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Josh Reviews Score: A Film Music Documentary

I love movies, and I love movie scores.  I’m not sure when I first started to realize that a part of what I loved about movies was their score; and that, beyond that, it was in fact the score that was a critical element of those movies I loved.  It probably began with the Star Trek movies.  I watched those movies over and over, and I soon realized that part of what gave those movies their own distinct identities was the different-style scores written by different composers.  The scores for all six original Star Trek movies (by Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, Leonard Rosenman, and Cliff Eidelman) are all amazing, but with very different-style scores, each of which are so distinct but all successful in their own way.  Whatever the origin, I have for years been fascinated with movie scores, and I have many great movie soundtracks on my ipod that I listen to all the time.  I love and am intrigued by movie scores.

Matt Schrader’s wonderful documentary Score: A Film Music Documentary is a fantastic dive into the art of creating film scores.  This film will work for those who know little about this aspect of movie-making, with wonderful sequences that explain the many different steps in creating and recording a score, as well as cleverly put-together explorations of just why great movie scores work as well as they do.  The film will also be a delight for those who already love film scores, showcasing a wonderful array of the many men and women who toil to create this art.

The film contains a wealth of interviews, highlighting an incredible array of talented film score composers.  This isn’t a documentary that only focuses on the most super-famous film composers: John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith and Ennio Morricone and Bernard Herrmann.  Those giants get their due, of course, but Mr. Schrader has created a film that gives lovely spotlights to a staggering array of talented composers, names well-known to film fans like myself but not to the average movie-goer, including: Danny Elfman (the film spotlights his work on Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Edward Scissorhands, and the original Tim Burton Batman), Thomas Newman (the film spotlights his work on The Shawshank Redemption, American Beauty, and Finding Dory) Hans Zimmer (Gladiator, Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy), Alexandre Desplat (Moonrise Kingdom, Argo), John Debney (Sin City, Spy Kids, and many wonderful scores for episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Brian Tyler (whose work I first discovered on Sci-Fi’s underrated Children of Dune mini-series — a score that I know many of you know and love without knowing it, because several tracks are often used … [continued]

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Star Trek: The Original Series Gets the Series Finale it Always Deserved in “To Boldly Go” Part 2!

Star Trek: Continues is a fan-made enterprise (see what I did there?) begun five years ago in an attempt to create the never-made fourth season of the Original Series.  In the past five years, Vic Mignogna and his fantastic team of collaborators have created eleven full-length episodes of classic Star Trek.  These eleven episodes have been a remarkable achievement: staggeringly professionally-made episodes that look and feel exactly, and I mean exactly, like classic episodes of the Original Series. In many cases, they have looked even BETTER!  Not every episode was a home run, and there were a few spots where the creators’ fannish enthusiasm outpaced their abilities.  But the craftsmanship and skill on display in every frame of every episode was extraordinary.  Star Trek Continues is the product of deep love for Star Trek, and as such I love it enormously.  With their tenth and eleventh episodes, “To Boldly Go” parts 1 & 2, Vic Mignogna and his team are not only bringing their fan-series to a close, but they are also attempting to give the Original Series (cancelled by NBC after three seasons) the proper send-off it never got.

Picking up right where the previous episode left off, the Enterprise and the Romulan vessel (commanded by the Romulan Commander from “The Enterprise Incident”) confront the cadre of superhumans who have been enhanced by passage through the galactic barrier (just as Gary Mitchell and Elizabeth Dehner were in the Original Series’ second pilot, “Where No Man Has Gone Before”) and commandeered a starship.  Even the Enterprise and Romulans together prove no match for the super-powered “Espers,” who disable the Enterprise and set a course for Earth, ready to wreak havoc and take control of the Federation.

As with Part one, this finale is packed with surprises and fun Star Trek connections.  This is a fast-paced, action-packed episode that also peppers in some wonderful character moments for members of the Enterprise crew.  The excellent script by sci-fi novelist Robert J. Sawyer and James Kerwin (Vic Mignogna also has a story credit) strikes an excellent balance.

