Next week is going to be a very interesting one for Michael Giacchino fans, as not one but two new scores of his are being released; The Incredibles 2 and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I will be reviewing both soon, but before that I decided to dive deeper into Giacchino’s previous scores (after having reviewed The Incredibles last time) and so now I present to you a review of one of his finer albums; the one for JJ Abrams’ Star Trek.
I have been a huge fan of this score and its two sequels for years now, mainly because of the absolutely amazing main theme that Giacchino composed for Star Trek and the way that theme is intertwined with previous Star Trek themes from the other movies. The main theme is first heard in a soft brass style in the first track of the score, and it already feels like an epic, dramatic piece that well represents the crew of the Starship Enterprise. In a similar manner to John Williams’ Superman or Alan Silvestri’s The Avengers themes, Giacchino’s Star Trek is instantly recognisable and iconic even in its first outing, and truly cements itself (at least for me) as one of the if not the best piece of music to represent the Star Trek universe. It is perhaps beaten only by the original series theme, which coincidentally is also used a fair amount in this score.
With the main theme having shown itself off in the opening logos, Giacchino almost immediately moves into much darker territory as things take a turn for the worse in the film itself. In Nailin’ The Kelvin we hear the first of the villain Nero’s theme, and it is dark and dramatic to match the upbeat and epic nature of the main theme. Unfortunately Nero’s is not anywhere near as iconic or interesting as the Star Trek piece, but it serves its purpose as a dark theme to play whenever Nero appears.
Labor Of Love is the first fantastic track on this score, that plays as George Kirk sacrifices himself and James is born. Unlike much of this album, strings take point and brass a backseat, making for a very sad and emotional piece that builds up from slow and quiet at the start to loud and tear jerking at the end. This track is fantastically well orchestrated and does well to show the emotional range that both this score and Giacchino has.
The next two tracks do an absolutely amazing job of showcasing the main Star Trek theme in all its iconic glory. Hella Bar Talk starts it off with a slow, strings-led rendition before letting brass take centre stage as the theme slowly builds up.
Giacchino then lets out all the stops in Enterprising Young Men. The score goes loud as he lets all the brass instruments out to play in the first full and all-out rendition of the main theme. It sounds fantastic, and is the sort of piece you can imagine sounding out of this world in a concert hall.
The villain theme then plays out fully in Nero Sighted. Like the main theme this is also very brass-oriented, and although it doesn’t hold a candle to the main one it does have a very dark and villainous nature, and Giacchino does a great job of illustrating how dangerous Nero is here. This is continued in Nero Fiddles, Narada Burns as the theme comes face to face with a militaristic, uplifting version of the main Star Trek theme. Here Giacchino brings out choirs as well as the well versed brass to make an on-edge and dramatic action piece. Back From Black then finishes off the battle with a victorious rendition of the main theme as Nero is defeated by the Enterprise crew.
That New Car Smell starts off with a slow and solemn playthrough of Spock’s theme, before moving fluidly into the main one in a similar style. As Captain Kirk arrives on the Enterprise bridge however the mood quickly changes from solemn to end-of-movie-epic as the ship prepares to go on its five year journey where no man has gone before. The orchestra can be heard building up in the background initially before taking prominence at the end of the cue for an upbeat version of the main theme before the credits roll.
To Boldly Go then gives us a treat in a slow yet wonderful rendition of the classic Star Trek: The Original Series theme before leading into the End Credits suite. Here the classic theme is used in all its epic glory initially before smoothly transitioning into a fast-paced and triumphant version of the new Star Trek theme. Giacchino does a great job here of intertwining old and new Star Trek in an amazing two minute piece to close out the film. We are then treated to the best parts of the score pulled together in a well-crafted ending suite, including a dramatic Spock’s theme and a particularly evil-sounding Nero’s theme. Then to close out the album, the composer has one final piece of amazing in store; one last glorious rendition of the simply incredible new Star Trek theme.
Michael Giacchino’s Star Trek is a great score made amazing by a main theme that stands up there with Avengers and Star Wars levels of iconic.
Standout Cue: 15. End Credits