Friday, May 15, 2009

Soundtrack Review: Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Jerry Goldsmith)

Despite the film itself being a disappointment, Jerry Goldsmith's score is not, going on to become known as the definitive Star Trek movie score. Goldsmith's score is completely memorable, establishing timeless themes, including a main theme that would not only represent the Enterprise, but also be later used a the theme for Star Trek: The Next Generation, cementing its place as the definitive Star Trek theme.

Goldsmith's score is very diverse and innovative, as it is heard in many different forms from majestic and stately (Track 2 - Main Title & Track 4 - Total Logic) to romantic (Track 6 - The Enterprise). In addition to a main theme, he always created two other very memorable leitmotifs for the film. The first we are introduced to is the theme to represent the Deltan navigator Ilia and her romance with Will Decker (Track 1 - Ilia's Theme). The theme remains Star Trek's only love theme. Goldsmith spreads it throughout his score, particularly at the film's climax (Track 15 - Vejur Speaks & Track 16 - The Meld). It remains a highlight of the score.

The second theme is the Klingon theme (Track 3 - Klingon Battle). The theme perfectly represents Star Trek's most popular alien villains, and would later be used to represent the herocis of Lt. Worf in Goldsmith's TNG scores. While composers for both later movies and later series would try to create a theme of their own for the Klingons, no theme remains as successful or popular as the theme originally crafted by Goldsmith.

Goldsmith's score for the longer, effects-driven sections of the movie are some of his finest writing, mixing the right amount of suspense, mystery and drama that was otherwise lacking in the movie itself. Goldsmith's innovation of what would become known as the "Blaster Beam" (heard at the beginning of Track 3 - Klingon Battle and most of "the Cloud" portions of the score) is a trademark of Goldsmith's ability to come up with new and different sounds to enhance the universes he has been assigned to musically represent.

Goldsmith's theme is a classic, and while it was nominated for an Academy Award in 1979, it's a shame that it did not receive the Oscar itself as it truly deserved. Jerry Goldsmith set a very high standard that would not be easy to live up to. This is truly a great, epic score that unfortunately was far superior to the movie it represented. Whether it's fair or not, every Star Trek score to-date is compared to this Goldsmith gem.

(of 5)

Track Listing
1. Ilia's Theme (3:03)
2. Main Title (1:24)
3. Klingon Battle (5:28)
4. Total Logic (3:44)
5. Floating Office (1:04)
6. The Enterprise (6:00)
7. Leaving Drydock (3:31)
8. Spock's Arrival (2:01)
9. The Cloud (5:00)
10. Vejur Flyover (4:59)
11. The Force Field (5:04)
12. Games (3:42)
13. Spock Walk (4:21)
14. Inner Workings (3:03)
15. Vejur Speaks (3:51)
16. The Meld (3:10)
17. A Good Start (2:27)
18. End Title (3:16)


Dave said...

I have not listened to the soundtrack in may be time to listen to it again.

Evie said...

Goldsmith scores are usually good. Too bad he's not as famous as John Williams.