Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Music of Star Trek, Part III

I decided to group the top five soundtracks for the Star Trek franchise all together because they're all so excellent that it was really hard to figure out which ones I liked the most. I honestly was torn when coming up with this list of the top 5 Star Trek scores because the music for each film is really excellent.

5. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier / Jerry Goldsmith
If there is one shining light in the mess that is Star Trek 5, it's Jerry Goldsmith's superb score which manages to rise above the fray. It's wonderful to hear the return of Goldsmith's theme for the Enterprise that he originated in The Motion Picture, as well as more extensive use of his Klingon battle theme. His music for the mountain climbing sequence at the beginning of the movie is beautiful and it's a shame it's only other use is in the film's penultimate scene to represent the friendship between Kirk, Spock and McCoy which is a major part of the movie. It's a very minor gripe, though, about a score that is otherwise excellent.

Highlights: 3. The Mountain / 7. Target Practice / 8. A Tall Ship / 12. Open the Gates / 14. Without Help / 20. The Barrier / 21. A Busy Man / 22. An Angry God / 23-24. Let's Get Out of Here / 25. Cosmic Thoughts / 26. Life Is a Dream (End Credits)


4. Star Trek: First Contact / Jerry & Joel Goldsmith
After hearing it's beautiful French Horn theme for the first time in the movie theater in 1996, I was hooked on this soundtrack. Jerry and Joel Goldsmith's soundtrack for Star Trek: First Contact was the first movie soundtrack I ever owned and thus has a special place in my heart. The music is top notch from the father and son duo, though some of the music for the Data/Borg Queen scenes is a little too low-key for my taste. Otherwise, from its suspenseful and menacing use of the Borg theme to the main theme representing First Contact with the Vulcans, this remains one of my favorites in the franchise.

Highlights: 1. Main Title / 6. Red Alert / 14. Retreat / 23. Bridge Argument / 24. This Far, No Further / 25. Evacuate / 28. Flight of the Phoenix / 29. First Contact / 30. End Credits


3. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan / James Horner
Having to follow-up Jerry Goldsmith's Oscar-nominated score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture would seem like a daunting task that no one could live up to yet young composer James Horner rose to the occasion for The Wrath of Khan. Both Horner's primary and secondary themes soar with great beauty that stand apart from Goldsmith's Enterprise theme. His scoring during the film's space battle scenes is fantastic, perfectly capturing the suspense and thrill of what we see onscreen. Horner's score is an instant Trek classic!

Highlights: 1. Main Title / 5. Enterprise Clears Moorings / 7. Spock / 8. Kirk Takes Command & He Tasks Me / 10. Surprise Attack / 11. Kirk's Explosive Reply / 17. Battle in the Mutara Nebula / 18. Enterprise Attacks Reliant / 19. Genesis Countdown / 20. Spock (Dies) / 21. Amazing Grace / 22. Epilogue & End Credits

2. Star Trek: The Motion Picture / Jerry Goldsmith
Jerry Goldsmith set the bar pretty high with his score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. From his theme for the Enterprise (which would go on to be the main theme for Star Trek: The Next Generation) to his Klingon battle theme and his music for the V'Ger flying sequences, Goldsmith's music manages to stand above the movie it helps narrate. If there was a Star Trek score that should've taken Best Original Score in the Academy Awards, this is the one that deserved it the most. Full review

Highlights: 2. Main Title & Klingon Battle / 4. Floating Office / 5. The Enterprise / 8. Leaving Drydock / 11. Spock's Arrival / 13. Meet V'Ger / 15. V'Ger Flyover / 18. Games & Spock Walk / 21. Inner Workings / 23. The Meld & A New Start / 24. End Title / 25. Ilia's Theme

1. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country / Cliff Eidelman
It would seem fitting that the #1 spot this list should go to Jerry Goldsmith's The Motion Picture. At the end of the day, Cliff Eidelman's one visit to the franchise in The Undiscovered Country rests as my favorite score. As soon as its first six notes begin to play you know that this is going to be something different and it truly is the most unique score in the entire franchise. Eidelman and director Nicholas Meyer were really smart to not worry about topping what came before with another fantastic march but instead create a beast of its own for this movie and it really works. Eidelman's music captures the suspense wonderfully while also doing a remarkable job scoring the quiet moments. His majestic theme representing the crew (used very sparingly) is outstanding especially in its rendition at the end of the movie. And who can go without mentioning the music during the climactic race to prevent war as the music grows louder and quicker with each passing moment. It's a shame Eidelman's career hasn't been bigger and I wish that he would get the opportunity to revisit this franchise for he truly delivered a classic score.

Highlights: 1. Overture / 3. Spacedock & Clear All Moorings / 4. Spock's Wisdom / 6. Assassination / 7. Surrender for Peace / 11. Rura Penthe & First Sight of Rura Penthe / 13. First Evidence & The Search / 14. Escape from Rura Penthe / 18. Dining On Ashes / 19. The Battle for Peace / 20. The Undiscovered Country / 21. Sign Off / 22. Star Trek VI Suite

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