REVIEW: Star Trek: The Motion Picture Complete Score

“There is no comparison!” was the tagline for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, presumably a reference to 1977’s Star Wars. While certainly debatable whether true, the tagline is arguably applicable to the treatment given to Jerry Goldsmith’s soundtrack with the new LaLa Land Records’ Star Trek: The Motion Picture Limited Edition 3CD set. TrekMovie details the release in this new review.


Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Publisher: La La Land
Price: $34.98 (limited edition avaialble at )

The Music:

Clocking in at slightly more than 3 hours and 40 minutes, the set certainly expands on previous editions of Jerry Goldsmith’s iconic music for the first motion picture. The original 1979 soundtrack release is included in its entirety for those wishing to experience the arrangements and presentation of the LP and cassette tape era. Most exciting, however, are the tracks that are included that have never been available before, and especially the music of Disc 3 which is filled with bonus features. The main theme sounds wonderful and the new transfer allows for an appreciation of how complex and dense with layers of music Goldsmith’s music for the movie was. Listening to the alterative tracks, and even the raw recording audio that features the actual recording session for the main theme, are delights. And the inclusion of Shaun Cassidy’s reworking of Ilia’s Theme with lyrics and the disco/jazz version by Bob James (the composer of the theme to TV’s Taxi) are pure 1970s musical nirvana. It is these kind of surprises and completeness that make the CDs such a very enjoyable listening experience.

The Liner Notes and Packaging:

Jeff Bond (author of "The Music of Star Trek," and a TrekMovie contributor), and set producer Mike Matessino’s liner notes are detailed and full of trivia that even the most ardent Goldsmith aficionado may find surprising. For example, we learn about the roles played by famed original Star Trek composers Fred Steiner and Alexander Courage. Included are archival Goldsmith interviews and discussions with Craig Huxley, the creator and performer of the Blaster Beam instrument that was the voice of V’Ger (and Huxley was a Star Trek child actor who played Peter Kirk, Captain Kirk’s nephew in “Operation: Annihilate!” and Tommy Starnes in “And the Children Shall Lead”). There is plenty of behind the scenes information and commentary on individual tracks. There some nice (and for such a generally drab colored film, surprisingly colorful) pictures in the liner notes, although one my complaints with all of the Star Trek complete or expanded soundtrack releases is that there is too much use of standard and ubiquitous advertising photos when I think it would be better to have more rare behind the scenes photos. That being said, the liner notes are a nice companion to the disc and great for keeping with you as listen to music to learn more about each track.

V’Ger would be proud of the carbon units at LaLa Land for the packaging and design. The cover preserves the iconic art of TMP while the discs have bright and colorful pictures of Kirk, Spock, and Ilia featured on each.

For those who are keeping track, expanded or complete scores are now available for Star Treks I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VIII, and XI. We are waiting for Generations, Insurrection, and Nemesis, two of which are Goldsmith contributions. Oh, and we could hope for an expanded offering for Michael Giacchino’s 2013 Star Trek sequel, too. But that is the future. For now, there is contentment traveling back to the 1970s when V’Ger required information and McCoy wore a beard and enjoying the music of Jerry Goldsmith from TMP.


LaLa Land provided TrekMovie a review copy for this article.

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This is in my opinion one of the greatest modern movie soundtrack right up there with Superman The Movie and Star Wars.

I can’t wait to pick it up.

Still waiting for my set. :(

There already was a 2-disc version of the Giacchino score from Varese Sarabande. Or are you looking for an even more expanded edition?

I’m listening to it now. It is wonderful. Money well spent, believe me. The recording of the Main Theme with all the comments between the takes is a marvel. The tracks Goldsmith composed before writing the main theme are very interesting as you understand his way of working. Not everything was lost when he eventually succeeded in writing the march. There are 5 more tracks for the actual score, including bits featuring Alexander Courage’s theme and Fred Steiner’s work. A-must-have!

can’t wait! BTW… how ’bout releasing the music from the Animated series???

Oh, sorry, didn’t catch the “2013” part.

How do these peeps feel about accepting the dying currency that is the €?

This is one of the ten ten greatest motion picture scores of all time. It is a work of art and could stand with history’s greatest symphonies.

