documentary Film scores

Soundtrack review: Journey to space (Cody Westheimer – 2015)

„Journey to space” is a film that showcases the exciting plans NASA and the space community are working on. It tried to contradict the general idea that the space program is dead. This subject can challenge the imagination of a worthy composer and the score can be a beautiful and vast story. Cody Westheimer wrote the music and he’s well known in the documentary business. He also wrote TV themes for sports programs.

The score starts with the very lively “The endless horizon” which to me evokes more the ending of a movie, the conclusion that leaves hope to the viewer that there will be a sequel. There’s a female voice in the background joyfully and exuberantly announcing great things. It’s the kind of cue that puts me in a good mood. “To Mars and beyond” continues in the same vein and these are great presentation cues. I want to see what they are about, they are positive and exciting. “Endeavour’s final journey” is epic and emotional. It’s sort of trailer music for space adventures and it works, I love it. This is not the reflective and quiet space music I was waiting for; it’s exciting and full of life.

“An eye on the Cosmos” is an orchestral exercise. The composer decided to focus on everything that’s in the space, planets, stars, life rather than on the wide empty space itself. I feel like I’m at an observatory watching the movies about the planets and all. The music is not mean to make the listener dream, it’s mean to make him enjoy himself and get excited. There are a few tracks with rock guitars on them and they don’t seem to work very well for me in context.

The score enters a light and breezy section with “ISS construction”, “Grace of the brave” and “Orion training”. The music is the kind you would hear when a building and prepping montage would be shown. Just background music to support the images. “Mars” gets a little more interesting. The preparations are over; we are buckling up for a journey.

“Extended weightlessness” is my favorite cue from “Journey to space” so far. It’s an orchestral joy and an exciting cue altogether. I get the mood of the score now. This documentary isn’t about space itself but about the people working and dreaming to get there. The music shows me that. The cues are different as are the moods of the people presented. Some are dreamy, some are cool or groovy, and others are more laid back while moments like “Red planet arrival” and “The unimagined” are sweeping and epic. “How to build a space suit” brings a shadow of nostalgia. I guess the electronic inserts touch some sort of chord inside me. I can’t put my finger on what it reminds me off but I love the feeling.

“Journey to space” doesn’t pretend to be more than it is. It’s a breath of fresh air, a happy and joyful score that invites you to play and, yes, dream. It has a youthful stride in it and it shows you that life can be fun and carefree when you are excited about what you do. The “Blue Danube” rendering at the end of the score shows just how much the composer and performers enjoyed recording it .Me, I enjoyed listening to it.

Cue rating: 80 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 10 / 35

Album excellence: 28%

Highlights:

Endeavor’s Final Journey

Extended Weightlessness

How To Build A Spacesuit

Red Planet Arrival

The Unimagined

About the author

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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