Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Dug out this old favorite - James Horner's score to Star Trek III:  The Search for Spock.  Probably the scariest and darkest of all the Trek films.  The Enterprise gets mothballed.  The Genesis Planet is a failed experiment.  Two starships get blown up - one is packed with Federation crew, the other is loaded with Klingons (so we're happy about that one).  There are horrible Klingon bastards, who take hostages.  Kirk's son is one of those hostages, and they murder him.

It's a dark, slow movie.  And it's my favorite of the series.  And as I listened to the soundtrack last night, I realized that it would never get made today.  It wasn't over-the-top enough.  It wasn't packed with chaotic effects and people running and shouting.

The score was massive.  Ten feet thick in most places.  So you had this giant score put to slow-moving scenes of slow-moving starships and slow-moving drama.  And it worked.  Incredibly. 

I felt kinda sad knowing that there will never be something like it again from Hollywood.  And weird to ponder that most of the cool movies I worship from my youth would never be made today. 

But I felt lucky to have known it.  So there's that.

Click below for a cool track to a nice drawn-out scene where two starships are about to wrastle.


Memnet said...

I loved Star Trek III; I know that a lot of people didn't care for it but I thought it was very good. :)

Willow Cove said...

One of my most favorite Star Trek and sci- fi movies of all time.

girl6 said...

i thought it was very touching that someone felt that way about a film, made me sorta weepy & happy at the same time.
Good stuff, feelings. :)

FatRanza said...

Master Pumpkinrot,

I was amazed to read that you are a fan of Star Trek movie music. Frankly, given the tone of your work, I never would have guessed, but it just goes to show the depths of your character. I sent a link to this page to a co-worker of mine who is a BIG Star Trek soundtrack fan…he really knows how to appreciate this stuff (and the movies themselves); here’s his take on your comments:

“Nicely put....and I agree. The score is a rich and expansive and has a depth to it.

It is nowhere near as grand, powerful and expansive as Jerry Goldsmith's Masterpiece for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

I'm sorry that Horner's later scores were nowhere near the quality of these early scores....but as you say, The movies got faster and more "in your face".....so the score gets lost in the background.

I think a lot of it has to do with the all digital recording trend these days.....it's absolutely void of the richness and fullness of the old Analog recording studios from the 1950's through about 1991. I think Horner's score for "Titanic" (1997) is a great example. The film was MASSIVE in scope...but the score was recorded digitally with allot of digital effects (digital Choir, etc)....it just sounded...flat..with no power or real size. Contrast that with his score from "Rocketeer", recorded just 6 years earlier in an analog studio....it has that richness.

The Score for Titanic is excellent and has so much raw potential, but If I was Horner, I would have insisted on recording it in the recording studio at 20th Century Fox for example (because it has a full theater pipe organ), using a large orchestra, all analog equipment (on the big 2 1/2" master tape) using the big microphones from the 50's and 60's.....and a full choir.

Then I would mix and Master it digitally. That would have given the score untold power, size, range and scope...far more fitting of the film it was composed for”.

Rot said...

I too am a huge fan of Goldsmith's work. Though my personal tastes have always leaned more in Horner's court. Just a preference.

Great insight on the modern age of scoring. And I concur completely. Rocketeer is a great example of the size of a score when comparing digital to analog recording.

Thanks a TON for sharing this.

Unknown said...

I'm not a ST fan, but I hit your link and it played a bit and my husband looked over with fire in his eyes and asked, "WHAT"S That? That's Star Trek!?" And I smiled:) It's April and all sunny and the pollen here in GA is wrecking my brain--Oh October.....

Rot said...

: )

allergies up this way too.
i think someone might be putting powdered glass in my eyes as i sleep.