Please don’t mention the last Trek score in the same breath. I love Giacchino’s work on Lost (quite brilliant) but his Trek score was a terrible hyperactive mishmosh disappointment that attempted to ape 80’s John Williams but came off sounding like a schmaltzy gameshow

This music started it all for the rest of S.T. shows.


Though I love all the scores you mentioned, I think all of them take a backseat to Basil Poledouris’ Conan the Barbarian–still, one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard.

As I said under the previous article about the set being released, it’s marvelous…simply marvelous.

I am so glad to have tracks like “the Cloud” with the ‘church organ’ as heard in the film, rather than the wimpy synth substitute as heard on the ’79 album.

Now if we can just get a complete set of TOS soundtracks I’ll die a happy man.

8 – I actually greatly enjoyed Giacchino’s work, though it is nothing close to this score (obviously).

11 – It was the same 20th Century Fox organ on the OST, but the mix was different.

This was an absolute dream release for me, and I still keep going back for “one more listen”.

The extended 2009 Michael Giacchino Score was nothing more then the original release with the missing tracks. Complete, but still not complete as the tracks that were filled in were either alternate tracks or unedited original as most failed to match the ones on the actual movie.

TMP soundtrack is pretty amazing. Just got my copy in and have been listening to it non stop. It’s amazing how much of the original 79 LP score was alternate takes not used on film, including the main title.

La-La Land does some great CD compliations. If you like the TMP one, check out The X-Files Vol 1. 4 discs of music from the X-Files, and it’s just the first of several planned.

I believe Mr Giacchino faces the same dilemma John Ottman faced when he came to score ‘Superman Returns’. How can he compete with such an iconic score like John Williams original? He decided not to bother & embraced the original within his score. Michael Giacchino needs to do the same, why bother trying to beat the unbeatable when you don’t have to? This is unquestioningly the greatest movie soundtrack of all time!

Calhoun, John’s article does note there was an expanded score for Giachinno’s STAR TREK, he just noted he hoped there would also be one for the 2013 sequel as well.

My set arrived yesterday and I gave it a listen last night. Wow!
The new mastering is amazing and the review hits it right on the head. You can really hear everything in the mix and it feels like you are really hearing it for the first time.

Fine work by La La Land Records and all involved.

This set has set the new standard for soundtrack reissues.

TMP has really grown to be my favorite score of the series!

No disrespect to the author of the review, but I can’t disagree more with his assessment of the Shawn Cassidy cover of “Ilia’s Theme” and the Bob James disco version of the ST theme. They weren’t ’70s musical nirvana; they were audio torture of a sort that would have the authors of the Geneva Convention accords blush. I heard them on Youtube, and they were so horrible I wish I could’ve unheard them… :-o

However, the rest of the set sounds fantastic!
The late Jerry Goldsmith’s ST-TMP music is my favorite music of all the ST movies. I already have the 2 disc ST-TMP soundtrack that came out about 12 years or so ago, and it kind of prevents me from double dipping, but if I ever see this anywhere cheaper someday (e-bay perhaps)? I’m grabbing it. As it is (price wise) I really can’t justify adding an expensive double-dip to my already insane CD collection (for now, anyway….. ;-D ).

It was this very score that led me to start recognizing and appreciating different movie music composers, and how their varying styles make for divergent kinds of music. This is not just a great movie music score, but a wonderful piece of musical art anyone can enjoy.

Music from TMP is still by far the best music made for a Star Trek film. I’d like to see them use some of it in the new movies. Not note for note duplication, but a few bars thrown in occasionally. Like another nod to the previous movies & series. A little James Horner thrown in would be nice too.


Sebastian, that is what I meant by 70s musical nirvana!

I have my copy and I do agree with the reviewers comment on the booklet. I would have loved a bit more of the BTS with Goldsmith, Bob Wise and staff (I assume some images exist?). A very small photo of Jerry on the last page is all we see of the master…shame.

However, having this “official” version of his score at last is pure audio joy. I have waited forever to hear the military-style snare drums during the main theme (besides on VHS/DVD/BD copies of the film I have watched over the many years), as the Original Soundtrack release and the Directors Edition DVD used another mix…BRAVO La-La-Land Records, Sony Music and Paramount!

I got my copy yesterday, and it is absolutely fantastic. I really enjoyed the isolated Blaster Beam takes and the very first playing of the theme- flubs and all.

