Michael Giacchino is the go-to composer for genre these days. He's done everything from Star Wars (Rogue One) to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: Homecoming). He's also been a longtime collaborator of J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Super 8) and Pixar (The Incredibles, Up, Inside Out). He's got two big projects arriving this summer, Incredibles 2 (out June 15) and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (out June 22).
When he joined the Jurassic World franchise back in 2015, Giacchino had some big shoes to fill, particularly those of John Williams, whose dino theme, which turns 25 this year, is as iconic as apple pie and Casablanca. For Fallen Kingdom, Giacchino certainly pays homage to Williams as he did in the first Jurassic World, but also described the score as a mixture of "Bernard Herrmann and Stravinsky" while speaking to Entertainment Weekly.
His new theme, named “This Title Makes Me Jurassic," highlights the urgency and action of the sequel in the way that Williams' cues for The Lost World played up the feral nature of the jungle, the utter loss of control in the franchise's second outing. In the second Jurassic World, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen (Chris Pratt) return to Isla Nublar to save the dinoaurs from an impending volcanic eruption. Since the park fell apart in the wake of the Indominus Rex's escape, the place is more wild, overgrown, and dangerous than ever before.
“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," Giacchino said.
Listen to the theme below:
“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,” added the composer.
But when it comes to playing on people's nostalgia of the series, he only wants to call back to Williams when it's "absolutely necessary" or "absolutely earned." Relying on familiarity is a dangerous prospect when you're trying to set up your own original sounds and themes. He used the scene in the first Jurassic Park where Grant and Satler clap eyes on the brontosauruses grazing for the first time. When we learn that they do indeed "move in herds," the beautiful music swells, cementing the moment in pop culture forever. It's the first moment we, as the audience, get to see the dinosaurs, and Williams' soundtrack has a lot to do with its memorability.
“It’s not about avoiding; it’s about being very careful about planning out the trajectory of the score," he said. “You want to be careful about doing that too much [nostalgia], 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.”