Jurassic Park Soundtrack by John Williams (1993)
Get it: If you are looking for a soundtrack that combines intensity and suspense with beauty and majesty
Don’t get it: If you are hoping for a soundtrack that focuses on rhythm rather than notes, such as a style similar to Hans Zimmer
From the very first note of this soundtrack, you know you’re in for something good. That isn’t too much of a surprise, though, since whenever Steven Spielberg and John Williams team up, the listener is usually more than satisfied with the result. In 1993, Steven Spielberg astonished the world by bringing something new not quite like anything previously done. Jurassic Park was a revolutionary film in its time. The visual effects, done by Stan Winston Studio along with Industrial Light & Magic, were unprecedented. The concept of placing the whole body of a dinosaur in a film without using stop-motion and still making it realistic was an amazing feat that many didn’t think could be done. The film had a wonderful cast with Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum to name a few. More than that, however, the feel of the movie set forth by the score is hard to be outdone.
Each moment of this soundtrack is saturated with feeling and emotion ranging from fear to awe. Parts of it are a bit held back on the brass for John Williams, who instead makes wonderful use of strings such as the viola. The occasional use of a choir in both the most beautiful and intense parts adds a sense of awe and power that would otherwise not be as prevalent. The deepest moments of suspense make the listener/viewer beg the character to not look around that dark corner. The unbelievably clear brass adds a new dimension of fear during the “hunt” tracks. At times, this soundtrack is very reflective of Star Wars: Episode VI.
Right when the suspenseful tracks are nearing an end, the tone switches to a light and almost playful, adventurous tune. After that goes on for a bit, Williams switches again to his typical majestic brass and timpani. When he does, it almost gives the listener a sense of walking without ground. He masterfully changes between this brass and timpani to flute and strings, then back to brass and timpani again – the whole time doing it flawlessly. Before you know it, you’re back to a light theme and then another deep, intense one. There is no shortage of variety in mood in this soundtrack.
In parts, you do not want to listen while alone in an unfamiliar place at night. At other parts, you want to listen to help make your day a little better. An occasional use of piano, choir, and harp fill the listener with a sense of mysterious wonder and curiosity, such as Track 6, “Hatching Baby Raptor” which is a perfect fit for the scene. The next track turns around to be inspiring.
Simply put, this soundtrack is beautiful, intense, majestic, suspenseful, powerful, subtle, and inspiring. Okay, so maybe that’s not “simply” put, but that’s the best way to say it. There could not be a better fit for the film.