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SCORE: The Lost World Jurassic Park (John Williams) - A Complete Score Analysis


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Now here is a long post! I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. And if there are any correction suggestions fire away, especially on the nuts and bolts of music theory of which I profes

You can be sure that this analysis will most certainly receive an update after the John Williams Jurassic Park Collection is released. Which is just one day away!   Looking forward to both m

I like it when the keep the original manuscript titles on expanded releases. Though I can see why they changed that one cue title in 1941

Great and interesting post (although i only had time to read about half of it yet). I rediscovered The Lost World about half a year ago and it constantly climbs up my JW favorite ladder since then ;)

In my opinion it's an absolute unique entry in JW filmography. There is no other comparable score and this shows the genius of JW. He can deliver the best out of each genre of orchestral music. It's one of his top two energetic/kinetic scores only beaten by TOD in that respect.

And it certainly is his only true percussion dominated score. By the way does anyone know a better percussion dominated filmscore or is this the all time number one in that style of scoring?

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Mikko: :worship:

Excellent work, sir! I enjoyed reading it very much

And every new cue list, fan edit, and analysis makes me yearn for a complete release even more!

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I guess I should have posted this here :

Love it! Makes me want to watch the movie again hehe

some notes:

1) The original Koepp script for TLW was almost identical to the novel except that it had to take into account Hammond being alive and a few other small details. It had Ian developing a group like in the novel and going to reconstruct his reputation. Hints of similar themes are used in the final script/film but his main motivation changes completely.

The other major difference was Spielberg asked Koepp to write the script first rather than, like In Jurassic Park, having other hands (including Michael Crichton himself) have a go. Koepp had been the final writer of the script for JP (working from both Crichton's and another writers drafts) where as in The Lost World, Koepp never so much as phoned Crichton about it. They were developed separately. The evolution of the script to what we saw on the screen, however, I would argue, was mostly Speilberg who made a lot of interesting decisions during the production of the film.

Despite having a massive budget, Spielberg didn't utilize a lot of it. Originally, New Zealand had been spotted for location filming but due to the expense was dropped and exchanged for locations in Northern California which, although they look great, came at a price--they were filming a "tropical island" in winter and many night scenes reveal puffs of "breath." The price of building a backlot "Workers Village" also must have changed his decision on building on the backlot, shrinking the town from being a massive pterosaur ending, to simply a walk though, exchanging the ending for the San Diego Sequence, an Homage to "King Kong" and maintaining the set for years to be utilized for other productions such as "Sliders" and a few others. The Main building of course still stands and was reused in JP3.

2) The Main Theme from The Lost World to me always felt like an adventure but one of the reasons I felt was because of its minor key scale ascension that almost built up the scale as one walking towards something. Not very technical I'm afraid but it gives the impression.

3) It may be worth mentioning that many references to the original JP themes were cut and the Theme from The Lost World was tracked into a few scenes to add to the sense of adventure. One such scene that you mention but didn't have the music used as intended was the finale to the film. The Triumphant Island Theme is utilized but was not written for that scene.

4) You do later mention the tracking, but one thing I would say is that for the most part, editing was done with respect to the score.

For example, since "The Round Up" scene was extended and restructured which would have created major problems trying to edit the cue Williams wrote for it. In its' stead, they used edits from many other tracks (I imagine due to William's unavailability). Also, the usage of the Lost World theme in the finale (Ludlow's Death) is in a way, a continuation of a tradition started in Jurassic Park of showing the T-Rex in a triumphant hero sort of light. In Jurassic Park, the Rex's appearance was rescored with tracked music to make it heroic in the same way.

5) I would also mention that a lot of the 'motifs' are more percussive than melodic. For instance, each track seems to have a nearly unique percussion to it, with each instrument echoing the percussion at varying points.

That's all I can think of now heh

Great read!

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Thank you guys for all your kind words!

And thank you for the notes Goodmusician! I fully confess I did not go very deeply into the film production itself in my analysis but instead focused on the score as it was originally written. But I will try to incorporate the new info into the text soon as it is interesting to know how film making process affects the music. :)

EDIT: Some of your notes are now incorporated into the analysis. The unused and tracked music you noted is to a large extent mentioned in my original version of the analysis. I left the script and production info out of it for now. I may add it when I have time.

