Tuesday, July 21, 2009


- "I've done far worse than kill you; I've hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me; as you left her. Marooned for all eternity at the center of a dead planet. Buried alive... buried alive..."

In 1982, one of the greatest science fiction films of all time gave new life to the legend of the Star Trek franchise. Starring Ricardo Montalban as the iconic villain Khan, the film was the franchises fifth and likely final chance to strike it big. After surviving cancellation to have it's third season; after spawning a poorly-made animated kids series; after all but being the flagship for a fourth television broadcast network; after becoming a major motion picture that was panned poorly by critics and fans alike, everything finally came together in this low-budget sequel that has since become a cult-classic and the definition of franchise success.

One of the many elements of that films greatness was it's score. Composed by a then 28-year-old upstart named James Horner, a nobody filling the shoes of the lengendary Jerry Goldsmith, the score - like the film - was a dramatic departure from what had come before. It was another of the many risks taken in the film and the franchise. But like the man said - 'risk is our business' - and when it all came together, it all paid off. Many people credit the films young director, Nick Meyer, and the veteran main-stream producer given charge of a franchise he knew nothing about, Harve Bennett, for saving Star Trek. Without it's score though, would that success have been? Perhaps a third person also helped save Star Trek after all...

Now, more than half a century later, we will finally hear that complete score in all it's glory.

Head over to Film Score Monthly, who've announced it's pending release of the complete score in a non-limited edition. Meaning this is not a finite product that you'll pay an extreme price for.

Rumor has it this gift from the gods is courtesy of a new music executive over at Paramount who is quite enthusiastic about making such things available. Though a box-set of all the Trek film scores is impossible due to the legalities of six companies having their fingers in the pie, this could well be only the first of many new musical trips from the Star Trek universe. Either way, it's auditory ambrosia, and I'm thrilled to get it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Salvation for Terminator...

Last night (Wednesday, May 21) I went to the midnight showing of Terminator Salvation. I'm pleased to report that the future of the Terminator franchise looks good, film wise. While I felt the story was trimmed down far too greatly to meet the needs of action and run-time, the action was truly so fantastic that it really held the film together. Judgment Day and the original are still far superior; but this was a welcomed improvment over Rise of the Machines. Bale was a superior Connor than Nick Stahl by miles. Sam Worthington stole the film to a great degree. Anton Yelchin made a decent Kyle Reese, worthy of succeding Michael Beihn.

As far as the music goes, I'm pleased to report that the Terminator drum-beat, heard in the commercials, was present on three occasions. At the opening, at the reveal of the best cameo in motion picture history, and at the end credits. That it's not included in the score truly infuriates me. That said, it's only one element of the theme. The true heart of the theme was, as I expected, absent in any true and intelligible form. I feel it likely it's lack of inclusion was based purely in financial motives, as McG truly does seem to appreciate the Terminator universe. There where many great nods to continuity throughout the film and he's clearly got his hands on the property.

As far as nostalgia...

It's what gets me and a lot of other people in the seats. So frankly, the studios need to pay more heed to it. Imagine Star Wars without it? Star Trek? Godfather? There is much talk of a Ghostbusters 3, and imagine it not being used? Would any of us not be miffed?

Just thought I'd add my two cents...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hasta La Vista, Theme Song...

I'm currently listening to the score from the latest in the Terminator franchise of films, 2009's "Terminator Salvation" which opens in the USA for early showings this Thursday, May 21st. It will have some (for reasons beyond my comprehension) tough competition in the more family friendly fodder of the latest waste of film to star Ben Stiller. Nope, I'm not saying the flicks name. I know from box office experience that it will likely win the weekend due to being more family friendly, so I'm getting a head start on being upset that it beat the new Terminator flick for number one that memorial day weekend.

Anyway, like I said, I'm currently listening to the score from TS, and... I'll be honest, it's a good score. It's not epic or sweeping thus far, as I've heard. But it's solid, and thankfully, it doesn't sound like a typical Danny Elfman composition for the most part. Don't get me wrong, Elfman has talent - but when it comes to genre stuff, he should be banished to an island and never allowed near it with a ten foot pole. That said, he's managed to hide his normal tones and tunes - mostly - from TS. That all said... it's lacking one very critical thing.

The one thing that every single true Terminator fan wants. And has wanted. Since 2003's disappointment of Terminator 3, and the more recent Terminator TV series.

The god damn mother fucking theme song!

...Seriously. What. The. Fuck?

There are not many films that have a sweeping and well loved theme song that become iconic. There really aren't. I mean, think of 10 and you've likely named them all. Star Wars. Star Trek. Godfather. Jurrasic Park. I can't go much further than that. Because there are not to many films with great iconic themes that are so beloved!

When they didn't use it outside of the closing credits in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines... I was miffed. But at the time, I glossed over it, because it was Arnold as the Terminator again after a 12 year long wait. I was young, naive, and able to gloss over such a (at the time) triviality as the theme song. When they where preparing for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I actually spoke with series compose Bear McCreary (one of my top 3 composers, btw) through e-mail and asked him, point blank: what was happening with the theme? He informed me they (FOX) where trying to secure the rights, and all those involved in production wanted to use it. Alas, all we ended up with was the thump-thump-thump-thump-thump drum beat intro.

