Review: Star Trek Into Darkness Sound Track |
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Review: Star Trek Into Darkness Sound Track June 30, 2013

by John Tenuto , Filed under: Merchandise,Music,Review,Star Trek Into Darkness , trackback

While Star Trek films have had 8 different directors (Wise, Meyer, Nimoy, Shatner, Carson, Frakes, Baird, and Abrams), the composer club is slightly more exclusive with six (Goldsmith, Horner, Rosenman, Eidelman, McCarthy, and Giacchino). It is arguable that amongst all the behind the scenes artists, the composer has the most power to influence the emotional energy of a film, perhaps even more than the director or cinematographer. The music influences what the audience feels, and when it is done right, it enhances the actor’s performances, the director’s vision, and the cinematographer’s created mood. When the music fails to resonate, it harms a film through distraction or obvious manipulation. Michael Giacchino’s music for Star Trek Into Darkness is one of the former soundtracks, helping to enhance the story and giving STID additional emotional life. Hit the jump for our full review of the Star Trek Into Darkness sound track.

Giacchino’s soundtrack begins with a rousing piece after his logo music that, like the film, feels as it opens in the middle of an ongoing adventure. Track 1: “Logos/Pranking the Natives” cleverly reminds the listener of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, especially “Winter” around the two minute mark. Whether by design or accident, the Vivaldi vibe works because the characters are in essence traveling through various seasons and weather conditions during their romp on Nibiru. The second and third track are also dedicated to the culminating adventure of escaping the tribe and rescuing Spock. Track 3: “Sub Prime Directive” includes a syncopated and heroic version of the Enterprise theme from the first film. The inclusion of Alexander Courage’s original theme is welcomed and appropriate here.

Speaking of the Enterprise theme that Giacchino uses, it is also the theme for Kirk. Giacchino’s use of the same theme for both ship and captain demonstrates his appreciation and respect for the heart of these characters. Indeed, it is arguable that in the film itself, the fate of the Enterprise and Kirk are linked together. When Kirk is damaged emotionally by Pike’s death, the Enterprise is damaged by Marcus’ sabotage. When Kirk learns to replace his hubris with sacrifice, his spirit is resurrected (as he will be later physically), which in turn, saves and resurrects the Enterprise (literally, from the heavens). The correlative aspects of ship and captain are symbolized by the use of the same theme for both by Giacchino.

There is also a welcomed diversity of styles on the STID soundtrack, perhaps much more so than on Giacchino’s 2009 effort. Track 4: “London Calling” and 11: “Buying the Space Farm” are quiet piano pieces which become emotionally stirring as they progress. These give emotion and sympathy to the characters, including, ironically, Harrison/Khan, whose theme has a lovely quality despite its ominous nature. Contrast that with the almost rock like Klingon chase music of Track 6: “The Kronos Wartet.” The new Klingon theme is a pastiche of previous Klingon music. There are hints of Jerry Goldsmith’s iconic music, and the clanking sounds are pure James Horner from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. The inclusion of the Klingon chorus reminds also of Cliff Eidelman’s own winning Klingon music from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Despite these references, Giacchino has created an original piece which pays homage without being parody or repetition. It honors that which came before while moving the Klingon music into the new universe. Most interesting is that Giacchino’s theme includes punctuated string and brass which sound almost like unexpected bat’leth strikes by a Klingon.

Track 12: “The San Fran Hustle” combines many of the leitmotifs used in the film: there is Harrison/Khan’s theme, the Enterprise theme, hints of the Klingon clanging, and even a definite, yet subtle, use of the “Amok Time” battle music (at 1:59 in the track) as Spock chases and fights Khan in the streets of San Francisco. It is a bombastic celebration of all the tracks and character themes.

he soundtrack ends with Track 14: “Star Trek Main Theme” which is the only misstep on the CD release. It is very important in the film that we hear the original Courage theme because it signifies that the 5 year mission has begun. There is only a hint of Courage’s theme included in this truncated end title music included on the CD. The entire end credits music should have been included. To make the CD a satisfying listen on its own, Courage should have been included. Hopefully, we will be getting an expanded or complete 2 CD set soon. That being said, Track 14 is a wonderful, bombastic reiteration of the Enterprise/Kirk theme with a choir and a most energetic percussion usage.

