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Dinosaur by James Newton-Howard

Tracksounds Rating = 8/10

DINOSAUR original soundtarck  by James Newton Howard  from

Composed and Orchestrated by James Newton Howard
Orchestrations by Brad Dechter and Jeff Atmajian
Electronic Score produced by J.T. Hill
Vocal Arrangements by Paul Salamunovich and Lebo M
Released by Disney Records- May 2000

Track Title Time Rating Disney's Daring Step
by Christopher Coleman

Departing from the formula that has brought Disney millions, if not billions, of dollars over the last ten years or so, the release of Dinosaur, the digital animation extravaganza, has been delivered complete with full orchestral magnificence and, suprisingly, NO pop songs by Elton John, Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion, Michael Bolton or any other poposity-  a daring, but welcome, move in both cases.

For this five-year-in-the-making-flick, Disney brought on composer James Newton Howard, who has given the film music world memorable Disney efforts such as The Rescuers Down Under.   Howard continues to demonstrate his diverse composing talents as two of his other recent works, Snow Falling on Cedars, and The Sixth Sense,  bare very little resemblance to Dinosaur.  Still all of them fit their respective films perfectly and are high quality efforts.

Teaming up with Lebo M, who made his indelible mark on The Lion King with Hans Zimmer as well as in the feature film, The Power of One, by laying down absolutely breath-taking vocals, James Newton Howard breathes a blast of creative, musical life into the already creative-laden film.

Howard’s score is marked with all of the things that make for a winning score in the minds of most film music fans:  Powerful, full, orchestra; deep and wondrous vocals; driving percussions; simple yet beautiful melodies.

The first few tracks of the CD establish the main theme and give us the highest concentration of enjoyable music.  Aside from the very entertaining track 8, Across the Desert, the CD falls into a bit of a lull in the middle with stock action/suspense tracks and underscore.  The CD does rebound towards its conclusionl, as the most of the main themes are reprised in the final track, Epilogue.

Experiencing the music outside of the film has brought a bit of a dilemma.  While it is awe inspiring, dynamic, and certainly alive, there is something missing.  This un-named ingredient can be found in many scores of overall lesser quality, but it is that essence which brings one back for repeated listens and causes the score to become better and better with each successive listen.  Of course, this missing ingredient is purely subjective.  Some will find this ingredient-x in big scores like Gladiator or Air Force One, while others in much subtler scores such as Searching for Bobby Fisher or Stepmom.  In any event, it is that “something” that prevents Dinosaur from earning an even higher score.

As strange as it is to have a whole paragraph dedicated to the only real negative point regarding this score, it is significant enough to mention.  Having mentioned it, I will go on to conclude by stating this James Newton Howard’s score for Dinosaur is certainly one of the top score of 2000 and should easily secure a number of impressive awards.  Hopefully, Disney will continue to see the value of full orchestral scores for their animated film releases in the years to come.

1 Inner Sanctum/ The Nesting Grounds 2:57 ****
2 The Egg Travels 2:43 *****
3 Aladar Et Neera 3:28 ****
4 The Courtship 4:12 ***
5 The End of Our Island 4:00 ***
6 They're All Gone 2:08 ****
7 Raptors/ Stand Together 5:37 ***
8 Across the Desert 2:24 *****
9 Finding Water 4:13 ***
10 The Cave 3:40 ****
11 The Carnotaur Attack 3:52 ***
12 Neera Rescues the Orphans 1:12 ***
13 Breakout 2:43 ****
14 It Comes with a Pool 3:01 ***
15 Kron Et Aladar Fight 2:57 ***
16 Epilogue 2:34 ****
  Total Playing Time 51:36    



 Originality 8  

Music Selection


Themes/ Composition


CD Length


Track Order




Final Score

Post your thoughts about Dinosaur or this review at The Dominium

Other reviews:

I applaud Disney for letting James Newton Howard write a very classy score and not undermining his efforts with banal pop songs. Yes, there are NO pop songs on the album. There's a few "cute" moments here it's apparent that you're listening to Disney product, but for the most part the score is quite mature and doesn't cater to the youngins'. *****

Tim Perrine - Cinemusic

James Newton Howard

When I heard James Newton Howard's music in the trailer for Dinosaur I knew we were in for a treat. Luckily the wonderful trailer music made its way onto the soundtrack album. This is great, of course, but even greater is the fact that the music is just as good throughout the entire CD - the trailer music was no exception. I rarely enjoy every single minute of music on a CD, but Dinosaur really is stunning from start to finish. *****

Andreas Lindahl - Score!


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DINOSAUR original soundtarck  by James Newton Howard  from


All artwork from Dinosaur is exclusive property of Disney Records (c) 2000.  Its appearance is for informational purposes only.


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