"Unlike most dinosaurs, there’s nothing heavy about James Newton
Howard’s score for the latest Disney designed world of prehistoric pixel patterns.
From the new-age ambient woodwind of the opening Inner Sanctum/The Nesting Ground to the
final optimistic fanfare of Epilogue, Howard combines orchestra, keyboards, percussion and
choir to weave a sonic fabric that’s as fresh as a fossil in terms of originality, as
substantial as the brain of a brontosaurus in terms of serious classical composition, yet
as warm as a woolly mammoths natural windcheater in terms of light, easy-listening
Without a specific musical culture as a reference point for the Jurassic setting,
Howard often plumps for an African jungle-influence to enhance the evocation of a
legendary land-of-beasts. The rhythmic vocal harmonies – with arrangements courtesy
of Lebo M (best known for his work on The Lion King) – particularly effective in this
regard. The marriage, in The Courtship, of choral chants and jiving jungle drums is an
exuberant highlight of the score.
Howard is a master of sonic mood painting and the action cues are all appropriately
adventurous, the carnivore cues appropriately sinister and menacing, and the triumph cues
appropriately celebratory. One hardly needs to see the movie. Follow the track titles, let
the imagination wander to the romantic melodies, and a magical mythical tale of a world
lost in time unfolds. See, I’m starting to come across like a Disney tagline –
the influence of the CD playing in the background as I write.
Hardly likely to be remembered as long as the Dinosaurs, this score is nevertheless a
joyous and entertaining romp that grabs the attention as easily as a rampaging