When I first heard substantial news of Terminator Salvation, director McG (shit name, right? He knows, he's not a pre-madonna, it's short of McGinty and a nickname he got as a kid because he's the third named Joe in his family, as I recall) first spoke of the film, he promptly addressed the themes. He said he loved them. He said he wanted them. When he hired Danny Elfman, he said he had instructed Elfman to use said themes.

I rejoiced.

I knew Elfman wouldn't use them constantly, I knew we would be lucky to have the opening and closing credits and maybe a specific moment near the climax of the film, but I relaxed as all seemed well and on track for the return of the great theme I'd loved since, literally, childhood.

Yet here I am. Writing, ranting, and grinding my teeth as I listen to the score from Terminator Salvation and... do not hear the themes. None of them. Certainly not the familair "do-do-dooooooo, doo-doo-doooooooo" that so many of us love from the first two films. No, I'm listening to the latest Terminator score sans any Terminator themes! Again!

I feel like pulling a William Shatner and, at the top of my lungs, screaming to the heavens like he did for Khan...




It's no use though. The film comes out in 5 days. There is nothing to be done except to feel a little bitter, a little betrayed, and a little more disenfranchised. And as I type those words, a little sickened too, as I just heard some classic Elfman chaos in track 7 that, to my ears, is nails on a chalkboard. Thankfully it was just a brief moment. Hopefully that's all it will be. But I guess it's "Hasta La Vista, Theme Song" for Terminator.

Have a listen. It's good. It's just not great; and it's lacking that which we all hoped it would contain, the themes.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Star Trek (2009) - Original Motion Picture Score

I'm not sure what to say about this yet, as I've not even finished listening to it myself, and I've not seen the film. I know I like it, but I'm not sure on what level I like it, yet. As a Star Trek music conosieur, this is a brave new world. It's the first time in decades that a familiar composer has not been behind the music. I knew Jerry Goldsmith, I know his contemporaries, and I know what they do musically. It's familiar. This isn't. Michael Gianchino, I have very little to base an opinion off of.

Judge for yourself folks, just like with the coming film itself...


Monday, March 9, 2009

Star Trek XI - The Music Begins...

Wow... I really am a lazy bastard, aren't I? It's been a few months, once again, since last I updated. I've returned because I've just come into possession of something truly fantastic.

How many of you have seen the newest trailer for the new Star Trek movie that opens this spring? Most fans are calling it Star Trek XI, as it's the eleventh feature film incarnation. Officially though, they're usurping the name of the classic 1960s series that began the greatest and most durable franchise phenomenon in the history of the entertainment industry. Which yes, makes me a little bitter. Give the film a subtitle and I'll shut up. Call it Star Trek: The Movie or something, I don't care. Just stop trying to get away with calling it just Star Trek. That name, my friends, is taken.

So anyway... I'm on the fence about the film. I don't know what I feel. I wasn't a kid when TOS (The Original Series, duh!) was on TV. So I can't well claim that this new film is "raping my childhood" as so many fan-boys are. Yet at the same time, it irks the hell out of me to see someone else in those pointy Vulcan ears calling themselves Spock! The fact that this film will also feature the original, true Spock, the great Leonard Nimoy is a big help in keeping me from going rabid-dog on things.

There is certainly a lot of energy about this new film. Weird thing is the energy is from outside the community of Trekkies. Normally, no one but us gives a rats ass about these films. Now it's sort of turned on it's head -- the outside world seems to give a frak, and the Trekkies are divided worse than ever. As if we needed more reason to be at odds with each other. TNG began that divide, and DS9 and VGR and ENT (if I have to explain all of those, you shouldn't be here!) only made the divide worse. That said I loved almost all of them and never got bogged down in those divides and arguments. Every show had it's merits and faults.

Now though... I don't know. I just don't know how this new film fits. How the idea of new people as Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty all fit into things. We've never faced this conundrum. In all of Star Trek history, there have been exactly two recasts. That's it. Considering there are 5 series, 10 feature films, and something like 700 hours of Star Trek... that's really saying something that only two characters have changed actors. Those beeing Saavik, originally played by Kirstie Alley in The Wrath of Khan and replaced (due to wanting too much money) by Robin Curtis in Search for Spock, and in Voyager, they brought in Susanna Thompson to play the Borg Queen twice, before returning Alice Krige to the role she owns in the series finale.

So why the hell am I rambling on about Star Trek? Right, back to the new third theatrical trailer. If you've not seen it, it's not hard to find. Try StarTrekMovie.com for starters.

OK, done? Heard that awesome trailer music, that reminds you a bit of the score for The Dark Knight?

It's from a trailer music company called Two Steps From Hell and the track in question is titled "Freedom Fighters" from (apparently) their ablum Legend -- that all said, the company released a statement in response to the overwhelming response to the music stating it has never been released commercially and that Paramount obtained exclusive rights usage to the track, but that they may still release it on an album. Confused? So am I. Especially since I've obtained the track in question.

I've also obtained the track from the second theatrical trailer. It's entitled, perhaps on purpose and perhaps ironically, "Down with the Enterprise" -- no I don't know if that means 'shoot them down' or 'down with my homies' as someone else asked me. I doubt it's coincedence though. Anyway, besides those two tracks, if you go into the movie website, you'll hear some background music. We don't yet know if it's a sample of the score to come or not. Either way, I've put all three tracks in one zip download for you all. Enjoy, and spread them around!


(PS: Yes, I know I've written this post in a larger font size than previously. I've decided squinting isn't a good thing.)