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Soundtrack review: Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom (Michael Giacchino – 2018)

Best of 2018 Blockbuster Film scores

Soundtrack review: Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom (Michael Giacchino – 2018)

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“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is a 2018 American science fiction adventure film that is the sequel to Jurassic World (2015). Directed by J. A. Bayona, it is the fifth installment of the Jurassic Park film series, as well as the second installment of a planned Jurassic World trilogy. The film features Derek Connolly and Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow both returning as writers, with Trevorrow and original Jurassic Park director Steven Spielberg acting as executive producers. Set on the fictional Central American island of Isla Nublar, off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, it follows Owen Grady and Claire Dearing as they rescue the remaining dinosaurs on the island before a volcanic eruption destroys it. Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, B. D. Wong, and Jeff Goldblum reprise their roles from previous films in the series, with Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, Isabella Sermon, and Geraldine Chaplin joining the cast. Michael Giacchino returned to write the score.

For the past two years, in 2016 and 2017, Michael Giacchino provided my personal score of the year, first with “Rogue one” and then with “War for the planet of the apes” so whenever a new composition of his comes along my expectations are through the roof and he almost always meets them. This summer he has this score and the Incredibles sequel so it’s shaping up to be another great year for Giacchino. I must confess the excitement is high for me and when I see that 10 minutes long end credits suite I almost want to jump straight to it.

I knew two certain things before listening to the score: that, to match the movie, it was going to have enough dark moments and that John Williams’ fanfare would not really be use as Giacchino wanted only new themes for this one. Fans can discover a piece of it, naturally in a cue named “Nostalgia-saurus” and in the end credits suite. The opening is abrupt and frantic with the self explanatory “This title makes me Jurassic”. It’s spectacular right from the start and I hear elements of both “War for the planet of the apes” and “Lost” in the way this opening titles cue develops. When the rousing choir comes along I am already sold. I also like how Giacchino uses here as well his complex emotional web that made “War” such a magnificent score: after the blistering start comes a quieter melodic cue in “The Theropod Preservation Society” that takes off midway in an orchestral flight that will make John Williams fans happy. Hell it will make all music fans happy.

In the first portion of the score Michael Giacchino just uses the full might of the orchestra to evoke the grandeur of the story, of the animals and the impending sense of doom they bring. As I listen to a cue like “March of the Wheatley Cavalcade” there’s no mistaking this for a family movie, or a comedy. It’s a story about dangerous giants, but an emotional story in the same time. The music is dark, complex and intense and I feel all its weight. The way the string and brass sections sometimes play makes me think of Danny Elfman’s “Batman” music, and these are the quieter, more diluted moments of “Fallen kingdom”. Then the choir comes again and sends chills up my spine; there were horror sections in his Apes scores as well but this is taking it to another, more dense, level.

When the score goes quiet, the whispering piano is just sublime. “Operation Blue blood” makes me think of how much I cared for Blue, the dino from the first movie and makes me feel how much Chris Pratt’s character also cares for her. The choir is also subtle for this one and marks the other end of the spectre for this score, the quiet emotional one.

As this album progresses I feel about it the same way I did earlier this year for Silvestri’s “Avengers: Infinity war”: it’s a magnificent display of composer craft and of orchestral might, with meaningful emotional moments as well but without a specific theme for the main characters; just like in that score Thanos’ menacing, doom like essence was present in the entire score, taking it over, here as well the dinosaurs and the danger and terror they bring defines the score, transcending cues and themes. And just like there when the full orchestra is joined by the powerful choir, there’s nothing like it.

Without a doubt “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is one of the strongest orchestral scores of the year so far; if you were impressed by the aforementioned “Infinity war” you will love this one as well. Michael Giacchino goes full dark and heavy with this one and provides a worthy addition to the “Jurassic Park” legacy.

Cue rating: 87 / 100

Highlights:
This Title Makes Me Jurassic
Maisie and the Island
Lava Land
Go With the Pyroclastic Flow
Volcano to Death
Operation Blue Blood
Shock and Auction
There’s Something About Maisie
To Free or Not to Free
At Jurassic World’s End Credits/Suite

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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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