Once again, the visuals are extraordinary.  The starship battles are extremely well-realized.  These CGI effects are far beyond what the Original Series ever showed us, and yet the effects feel like they perfectly belong in an Original Series episode.  This is because the shot compositions have been carefully considered to recreate the look and feel of Original Series shots, and the Enterprise and the other ships move exactly right.  They don’t zip around like Star Wars ships; they move with the grace and elegance that these ships should have.  It is a delight to see the classic Enterprise depicted so beautifully.

This episode proves a wonderful … [continued]

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50 Years of Star Trek: Josh’s Favorite Star Trek Music!

OK fellow nerds, buckle up for a deep dive into geekiness here.

Two weeks ago, I reviewed the wonderful Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage CD, a recording of the concert series celebrating 50 years of amazing Star Trek music.  That two-disc CD contained 30 tracks (15 on each CD) of Trek music from across 50 years of Star Trek history — all the various movies and TV shows (and even one track of music from a Trek video-game!).  I loved the CD set, and I’ve listened to it several times.  I had a lot of fun analyzing the track choices in my review, discussing which ones I loved and which ones’ inclusion surprised me.

Doing so got me to thinking: if I had been the one putting together this concert and CD set, what would my choices have been?  I gave myself several challenges.  First and foremost, not just to list my favorite tracks from all the Trek soundtracks over the years, but to assemble them together into a concert playlist whose ebb and flow would work.  I also tried to limit myself to the same number of tracks, 30 in total (15 in each half), as the Ultimate Voyage used.  (I failed, but only by a little bit.  I found that I just had to include 16 tracks in each half of my concert.)  I also debated whether to try to incorporate music from all the different Trek series, as the Ultimate Voyage concert did so effectively.  While that is one of my favorite aspects of the Ultimate Voyage concert CD set, I decided in the end not to attempt that myself, and instead to focus on the Trek music that was my very favorite, even if that wound up with a more limited selection from Trek history.

I had a lot of nerdy fun thinking about this over the past week.  And so, it is my pleasure to present to you:

Josh’s “Ultimate Voyage” Playlist: The Very Best of 50 Years of Star Trek Music:

Disc One:

1. “Overture” (Ilia’s Theme) from Star Trek: The Motion Picture I’ll begin my Trek concert with this overture music that also began Star Trek: The Motion Picture (playing before the opening credits).  I love this Star Trek love theme and I think it’s a beautiful, melodic way to open.

2. “Main Title” from Star Trek: Generations That love theme would be a lovely segue into this opening music from Star Trek: Generations, which begins quietly and then builds to a triumphant declaration of the classic Alexander Courage Star Trek theme.  The Ultimate Voyage concert also had this track as their number two track, and I am shamelessly … [continued]

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50 Years of Star Trek Music: Josh Enjoys Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage Concert Tour CD!

So, I love Star Trek, and I also love movie soundtracks.  That’s just the type of nerd I am.  So, of course, I really love Star Trek soundtracks.  I’ve written about quite a few here on the site.  I was excited when I read that, in honor of Trek’s 50th anniversary this year, there would be a concert tour in which music from the various Trek movies and TV shows would be performed.  That is right up my alley!  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to one of the concert performances.  But when I learned that a CD of the concert was being released, I snapped that right up!  (You can too, by clicking here.)

Star Trek.The Ultimate Voyage

Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage is a magnificent two-CD set in which the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Justin Freer, performs music from across the fifty year history of Star Trek.  I was very impressed by the track choices.  There are a few “musts” that of course were included (like Jerry Goldsmith’s Main Titles from Star Trek: The Motion Picture to the suite from “The Inner Light” from Star Trek: The Next Generation).  But beyond that, I was impressed by some of the very deep cuts made by the music selection.  (I was shocked and delighted that, for example, an exciting track from the Deep Space Nine final-season episode “The Changing Face of Evil” was included!)  If the track selection has one weakness it is perhaps an over-reliance in music from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but it’s hard to complain about so many wonderful selections from the master Jerry Goldsmith.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Disc One:

1.  “Main Title” from Star Trek: The Motion Picture An obvious and perfect choice to open the concert, we begin with Jerry Goldsmith’s magnificent main theme from Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  For many fans, this is THE definitive Star Trek music, even more so than Alexander Courage’s main theme from the Original Series.  (That this music was also used as the main theme for Star Trek: The Next Generation helped cement its importance.)  This is iconic music, instantly memorable, and among the very best movie theme music ever written.

