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Awesome Music / Dinosaur

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Dinosaur has one of the most beloved soundtracks of the Disney Animated Canon, if not of cinema history period, thanks to the genius of James Newton Howard.

  • One of the most acclaimed things about the soundtrack is how timeless it feels. There was no music during the Mesozoic Era, so Howard was free to invent whatever kind of music he wanted for the score. Altogether, the soundtrack is incredibly huge, powerful, and epic.
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  • "Inner Sanctum/Nesting Grounds" is the track that opens the film. It's tender, sweet, and makes you feel like you're safe in your mother's arms, as Aladar's egg is shown under the loving gaze of his mother. The track then goes on to become a peaceful, magical accompaniment to our introduction to the prehistoric world. It's like a magical dream as we see the baby Parasaurolophus frolicking or the tremendous Brachiosaurus drinking.
  • Aladar's Leitmotif, heard from 1:20 to 2:03 in "Inner Sanctum/The Nesting Grounds", can be heard throughout the film usually when he's being kind or compassionate to others. The cue proves that if Aladar's mother had ever gotten to meet him, she'd be immensely proud of him for being as loving as she was.
  • "The Egg Travels" is without a doubt the Signature Song of Dinosaur. It starts off quiet and whimsical to accompany the Oviraptor stealing Aladar's egg, but soon becomes a powerful piece that only grows in scale as it goes on. It even makes a labyrinthodont swallowing Aladar's egg, only to spit it out, look epic! The tiny Pachyrhinosaurus look incredible, and then the chorus kicks in once the Pteranodon approaches the plateau teeming with dinosaurs. The music makes us feel like we're the ones going for a ride, and without the score, this scene wouldn't be nearly as incredible.
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  • "The Courtship" is a fun, bouncy theme for the lemurs' annual mating ritual. It's just as thrilling as the on-screen acrobatics of the lemurs are. At the end, it takes a slow, sad turn as Aladar privately laments being the only member of his kind on Lemur Island, but it's still quite lovely. This track also brings in the talented African chanting of Lebo M., who hasn't lost a beat since giving The Lion King (1994) his voice.
  • "The End of Our Island" is a track appropriate for the apocalypse. It starts off quiet, mysterious, and almost curious, as the lemurs and Aladar observe the meteor shower with awe and curiosity. Slowly, suspense starts building as on-screen, Yar senses that something is wrong. Finally, the meteor itself arrives. The track swells with an almighty chorus of strings and an eerie, ethereal people's chorus. As the lemurs watch in fear, we viewers know what this means - the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs has arrived, and thus the music is like a horrific "Pomp and Circumstance" as we know what's coming. Once it finally strikes, all hell breaks loose, and the score becomes frantic as Aladar and his family race to find safety. When the family escapes the island for the ocean, we feel the bittersweetness of it as the soundtrack is both epic and saddening as the group is forced to abandon their home.
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  • "They're All Gone" is the immediate aftermath of the previous track. It's soft, tender, and has a quiet One-Woman Wail as the survivors take in the destruction of the mainland and their home. When Suri realizes that her entire world has been destroyed, the music becomes very bittersweet as Plio can only hold her weeping daughter. Aladar has the group move on, and the music becomes a bit hopeful as he observes a flock of Icthyornis flying inland, but becomes even sadder when we zoom out to see the wrecked mainland.
  • "Raptors/Aladar Meets The Herd" note  starts off quiet, but the tension grows as we see the group surrounded by a pack of hungry raptors. The tempo swells and culminates in a loud blaring of horns as the raptor bares its' teeth. The ensuing chase music is frantic and epic, the accompanying piano perfectly representing the persistent threat of the raptors. Then the herd arrives, and the music swells even further to become an epic chorus of horns and people as the group meets the vast herd. Then Baylene arrives, and the music reaches its' climax as we take in the sight of this mighty giant stepping over Aladar like he was a small rock.
  • "Across the Desert" is one of the most powerful pieces on the soundtrack. The strings towards the beginning reflect Aladar's anxiety as he prepares for his first crossing, and then the chorus begins, accompanying the stomping of the herd as they begin. We are made to feel as downtrodden and weary as the slowly marching herd. When the camera zooms out to show the herd crossing a large dune at night, the chorus portrays our awe at the sight. Aladar comes across a dead Struthiomimus and there's a quiet, eerie vocalizing from the chorus as Aladar contemplates the creature's death - and that his friends could be the next to fall to the raptors. The tension then builds a bit before the raptors arrive to eat the kill. Then we have the climax of the piece, as we see the herd's silhouette cross another dune, outlined by the sunrise. It's one of the most powerful shots of the movie and really shows how down the herd is. At the end of the track, the Carnotaurs arrive, and the music plays up our terror at seeing two of the monsters we met in the prologue stalking the herd.
  • "Finding Water" is a lengthy piece depicting the herd's arrival at the lake. The music starts out more and more hopeful as they've finally arrived at the lake, and Eema is nearly delirious with joy. Then we see that the lake has apparently dried up, and the wind instruments help portray how desolate the place is. When Kron moves the herd out regardless, we feel the herd's pain as they reluctantly drag themselves forward, and as Eema sadly goes down into the lake bed to clearly die. When Aladar and Baylene find water, the score turns epic with the chorus from "The Egg Travels", and turns heartwarming as Aladar happily watches his family drink at last.