There are many litmus tests for measuring the success of a soundtrack CD. Is it thoughtful and clever? Did the music enhance the film when watching it? On its own, is the CD an enjoyable experience which tells the same story only through music instead of dialog and action? Is it worth listen to again and again? On all of the counts, Giacchino’s STID soundtrack earns a “yes” and earns a place next to the other classic music of one of entertainment’s most enduring and important science fiction franchises.

The Star Trek Into Darkness soundtrack is now available for purchase at many retailers including at Amazon for $11.88.


1. Elias Javalis - June 30, 2013

Bought it from Itunes – Its quite good!! In fact more detailed than the previous one – awaiting for the Deluxe!

2. danielcw - June 30, 2013

I am not 100% on this, but isn’t the music we hear during the main credits exactly the same we heard in Star Trek (2009)

Maybe they meant to include that instead of “Star Trek Main Theme” as track 14.

So if you listen to the CD, after track 13 “Kirk Enterprises” immediately switch to track 15 from Star Trek (2009) soundtrack

3. Weerd1 - June 30, 2013

I greatly enjoyed it, having purchased it before I saw the film so as to get a feel for the music on its own. I loved the first one, and this serves as a great follow up. There’s a couple of other places where I felt a bit of earlier influence: at the end of “Brigadoom” (which would match the arrival of the Vengeance) there was some brass that reminded me of V’Ger’s arrival in TMP; then again during “Ship to Ship” some of the string build up recalled Spock’s space suit flight from TMP as well. Please don’t read this as a complaint, I thought that was fantastic.

My complaint has nothing to do with the soundtrack itself (which I love), but rather that they are again releasing a deluxe version months after the first release. Please just give me the whole damn thing up front instead of bilking me for more money later.

4. Tuomas - June 30, 2013

The soundtrack is wonderful, I got it on iTunes after I first saw the film and have relived the experience through the music many times since.

I do wish though they had included all the music from the film, some of the pieces I miss: Kirk and McCoy diving to the Enterprise, the Enterprise rising from the clouds of Earth after Sulu engages thrusters (see the pattern? I can’t get enough of the Enterprise theme). And the TOS title music from the end.

London Calling is among my favourites.

5. Anthony Lewis - June 30, 2013

To me the best track was not included on the release (Ode To Harrison) it is an extended version of the Khan theme and I think it is really a tremendous bad guy piece.

I just ripped it from the radio broadcast he did a few weeks ago and added in with the rest of the soundtrack from iTunes.

6. James Cannon - Runcorn Trekkie UK - June 30, 2013

Liked it, downloaded a torrent rather than buy it. Will buy the two disk set when released .

7. jas_montreal - June 30, 2013

@ 6

You don’t need to tell the world you torrented it lollllll

8. James Cannon - Runcorn Trekkie UK - June 30, 2013

That should say: ‘ I’d download’ … Bloody iPhone autocorrect. Grrr.

Preferred this than the 2009 track. MG really outdid himself on this one.

My fave is still ST:3 soundtrack by James Horner. Awesome.

9. Tuomas - June 30, 2013

2. danielcw – June 30, 2013

Not quite. The parts they both share are conducted a bit differently (listen closely and you’ll spot differences), and also where the 2009 credits include Spock’s theme (erhu violin) and Nero’s theme, STID has at least London Calling in place of those, can’t remember what else…

My point being – the end credits are nowhere the same in STID compared to 2009.

10. Smike - June 30, 2013

I’ll probably never understand why they shortened the end theme…it’s not just the updated TOS theme by A. Courage that’s missing… it’s the entire “Ode to John Harrison” thing… That theme is pure gold and it’s only heard breiefly throughout the movie score itself. It’s what we’ve been abale to listen to on this site even before the film was released… It’s simply unforgivable to leave that out on the soundtrack release…

Apart from that, Michael Giacchino is the best Star Trek score composer of all times, yes, even ahead of Goldsmith’s TMP, Horner’s TWOK and Eidelman’s TUC… all of these are grand, but Giacchino’s theme is the only one that works as a personal motivation in all sorts of situations…:-)

11. Steve - June 30, 2013

Surely the ‘Enterprise/Kirk’ theme can now be called the (nuTrek) Main Theme? Particularly since it accompanies the main titles of both films. Yes the Courage theme makes brief appearances but Abrams’ Trek has it’s own now, and it’s fantastic, IMO. The way it comes in during the natives/Enterprise warp-way sequence was breath-taking.