2. “Main Title” from Star Trek: Generations Right away, I was impressed by the choices made by the makers of this concert, as this is an inspired choice to place here at the beginning of the concert.  This theme, by Dennis McCarthy, is a slow build to a triumphant declaration of Alexander Courage’s classic Star Trek fanfare (as the bottle of Chateau Picard wine smashes into the hull of the Enterprise B, christening the ship for launch).

3. “The [continued]

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

I love movie soundtracks.  And I love Star Trek.  So these past few years have been fantastic, as we have gradually seen, for the first time ever, the release of the complete, unedited soundtracks for every single one of the Star Trek films.  With the recent release of Jerry Goldsmith’s complete score for Star Trek: Nemesis, the last of the pre-J.J.Abrams-reboot Star Trek films, every Trek film’s complete score has been released.  (With the exception of the most recent film, Star Trek Into Darkness.  But I am trying to forget that dreadful film was ever made, so I’m not counting it.)

After listening to, and thoroughly enjoying, many of the previous Trek complete soundtrack releases, I often went back and re-watched the film whose soundtrack had just been released.  Usually listening to the soundtrack made me eager to re-watch the film.  I knew that would not be the case, though, with Star Trek: Nemesis.  That absolutely dreadful, abysmal film is by far my least favorite of all the Star Trek films (Into Darkness included).  (Click here to read my ranking of all the Star Trek films, from worst to best!)

I have only seen Star Trek: Nemesis two times (first in theatres, and then again when it came out on DVD, as I had to verify that the film really was as horrible as my first impression had indicated), and I have no plans to watch the film again any time soon.  But I was excited for the release of Jerry Goldsmith’s score.  Even before getting the various Trek scores on CD, I knew most of those scores very, very well.  One of the best aspects of the Trek films have been their fantastic scores.  But because I had only seen Nemesis twice, its score was very unfamiliar to me.  I had no recollection of what any of the main musical themes of the film were.  So I was eager to get the CD and get to know this score a little better.

Quite a number of fantastic composers have worked on the Trek films over the years.  My favorite remains James Horner, whose scores for Star Trek II and Star Trek III are genius-level magnificent.  But it’s impossible to deny the extraordinary contributions to Trek music of the late, great Jerry Goldsmith.  Mr. Goldsmith established the musical sound of the Trek movies with his rich, bombastic score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  (Click here for my detailed thoughts on TMP’s score.)  His main theme for TMP was later adopted as the theme music for Star Trek: The Next Generation.  So it’s appropriate that Mr. Goldsmith returned to the Trek universe to … [continued]

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Star Trek: The Next Generation — Soundtrack Collection!

I have been loving the steady release, over the past several years, of the complete soundtracks for almost all of the Star Trek films.  It is incredible to be able to listen to those wonderful Trek soundtracks in their complete and un-edited form.

As a reminder that Star Trek has had just as robust a musical history on TV as on the big screen, we have the amazing three-CD set of music from Star Trek: The Next Generation, released last year by La-La Land Records.  What an amazing collection!  I have been loving listening to it, and I’ve been meaning to write about it here on the site for months.

The first two discs on the set are focused on two of the three men who scored the vast majority of Next Gen episodes: Dennis McCarthy and Jay Chattaway.  For the fifth through seventh seasons of the show, these two men alternated episodes.  With only one or two exceptions, they scored every episode.  For the first four years of the show, Mr. McCarthy alternated episodes with another terrific conductor, Ron Jones.  Mr. Jones’ music is not represented on this CD collection, probably because of the extraordinary, unprecedented, enormous collection a few years back of The Ron Jones Project, a fourteen-CD collection of every single piece of music Mr. Jones wrote for Star Trek: The Next Generation.  You read that right, fourteen CDs.  It’s crazy.

So anyways, the first two discs of this set focus on the music of Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Chattaway, while the third and final disc focuses on the work of some of the show’s guest composers (two of whom, have gone on to major success in the movies).

