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Soundtrack review: Star Trek into darkness (deluxe edition) – Michael Giacchino, 2014

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Soundtrack review: Star Trek into darkness (deluxe edition) – Michael Giacchino, 2014


I couldn’t wait for the second movie in the new Star Trek series, “Star Trek into darkness”. The previews showed that it was darker and the villain was amazing. I was going to meet the infamous Khan, a legend among Trekkies. I was also excited about the actor who played him, the awesome Benedict Cumberbatch. The movie didn’t disappoint.
I was still excited about the first score when the second one came out, which is a rare thing. Four years had passed and I still hadn’t gotten enough of Giacchino’s explosive themes from the first movie. They were still playing in my head. It was literally as if the first score had just come out, it was still fresh and exciting. So it’s hard to separate “Into darkness” from the first one. The main themes are present here as well and are as powerful. I also feel close to this score because I sort of have been following its development and recording via Giacchino’s twitter feed: he used to post bits of videos from the studio and every theme gave me goose bumps and made me count the days until the score came out.
“Into darkness” is an orchestral festival, an all-out ballsy and exciting score that does justice to the theme and franchise. I am excited every time I think about this score. I am happy to have it and to feed of the incredible energy that it brings. Some scores make me feel melancholic…others serious or thoughtful…others make me laugh or simply give me joy. “Star trek into darkness” gets me excited and makes me feel alive and capable of doing anything.  Just like with the first score, I couldn’t wait for the longer, deluxe version to show up and bring more awesomeness.
And yet one of the most special things about it is the new, quieter theme: ”London Calling”, which is a deep and addictive piano cue, the kind that Michael Giacchino does best. It’s way different in mood from the fireworks of the other themes, but I get it, I feel it. It fits the tone of the movie; it has sadness, resilience, melancholy, a little revolt… I also loved how it fit in context, how the scene fit the cue, this also helped. The whole destruction suite (“London calling”, “Demotion emotion” and “London falling”) is brilliant and heartbreaking, and proves the worth of a longer edition to me. The other two themes support and complete “London calling”.
I could say that for me, sometimes, the mark of a great score is how high I grade its weakest cues; in this case, even the 3 star tracks are great and a pleasure to listen to, and this says a lot about the score and the extended version. I found 50 more minute so excellence in the deluxe edition and this is the version I’ll listen to from now on.
The most important additions for me are the two tracks after the end credits. I noticed the music in the movie and I knew it had to surface some time, it would have been a shame not to. The two 6 -minutes long cues “Ode to vengeance” and “Ode to Harrison” are priceless. They bring all the complexity and wealth of the villain, his calculated precision, his cold hatred, and his quest for vengeance. They also show us once again what Michael Giacchino is capable of and why he will end up being a legend in 20 years’ time.
In today’s film music, themes aren’t as present and as attentively crafted as they were when John Williams ruled the world. With his Star Trek scores, Giacchino has managed to do just that: create themes which will stand the test of time. Rarely in the past ten or so years has a composer been able to come up with such a powerful original theme. For me, it’s right up there with the likes of Star Wars, Superman, Indiana Jones or Terminator.
My ratings:
Cue rating: 80 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 86 / 119
Album excellence: 73%
Cues to listen to:
Pranking the Natives
Spock Slides Down/Kirk Jumps Off
Undersea Enterprises
Sub Prime Directive/Main Title
London Calling
Demotion Emotion
London Falling
The Pride of Iowa
Guns Down
Chair of Command
Pull the Trigger
Ship to Ship
I’m Gonna Make This Simple
Human Popsicles
Earthbound and Down (Part 1)
Earthbound and Down (Part 2)
Earthbound and Down (Part 3)
Kirk’s Choice
Carol Chanting
Max Thrusters
Buying The Space Farm
Go Get ‘Em
The San Fran Hustle
Kirk Enterprises
End Credits (Part 1)
End Credits (Part 2)
End Credits (Part 3)
Ode to Harrison
Ode to Vengeance
Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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