12. Keachick - rose pinenut - June 30, 2013

It’s funny, but I cannot remember much of the music to this film. I recognized some themes from the first Star Trek movie (in this series) but other than that, not much.

However, that does not mean that the film music was not good. In fact, that the music did not overtake the story and dialogue is why it is actually very good film music. I think it is something of a worry if about the only thing that is memorable about a movie is its musical score. Music should accompany and enhance, not be a substitute for good storytelling and acting.

13. USS Continuity NCC-1985 - June 30, 2013

I don’t always post here, but wanted to say that I love this soundtrack!! My favorite tracks are probably “Sub Prime Directive”, “Kronos Wartet”, “Brigadoom” (especially the last 41 seconds!!!). It may not be as great as Horner’s score for WOK but I definitely have been listening to it just as much. I can be really passionate about cinematic scores to the point where I’ll listen to certain tracks from certain soundtracks based on my moods. I’m kind of embarrassed to say that when the STID soundtrack came out, I listened to “Sub Prime Directive” every time I drove my car out of my building’s parking structure on full blast!! Please tell me someone else does this too. :)

14. Ahmed - June 30, 2013

I didn’t find the music in STID memorable in any way, it was very much the same as ST09, with just few new tracks.

They should get a new composer for the next one.

15. USS Continuity NCC-1985 - June 30, 2013

Never mind, its back up. :)

16. Kevin - June 30, 2013

Smike sorry but I guarantee you that in 20 years Giacchino’s Star Trek theme will be no where near as loved or remembered as Goldsmiths triumphant TMP theme, or even Horner’s Haunting TWOK main title

17. CaptainDonovin - June 30, 2013

I’ll wait for the 2-disc delux edition, unless that doesn’t happen of course.

18. Dr. Image - June 30, 2013

Goldsmith’s TMP score will be lauded for ages. The rest, not so much. (Nor, sadly, Goldsmith’s other repetative-motif Trek efforts.)

19. Dennis C - June 30, 2013

My favorite Trek scores are TMP, WoK, SFS and FF.

The score for Star Trek III is by far the most somber. Spock’s theme, introduced in Star Trek II, is used to great effect when Sarek melds with Kirk. Overall it’s a very strong score.

What makes a score strong for me is how much of it stays with me aftrer leaving a film. The score for STID was, for me, repetitive and unmemorable. Other than the main title which carried over from ’09 I couldn’t remember any of it even after the third viewing.

20. NCC-73515 - June 30, 2013

The very brief Harrison theme is memorable, and the piano piece a welcome novelty.
The rest is a boring repetition of the last soundtrack, which was already repetitive enough…

21. Netranger - June 30, 2013

The music is OK but does not stand up well as just music to listen to, and that to me is an important measurement of how good a soundtrack score is.

22. Theatre Historian - June 30, 2013

No offense to Giacchino I love alot of his scores, and there is plenty to enjoy with his two Trek scores, but I am inclined to side with those who are saying that they are a bit to repetitve and forgettable.

Don’t get me wrong there are some great moments but the past 2 scores on a whole are not ICONIC. But that is just my personal opinon YMMV.
scores like movies are very personaly subjective.

23. Theatre Historian - June 30, 2013

I just want to throw in I loved his score for The Incredibles, and his beautiful score for UP

24. Theatre Historian - June 30, 2013

Also I did enjoy his adaptation of the star wars themes the he scored for the Star Tours II attraction, but I am very thankful that John Williams has been confirmed as scoring Episode VII.

25. Ahmed - June 30, 2013

@ 17. NCC-73515 – June 30, 2013

“The rest is a boring repetition of the last soundtrack, which was already repetitive enough…”

Precisely, it was repetitive as as the movie itself was. STID after all was repeating what was done before, so it is no surprise that soundtrack is repetitive & boring as well.

26. Russell Meyers - June 30, 2013

Good score but not enough original content for my liking. Thanks for the article John, always enjoy reading your stuff!

