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Josh Reviews the Newly-Released Complete Soundtrack of Star Trek: Insurrection

With the recent release of the complete score for Star Trek: Insurrection, we are very close to having available the complete scores of every single Star Trek film.  I have been gobbling up these CD releases!  As happened with the releases of the scores for Star Trek: Generations and Star Trek: First Contact, after I listened to the Insurrection score a few times, I was compelled to go back and watch the film again, for the first time in several years.  I wrote in detail about my thoughts regarding Star Trek Insurrection just the other day, so let’s dive into my reaction to the score!

Star Trek Insurrection was scored by the great Jerry Goldsmith, who had previously scored Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and Star Trek: First Contact.  While I wouldn’t count his score for Insurrection among my favorite of the Star Trek scores (I would certainly rank all of the scores for Star Trek II-VI above it, and probably also Mr. Goldsmith’s score for the previous film, Star Trek: First Contact), listening to the complete score on CD I was surprised by how strong a score it is.  As with Star Trek V (and possibly also Star Trek: The Motion Picture as well as First Contact), the score is better than the movie.

Here are some of the outstanding tracks on the CD:

Track 1: “Ba’ku village” — Mr. Goldsmith begins his score for Insurrection just as he did all three of the Next Gen films that he scored: with two soundings of Alexander Courage’s classic Star Trek fanfare.  Between the two soundings of the fanfare, Mr. Goldsmith wove in his main theme for the film, in this case the pastoral Ba’ku theme.  Following a little bombast over the Star Trek: Insurrection title, Mr. Goldsmith’s score then does what no other Trek film’s opening music did.  Rather than exciting bombast (or even the lighter but still fast-moving music from Howard Rosenman’s score for Star Trek IV), Mr. Goldsmith gives us a lovely, melodic theme for the peaceful Ba’ku.  As a viewer, I still think it’s probably a mis-step, a less-than-exciting way to begin a big-screen sci-fi adventure.  But when considered purely on a musical basis, I was stunned listening to the CD by how much I loved Mr. Goldsmith’s beautiful Ba’ku theme!  I have found myself constantly humming this music over the past few weeks!  It’s a gorgeous piece of music, just lovely.

Tracks 2-4 contain some fun, fast-paced action music.  I enjoy how Mr. Goldsmith weaves his Insurrection theme into the music, and we also get a brief reprise of his Klingon theme (which Mr. Goldsmith first wrote for the opening sequence of Star Trek: The Motion Picture) that plays over a Worf moment.

Track 5: “Warp Capability/The Planet/Children’s Story” — Mr. Goldsmith introduces his love theme for Picard and Anij in this track, and it’s a beautiful piece of music.  It reminds me quite a lot of the sweet, mournful Goondocks theme from Dave Grusin’s score for The Goonies.  (I’m serious!  Listen to this track, and then listen to track 3, “The Goondocks,” on the complete score for The Goonies!)

Track 7: “How Old Are You/New Sight” — We hear more of the sweet love theme, intertwined with what the liner notes (written by John Takis and Jeff Bond, as always thorough and informative) refer to as Mr. Goldsmith’s “new sight” theme, intended to represent Geordi’s literal new sight as well as Picard’s metaphorical new sight, as Anij introduces him to her conception of the perfect moment.  We hear a beautiful piece of score over the beautiful scene in which Geordi, whose eye-sight has been restored, is overcome by the beauty of the first sunrise he’s ever seen with his own, real eyes.  It’s a great moment in the film and in the score.

Track 10: “Not Functioning/Send Your Ships” — This is a great track of action music as the Son’a attack the Ba’ku village.  Mr. Goldsmith wrote a propulsive bit of music for this cue that intertwines his Insurrection theme with his Son’a “bad guy” theme.  The second half of the track features some great “wandering” music as Picard and the Enterprise command team lead the Ba’ku from their village into the mountain.

Starting around Track 12, the score — like the movie itself — begins to become less interesting in my opinion.  The music becomes somewhat repetitive from this point on.  It’s hard to fault Jerry Goldsmith too much for this because, as I wrote in my review of Insurrection the other day, the film has the same problem, with one boring drone attack sequence after another.  I think Mr. Goldsmith’s score for the second half of the film works perfectly well when playing with the movie — the music does a great job of complementing the visuals — but when listening to these audio tracks on their own my attention wavered.

There are certainly some good moments in the back half of the score.  There’s some fun action music in track 17: “No Threat” and track 19: “The Healing Process (revised)” and some more lovely, romantic music in track 14: “Stay With Me.”  There’s sweet reconciliation music at the end of track 20: “The Healing Process (original version),” in which the Ba’ku and Son’a begin to put aside their differences.  It’s fun to hear Mr. Goldsmith pull from all of his different themes from the movie to create a rich finish to the story-line at the end of that track.  And, of course, track 21: “End Credits” is fun, with a propulsive presentation of Mr. Goldsmith’s theme from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (which of course was used as the main theme music for Star Trek: The Next Generation, making it a very appropriate way to end this film’s score).

I was surprised how much I enjoyed listening to Mr. Goldsmith’s score for Star Trek: Insurrection, and in particular how taken I was by his gorgeous Ba’ku theme (as heard over the main titles in track 1).  This is a very different sort of Star Trek score, and unusual for me in that I found a lot of the action music in the second half of the score to be a little boring, while I loved the slower, more melodic pastoral themes for the Ba’ku and the Picard/Anij love theme that were introduced in the first half.  That Jerry Goldsmith sure wrote some great movie music!!  This score was a lot of fun to listen to.

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