Giacchino then utilises this new style to explosively enjoyable effect in the subsequent, frenetic and enjoyably lengthy action piece “In Contempt Of Delacourt/Dance Of The Atrociraptors”, with the building tension then continuing throughout the similarly thrilling sequel piece “Da Plane And Da Cycle”. This all then culminates on a rather triumphant rendition of the Jurassic World theme just as both the two and a half minute cue and this happily lengthy action series bows out.
The moodily malevolent Fallen Kingdom theme makes an unexpected and typically ominous appearance in “You’re Making Me Feel Wu-zy”, with a few notes from the main Jurassic Park theme playing morosely in the background. Worrisome strings then open “She Shoots, She Scorches”, with the music building in both volume and intensity until a dramatically in-your-face crescendo is reached at the one minute mark. The family theme then returns at the start of “Gigantosaurus On Your Life”, followed swiftly by a wondrous and enjoyably full rendition of the Jurassic Park theme. This is where the gentleness begins and ends however as “Ladder And Subtract/ What’s Your Major Malcolm Malfunction/Six Degrees Of Evacuation (seriously Michael, you couldn’t just pick one?) then bursts into frame with frantic, brass-heavy action, keeping tensions high and the pace positively stratospheric for three particularly edge-of-your-seat minutes, and ending with a triumphant though sadly short appearance from Jurassic Park‘s own adventure theme. The score then slows right down for the next few tracks, with “Ramsay’s The Second No More” for example leaning into quiet, almost foreboding Williams-esque strings and “Gotta Shut Down The Blah Blah Blah” then continuing in this vein but with a touch of tension in the mix, emphasized particularly towards the end of the cue as dramatic brass joins the fray. “Wu-ing For Redemption” then builds on this tension, with loud brass emphasizing a rather malevolent change in tone alongside some rather frightening, high-pitched strings.
With the stage set, the action finale of the score arrives in “Battle Royale With Reprise/Six Days Seven Denouements”, where some very Williams-esque string flurries accompany loud, emphatic crashes of drums and frantic brass for the first three minutes of the cue, before the music then settles down with gentle strings playing the Jurassic World theme to finish. “A-O-Kayla” then switches up into almost mournful territory, with slow strings, solemn vocals and low-pitched brass emphasizing the now rather sombre mood. “All The Jurassic World’s A Rage” continues this tone initially with quiet strings playing a rather reserved rendition of the Jurassic World theme before the full orchestra then erupts at the two minute mark with a dramatically grandiose finish. “Larry, Curly And MOE” (“MOE” presumably standing for Main On End) then starts to bring the score to a close, playing first the opening notes of John Williams’ Jurassic Park theme, then a brief playthrough of the new melancholic theme followed swiftly by a similarly quiet, morose yet also rather wondrous rendition of the Jurassic World motif. “Suite, Suite Dino Revenge” then concludes the score pretty much perfectly, showing off all the new themes (Dominion, Adventure and more) in lengthy, concert renditions to start before then moving into both the Jurassic World and Park main themes, wrapping up both the trilogy and it seems the franchise overall in a well-crafted, thoroughly enjoyable though curiously also rather sorrowful bow.
Overall, Michael Giacchino’s score for Jurassic World Dominion closes the musical book on the iconic dinosaur franchise in the best way possible really, bringing pretty much all of the established Giacchino and most of Williams’ thematic material together with now even more new themes, resulting in an expansive orchestral tapestry that manages to stay entertaining pretty much throughout it’s entire two hour runtime, which is no easy feat. It’s not all perfect though, as the sheer number of themes does make things a little difficult to keep track of sometimes (if thematic overload was a thing, this is it), and the new Dominion motifs while enjoyable are a little duller perhaps compared to previous entries (the Fallen Kingdom main theme for example was stellar). The reprisals of the excellent Jurassic World and iconic Jurassic Park themes do help to balance all this out pretty well though, and that combined with several genuinely fantastic action cues (look no further than almighty duo “In Contempt Of Delacourt” and “Da Plane And Da Cycle” there) an exquisite franchise summarising end credits suite in “Suite, Suite Dino Revenge” and of course Giacchino’s highly enjoyable stylistic mixture of his own compositional style and flurries of John Williams-y mannerisms really cement Dominion as a strong musical finale to the franchise.
Nothing reprised from Williams’ The Lost World though sadly. I do love that main theme.
Standout Cue: 32. Suite, Suite Dino Revenge
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