November 2000 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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 edel 011261 2DNY [51:55]
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It's good to hear James Newton Howard back on form with this extremely colourful and evocative score. He has chosen to use an Afro-Caribbean style for much of the score in keeping with the lush 'equatorial' setting of the film.

The opening track 'Inner Sanctum/The Nesting Grounds' is a calm pastoral sound picture, cosy and maternal yet weighty too - these are after all gigantic creatures. (The music embraces wide dynamics so watch those floorboards.) The joyful dancing rhythms of this track become more jubilant in 'The Egg Travels', an infectious cue that really sparkles; there are jungle drums, elephantine lumberings, bird-like twitterings - from high woodwinds and assorted exotic treble percussion instruments - and heroic brass fanfares. This is a strongly rhythmic cue that it is hard to keep still to. This general mood is continued in 'The Courtship' where the joyous Caribbean-style dance rhythms are now conjoined by voices; in its later stretches this cue is romantically introspective. 'Aldar and Neera' is an engagingly quirky interlude. 'The End of the Island' begins wistfully and seems to indicate the dampness of a rain forest; then comes catastrophe and panic, the music growing ever urgent as the dinosaurs suddenly flee, against blaring trumpets and increasingly urgent timpani; but there are moments of heroism too. 'They're all gone' is aftermath poignancy, sad with something of a child-like dismay and questioning. 'Raptors/Stand Together' is full of jungle noises and desperately urgent rhythms indicating mortal danger. This is a very vibrant and thrilling cue with chase music that is complex in rhythm; very colourful and varied. 'Across the Desert' has a lumbering gait as the animals trudge across waste lands. It is heroic too; and there are wailing voices and sinuous rhythms.

After North African-style music that seems to indicate the parched and sun-baked desert, there is joy and relief at 'Finding Water'. 'The Cave' is another quiet interlude, a sanctuary of calm; it's a little playful too. 'The Carnotaur Attack' has Newton Howard's music baring its teeth as it rasps its way through an assault by these sharply toothed monsters. Sensual tambourines, drums and woodwinds play lovely North African style dancing rhythms in 'Neera Rescues the Orphans'. 'The Breakout' is another spectacular heroic and jubilant cue while 'It Comes with a Pool' contrasts happy, sparkling celebratory material with music that is both heavier indicating further future threats. 'Kron and Aldar Fight' is combative but the album ends on an upbeat with a very engaging 'Epilogue' that has more of those exotic rhythms and vividly coloured orchestrations, this time with a nice broad sweeping triumphant melody.

Inevitably, in a 55 minute score there is bound to be some repetition and moments of languor or a little too much heavy threatening or 'chase' music but all in all this is a very satisfactory listen.

Ian Lace


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