27. Captain, USS Northstar - June 30, 2013

@16 — I’m surprised you didn’t add First Contact to your list: I love that score. And, even though some people don’t like the movie, I thought Insurrection had some nice moments in it as well.

@ 19 — I love the music from The Incredibles as well!

On whole, I enjoyed Mr. Giacchino’s work for both ST09 and STID, but agree with the reviewer: the End Title music should have been included. That’s when we get to hear snippets of all the film’s various themes.

28. John Tenuto - June 30, 2013

#22 Thanks Russell!

29. Fubamushu - June 30, 2013

Grab any season of LOST and you will be hard pressed to tell the difference between it and this Star Trek score. The music is unoriginal, uninspired, and uninspiring.

30. K-7. - June 30, 2013

@10 “I’ll probably never understand why they shortened the end theme…it’s not just the updated TOS theme by A. Courage that’s missing… it’s the entire “Ode to John Harrison” thing… That theme is pure gold and it’s only heard breiefly throughout the movie score itself. It’s what we’ve been abale to listen to on this site even before the film was released… It’s simply unforgivable to leave that out on the soundtrack release…”

Oh, cry me a fracking, river. Come on dude. LOL

31. sean - June 30, 2013


The music here really isn’t that similar to his Lost score. There are touchstones for sure, but it’s not like he comes anywhere near say Horner’s level of self-thievery.

32. James - June 30, 2013

I think that film scores are very important to a films success.

For me, the music to Star Trek Into Darkness is a triumph – I was humming the main theme many days after leaving the cinema, so job done. If you asked me to hum a few bars of the music in Man of Steel…..well, I cant.

33. danielcw - July 1, 2013

@9: thanks for the input, but how can I listen to the endcredits from STID right now?

34. Tuomas - July 1, 2013

33. danielcw – July 1, 2013

I don’t think there’s a way to listen to the whole end credits sequence right now unless you pop into a cinema and sit through the film… I’ve tried searching online but so far nothing has turned up. Blu-Ray release can’t come soon enough.
I agree with those who call this score memorable and catchy – the Enterprise theme never seems to leave my head and London Calling may suddenly manifest itself in my whistling without warning…

35. J - July 1, 2013

“I am not 100% on this, but isn’t the music we hear during the main credits exactly the same we heard in Star Trek (2009)”

It’s not. Courage’s theme arrangement is different. But the omission of the entire is understandable – while the 2009 version was a full, specially arranged suite, STID ending credits contain unedited (more or less) versions of the tracks that are already on the CD (for instance “London Calling”).

Still, I’d like to have the new arrangement of Courage’s theme.

36. J - July 1, 2013

@33 – you can listen to the end credits on Trekmovie. At one point Giacchino posted several movies from the recording sessions

37. BiggestTOSfanever - July 1, 2013

@ 10
The Ode to Harrison Theme is on youtube in full if you want to listen to it/download it:

38. John in Canada, eh? - July 1, 2013

Great review. Thanks for the article.

I think Giacchino is a talented composer, who has done some great work. But I feel a little ‘misled’ with the music for this film. In 2009, we were told that the classic Trek theme was held back because, until Kirk was in the command chair with his gold shirt, we hadn’t yet ‘earned it.’ Well, there was no excuse not to use it more in this flick.

And considering that these movies take place alongside the original series, parallel universe style, you’d think there would be more nods to the classic themes from previous Treks. With all the “Wrath of Khan” references, it would be natural to include some of Horner’s cues from that film here. Seems a wasted opportunity that all we get was a few seconds of the “Amok Time” fight scene theme.

#3: Agree completely! Having to repurchase a CD to get a few missing tracks is annoying. I’ll wait this one out.

39. Red Dead Ryan - July 1, 2013


“Grab any season of LOST and you will be hard pressed to tell the difference between it and this Star Trek score. The music is unoriginal, uninspired, and uninspiring.”

Grab any post by Fubamushu and you will be hard pressed to tell if he can actually post something that doesn’t involve whining like a petulant five year old. :-)

40. Simon - July 1, 2013

@6 – That is still stealing, whether you buy it later or not.

Unless it’s lossless at iTunes (spit) I don’t know why people are getting it there and not the CD, which is lossless. It’s $2 more at Amazon and you can rip it to your heart’s content at home.

41. Latizzle - July 1, 2013

Where can I watch it for free?