This collection is really terrific, an extraordinary collection of great music from this great TV show.  It’s an extensive collection of tracks, drawn from throughout the series’ seven-season run.  They really covered all the bases of the best of music from the run of the show.  It is hard to think of an episode whose music stands out that isn’t represented on this collection.

Disc One: Dennis McCarthy — Mr. McCarthy has been one of the most defining musical voices of the modern incarnations of Star Trek on TV.  He scored more hours of Star Trek than any other single composer, working on all of the Star Trek spin-off shows from Next Generation to Enterprise.  (He also scored the Next Gen crew’s big-screen debut, Generations.)  Mr. McCarthy’s disc begins in a somewhat surprising fashion, with a lengthy series of excerpts from his score from the pretty lousy first-season episode “Haven.”  I am not quite sure why the producers decided to include such a large amount of … [continued]

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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. … [continued]

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From the DVD Shelf: Star Trek: Insurrection

September 27th, 2013
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I recently picked up Crescendo Record’s release of Jerry Goldsmith’s complete score for Star Trek: Insurrection.  I’ll have thoughts to share on that soundtrack soon, but after listening to the CD several times I decided it was high time to re-watch Insurrection, a film I hadn’t seen for several years.

Star Trek: Insurrection is the third of the four movies made with the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  The Enterprise is drawn into a region of space nicknamed the Briar Patch (due to the stellar phenomena that makes travel in the region treacherous), because Data — on assignment on a planet within the Briar Patch — has apparently gone rogue and attacked a Starfleet research team.  It it turns out that Data has uncovered an ugly truth about the Starfleet mission in the Briar Patch.  Although officially sanctioned by the Federation Council and supervised by an admiral on-sight, the Starfleet team — working with some local thugs called the Son’a — plans to forcibly remove a peaceful people called the Ba’ku from their planet, so that they can harvest the incredible rejuvenating power of the metaphasic radiation found within the planet’s rings.  Picard and his crew take up arms to stop them.

Insurrection is generally considered one of the worst of the Star Trek films (and it definitely was near the bottom of my list when I recently ranked all the Star Trek films from worst to best), but there really isn’t anything all that awful about Insurrection.  The film’s biggest crime is that it is a trifle, a fairly light, low-key adventure.  Had Insurrection been a two-part episode of the Next Generation TV show, I think we would consider it very solid.  But this trite little adventure is not at all what Trek fans like me were looking for in a big-screen movie.  When we were only getting a new adventure every few years — and considering that, although the studio seemed supportive of the Trek franchise, there was no guarantee that they’d get to produce movies indefinitely (indeed, the lukewarm business that Insurrection did nearly derailed the Next Gen movie franshcise completely) — fans wanted their Trek movie installments to be BIG, IMPORTANT stories that felt worthy of the big-screen canvass.  These adventures needed to depict critical moments in the lives of our characters, and also hopefully be a story with an epic scale and, you know, the fate of the galaxy at issue.

Insurrection is none of those things.  It’s a very small scale, low-significance adventure.  The whole thing is a big mis-step, seemingly right from its initial conception.

It’s a shame, because coming off of the success of Star Trek: First Contact, the Next [continued]

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Josh Reviews the Newly-Released Complete Soundtrack of Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Star Trek and movie-soundtrack fans have been spoiled over the last few years, as we’ve seen the complete, unedited scores from almost every single Star Trek film released to CD.  I have previously written about James Horner’s score for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Leonard Rosenman’s score for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Jerry Goldsmith’s score for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Cliff Eidelman’s score for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Jerry Goldsmith (again)’s score for Star Trek: First Contact, and Michael Giacchino’s score for J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek.

A few months ago saw the release of a third Jerry Goldsmith Star Trek soundtrack on CD — his first project for the franchise: the complete score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Mr. Goldsmith’s score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture was groundbreaking, filled with themes that are now iconically associated with the series.  First and foremost, of course, is his main theme.  Heard over the opening credits (and throughout the film, most notably during the minutes-long introduction of the newly-refitted Enterprise), this theme was later re-purposed as the main theme for Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Mr. Goldsmith used it extensively in all of his future Star Trek scores (including Star Trek V and the last three Next Gen films: First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis).