My only gripe is that my media players show no track data on the CDs. It shows ‘unknown album/artist’ and only the track numbers. I’ll have to manually name the album and each track when I upload it into my server. A strange oversight for such an otherwise well done set.

Listening to it now… The first track I listened to was “The Enterprise”… this is a piece of music I’ve listened to for years, many hundreds of times all told, and it still nearly brought a tear to my eye… the sound quality is beyond superb… it almost sounded like a new recording, and not the recording I’ve heard for years. Its astonishing, and the added depth of field and clarity bring a rich, fullness to the recording that is revelatory.

For those who thought this might be a BIG release…here is a blurb from the La-La-Land Records site concerning this item:

“…Never in our label’s history have we had so many orders for one title in such a short period of time. We blew through almost half the entire run in a few days.”

I believe a nomination for Soundtrack re-release of the year is in order (and not just due to sales). The Music Adventure Is Just Beginning….

#24 Big time. I cannot get over how incredible this set sounds. And I’m playing it over some fine equipment- if it has flaws, I haven’t heard them yet.

The sheer PRESENCE of the orchestra and electronics is incredible. Very happy with this set.

Has anybody on the east coast received their copy yet? I’m dying over here! (DC area)

I’m with all you on this being one of the best soundtracks around, and certainly the best Trek soundtrack (so many of the later movies borrowed themes and bits and pieces from this one). I too love “The Cloud” and it is the music I think of when I think The Motion Picture.

The music is the best part of having TMP on Blu-ray with a high resolution lossless soundtrack. It makes watching it that much better.

I am so glad I heard what I have heard in the complete score.

my copy arrived today! one word…WOW!

#26: Has anybody on the east coast received their copy yet?

I live in southeastern New York, and yes, my copy arrived in perfect shape on Monday, June 11th. At well over three hours, I haven’t had a chance to listen to all of it yet, but from what I’ve heard (first half of Disc 1), the sound quality is terrific! The Main Title’s opening downbeats now crash at you! Turn the sound up…and enjoy! :)

#30: You are not helping, thanks a lot lol.

I did hear the samples, which includes the main title in its entirety, on La-La Land’s site…holy hell. It’s not just a gimmick, it is truly REMASTERED…like hearing it for the first time. Incredible work. My copies (1 for me, 1 for Dad for father’s day) can’t come soon enough!

East coaster here (Fort Bragg) got the CD package Monday. Excellent all around, price, ease of ordering, packaged well for shipping and shipping price was cheap. Agree with everyone who thinks this sounds excellent and likes the content. I refuse to listen to the Shaun Cassidy desecration, but will use the disco version played through outside speakers to keep crows and other critters out of my backyard garden.

Truly a landmark score. Like other this was one of the first movie scores I ever bought (on cassette!) along with John Carpenters Escape from New York (on LP). I ordered on day 1 (from the UK) so I’m still waiting for my copy with anticipation… I had always watched the movie wishing that cues like ‘malfunction’ and ‘micro exam’ had been available… At last!!

Is it too late to get Shaun Cassidy into JJ’s sequel?
Sorry. Just wearin’ my snarkypants this morning.

# 20.

But somehow I’ve always associated nirvana with peace and/or pleasure.
Maybe my feeble brain missed something (wouldn’t be the first time or the last …). ;-D

But thanks again John, for whetting my appetite for this set. I may have to bite the bullet, spend the 40-odd bucks and double dip. It sounds SOOO worth it….

It still amazes me that The Music of Tmp did not win the Oscar. I mean. Who even remember’s what Movie’s music won with out having to Google it. Ok. I did Google it and listned to it and it well. Basicly Suck’s. I now have the new Tmp Music and it is incredable. I love listning to the great score that Tmp Music is and the heart and the soul of the best music I have ever listned to.

At the end of this review you mention that most of the other Star Trek movie have similar sound track releases. Could you put the links to them in this article (either of your review or where to buy them)?
Thanks a bunch, Star Trek has always had some of the best music of any movie, I am excited about collecting all of them

I’m on the East Coast (New York City) and I’m still waiting for mine. I hope it comes today; the e-mail telling me it was shipped was sent on Tuesday the 12th. I have two LP copies of the score, and the two CD releases – the first soundtrack release, and the 1999 special edition. Since this is a limited pressing, I doubt that copies will show up on e-bay too quickly. And when they do, I doubt it will be cheaper than it is now.