42. Emperor Mike of the Alternate Empire - July 1, 2013

I think Michael Giacchino did a fantastic job. I can’t tell you how many times I has listned to Trek 09. Already i have listned to this one a doxen times at least.
Tmp is still #1 in my Book. Along with Trek 2 and 4 and 6.

43. Cap'n Calhoun - July 1, 2013

Not a huge part of the soundtrack, but probably worth noting in the review that the MP3 album comes with a localized bonus track in many countries. (“The Growl” in The U.S.)

44. Robman007 - July 1, 2013

It’s a great CD…but judgment will have to wait until we get an expanded CD set.

Track 3 is my favorite and one of my all time favorite Trek tracks. The 1:40 mark and after is EPIC.

Still, Star Trek 1/3/5 have yet to be topped, in my opinion. Amazing CD’s.

45. Robman007 - July 1, 2013

” In 2009, we were told that the classic Trek theme was held back because, until Kirk was in the command chair with his gold shirt, we hadn’t yet ‘earned it.”

That’s not the first time I’ve heard that one. Deju vu actually. The same thing was said about the Casino Royale soundtrack..that the Bond theme was not going to be used until Bond became “Bond”…it’s still not used as much in the last two bond flick, although Skyfall used it a few times…

46. Robman007 - July 1, 2013

While I’m sad about the lack of the TOS theme being used..I am glad they are not relying on it alone. I LOVE the idea that, musically, this cast and crew have their own theme music. The theme of the TOS movies was James Horners score, Next Gen borrowed and made TNG theme their own and now this crew has one of the best themes to ever come out of Trek music.

47. Curious Cadet - July 1, 2013

@32. James,
“I was humming the main theme many days after leaving the cinema, so job done.”

Giacchino’s forte is not really themes so much as it is leitmotifs (so far as his original works are concerned). While infinitely catchy, the brevity of the tunes abruptly ends and becomes repetitive. Whistling in this fashion quickly tires for others. This leads to a piecemeal effect in his scores that aren’t as full and complete as say a John Wlliams score, where the themes evolve and vary as the score develops. I find much of his underscore is comprised of several of these themes jammed into each other, often with little transition. That’s not to say they are bad — they’re not — but they just aren’t fully developed as themes would be.

48. Shatoupee - July 1, 2013

I love the music from the film, but I’ll wait on a COMPLETE soundtrack.

49. danielcw - July 2, 2013

“Giacchino’s forte is not really themes so much as it is leitmotifs”

what’s the difference?

“his scores that aren’t as full and complete as say a John Wlliams score”

Funny, the few Williams-scores I fully listened to are really boring and underdeveloped to me. His big themes are great, no doubt, but outside of it, his score lack a lot imho.

50. danielcw - July 2, 2013

@42: Are you sure the bonustracks are “localized”? I looked at (Germany), used Spotify with a German account, and looked at the German iTunes store. The Growl is always the bonustrack.

51. captain_neill - July 2, 2013

I think Giachinno did a great score for 2009, but not a memorable as the music of Goldsmith, Horner and Ron Jones. The score felt for Into Darkness was not as memorable.

Some nice music though and the TOS theme on the end credits as last time is the highlight for me. Might pick it up if there is a deluxe editon but not rushing out for this one as I have the prevous expanded CDs.

52. Schiefy - July 2, 2013


I liked your review. You were able to highlight some of the movie’s positive plot lines while doing a review of the soundtrack thus helping us see movie more clearly!

My son (he is 17) and I have had a friendly banter about whether the music for ST and STID is “better” or more “memorable” than previous Trek incarnations (TV & movie). I, of course, being of the TOS generation feel the older scores are much more “whistleable” than nuTrek as some have noted. However, the nuTrek music has grown on me (and I love Giachinno’s work in John Carter and Up!) BUT still find the previous themes to be more defintively Trek for me. I guess the new generation of Trekkers like my son, who will carry on the Torch, will find the next generation’s Trek scores to be the same! lol

53. Cap'n Calhoun - July 2, 2013

@50. danielcw

They aren’t localized for every single country, but has “The Rage That’s in Us All”

I know Mexico, France, Australia, Brazil, and Japan had localized songs as well, although I don’t know if every one of them has the localized bonus track on the MP3 soundtrack.

