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Section Header
The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
John Williams

Orchestrated by:
John Neufeld
Conrad Pope

MCA Records/Universal

Release Date:
May 20th, 1997

Also See:
Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park III
Schindler's List
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

Audio Clips:
1. The Lost World (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (243K)
Real Audio (151K)

4. The Hunt (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (243K)
Real Audio (151K)

8. Hammond's Plan (0:30):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (243K)
Real Audio (151K)

9. The Raptors Appear (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Regular U.S. release.

  Nominated for a Grammy Award.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park
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Sales Rank: 76993

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Buy it... if you want to hear John Williams' most violently brutal, percussively rhythmic score of the digital age, with several propulsive cues of rambling, exotic power.

Avoid it... if you expect this sequel score to make any intelligent use of the classic themes from Jurassic Park, a circumstance that disappointed many fans of the composer.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park: (John Williams) It had been four years since Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park dazzled audiences with its thrilling premise, tight execution, and awe-inspiring special effects. By 1996, however, blockbuster movies had exhausted the usual array of disaster scenarios with the same style of effects, and The Lost World: Jurassic Park had to rely on another compelling idea to continue interest in the franchise. Unfortunately, when author Michael Crichton was hired specifically to write another book that would inspire the sequel to Jurassic Park, he fell into the trap of conventional, formula-driven narratives. Unlike the first film, when the purpose of the horror was to question whether or not the likable characters could live long enough to escape the island, The Lost World: Jurassic Park is nothing more than an exhibition for cheap terror tactics and one big rip-off of King Kong at the end. Shallow characters, familiar rainy nighttime settings, and a lack of logical continuity with the first film's story caused the film to sink with critics. Audiences still went to the film and made it successful, but they typically didn't go back for another viewing. Of the souring aspects of the sequel, none was as surprising as the score by the usually reliable John Williams. The maestro had gone since Jurassic Park without an action, adventure, or fantasy score, and his fans were extremely eager to hear him expand upon the popular previous entry. Williams' work for Jurassic Park has been criticized by a small group within the veteran film score community, but it remains an extremely intelligent balance between magnificent, harmonic beauty and technically masterful terror. Countless themes and motifs of significant strength graced Jurassic Park, filling every moment with a unique musical identity that kept the score from ever losing its appeal. For The Lost World, Williams, like Spielberg, lost focus and failed to provide the same level of intelligence.

It's easy to get the impression that Williams was making a concerted attempt to create a completely new thematic and textural landscape for "Site B." This second island in the overarching story is treated by Williams with almost a completely separate set of rules and identities. Understandably, the sequel score is much darker than the original. It's a far more brutal and violent score in every sense, leaving behind the charm and dreamy mystique of Jurassic Park. Williams' primary theme for the sequel is its only really well developed idea, which is a major surprise considering the complexity of the first score. This alone isn't a disappointing factor; Williams has often integrated one or two new dominant themes into the fabric of a prequel's material. But two aspects of the incorporation of themes into The Lost World are somewhat disturbing. First, the title theme for the sequel is nowhere near the usual standard of excellence that Williams fans have come to expect. The heavy emphasis on exotic percussion rhythms is promising, and they would go on to define the score. But the theme itself, with its slowly developing progression and stagnant personality, fails to create an atmosphere of convincing fear or awe. It plods through the steps with the standard assistance of Williams' counterpoint and orchestrations, but it's not a particularly malleable theme with which to mold an entire score. As expected, it only receives interesting treatment in "Malcolm's Journey" and "The Hunt" outside of the finale and concert suite. The general rhythms performed by a variety of medium-range drums and slapping metallic percussion, often aided by wild woodwind accents, are the better definition of the score's personality. The score's greatest asset are the many cues that make use of these wild and relentless rhythms, and Williams often accentuates them with the sound effects of creepy adult voices howling at a distance. For a fan of percussion, The Lost World is a dream come true. Williams' use of both the percussion and ethnic synthesizer effects here would prepare him well for the early portions of his upcoming score for Amistad.