I also tweaked the text a bit and added a few points I noticed were missing.

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  • 11 months later...

This is an excellent analysis!

Minor error however: The Trek - This cue was NOT cut from the film in its entirety.

Part of the cue was actually used in the film: 3:20 to 3:59, in the intended section of the scene.

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Thank you and thanks for the correction! For some reason I missed that bit when comparing score to film. I'll adjust the section in question accordingly. :)

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Thank you! That is perhaps the best compliment one could give and I am happy if the analysis has been helpful in any small way in appreciating, understanding or seeing the score from a new perspective. :)

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Hmm... Well, anyway, Incanus and Jason, if (and probably when) an expanded edition of the score is released, what do you think the title of the cue would be?

I like to call it "Surveying the Wreckage."

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Williams uses the word WOMPI also in a cue title in the original JP score. It is quite unclear what does the composer mean by that, some kind of inside joke perhaps.

Surveying the Wreckage does not sound like a bad name at all.

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I like it when the keep the original manuscript titles on expanded releases. Though I can see why they changed that one cue title in 1941

From a faithful to composer's original intentions point of view I like it too but on the other hand cue titles in the manuscripts have often quite utilitarian names, e.g. Williams' often uses cue names like "x scene" (translating also directly to track names on albums: Bedroom Scene, Werewolf Scene etc.) which are not perhaps most poetic but do their job identifying the sequence they were written for. Then there are the hyper-poetic sentence long track titles composers like Horner use for soundtrack albums that are a bit too much. Something in the middle would be a good option or alternatively creating completely new track titles for expanded release but mentioning the originals as well so you could get both.
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Thanks guys, and I too am for the composer's original intentions, and if someone does not understand what the cue title signifies, then in-depth linear notes explain it no problem.

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  • 1 month later...

I would have check the film to be absolutely sure but off the top of my head the cue would have started at beginning of the scene in question.

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JohnnyD. Incanus' notes point out that the first 1:42 of the cue is dropped from the final film. Can't you just go to the point in the film where the cue does start, then rewind by 1:42 and start the full cue there to see how it would have lined up?

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Let me see, the first 1:42 of the cue was unused. The cue picks up right when Ludlow mentions the Velociraptors...

Hey, Incanus, do you think you can help me calculate this?

Would the cue have started immediately after the previous cue, Truck Stop,

or would it have started immediately after Sarah broke up the argument between Roland and Nick, when Nick almost got into a fight with Dieter?

I'm pretty sure the former is correct, but I need additional back up.

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I just checked the film and compared it with the cue and it seems that the cue would have come in right after the previous scene, and in original form would have started pretty much immediately after Truck Stop.

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I've been listening to this score all week and have begun to appreciate it because of the analysis. Sadly, I might have completely overlooked "The Island's Voice" motif if you all did not mention it.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 10 months later...

Well, none of us know for sure why Spielberg chose to dial out that one particular cue, you'd have to ask him. All we can do is speculate. I guess Spielberg felt the scene played better without music >shrug<

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It is not that the scene did not have music. Only a portion of the cue was edited out. What I think is that the unused portion probably scored Dieter's encounter with the Compy. That scene was probably edited in the final film to go after Ludlow steps in the T-Rex footprint. I think the scene originally was to happen like this. After Malcolm, Sarah, Kelly, Nick, and Eddie see the Parasaurolophus being brought down, the next scene is Dieter's encounter with the Compy. Then it would have gone to Roland calling Burke to identify the footprint, finishing with the shot of Roland loading his gun and Ludlow stepping in the footprint.

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Has anyone done an experiment to see the unused cues accompanying the scenes each one scores?

The Hunt, Up In a Basket (mostly unused), Reading the Map (partially unused), The Trek (mostly unused), Rialto Ripples (partially unused), High Bar and Ceiling Tiles (partially unused), Heading North (partially unused), Ludlow's Speech (partially unused), WOMPI's Wrench, Monster On the Loose (partially unused), Visitor In San Diego (partially unused), and Ludlow's Demise (mostly unused)?

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I think he means that has anyone compared the unused pieces of music to the picture and how they all sync.

Has anyone done something like that?

Well naturally I have! :wave:

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