54. Cafe 5 - July 2, 2013

Giacchino is a very talented composer and has done some very wonderful film scoresbut…ST:ITD isn’t one of them. This score works very well within the confines of the movie and not so well as a stand alone listening experience. At times his music comes off as a sound effect rather than a film score. It was nice hearing some of the older themes sprinkled in. I wish J.J. would have let Giacchino use a interpolation the Enterprise fanfare rather than the entire theme from the series over the end credits it would have had a bigger emotional feel. Maybe a complete score cd will be a greater listening experience. Lets hope so.

55. danielcw - July 2, 2013

@53: Ah OK, time to build a bonustrack collection. Is it always songs from JJ that were used as background stuff?

56. SoonerDave - July 2, 2013

I was frank in my disappointment over Giacchino’s muted and indecisive ST09 score, so perhaps my expectations were correspondingly muted going “Into Darkness.” Still, I came away unenthused. Again, there are a few good elements, but nothing in his effort for this Trek arc will be memorable for very long. It is abjectly unfair to compare his effort to Goldsmith’s legendary TMP effort, but the comparisons will be there nonetheless, and it is clearly hear that MG’s work is wanting.

This isn’t to say his STID score is *bad*, it’s just not especially memorable. Where the hopes that the purposeful “incompleteness” of the ST09 reboot theme would be resolved with this next movie, reality is that it seems only a marginal extension of those prior themes. MG’s Trek theme is just as disappointing this time around as last.

When I hear some of MG’s work in other features, such as UP, it offered the promise of great hope for a new masterwork. It leaves this listener decidedly disappointed.

57. Horta - July 2, 2013

I previously posted on the now closed thread that the ST: Into Darkness soundtrack got to No.1 in the UK’s Classic FM classical album charts. Here it is again:-

June 11, 2013
Good news for fans of Giacchino’s ST: Into Darkness music! The soundtrack is now No. 1 in the UK’s Classic FM Classical Album Chart!

58. Curious Cadet - July 2, 2013

@49. danielcw,
“what’s the difference?”

In musical parlance, a “theme” suggests a larger more complete melody. A theme is a complete musical statement on its own comprised of a beginning middle and end. In contrast a leitmotif would comprise a small part of a theme or melody, something memorable but repetitious — Jaws for instance. But Googling this would have gotten this distinction for you, and perhaps other articles will explain it in more detail for you.

Whatever you think about John Wlliams’ music is your opinion. I’m not critiquing so much as I am illustrating. Williams, as does Horner, Silvestri, Broughton, Goldsmith, Barry, and others deal more in complete thematic development in their scores. Goldsmith’s Ilia’s theme is a complete and satisfying melody. Giacchino, however, is prone to this disconnected, repetitive leitmotif style. In short he has some excellent ideas which go nowhere musically. Instead they are incomplete melodic statements which often segue to other disperate ideas which form a sort of musical patchwork quilt — complete in its execution. Indeed his style is fitting, in a culture of ADD addled consumers, prone to multi-tasking and short attention spans. It compliments the rapid edits, blink-and-you-miss-it plot points, lens flares, and other brief but distracting rapid fire approach of Abrams.

59. SoonerDave - July 2, 2013

@Curious Cadet

That’s a very well-stated synopsis that very effectively crystallizes the comparison between MG and the others you offered. Efficiently put.

The only thing I would offer is that MG has demonstrated more potential in other work than he exhibited in either Trek score. Somehow, its almost like he was hesitant to go as “big” as the franchise itself, if that makes sense.

60. T'Cal - July 2, 2013

I like this album a lot. While I enjoyed the last one too, I really hated the song Nero Sighted with its melodramatic tune for when the Narrada shows up. DUH DUH DUUUUUUH DUH DUUUUUUUH. Way overdone. Gosh, that music sounds ominous. These must be the bad guys!!!

61. John Tenuto - July 2, 2013

#52 Schiefy, thanks for the nice comments!

62. Curious Cadet - July 2, 2013

“The only thing I would offer is that MG has demonstrated more potential in other work than he exhibited in either Trek score.”

