First listen: Michael Giacchino on his new Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom theme
You know you’re watching a Jurassic Park movie not just because dinosaurs are roaring and rain is pouring, but because, more than likely, the drums are booming and the horns are blaring and peril — or perhaps just the movie’s sweeping music — is setting in.
Oscar-winning film composer Michael Giacchino returns to score Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (out June 22), and he’s created an almost entirely new musical suite for the sequel. Of course, it includes a few well-placed nods to the series’ iconic original melodies, but Giacchino’s soundtrack (out June 15 on Back Lot Music) utilizes a brand-new theme. EW has a first listen of the track that Giacchino has affectionately — and, given his pun-loving past work, appropriately — titled “This Title Makes Me Jurassic.”
“A big orchestral sound is part of what people expect from a Jurassic Park movie,” says Giacchino, who previously dabbled in dinosaur territory when he scored the first Jurassic World film in 2015. “John Williams certainly set the tone, so I wanted to stay in that realm, but now here we are, five Jurassic Parks in, and I didn’t want to do the same thing I did on the last film. This film has a very different tone, so I basically went to the director, Juan Antonio Bayona, who I’ve known for many years, and said, ‘What if Bernard Hermann and Stravinsky had a baby who wrote the score for this film?’”
Let’s be honest — you probably don’t know what that classical musical reference means (neither do we). But you’ll nevertheless reap the benefits when you hear Giacchino’s sweeping score for the first time in the theater; like the film itself, it’s action-packed and fueled by suspense and adrenaline in equal parts.
Crazy as it may sound, there’s a valid argument to be made that Fallen Kingdom’s score is even more dangerous than the usual Jurassic fare. “I thought this was a great chance to be a little darker and more tense, to go in a direction that felt new, and it didn’t mean that I would abandon the orchestral element, but just texturally how you use melody and chords and eighths and the sort of ugliness that you can get out of an orchestra to create these frightening moods,” Giacchino says. “The main theme is really about the darker world they’re going into, and it’s used in many different ways: in a positive way, a dark way, a humorous way, if you need to. There’s all kind of things you can do with it, but it needs to speak to what the story needs.”
Things might’ve been different had this been Giacchino’s first time dabbling in a world filled with iconic music, but after his work on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek, and the first Jurassic World movie, the composer knows full well how important it is to fans that his new scores build on, rather than replace, the most familiar strokes from any of those films’ original themes.
Giacchino’s approach to using Williams’ masterful Jurassic Park theme in Fallen Kingdom is fairly straightforward: “Only when it’s absolutely necessary, and only when it’s absolutely earned.” He explains, “It’s not about avoiding; it’s about being very careful about planning out the trajectory of the score.”
Enter the Brontosauruses. Or, as I learned, Brachiosauruses, a frequent misconception Giacchino points out regarding that grand dinosaur species that somehow only ever pops up on screen in Jurassic movies accompanied by the most gorgeous renditions of Williams’ theme song. Is there a memo, perhaps, that dictates that the Bachiosaurus gets the big hit of sentimental accompaniment? Yes, but no — it’s really just a well-utilized realization employed by Giacchino and his predecessors.
“In that very first Jurassic Park film, when they first show up to the island, you hear John’s beautiful music over that shot of the Brachiosaurus eating from the trees. It’s one of the most nostalgic moments for people who love the franchise,” Giacchino notes. “You want to be careful about doing that too much, because you can overuse an element like that, but there’s definitely something about the Brachiosaurus that just brings out the sadness in everyone. Every time you see a Brachiosaurus, there’s that nostalgia button that’s pushed.”
So, spoiler alert, but the soundtrack’s fourth track, “Nostalgia-saurus,” probably isn’t about a T. Rex.