Wednesday, June 10, 2015


I love to admit it: I am a ginormous Jurassic Park fan. I have been since I first read the novel when I was a kid, and then saw the movie (released the same summer my family moved to Colorado, incidentally), and then purchased a copy of the soundtrack. Almost everything about that movie was perfect as far as I was concerned - including the music. John Williams hit one of his timeless grand slams with that one. People are going to remember and be listening to those themes for decades and decades to come. so, massive fan (and purist) that I am, it was with a certain amount of hesitation & reticence that I received the news of yet another Jurassic Park sequel. I was let down by the second and third installments, to say the least, and have found myself convinced that the pursuit of the almighty dollar was allowed to outpace the one interested in great art when it came to this franchise. Still, the lesser sequels never ruined the original for me, and I had to admit that over the past couple of months, my excitement to at least give the new film Jurassic World a try has been steadily building.

And then along came the soundtrack, which I pre-ordered this past weekend and eagerly tore into over the past couple of days (I'm even listening to it as I write this). So, let me put it to you this way: listening to the music isn't doing anything to temper my childlike enthusiasm for the upcoming film. It's a marvelous soundtrack and Michael Giacchino - whom I first noticed while playing through a PS2 video game back in the day (Black), and who then went on to construct the signature sounds for the TV show Lost as well as the marvelous soundtrack for Ratatouille - has not only done Williams' original masterpiece justice (he incorporates the legendary themes, I'm happy to report), but has also taken the idea of Jurassic Park music into his own signature realms. I have no idea where any of the songs fit in relation to the plot of the movie, so I'm just listening to it as music-in-the-raw, but I still love it. If the songs are any indication, there's going to be a lot of action in this flick, and if the emotion of the film matches the emotion contained on the soundtrack, it's going to be a movie with some real heart and not just a mindless roller coaster.

We'll have to wait and see, but if Jurassic World is as entertaining as its music seems to suggest, than I, for one, am finally going to really enjoy a Jurassic Park sequel.

- you watch Nightcrawler, you can't help but notice the music. It's mixed loud and is very much in the forefront of the movie, grabbing your attention right at the opening credits and making its presence known through to the end. What I found so interesting about the music to this creepy satire-ish flick is how unexpected it was. It has loads of attitude and coolness to it, and it somehow reinforces the heart of the film (which is quite dark) while not sounding much at all like what you would think music for a thriller like Nightcrawler would sound like. The music rocks. It is melodic and guitar-driven and moody and introspective. It's a soulful sound in the midst of a movie intent on depicting the soullessness of its subjects. I enjoyed Nightcrawler but have found myself enjoying James Newton Howard's soundtrack even more.

- wife and I recently watched the History Channel's three-part dramatization Hatfields & McCoys about one of American history's more Shakespearian moments. The mini-series was well-done and, from what I can tell, pretty true to life in regards to what really went down between the two star-crossed families. John Debney (who also did fantastic work for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ) crafted some truly heartbreaking & romantic music for the series, which masterfully blends 19th century soundscapes with some more modern and familiar melodies. The music feels familiar and powerful at the same time, and Lisbeth Scott adds some vocalization to the tracks that just takes your breath away. This soundtrack, like Nightcrawler, was an unexpected find: you don't tune into a History Channel mini-series expecting to hear wonderful music. Alas, Hatfields & McCoys brought the soul.


I've also recently gotten my hands on Harry Gregson-Williams' soundtrack for Man on Fire, which I've been waiting for iTunes to sell for a long, long time. I haven't gotten around to listening through the entire thing yet, but if you never thought a piece of music could move you in less than a minute, I implore you to check out the cut entitled 'Smiling', which is 51 seconds of sublimity.

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