I’ve wondered about this. I absolutely LOVE The Incredibles, and most of his Pixar work is outstanding. But his score for John Carter was less than compelling, as was Land of the Lost. He seems to be at his best when he is intentionally derivative. The Incredibles was unmistakeable John Barry, though completely original, and infused with his own unique sparkle. But when tasked to be wholly original, he seems to be at a loss, at least when dealing with classic symphonic treatments. His score for LOST was absolutely brilliant, however and wholly original. Then again, that was an intimate approach and decidedly non-standard underscore.

But it’s possible too that Abrams has something to do with STID’s repetitiveness, demanding certain themes, etc.

One thing that occurred to me today is that as wonderful as his motifs are for Star Trek, they are inherently melancholy. As triumphantly as they may be orchestrated, they simply aren’t as positive or uplifting as Goldsmiths or Horners scores. It reminds me more of Eidleman’s score for TUC. And in that sense they work extremely well for STID, even if we’ve heard them all before. But if he scores the sequel, he’s really going to have to come up with some positive material to capture the feeling of soaring adventure Courage, Goldsmith and Horner … And even Rosenman.

63. Ben - July 2, 2013

I want the version of “London Calling” that was used in the IMAX 3D preview. If you look at the crappy cam videos of that preview on youtube you’ll notice it’s actually a different version.

64. SoonerDave - July 3, 2013

@ Curious Cadet

“I’ve wondered about this. I absolutely LOVE The Incredibles, and most of his Pixar work is outstanding.”

“Incredibles” and “Up” were two movies that I was thinking of in terms of his much better scores. “Incredibles” was brassy and sassy, almost an “I DARE you not to like this.” “Up” is absolutely wonderful, a triumph of melody-contexted emotion. That’s a score I hear in my head, and it brings back the vivid imagery of the movie, and I was hoping that something of that nature would arise for Trek.

In all honesty, I think Abrams deliberately constrained MG for Trek 09 because he stressed that the crew, in the context of that story, was not yet complete, so the music should reflect a sense of incompleteness. Hoped that would be resolved in STID, but it really isn’t. That, combined with the fact that he apparently expressed a desire for MG to go something “totally different” (or similar words) from other Trek music may have forced his hand the other direction. Don’t know.

I know a composer can’t just create an epic score that’s instantly memorable for a quarter-century on demand, but given what MG’s done I was sure hoping for more. LIke I said, it isn’t a *bad* score, it just isn’t particularly memorable.

Oh, well :)

65. Elrond Lawrence - July 3, 2013

John, thank you for this review! I was beginning to think there wouldn’t be any discussion of the STID soundtrack on TrekMovie… so it was a thrill to see your story.

I really enjoyed where Giacchino took the score this time, and my favorites are very similar to yours. It’s a shame they left out “Ode to Harrison” (one of MG’s best themes ever) and most of the end credits, but at least they didn’t strip out the big choir piece like last time! Until the expanded CD comes out, I settled for downloading “Harrison” and adding it to my STID playlist.

BTW I can’t disagree more with Curious Cadet about the ‘John Carter’ score… I recently played it on YouTube a few months ago and eventually bought the CD. That music is wall-to-wall emotion and grandeur, and it’s easy to see the influence of Lawrence of Arabia, one of my all-time favorites. I’m looking forward to how Giacchino tackles the next Trek and hoping for more adventure and mystique.

66. Marja - July 3, 2013

60, T’Cal, with you, 100%. The only things I really liked in the 2009 score were the Vulcan music, with the Chinese Erhu, and the Enterprise/Kirk theme.

This STiD score does yield up a much more satisfying “villain” theme in “Harrison’s Whatever” [theme? concerto? what name did MG give it?], starting with the Phillip Glass-like piano as the family goes to the hospital [love and concern, weaving into fear], and building into Khan’s thunderous anger.

I will probably buy this score, as I did not the 2009 one, because “Harrison’s Whatever” is not only an “earworm” but a pretty darned good piece of music.

That said, I wouldn’t compare MG with Erich Wolfgang Korngold (who composed the soaring Age of Sail score for “The Sea Hawk”), as I do Horner. I’m not sure I’ll listen to it hundreds of times as I have Horner’s WOK score. HUNDREDS I say.