Outside of the major performances of the title theme and the lengthy sequences of powerfully percussive rhythms, The Lost World offers little to get excited about. There are several periods of minimalistic underscore that fail to extend the music's own narrative, some of which go on for five minute intervals. Unlike the first score, there are sections of The Lost World that are somewhat non-descript and bordering on lazy, including "The Island Prologue," "The Trek," and "Finding Camp Jurassic." The lack of enthusiasm in the details of these cues is a surprise given Williams' tendency to fill every moment of his scores with some form of development. There are a few individual cues that merit discussion, however. The jungle rhythms in "Rescuing Sarah" are merged with some outrageously rambunctious brass bursts that eventually lead to a conclusion of the cue that introduces a theme singular to this scene. It's among Williams' most heroic bursts outside of his Star Wars scores and causes a bit of head scratching due to its lone appearance. "The Stegosaurus" is the score's only slight return to the wonder of the original. Also of note is "The Raptors Appear," which adapts some musical ideas from the late moments of the raptor's battle with the T-rex at the end of Jurassic Park. In between obnoxiously shrieking piccolo lines, the highlight of the entire score exists in eight seconds starting at 2:40. That's it... eight seconds. And these eight seconds are the only time you'll hear a choir (real or synthetic) at any time during the length of the album. The shrieking woodwinds in the highest ranges of their capabilities may be difficult to tolerate, but they do expose one of the score's major problems: it's mix. The rambling percussion, both in the specialty instruments and the timpani, are presented in a vibrant, engaging form. The orchestra, however, seems muddy and distant by comparison. The Los Angeles recording for The Lost World is substandard in its flat performances, and it fails to take advantage of the wide soundscape in the extreme bass and treble that Williams had written on paper for the score. That's why some of the score's most enjoyable moments feature the percussion rhythms alone.

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The other, more disappointing aspect of The Lost World, without question, is the lack of loyalty to the themes of the first film. With so much great material to adapt and expand upon here, Williams chose to ignore most of it. Of the major cues, only the secondary theme from Jurassic Park makes token appearances. This theme, the brassy one for the theme park concept, is faintly hinted at in "The Trek" and "Finding Camp Jurassic" before a forced usage in full during a transitional scene similar to the first film's introduction to the island. Its use during the end titles doesn't really count, because that time is used for a presentation of the suite arrangement of the two primary themes from Jurassic Park as well as the mystery theme on horn and the crescendo of brass heard during that film's great T-rex finale. The actual primary theme of Jurassic Park, representing the dinosaurs' resurrection with beautiful harmony, is completely absent in the score until the piano signals the start of the suite at the conclusion of the film. Nowhere in the major cues does Williams adapt the menacing terror motif for deep strings and woodwinds, the four-note raptor theme, or any of the other ideas. While it's understandable that Williams was attempting to move the series forward, the lack of any use of these themes in fragments or in whole is inexcusable, especially with several logical opportunities to do so. As such, The Lost World would be the composer's most disappointing sequel score until perhaps Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. By the end of the score, Williams has abandoned even the new title theme. As a disclaimer, it should be mentioned that all of this analysis is based on the 70-minute commercial album and the film itself. Double-CD bootlegs with sound effects have long existed on the secondary market, and they may include more references to both the old and new themes. Overall, The Lost World would be satisfying as a stand-alone score. But as part of a franchise, it fails extend the musical narrative in an intelligent fashion. It was long rumored that either John Williams or James Horner would score the belated Jurassic Park III, but Don Davis would earn the job and he, more so than Williams, would return to the original film's material. Until then, The Lost World would leave a sour aftertaste for many fans. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For John Williams reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.74 (in 69 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.59 (in 338,226 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.93 Stars
Smart Average: 3.71 Stars*
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   I liked the score...
  Richie -- 7/18/11 (6:40 p.m.)
   Re: I guess I have a soft spot...
  Scott M. -- 7/3/09 (10:35 a.m.)
   I guess I have a soft spot...
  Indiana Schwartz -- 2/25/09 (12:27 p.m.)
   Re: The Lost World
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   The Lost World
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 68:58

• 1. The Lost World (3:33)
• 2. The Island Prologue (5:03)
• 3. Malcolm's Journey (5:44)
• 4. The Hunt (3:30)
• 5. The Trek (5:23)
• 6. Finding Camp Jurassic (3:03)
• 7. Rescuing Sarah (4:01)
• 8. Hammond's Plan (4:30)
• 9. The Raptors Appear (3:43)
• 10. The Compys Dine (5:07)
• 11. The Stegosaurus (5:20)
• 12. Ludlow's Demise (4:27)
• 13. Visitor in San Diego (7:37)
• 14. Finale and Jurassic Park Theme (7:54)

(Track lengths not listed on CD or cover)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The album is packaged with a paper and cardboard 3-D pop-up format that is extremely annoying. It does not contain the standard note from Spielberg for a Williams album, nor does it even provide the usual recording credits expected on any soundtrack album.

  All artwork and sound clips from The Lost World: Jurassic Park are Copyright © 1997, MCA Records/Universal. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 5/15/97 and last updated 2/18/08. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1997-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.