This post is like Eddie Carr after his unfortunate encounter with the tyrannosaurs in The Lost World: it comes in two parts…
PART #1: JANUARY 5
Michael Giacchino will, reportedly, be returning to provide the score for the as-yet-untitled Jurassic World 2. This is not new news.
As a matter of fact, these days — in which a post can fade into obscurity within minutes of having been written — it’s old news. Prehistoric, you might say. It came to light last month, when The Hollywood Reporter posted an interview with Giacchino in which the next Jurassic film was listed among his upcoming projects.
Before continuing, though, I think it’s worth pointing out that, for now, I’m choosing to take this ‘confirmation’ with a grain of salt. Given the way in which it was mentioned in the article — it’s not a quote from Giacchino himself, but simply a statement made, seemingly, on the part of the author — I don’t think it can be taken, yet, as absolutely definitive.
For the sake of this post, however, I’ll carry on as though it can.
PART #2: JANUARY 11
Here’s the thing about writing: you can have ‘on’ days, and you can have ‘off’ days. Recently, I’ve had a tremendous amount of the latter. I wrote the above paragraphs on the evening of January 5 — at the time of writing this one, however, it’s the afternoon of January 11. That’s six days of a difference, and, as it turns out, those days significantly changed the direction of this article. If I’d continued writing it on January 5, it likely would have been quite a bit more negative, because though I am, in general, a fan of Giacchino’s work, Jurassic World’s score, for me, makes for a resounding miss amongst hits.
Other than a fantastic new theme representing Jurassic World itself, and some decent enough themes elsewhere, I just didn’t find it to be all that effective. During many parts of the film, it’s simply there — which is why I couldn’t help but feel my heart sink a little when word started to spread that Giacchino will be back for Round #2.
Since January 5, however, my feelings on the matter have changed… somewhat. Though I still have problems with those parts of the score I fundamentally don’t like, my heart has risen a little.
I’ve been fortunate enough to get access to various pieces of Jurassic World’s score that — in some cases bafflingly — weren’t included in the official release. These range from pieces that were in the film, but not on the album, to those that were never released at all, as well as variations on some that were — and, in my eyes (or ears, I suppose), they go a long way towards redeeming Giacchino’s work.
Overwhelmingly, the additional tracks prove just how beautiful some of his themes are when stripped of unnecessary embellishments. Zach and Gray’s music in particular, often cloying in the film, is transformed by a subtle rendition in a track titled Bond of Brothers, and there are multiple variations of The Park Is Closed, two of which feature just piano and vocals, revealing Jurassic World’s overarching theme, already excellent, to be a beautiful compliment to Jurassic Park’s.
Two further tracks — Isla Nublar We There Yet? (present in the film as Zach and Gray set sail), and the unused Monorail Journey — both showcase a wonderful, hopeful, piano-based melody (heard prominently, though more slowly, as we’re taken back to Nublar when the proverbial dust has settled) that makes me long for a version of the Jurassic World in which a lot more time was spent exploring the park, one that made me care for it as much as I do its predecessor.
There’s also, I think, a lot to be said for hearing some of the music separate from the action of the film. Details otherwise lost amongst the din can be heard, changing certain tracks, breathing new life into pieces I’d previously considered stale.
Alternate versions of certain moments have this rejuvenative effect, too — one of the most striking, in my opinion, being a slight variation of Blue’s The Lost World-inspired re-entrance motif during the final battle:
— John T. (@JHNMCHLTNR) 12 January 2017
Just four additional notes, and yet they completely change the ‘feel’ of the moment. I can’t express how much I wish they’d made the finished film.
Ultimately, though it might not change my overall disappointment with the soundtrack, this expanded ‘release’ has made me take a step back and consider that a lot of my problems with it might not be entirely the fault of the music, but of how it was implemented in the film and how it was presented in its official release — and that, despite my initial feelings on the matter, Giacchino’s involvement in the sequel isn’t the end of the (Jurassic) world.
Admittedly, though, I was very interested in hearing what frequent Bayona collaborator Fernando Velázquez might have brought to the table, and, of course, in a perfect world John Williams would be back. There isn’t much I wouldn’t give to get just one more Jurassic score out of that genius. But I suspect, as depressing as it might be, that any chance of that went extinct with Jurassic World — and if the last few months have proven anything, it’s that this place we’re all trapped in is far from being a perfect world.
No big deal, though — I’ll settle for a Jurassic one.