Jurassic World (Michael Giacchino)

Jurassic World Soundtrack Cover

Jurassic World Soundtrack Cover

Jurassic World Soundtrack by Michael Giacchino (2015)

Get it:  If you like the previous Jurassic Park soundtracks, especially the one to the first film, as well as Giacchino’s style

Don’t get it:  If you’re hoping for a typical action score that uses constant beats to keep you on the edge of your seat

22 years ago, the world’s imagination was completely captured by Steven Spielberg’s latest marvel, Jurassic World.  Per expectations, John Williams brought the story to life in ways thought impossible as he had with previous films Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jaws, and so much more.  Part of the magnificence of that score was the combination of intensity on one track with awe inspiring beauty on the other.  Over two decades later, another man is tasked with a challenge.  Michael Giacchino had to not only create a new sound and feel for the new ‘Jurassic World’ park, but he also had to pay respect to the already established themes that we love.  How did he do?  Splendidly.

The soundtrack to Jurassic World by Michael Giacchino, released by Backlot Music, excels at not only creating something freshly awe inspiring, but paying homage to the original as well.  Those instantly recognizable themes do not overtake the new, however, since they are used very sparingly.  This is a great tool since not only does it make the audience/listener crave the themes even more, but it also creates space for the new music.  Hopes were high for the use of Williams themes given the relationship between Williams and Giacchino.  He does something that Don Davis fell a little short of; grasping the full majesty of the music.  Giacchino understands that you cannot simply throw brass at the notes and it will work.  Instead, he carefully dictates the background instruments to provide a strong base for the brass to enter full power.  Early on, one track is reserved solely for the original Jurassic Park theme, reverently titled, “Welcome to Jurassic World.”  It captures the grandeur of the original track while remaining ever-so-slightly different.  Unsurprisingly, Giacchino also uses the piano for the theme in a moment which is a perfect fit for the film and the context of the franchise.

The new music is nothing to skim over.  A major difference between the films is in Jurassic Park, the awe of the dinosaurs themselves is enough.  In Jurassic World, however, that isn’t quite the case anymore.  Instead, the park has been up-and-running for about ten years.  This time, it’s more about a fun vacation.  The music, namely in “As the Jurassic World Turns,” expresses the comfort and excitement that accompany a vacation.  The intensity is there as well, but in more of a classic manner.  The score doesn’t rely on beats to stop your heart via vibration.  Instead, it’s the lack of that which makes it intense.  The lower-profile music pulls you in as you try to hear it.  Not that it is too quiet, though.  Having said that, there are some moments that reflect the style of the opening of the first film.  Finally, there is sweepingly beautiful music also.  It’s not just about brass or just about strings at any moment.  There’s a choir, a tambourine, a piano, and more.  This soundtrack is not only a triumph for Michael Giacchino and the Jurassic Park franchise, but moviegoers and music lovers everywhere.  Being the number one opening weekend ever, this score has a wide audience – and it did not back down.

Here is a piece of the soundtrack called “As the Jurassic World Turns”:

Click here (CD) or here (Digital) to shop for the soundtrack

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Into the West (Geoff Zanelli)

Into the West Soundtrack Cover

Into the West Soundtrack by Geoff Zanelli (2013)

Get it:  If you are looking for a soundtrack that incorporates numerous emotions with settler/Native American music

Don’t get it:  If you are hoping for a strong brass style soundtrack

Zanelli’s score to this 6-part mini-series has finally been released to the joy of anyone who saw it.  Thanks to La-La Land Records and Paramount Music, anyone can enjoy this amazing Emmy-winning music whenever they want.  Just by listening to the very first track, the listener is immersed in another time, land, and culture.  The Native American influences on this soundtrack are used remarkably well and help to make it stand out.  There are clear instances of the settlers’  music as well.  The momentum and theme swings throughout to achieve a good amount of variety while still remaining consistent.

The beauty of the land, the mystery of the unknown, the intensity of danger, and the cry of fear are all present within Zanelli’s notes.  The score is deeply emotional and proves that Zanelli knows and understands the intricacies of truly beautiful music.  There are moment when you can feel stillness, pain, inspiration, suspense, glory, and thoughtful reflection.  All of this creates fascinating music.  It is extraordinarily easy to get pulled into the music and forget where you are.  This represents a perfect example of a beautiful mix of rhythm and melody working together to accomplish something great.

The combination of the old with the new as expressed in this soundtrack is unique and gripping.  Even though struggles and changes are clearly a part of the music, it never goes off course.  This is a true masterpiece that never ceases to amaze the listener with its sometimes stirring, other times intense, and always beautiful score.  The mood, feel, and emotions trapped in the sound waves do wonders for the viewer and listener in helping them not only understand, but truly feel a part of what the characters are going through.  Overall, an amazing soundtrack that deserves every accolade it can get.

For more on this score and others, visit www.geoffzanelli.com

Special Note:  For anyone interested, Geoff will be appearing at the Fans of Film Music panel on August 30th.  More information can be found by clicking here.


Jurassic Park (John Williams)

Jurassic Park Soundtrack Cover (John Williams)

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.

Click here to listen to a clip of the Main Theme

Click here to shop for the soundtrack