And Curious, @58, I ADORE John Barry’s work. Almost every score he’s done. Out of Africa, Somewhere in Time, and [surprise!] early James Bond, including Goldfingaaahhhhh. With that distinctive 4-note bass guitar theme … I was so surprised to learn that was Barry! I also love Ennio Morricone. His score for “The Mission” was lovely.

I enjoy film music so much because it varies so widely, even within a single composer’s oeuvre.

67. Stephen - July 4, 2013

I burned it to a CD leaving it as an MP3, 320 bits, the difference is amazing. More Highs and more Lows. I love this soundtrack, Track 3 is so good with the percussion. Track 10 is amazing as well. Please, Please, Please release a deluxe 2 CD set as was done with ST 2009. I am eagerly awaiting that.

68. Cap'n Calhoun - July 5, 2013

@55 danielcw

All were using the same backing track by J.J. Abrams except (I believe) for the Japanese song.

69. Captain Stark - July 7, 2013

Another good piece was “Star Trek: The Astral Symphony” which included pieces from the first six movies. I loved the music from them all. As much as I hate to admit it, the one piece that I find myself humming a lot is the main title from “Star Trek: First Contact”.

70. Fubamushu - July 8, 2013

#39 Why is disagreeing whining? I don’t find Giacchino’s scores for Star Trek to be particularly original or inspiring. How is stating that opinion whining?

Do we have to like everything with a Star Trek label on it?

71. John Tenuto - July 9, 2013


Thanks Elrond for the kind words!

72. Fubamushu - July 11, 2013


Thank you

73. Greg - July 11, 2013

MG did better this time than his first effort…less hammering away with his “main theme” and more musical variety. Still not a huge fan of his though…

And NOT putting the TOS theme segment on this one??? WTF?????

74. Mitchell - July 11, 2013

69. Captain Stark – July 7, 2013
the birth of the First Contact theme can be heard brewing in Goldsmith’s pieces from Star Trek V, featured on The Astral Symphony.

Loved that CD as a kid.

66. Marja – July 3, 2013
Marja you are just the most delightful person whose comments i have ever read on the internet. wonderful taste for things (i happen to agree with ;) haha!)

75. Yanks - July 12, 2013

I am a die hard Goldsmith fan. Giacchino’s soundtrack took time for me to warm up to. Not because it isn’t great, but because I hold the “old” music in such high esteem.

Right now I think 2009’s soundtrack is better than STID, but that may change over time.

His music is every but as good as all the “oldies”.

76. Yanks - July 12, 2013

Oh, and how good is “Enterprising Young Men”???

What do you think and feel when you here it?

That’s how good his score is.

77. Peter - July 13, 2013

@9 “also where the 2009 credits include Spock’s theme (erhu violin) and Nero’s theme, STID has at least London Calling in place of those”

Nope. That’s what was one of the big disappointments for me, they left the Nero theme in and didn’t replace in with any Harrison themes.

In response to the article saying they should have included the Courage theme on the soundtrack cos it refers to the start of the five year journey…

Why was it used in exactly the same way in Star Trek 09 then?

78. William Bradley - July 13, 2013

Jerry Goldsmith is my favorite film composer, but I am a big fan of Michael Giacchino. Starting with his John Williams-esque video game score for Medal of Honor, then with his great work for Alias. Which I actually prefer to his wonderful work for Lost.

To me, his STID score isn’t as memorable as his excellent score for ST09. But it’s still very good. His work stands with Goldsmith’s great scores for Trek, along with James Horner’s classic for Wrath of Khan and fine score for Search for Spock.

I always hear “Enterprising Young Men” in my mind when I think of the new Kirk and the rest of the crew …

79. Mitchell - July 28, 2013

@75. Yanks –
@78. William Bradley –
Goldsmith is definitely my favorite. Every time i hear something new it never ceases to amaze. The only i’ve heard come close to his style is Hans Zimmer.
Gladiator reminded me of The Ghost and The Darkness and his recent work on The Dark Knight Trilogy and Man of Steel caused me to recall Jerry’s excellent use of blaster beams, horns and the synthesizer over the years.
Goldsmith nearly scored Superman The Movie in 1978 and did masterful work on Supergirl in ’84 so listening to Man of Steel’s expanded soundtrack and Hans ZImmer’s “sketchbook” for the film i feel that’s as close to what we might have heard from Jerry Goldsmith working on the Superman series of films.
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