Running a close second in terms of iconic staying power is Mr. Goldsmith’s beloved Klingon theme, which was also introduced in TMP. We hear it right away, in the film’s opening sequence (in which three Klingon warships are destroyed by V’Ger).  The CD’s liner notes describe the theme as a “repeating open-fifth figure… [that] establishes an aggressive, tribal atmosphere for the warlike characters.”

For the most part, each Star Trek film has had a distinct musical identity, and each composer has created new themes.  James Horner created his own Klingon theme (which I happen to love) for Star Trek III, and Jerry Golsmith’s Vulcan/Spock theme for Star Trek: The Motion Picture was different than James Horner’s Vulcan/Spock theme for Star Trek II, which was different than Cliff Eidelman’s Vulcan/Spock theme for Star Trek VI, which was different that Michael Giacchino’s Vulcan/Spock theme for 2009’s Star Trek. But Jerry Goldsmith’s main Star Trek theme, and his Klingon music, both “stuck” in a powerful way.  That Klingon theme was heard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and also recurred in the other Trek TV shows and future films.  (Mr. Goldsmith certainly had a hand in that, as he used that Klingon theme prominently in his scores for Star Trek V and Star Trek: First Contact.)

Listening to the complete score for Star [continued]

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

There have been some very exciting Star Trek soundtrack releases over the past few months!  Recently I have written about the complete soundtrack for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and the complete soundtrack for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.  I also recently picked up GNP Crescendo’s complete soundtrack for Star Trek: First Contact, composed and conducted by Jerry Goldsmith.  I think that First Contact has the strongest score of all the Next Generation movies (with Generations coming in a close second), so I was very excited to finally have the complete soundtrack on CD.

First Contact is Jerry Goldsmith’s third of five Star Trek film scores.  He inaugurated the Trek film series with Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and then returned with Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. (Click here for my thoughts on Mr. Goldman’s score for Star Trek V.)  Before First Contact, Jerry Goldsmith had never written music for The Next Generation, although actually in a way he had, since his main title music for Star Trek: The Motion Picture was used as the opening credits music for all seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. According to the wonderful-as-usual liner notes (by Jeff Bond & John Takis), Rick Berman, who oversaw all of the 24th century-set Star Trek TV shows as well as the four Next Gen movies, got connected with Jerry Goldsmith when Mr. Berman hired Goldsmith to compose the main title music for Star Trek: Voyager. Though Mr. Goldsmith had often proven to be too expensive for the low-budgeted Star Trek films, Mr. Berman and director Jonathan Frakes were set on bringing Mr. Goldsmith in to score their film.  According to the liner notes, Jonathan Frakes recalled that “They made sure there was a line item in the budget to pay Jerry’s fee — that was part of the original budget of First Contact and I remember that specifically.  That was how strongly Rick felt about it and I certainly shared that feeling.”

Thank goodness for that, because much of the flavor of First Contact is given to the film by the rich and epic score by Jerry Goldsmith, who was assisted by his son Joel in the score’s creation.  Though I enjoy the heroic bombast of Mr. Goldsmith’s score for Star Trek V, I tend to find myself more drawn to the darker Trek scores such as James Horner’s work on Star Trek II (probably my very favorite Star Trek score) and Star Trek III, and Cliff Eidelman’s score for Star Trek VI. What’s so wonderful about Mr. Goldsmith’s work on First Contact is that it weaves together the epic and the ominous, the dark and … [continued]

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Ape Management Part 1: Planet of the Apes (1967)

I am a big, big fan of the original five Planet of the Apes films (released between 1967 and 1973).  They’re so marvelously ambitious and earnest and, at the same time, so laughably silly, that I’ve always held a great fondness for the series.  While all four sequels represent a steep drop in quality from the original Charlton Heston-starring film, the sequels go in such bizarre, unexpected directions, and they’re so filled with their own charmingly quirky touches, that I find an enormous amount to enjoy in all of them.  (I am not afraid to admit, gentle reader, that my enjoyment of all five of these films is assisted, and sometimes enhanced by, the consumption of generous quantities of grape-juice-plus while watching them.)  With the I-can’t-believe-it’s-really-happening arrival of a new Planet of the Apes film this summer (the ridiculously titled — and that’s saying something for this film series — Rise of the Planet of the Apes, starring James Franco), it seemed a suitable excuse to go back and revisit the five original films.  (I might re-watch Tim Burton’s 2001 Apes film — which I’ve only seen one time — as well, I haven’t decided yet.)

