The Soundtrack


By • Jan 1st, 2003 •

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20th Anniversary Collectors’ Edition Composed and conducted by Jerry Goldsmith

Not a new release but well worth a mention.

There aren’t many people on the planet Earth (don’t worry, this isn’t the plot summary) who are unaware of the history of the Star Trek phenomenon: the cancelled series; the letter writing campaigns; the syndicated re-runs etc., etc until finally in 1979, after over ten years in hyperspace, and to Trekdom’s delight, came Star Trek – The Motion Picture.

Though more to do with the successes of Star Wars, Close Encounters and Alien than any letter writing campaign, our old friends Kirk, Spock and McCoy were back in albeit an old story but at least it was a new ship. Veteran director Robert Wise was brought in as helmsman on what was then the most expensive movie ever made, and it shows. It is a breathtaking science fiction film, but the Trekkers argue ‘not a great Star Trek film’ (how ungrateful can you get?). However, the nicknamed Star Trek – The Motionless Picture not only relaunched the USS Enterprise, but an entire franchise that continues to this day and which shows no signs of letting up. The rest, as they say, and somewhat paradoxically in this case, is history.

It was a stroke of genius to hire the undeniably great Jerry Goldsmith to compose the score. No stranger to sci-fi scores (Planet of the Apes, Seconds, Logan’s Run, The Illustrated Man, Alien, also TVs Twilight Zone, Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) his human themes are gorgeously swashbuckling and reminiscent of Ralph Vaughn Williams in their romantic sweep, and capture a ‘seafaring’ side of the Enterprise and her crew, suitably echoing creator Gene Roddenberry’s inspiration for Captain Kirk, one Horatio Hornblower RN. His main theme is now synonymous with the Star Trek universe, having been chosen to cue Star Trek the Next Generation and several subsequent Trek movies. His alien themes are eerie, majestic, mysterious and suitably… well… alien (but of course he’d had Alien to practice on) and feature stunning use of a unique instrument called ‘The Blaster Beam’, this instrument incidentally being developed and played by Craig Huxley, who as a child actor had appeared in two early Trek episodes, once as Kirk’s nephew.

This 20th Anniversary Collectors’ Edition features around 26 minutes of extra music previously unreleased (18 tracks compared with the original nine) and all tracks are now presented in the film’s chronological order (just had to get ‘logical’ in here somewhere). ‘Ilia’s Theme’, originally track 1, side 2, is here properly reinstated as the overture. Why don’t more movies do this? I remember it creating a great atmosphere at the time. The lights went down, the audience hushed, the overture started to play and you felt you were really at some kind of cinematic event. Then Goldsmith’s pounding main theme kicked in and the ‘Human Adventure’ was just beginning (to paraphrase their slogan).

This two disc set also features another re-release, for the first time available on CD. ‘Inside Star Trek’ was originally released to give fans something to chew on while they awaited the fate of their heroes and features reminiscences by creator Roddenberry and interviews with the stars and characters from the original series. It gives a nice, and sometimes amusing, insight into the problems incurred in trying to develop an innovative TV series and is collectable simply for it’s recordings of interviews with Isaac Asimov, Mark Lenard (as Spock’s father Sarek), Deforest Kelley (Dr. McCoy, whose ‘spontaneous’ interview seems a little over rehearsed) and of course the show’s creator, the ‘Great Bird of the Galaxy’ himself, Gene Roddenberry, all sadly no longer with us.

Again this new release features 6 tracks previously unreleased and new opening and closing remarks by Nichelle (Uhura) Nichols.

And you’ll be delighted to hear that none of them sing.

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