  • "Aladar and Neera" accompanies one of the film's best Action Film Quiet Drama Scenes. It starts with a slight edit of Aladar's theme as we find the herd resting peacefully, their thirst quenched. When Aladar goes to bring the orphans some water, the score is so pure and pleasant it can be literally compared to drinking water after a long time without it. Neera arrives, and the score turns sweet, incorporating Aladar's leitmotif at times, as he convinces her to stand up for others despite Kron's wishes. It's a tender piece and a warm one as the two fall in love - though the sinister horns at the end effectively portray Kron's disapproval.
  • "Aladar Moves the Herd", though erroneously titled, is effectively suspenseful and brings a mounting sense of fear as the herd flees the lake bed with the news that the Carnotaurs are nearby. Aladar's plea for the herd to consider the elders really does feel desperate, and Aladar's panic as he tries to get his friends to move faster are felt through the score. Finally, when it's clear they cannot catch up to the herd, a low horn blows, underlining their failure and new vulnerability. As night falls, when the Carnotaurs arrive at the lake bed, there's quiet, but anxious little horn that plays as they examine the huge amount of tracks...
  • "The Cave" begins with a sweet little horn to signal that our heroes will be safe for now. A series of strings give us Bruton's pain as he struggles to enter the cave, met by Aladar's leitmotif as he helps him inside. It tapers off a bit as the score seems to exhale in exhaustion, ready to tuck in for the night. The rest of the piece is made up of very peaceful strings and horns as the misfits settle in for the night, happy despite their predicament, while Bruton's strings accentuate the fact that he's ultimately alone and hurt because of his and Kron's mentality. The end of the track has a very quiet, sad set of horns and strings as Bruton admits to Plio that he feels like he is doomed to die here, and Plio tells him that he can choose whatever he wants to do with an arrangement of Aladar's leitmotif. The tail end is a hopeful, but still bittersweet horn as Bruton takes in Plio's plant.
  • "The Carnotaur Attack" accompanies one of Disney's most terrifying villain attacks. It starts off quiet, but suspenseful as the Carnotaurs approach the cave and close in. When Aladar is only mere feet away from them, the tension is so thick you could swear it was part of a dinosaur's hide. A volley of terrified horns signals that the Carnotaur has found Aladar thanks to the lightning outside, and there's another frantic chase as Aladar is nearly killed and eaten. Bruton then faces off with the Carnotaurs, accompanied by brutal horns and trumpets. The music only gets more frantic as Bruton desperately tries to flee the cave-in, but fails. Aladar and Plio find his corpse just as he dies, accompanied by a sad ringing of a bell as the old soldier passes on. The final scene is eerie and scary as the surviving Carnotaur leaves the cave, clearly swearing vengeance.
  • "Neera Rescues the Orphans" is a brief piece, only a minute long. It's mostly depicting the struggle of the ever-shrinking herd in the final stretch to the Nesting Grounds, but is topped off by a sweet scene of Neera helping the orphans, and a vocal version of Aladar's leitmotif plays as she searches fruitlessly for him on the horizon.
  • "Breakout" is another contender for most powerful tracks in Disney history. Aladar has given up hope, and the soundtrack slowly begins to swell a bit as Baylene rallies him with one of the most powerful speeches in Disney history. Then the gloves come off and the sweet old Brachiosaur begins mercilessly pounding away at the dead end, and the real part of the track begins. With each clash of cymbals, the dinosaurs get closer and closer to proving how strong they really are. Pounding and pounding away, the score keeps building and building until at last they break through. The chorus builds and builds as the group finds they have arrived to the Nesting Grounds! A spectacular rendition of the chorus from "The Egg Travels" plays as they take in the sights of the fruits of their standing together. No matter how bleak things were, these misfits still banded together and got shit done.
  • "It Comes With A Pool" starts with a happy, slightly faster reprise of the chorus from "The Courtship", before it quickly turns into a rescue mission as Aladar goes after the herd. The score is desperate as Aladar races to save Kron and Neera - and turns highly suspenseful as Aladar finds the carcass of a Stygimiloch and encounters a Carnotaur. Aladar barely escapes without detection, and the music swells again as we realize how close the Carnotaur is to the herd.
  • "Kron and Aladar Fight" really kicks off with a quick, short, but no less powerful reprise of "Breakout" as Aladar returns to the herd. The ensuing score is quiet but intense as Aladar and Kron argue over their next course of action. The score then reprises the battle between Bruton and the Carnotaurs as Kron attacks Aladar and the two battle for leadership - but when Neera betrays him, there's a slow swell of Aladar's leitmotif as the herd chooses him as their leader.
  • "Carnotaur Standoff" is the climax of the film and it doesn't disappoint. It may reprise the track from "Raptors", but this is the scene it was truly destined for. The scene is already epic enough, but the chorus and, well, everything fits so well that it becomes one of the most powerful climaxes in history. Then when Kron is cornered, there's a One-Woman Wail that accurately portrays how he's trapped like a rat and he has no one to blame for his predicament but himself. The ensuing fight is accompanied by down and dirty horns and trumpets. When Aladar charges the Carnotaur for the final time, you can feel his aggression and frustration as he clearly resolves to end it once and for all. The end of the track is a somber, morose piece initially as Neera mourns Kron. It turns hopeful again as the herd finally arrives at the Nesting Grounds, accurately portraying the herd's relief and joy as Aladar welcomes them home.
  • "Epilogue" caps off the film with a sweet, bouncy tune as the group gathers around Aladar and Neera's nest, and it becomes a full reprise of "The Egg Travels", only this time you feel the happiness and joy of the cast as they celebrate the birth of the new generation and their own happy ending.
  • "End Titles" combines the highlights of "The Egg Travels", "Breakout", and "Raptors/Meeting the Herd". It also features a sweet remix of "Aladar and Neera" between "The Egg Travels" and "Breakout". A peaceful rendition of Aladar's theme on horns plays, and closes out the film and this wonderful soundtrack.

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