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Jurassic Park
Album Cover Art
1993 MCA Records
2013 Geffen Records
Album 2 Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:

Orchestrated by:
John Neufeld
Alexander Courage
Conrad Pope
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MCA Records/Universal
(May 25th, 1993)

Geffen Records
(April 9th, 2013)
Availability Icon
The 1993 MCA album is a regular U.S. release. There was also a limited edition picture disc released with identical contents. The picture disc had a slightly different cover and the CD itself has the Jurassic Park logo in shades of blue as well as the island itself. Since that limited edition CD has no extra music, its value is not above $20.

The 2013 expanded Geffen album is a regular commercial product but not available as a CD release. It was offered first as a lossy MP3 download and then later as a high-resolution download through outlets offering that option.
Nominated for a Grammy Award.
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Decorative Nonsense
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you want a superior John Williams crossover score that connects the high-flying fantasy of his early 1980's efforts with the more complex rhythms, instrumentation, and density of his 1990's scores.

Avoid it... on the lossy versions of the expanded 2013 album that, by their compressed nature, nullify the benefits of the remastering of this classic, large-scale adventure and horror work.
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WRITTEN 9/24/96, REVISED 7/28/13
Jurassic Park: (John Williams) With Michael Crichton's fabulously outlandish adventure story, the spectacular digital and live action effects of Industrial Light and Magic, and an odd assortment of entertaining character-actors, Steven Spielberg led the charge of Jurassic Park to immense box office returns that would spawn continued journeys back to the resurrected land of the dinosaurs in sequels to come. Budding DNA technology of the era made postulation about the reconstruction of dinosaurs a viable topic for mainstream imaginations, and Crichton took that thought down its natural commercial route, speculating that if dinosaurs were to be reborn in captivity, they would probably be exploited for profit in a zoo or amusement park. Needless to say, no adventure entry like this could pass without the natural horror element at its side, and before long, a nasty storm causes the safety mechanisms of "Jurassic Park" to fail and the monsters are unleashed upon the humans of the island. Spielberg expertly balanced the wonder of the concept with outright horror and a touch of humor, even going so far as to depict a T-Rex snatching a convenient human munchie directly off a toilet. The mania that surrounded Jurassic Park in 1993 was extraordinary, lines wrapping around theatres for an extended time and the media enamored by all the hype. The qualified success of Jurassic Park, in all its domination of the summer of 1993, somehow managed to leave famed composer John Williams behind. Despite a score of Herculean scale for Jurassic Park, Williams would overshadow his effort for Isla Nublar by composing Schindler's List later in the same year, a score that not only swept every major award for 1993, but is considered by many film score veterans to be among the most effective single film scores of the digital age. So outstanding was the reception to these two monumental scores that Williams would conduct them in concerts throughout 1994 and take a break from scoring assignments while doing so.

Compared to the great action themes that Williams has etched into the minds of mainstream movie-goers through the years, Jurassic Park has become surprisingly anonymous, with its bold identity rarely heard in public performances since the franchise's original trilogy reached its sputtering conclusion at the cinemas many years later. This does not mean, however, that Jurassic Park is no less a score; it was, and will always be, one of John Williams' most impressive masterpieces, despite the tepid criticism of the score that you will likely see from even the most veteran film score reviewers. With Jurassic Park, Williams was given an opportunity to merge nearly every one of his dominant compositional styles of the early 1990's, a fantastic era for the composer, by all accounts, into one score. And in the process of rolling all of these styles in to Jurassic Park, he managed to create a score with a magically cohesive core that is extremely potent in the film itself. Among the styles that fans of Williams enjoy in Jurassic Park are, first and foremost, the bold themes, with the primary identity of the island split into two separate ones (more on that later). The multitude of themes that receive full performances in Jurassic Park will remind collectors of Far and Away, while the broad spectrum of emotions covered in those themes, especially in their sensitivity, will recall the sadness of Hook. Varied electronic rhythms, sometimes brutal in execution, thump their way from the suspense of JFK. Relentless orchestral rhythms, often led by intense chopping of the string section, hail the glory of action cues all the way back to Raiders of the Lost Ark. Charming piano and light percussion solos, and their integration into an ever-increasing orchestral depth, relate back to E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and more recently raise the brightness of Home Alone. Williams only sparingly uses choral ensembles, though the employment of such a group in Jurassic Park is the icing on the cake, infusing the score with a delicious flavor that any fantasy film should be so lucky to have.

Perhaps the most amazing aspect of Williams' ability to combine all of these elements into one score is the wide range of genres the music was required to traverse in the film. From fantasy to adventure, the horror to the child-like, Jurassic Park covers miles of territory musically, making Williams' achievement all the more impressive in the film and interesting on album. Loyalty to the development of his themes is critical in Jurassic Park, for Williams' continuing collaboration with Spielberg would lead to projects with fabulous, but fractured themes (A.I.) or no dominant thematic presence whatsoever (Minority Report, War of the Worlds). There are few blocks of 30 seconds in Jurassic Park when Williams is not developing (or combining) his multitude of themes, providing the film with easy identification points and causing a fluid listening experience on album. In a somewhat irregular, but in this case understandable move, Williams graces Jurassic Park with two primary themes. Their purposes are obviously different: a bold and layered brass romp, aided by crashing cymbals and rolling timpani, introduce the audience to the island near the outset of the film and continues to define the adventure associated with the park. Conversely, Williams wrote what is technically "the theme" for the film in the form of a romantic string and choral piece that remains as noble a fantasy theme as any Williams has ever created. The composer boils this identity down to a solemn but lovely piano solo for the finale scene, suggesting sadness at the loss of life and a return to a more normal suburban existence, a surprisingly elegant choice for that scene. As the theme is extended over the end credits, listeners are treated to Williams pleasant interlude within the idea that rarely receives treatment during the actual film. It's interesting to note that Williams would return more heavily to the bolder brass theme in The Lost World, thus attaching its identity with the concept of the dinosaurs' return and placing the string and choir theme from Jurassic Park as the identity of the particular island in the first story.

