I won’t lie to you, when I saw the first trailer for Jurassic World my excitement levels plummeted. Tame raptors, questionable CGI, and snippets of dialogue that suggested the script would have about as much depth as a Spot the Dog book – case in point: “It depends on what kind of dinosaur they cooked up in that lab” – all left me feeling woefully underwhelmed. I still maintained hope, of course, but it was hope for hope’s sake. Nothing more.
Even the involvement of Chris Pratt, a saucy man-crush of mine, and Colin Trevorrow, director of wonderful indie flick Safety Not Guaranteed, couldn’t allay my fears. This was a Jurassic Park movie without Spielberg and John Williams, which, in short, could only mean it wasn’t going to be a Jurassic Park movie.
Now, as anyone who’s seen Jurassic World will already know, I was absolutely, positively, 100 percent…wrong. Yeah, you heard me. I was a damned fool.
This is a Jurassic Park movie. In fact, this is the best Jurassic Park movie since the original changed the face of cinema back in 1993. Trevorrow and co did what I deemed impossible: they created a worthy sequel to one of the most memorable movies of all time – and make no mistake, this is a true sequel to Jurassic Park. This is the one we’ve spent the last 22 years pining for.
Life finds a way
There are so many things Jurassic World gets right, that I actually don’t have time to list them all here. In a nutshell though, the movie manages to captures the spirt of Spielberg’s original masterpiece without ever feeling contrived. The nods to the first film are subtle and rewarding, while the new leads reinvigorate the franchise, which was becoming less and less plausible – I know, I know, I’m discussing plausibility in a movie about dinosaurs – due to its reliance on bringing the same leads back to the islands that’ve punished them time and time again.
Seriously, unless you’re some sort of unflappable adrenaline junkie, why would you ever want to be chased by a T. rex more than once?
Then, there’s the new score. No one will ever replace John Williams, and attempting to replicate his genius would be a move born out of pure folly. Instead, in passing the baton to Michael Giacchino, Universal have found a man unafraid to leave his mark on a franchise so long defined by William’s uplifting melodies.
Already familiar with what it takes to score an Amblin production, thanks to his work on J.J. Abrams’ Spielberg homage Super 8, and more than capable of handling the pressure that comes with scoring a summer blockbuster – see Up, Tomorrowland, and Star Trek – it’d be fair to say that, realistically, Giacchino was perhaps the only choice for Jurassic World.
Oozing with originality, but clearly full of respect for William’s work, Giacchino’s score is the perfect blend of old and new, reminding fans of the original why they fell in love with the franchise while simultaneously giving younger viewers breathtaking, iconic moments of their own. Indeed, the composer hits all of the right notes, deftly balancing tension with genuine, warm emotion – listen to The Family that Strays Together for some classic Amblin goodness – and prehistoric intrigue to create a score that becomes, at times, the movie’s heart and soul.
The spectacular dino-battles, hair-raising chase scenes, and sumptuous panoramic shots that we’ve come to expect from the series feel at once both familiar and fresh, with tracks such as Our Rex is Bigger Than Yours, Chasing the Dragons, and Welcome to Jurassic Park capturing the essence of the franchise. In the same breath, it was important for Giacchino to show restraint, and by refusing to assault the audience with an endless barrage of Williams nostalgia, he makes those quintessential Jurassic Park moments feel all the more special.
In some ways, it’s a shame that Giacchino couldn’t step out of William’s shadow completely and do away with any reference to the original movie. Starting afresh would certainly have been a bold move, and we’d be interested to see what the composer would’ve done if the shackles were well and truly off. Of course, we know that’s a pipe dream. William’s score is woven into the very fabric of the franchise, and while Giacchino is brave, it would’ve been suicidal to remove any reference to the original score. In another world, perhaps.
Succeeding Williams was never going to be an easy task, but Giacchino has earned the right to take the reins going forward. If the future is as bright as Jurassic World seems to suggest, we can’t wait to see what the next two instalments have in store.
Oh, come on, we all know another trilogy is on the way.