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Save the dinos!

September 16, 2022

Oh the irony! “Jurassic World: Primal Ops” is soon to be extinct. It’s a mobile game and if you want to play it you had better be quick, as it will be discontinued in about a month from now. In the game you travel across North America saving dinosaurs. Having seen several documentaries such as “Jurassic Park” and “Jurassic World“, rescuing dinosaurs does not sound like a sensible idea to me, but what do I know?! I’m no mad scientist.

Anyway, enough about the game. It has music by Winifred Phillips, it’s good and you can hear parts of it in a video that Phillips put together, available on her website. Okay, let’s get the obvious question out of the way – no, it does not feature either John Williams’ or Michael Giacchino’s themes from the “Jurassic” movies. That said, the score does have some Williams-isms which you can hear in the string ostinati, string-and-wind combinations, and the horn writing. “Kingdom of Rex” is a lush cue featuring all the aforementioned elements, in fact the string ostinato resembles that of “Duel of the Fates”.

… a noble theme for strings and horns that’s as beautiful as anything from the whole “Jurassic” franchise…

“Jurassic Companion” offers a wonderful, noble theme for strings and horns that’s as beautiful as anything from the whole “Jurassic” franchise (e.g. in the video from 0.07). It appears in a few tracks, in various guises. Most of the score is quite action-orientated, driven by string ostinati and percussion (video from 2.02). Most rhythms include tuned percussion instruments and mallets, creating an ‘ethnic’ / jungle vibe, reminiscent of “The Lost World” (video from 6.20). Phillips even spices things up with guitars, giving it a sort-of Latino sound at one point (video from 2.50) and a Western sound at another (video from 3.15).

I’ve mentioned string ostinati a few times now, and it’s worth listening closely to them and how Phillips combines them with low woodwinds (possibly bassoon or bass clarinet), whilst higher winds dance around it. Very much in keeping with Williams’ style. There is also a heroic theme, best heard at the very end of the video, which… if you squint your ears a little… sounds like it could be a distant cousin to the original “JP” theme.

Winifred Phillips’ score for the video game “Jurassic World: Primal Ops” is effective and well orchestrated, but I must note that it’s all sampled (some sections more obviously so than others). Some listeners may find this off-putting, others (like me) may be wondering what libraries were used. If we’re comparing Phillips’ music to the dino-scores of Williams and Giacchino, then I’d have to say it doesn’t soar and roar quite as majestically as theirs, but bear in mind that “JWPO” is a whole different beast for a whole different platform. I very much enjoyed it. Sadly not available to buy at the moment, so enjoy the video and check out Phillips’ other music whilst you on her website. Her “Scraper: First Strike” was one of my favourite scores back in 2018.

Article by Pete Simons (c) 2022 Synchrotones

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