Viewers of Jurassic Park are met with a bevy of strong secondary ideas in the score as well, introduced to the "panic theme" relatively early in the film. In the latter half of "Incident at Isla Nublar," after a nasty little accident with a raptor, Williams presents the rolling woodwind panic theme, often performed in the depths of the section. It rises through the clarinets and is eventually aided by strings in both that cue and at the outset of "High-Wire Stunts," where it builds to a phenomenal, full-ensemble crescendo of horror. As a churning resident of the lower ranges of the ensemble, this representation of growing panic is not only extremely effective in achieving an ominous emotional response, but also remains harmonious enough to enjoy apart from the visuals. Williams has, through the years, proven himself capable of creating remarkable dread using bass woodwinds, using these rolling techniques that extended through his Harry Potter scores. More obvious is the identity for the dreaded raptors that would fit any predator, taking the rhythmic movement of the ensemble even lower. Growing out of an animal-like bass growl used purely to signal impending trouble (as in "Coming Storm") is a highly mechanical four-note theme performed by harsh brass tones that remains a perfect identity for the equally mechanical killers, and it is malleable enough to be used as a foreshadowing device (as partially heard, for instance, in the opening titles). The static movement of the progressions is heard with nearly every form of emotional appeal in the work, extending into the realm of awe as necessary a few times. But by the flourishing and frenzied "Hungry Raptor," the idea envelopes the now-wild suspense motif from earlier in the score and is as determined in it malice as Williams' famed rhythmic motif from Jaws. The raptor motif lacks a natural opening note other than a bass statement on key, intriguingly staggered so that it starts unnervingly in the middle of each measure. While the raptor's theme is an extremely effective tool, it's a tougher pill to swallow on the album, and one of Williams' rare oversights in the score is the lack of this theme's foreshadowing in "Hatching Baby Raptor." Some listeners claim that there is a relationship between this rhythmic theme and Williams' iconic five-note idea from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, such similarity is likely coincidental.

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Average: 4.25 Stars
***** 10,301 5 Stars
**** 3,796 4 Stars
*** 1,912 3 Stars
** 831 2 Stars
* 756 1 Stars
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Read All Start New Thread Search Comments
Where is the La-La Land album of Jurassic Park?
Zack - February 26, 2017, at 1:23 p.m.
1 comment  (281 views)
Better with the lyrics
AhN - October 16, 2014, at 11:27 a.m.
1 comment  (830 views)
Listen to the "High-Wire Stunts" track at 3:51!!
Arman Yahyai - February 28, 2009, at 6:50 p.m.
1 comment  (1756 views)
One of the all time best!
Adam Lewis - May 3, 2007, at 1:37 p.m.
1 comment  (2379 views)
Better than Schindler's List, I think
A dissenting voice - May 2, 2007, at 10:54 p.m.
1 comment  (2296 views)
Brass Section (Hollywood Studio Symphony)   Expand >>
N.R.Q. - April 12, 2007, at 9:29 a.m.
8 comments  (13873 views)
Newest: December 13, 2009, at 5:19 a.m. by
Mark Malmstrøm

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
1993 MCA Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 70:20
• 1. Opening Titles (0:33)
• 2. Theme from Jurassic Park (3:27)
• 3. Incident at Isla Nublar (5:20)
• 4. Journey to the Island (8:52)
• 5. The Raptor Attack (2:49)
• 6. Hatching Baby Raptor (3:20)
• 7. Welcome to Jurassic Park (7:54)
• 8. My Friend, the Brachiosaurus (4:16)
• 9. Dennis Stelas the Embryo (4:55)
• 10. A Tree for My Bed (2:12)
• 11. High-Wire Stunts (4:08)
• 12. Remembering Petticoat Lane (2:48)
• 13. Jurassic Park Gate (2:03)
• 14. Eye to Eye (6:32)
• 15. T-Rex Rescue & Finale (7:39)
• 16. End Credits (3:26)
2013 Geffen Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 81:09

Notes Icon
The digital booklet of the 2013 Geffen album is useless, containing no information about the film or score, not even the following note from Steven Spielberg that was featured in the insert of the 1993 MCA album:

"Sixty-five million years ago, dinosaurs roamed the earth. Now, through the miracle of DNA, cloning and John Williams' talent, we're back in the Jurassic Era, listening to a score which I can only call classic, vintage Williams.

John and I haven't made a movie like this together since "Jaws," and it was a lot of fun for us to revisit a genre that we got such a kick out of 18 years ago.

When listening to this score, you should pay particular attention to the music of the raptors - as well as the haunting and enobling sounds of the brachiosaurus - in my opinion some of the most original writing John has ever done for the movies.

"Jurassic Park" marks the end of our first dozen films together. It's the longest personal working relationship I've ever had with anyone in the motion picture industry, and I consider it a privilege to call John my friend."
Copyright © 1996-2018, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Jurassic Park are Copyright © 1993, 2013, MCA Records/Universal, Geffen Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 9/24/96 and last updated 7/28/13.
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