So let’s begin with the first and the best: the original Planet of the Apes from 1967.  Charlton Heston plays Taylor (not sure if that’s his first or last name), an astronaut who leads a deep-space mission that goes terribly awry — their ship is knocked off-course and crash-lands on a planet where Apes are the dominant species and humans are just mute savages and slaves.  (“It’s a madhouse!”)  Heston’s comrades quickly meet unfortunate ends, but Taylor himself befriends two brilliant and inquisitive chimpanzees: Zira (played by Kim Hunter) and Cornelius (Roddy McDowell).  He also befriends (if that’s what they’re calling it these days — wakka wakka!) a beautiful human girl (played by Linda Harrison) whom he decides to name Nova.  When Taylor’s ability to speak is discovered, he is put on trial by the incredulous ape leaders (including Dr. Zaius, played by Maurice Evans) who cannot believe that a human is capable of speaking the way apes can.  Taylor is eventually freed, and despite Dr. Zaius’ warning (“Don’t look for it, Taylor!  You may not like what you find.”) sets out into the “Forbidden Zone” in order to discover how it came to be that apes took over the planet.  What he discovers brings him to his knees, and has become an indelible image in our pop-culture ever since.  Just in case you didn’t know the surprise ending of the film, it’s spoiled on the DVD box cover art.  (And just in case you missed it on the front cover, the image … [continued]

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Josh Enjoys the Release of Jerry Goldsmith’s Complete Score for Star Trek V!

As a big fan of Star Trek and of movie soundtracks, I’m starting to get spoiled.  In the last few years we’ve seen the release, on lovely new CD sets, of the complete versions of James Horner’s amazing scores for Star Trek II and Star Trek III (click here for my review), as well as Michael Giacchino’s complete score for J.J. Abram’s Star Trek (click here for my review).  Then, a few months ago, Jerry Goldsmith’s complete score for Star Trek V was released on a double-CD set.

Jerry Goldsmith was one of the finest film composers who ever lived.  He composed the scores for a veritable boatload of famous, successful films, including Planet of the Apes, Chinatown, Alien, Poltergeist, Gremlins, Hoosiers, and so many more.  Star Trek V marked Mr. Goldsmith’s return to the world of Star Trek — he had composed the score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture — and Mr. Goldsmith would go on to score three of the four Next Gen movies (Dennis McCarthy scored Star Trek: Generations).

Say what you will about the quality of Star Trek V (and I’ll say that I think it pretty much stinks), Mr. Goldsmith composed a terrific score.  It’s rousing and heroic and a great return to classic Star Trek adventuring.  “Return” is an interesting word, as Mr. Goldsmith’s work for Star Trek V would mark something of a turning point for Star Trek, musically.  Mr. Goldsmith composed a number of iconic themes for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, including the main title theme (which was then used as the main theme for the opening credits of Star Trek: The Next Generation) and his theme for the Klingons.  But James Horner’s scores for Trek II and III didn’t utilize any of Mr. Goldsmith’s material.  Instead, Mr. Horner composed his own themes for Kirk and the Enterprise, and he also wrote his own themes for the Klingons when they appeared in Star Trek III. But now in Star Trek V, Mr. Horner returned to his music from The Motion Picture, and (with the exception of Cliff Eidelman’s wonderfully dark, ominous music for Star Trek VI) those themes would come to define Star Trek musically for many years to come.  Whenever you heard a Klingon musical theme playing over an appearance by the bumpy-headed warriors in a future Trek TV show or movie, they never used James Horner’s theme — they’d always use Mr. Goldsmith’s.

Now, personally, I prefer James Horner’s scores for Star Trek II and III over Mr. Goldsmith’s work in Star Trek V.  I’m not a musician, but as a fan I have always found Mr. … [continued]