Listening to it now. The remaster is unbelievable. Highly recommended.
In fact it reminds how unrated TMP is. It’s still the best TOS movie in my book, the closest to Gene’s vision, the most mature.

Listening to it now, This is a great CD… listened to it in my car with a Bose system and its amazing, Goldsmiths music was well ahead of its time, This soundtrack will never age a day as the years go on

Listening to Disc 2 now. I have to agree with Robert Wise’s assessment of Goldsmith’s original submisions — “It’s not working! There’s no theme!” Especially on his first version of ‘Leaving Drydock,’ which sounds like simple background music. However, you can hear hints of what would eventually become the signature melody in the original ‘Enterprise Tour.’ I’m now playing the old 1979 album section as I type this, and while it’s certainly decent enough, I must say that it now sounds a little…’flat’ in comparion to the new remix.

Arrrg… Still waiting for mine to arrive! Damn cross border mail. ;) Can’t wait to hear the definitive version of one of my all time fav scores!!

#39 – Didn’t you mean “underrated”? “ST-TMP” was rated. It was rated “G” for the theatrical release, and “PG” for the director’s edition DVD.

This score is an elegant tour-de-force showing Goldsmith at his creative best.
His ability to compose such a monumental score of such scope is awe inspiring.The unuse portion of his score for ST:TMP is also very powerful and
with the rest of music written for this film it is truely a knock your sox off listening experience. No other composer could match Goldsmith’s ability for communcating such a sense of wonder. This score is now one for the ages.

#30: I ordered mine the day and during the first few minutes of it’s release ( tuesday ) and mine showed up – to my delight and surprise – on Saturday. If you look under the previous article on the release of this set, you can see my comments ( I posted a few times as I listened).

Hang in there buddy, yours should arrive soon.

@17 & 35: Take the plunge! This set puts the 1999 reissue to shame. this time you don’t have the change in quality between the original album tracks and the added ones. Also, this time the film score uses the actual takes heard in the movie, not the alternate versions heard on the ’79 and ’99 reissue. Plus you also get those alternate versions. What’s not to love? The price is quite reasonable for a three disc set. I used to work for one of the few remaing retail Cd stores, and they used to charge about that price for a 2 disc set.

Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful for the expanded ’99 disc, but this one just blows it away.

I’m very happy with purchasing the only expanded score I will be buying on CD… If only LALARecords sold all of the expanded scores on 24-Bit FLAC format online at a reduced rate! That would make me smile, then I would be happy to purchase II and VIII in FLAC format! :D

Hudson, MA, USA

@10 I have to agree with you. Conan the Barbarian started my whole interest in film scores and as a writer- to this day, it’s a score I listen to when I sit down and work on a chapter or two. Track 12 (The Kitchen/The Orgy is one of my favorite tracks. It oozes epic grandure like no other.

Finally got to hear the whole thing in one sitting. As i said earlier, the new ‘film version’ remix is terrific! You also get Goldsmith’s original pre-signature-theme background cues, a replay of the original 1979 soundtrack album (decent enough for the days of vinyl records, but it pales now). Disc 3 contains many ‘alternate take’ tracks, which the accompanying booklet reveals were often laid down because the orchestra had nothing better to do! (JG: “We’d come in, and there was no new scene for us to do, so we’d just record something else over again!’) There’s a look at electronic and ‘blaster beam’ effects, the already-discussed raw takes of the orchestra’s very first attempts at the Main Title…and yes, there’s the disco version of the title theme (not bad, IMO, it brings to mind MECO’s version of the theme. Anybody out there remember that one?) And Shaun Cassidy sings the love theme well enough, although his orchestral backing tends to overpower the piece. I would have personally preferred a lighter touch. Overall, this new album is a true Godsend for Trekkers everywhere! I guarantee that it’ll sound great…even in the car! Sit back, close your eyes…and start quoting those classic lines! C’mon…you KNOW you want to…! :)

I, too, can’t remember what film won the Oscar for Best Soundtrack in 1980…. but at least Goldsmith’s TMP score was nominated.

A shame that the only ST movie to actually win an Oscar was the latest one… and that one for “makeup”.

The vocal version of Ilia’s Theme I want to hear is the one that Grace Lee Whitney did on her disco album about that same time.

I agree with #11. ALL the original series recordings, even the first season re-recorded stuff that was used for the third season.