The latest film in the popular dinosaur franchise, Jurassic World, has been shattering box office records left and right. It’s even on track to rival James Cameron’s Avatar as the top grossing film of all time (but let’s be honest, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is going to dominate). Most of the focus surrounding the film has centered on leading man Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard running in high heels, or the animatronics used for some of the dinosaurs. But little has mentioned a frequently unsung hero of a film, the musical composer.
The man behind the music, Michael Giacchino, has been making waves in the big blockbuster arena this year. He has already composed the scores for Jupiter Ascending, Tomorrowland, Inside Out, and, of course, Jurassic World. His impressive body of work is heavy on the sci-fi genre, but he’s also known for a handful of epic animated films. In 2010, Giacchino won an Oscar for helping us all shed a few tears in the Pixar film, Up.
NPR recently interviewed the master composer on his inspiration, and he sighted Steven Spielberg as one of the greats. “He was my first film school teacher, really, unbeknownst to him," Giacchino says. "When I wasn't able to get myself to a theater to re-watch, you know, E.T. for the hundredth time, or Raiders of the Lost Ark, or Star Wars, the only way to relive those movies was to listen to the soundtrack.”
Of course, the mastermind behind the soundtracks in the majority of both Spielberg’s and George Lucas’ films is none other than John Williams. Williams produced the iconic scores behind such film greats as the Indiana Jones franchise, Star Wars, Jaws, Harry Potter, and the original Jurassic Park films. Following in his footsteps is clearly no easy task but he explained that it felt natural and “It was just like coming home, in this weird, strange way.” He also expressed his love of dinosaurs. “It was dinosaurs, it was everything that sort of launched me into this insane business.”
Speaking of dinosaurs, when asked how Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow addressed the legend’s original theme, Giacchino told Screen Rant, “We both love Jurassic Park and the first thing we both wanted to do as fans, we both decided there is no way we’re going to make this movie without that theme somewhere, but it has to be earned and it has to mean something. We don’t just want to slap it in because so the use of the theme was really in the reveal of a promise that was made in the first movie, when they were saying: “We’re going to build a dinosaur park,” and that’s what’s wonderful about this one, it’s delivering on that promise.”
Spielberg and Trevorrow aren’t the only directors who have musical crushes on Giacchino, J.J. Abrams, as a fan of some of the video games featuring his music, contacted him to work on his projects. His musical genius can be heard on ALL of Abrams movies, as well as his television shows Alias and Lost. Abrams explains some of the magic: "He's someone who, since I first met him, felt like he was a childhood friend, though he wasn’t. I think the thing that makes his music so emotional and so relatable and potent is because he has a big heart. And while he can write incredibly intense and dark stuff too, what I love about Michael is that it all comes from a sense of humanity and humor."
There’s no denying how intense the musical force is in our lives and film is no different. The right composition can make or break a scene or if you’re really asking for it as a director, an entire film. Michael Giacchino is clearly on track to dominate the box office much like his friend and inspiration, John Williams.
Did you see Jurassic World? Tell us your thoughts on the film, and Giacchino’s musical score in the comments below!