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 Character Themes and Leitmotifs

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BarrytheOnyx
Indominus rex
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PostSubject: Character Themes and Leitmotifs   Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:17 pm

John Williams and Michael Giacchino are certainly more than adept when it comes to ascribing music to certain characters. But one thing that tends not to be the focus of discussion is how well they succeed at this in the Jurassic Park franchise. but perhaps more overtly, they tend to be put to use more frequently for the dinosaur characters. As for myself, I love to read deeply into music and analyze how it helps tell the film's story. I'm mostly looking at themes that occur frequently within

Williams began the tradition with the memorably dark "Raptor Attack" piece that many associate with the Velociraptors of the franchise, and even Don Davis payed homage to that theme in his JP3 score. This amazing theme builds up atmosphere and tension, making the audience far more afraid of the Raptors, and especially the Big One, than the T. rex. By extension, the "T. Rex Rescue and Finale" cue is largely dominated by similar "Raptor" themed music, being wild, aggressive and bloodthirsty in character.



Giacchino delivers the chilling theme for the Indominus rex, heard right at the start of the film with "Bury the Hatchling", and it surfaces multiple times throughout the film. Part of its strength comes from its similarities to the Raptor themes in the first movie, with also a strange sing-song quality at the beginning, alluding to the creature's insanity. Though at times I wish it could be more menacing, it is at least consistent



While this next set of themes might be called "Owen's Theme" in the video, I think the association with the JW Raptor Squad and Blue most of all is more accurate. We never hear it when Owen is by himself or with Claire, but we do hear it whenever he's with the Raptors, especially when he's riding off into the jungle with them at his side. It has a wild, unpredictable quality to it, but isn't dark and sinister, underscoring the less tenuous human/raptor relationships presented in the film



The fourth, and possibly most controversial one to some, is the notional theme of the big icon of the franchise, the Tyrannosaurus. The T. rex doesn't really have a "main theme" necessarily, unless you count the very end of "T. Rex Rescue and Finale" on the JP soundtrack. However, my proposal is the famous "Journey to the Island" theme has more or less become the recurring heroic theme of the Tyrannosaurs of the franchise, having been used in this manner when Rexy saves the humans from the Raptors (the most famous example), the closing of The Lost World, and when Claire summons Rexy from Paddock 9.




Having said that, one could probably argue that the "Lost World" theme is a more accurate and fitting theme for the T. Rex as a wild, dangerous but ultimately impressive predator. As much as I enjoy the image of the JP T. Rex as a larger than life almost legendary creature, I think it might be time to reassert T. Rex's naturally ferocious and non-heroic image in future films.

What do you guys think? I would welcome any additional thoughts and suggestions when it comes to the musical language of the JP franchise.
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