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With Galaxy Quest, David Newman finally graduates from B movies like Brokedown Palace to lower level "A" movies with recognizeable stars.  I haven't seen the movie, but it's supposed to be a hilarious spoof of Star Trek and fandom in general.  Of course, Newman composes a theme for the "classic" TV series that figures into almost every track.  It's a really strong theme and pokes a little fun at the more serious space opera themes like Star Trek, Star Wars, and the like, while still possessing a strong, noble melody line.  His method of development is also innovative - instead of developing the melody, Newman enhancees the orchestration.  In the first track, the theme is a tiny, campy '70s sci-fi theme like Star Trek or Lost in Space.  However, it is continually added to throughout the 50-minute running time until it reaches a full brass fanfare with choir and synthesizers.  Newman's theme is quite versatile - he uses is as an action theme, a love theme, and everything in between.

The composer is finally moving up in rank, gradually approaching the levels of his relatives Alfred, Lionel, Thomas, and Randy.  Brokedown palace did basically nothing - I found it dull and full of synth pop elements.  But GQ is a fully orchestral score with synth only used for effect, and even with some dissonance thrown in.  Unfortunately, since Dreamworks neglected to give it an official release, Galaxy Quest is only available as a promo put out by Super Tracks.  I would think it is the majority of the score - 50 minutes is a lot of music for a parody.  Unfortunately, it is divided up into 30 tracks with most just over a minute long - not enough time for a lot of thematic development.  However, as stated above, Newman works around this limitation by expressing change through orchestration.  The liner notes are pretty good for a promo - there is actually a movie synopsis.  Unfortunately, Super Tracks neglected to attach the track times anywhere, which is always a minor qualm.  Orchestral performance (ironically on the Newman scoring stage) and sound quality (mixed by John Kurlander) are great.  In the end, most collectors will find this a great CD - it can be bought at Super Collector.



Track by Track Analysis:

1. Galaxy Quest: The Classic TV Theme (:59)
Newman's score starts out nicely with this initial presentation of GQ's main theme.   In this introduction, it is orchestrated rather sparsely, probably to sound something like the old '60s-'70s sci fi shows.  Still, the melody definitely shows promise.

2. Prologue: Galaxy Quest Clip (1:34)
After a few seconds of new ageish "Space" music on synths, hints of the main theme coalesce into a huge presentation, already bigger than the "classic" version.  A strong minute of ominous action music follows, with its tongue firmly implanted in its cheek.

3. Pathetic Nesmith (:59)
The Space music also opens this track, now with a melancholy, simple piano rendition of the theme.  The airy synths give the impression of an unearthly choir...

4. Revealing the Universe (1:03)
...which actually appears in this track (and it's actually real voices instead of synths.)  After a few seconds of ominous rumblings, a triumphant major chord fanfare rings out, and the last section has some exciting dissonance with glissandi and the chorus.

5. Meet the Thermians (1:11)
A comical version of the main theme appears over shimmering synths in the intro. of this track, which then becomes a triumphant choral movement worthy of James Horner's KRULL.

6. The NESA Protector (:45)
This provides more of the triumphant choral work of the previous track, as well as a welcome return of the main theme.

7. Crew Quarters and the Bridge (1:32)
A military snare cadence opens this track, which later becomes one of those cliched wistful versions of the theme that the Star Trek series composers continually subject fans to.  The military cadence ends the track.

8. The Launch (2:08)
A noble, string-laden tone returns for this track with the main theme triumphantly ringing out above it.  A hint of an ominous orchestral interlude appears midway through, only to be displaced by another huge appearance of the theme.

9. Serris Tortures Captain (1:17)
An interesting ominous string triad motif over a bed of synths opens this track, which, with a discodant synthesized glissando, becomes a racing, yet fun action cue.

10. Red Thingie, Green Thingie (3:33) {the longest track, for those of you keeping score at home : - ) }
This is probably the most serious bit of action music on the disc, as well as a highlight of the score.  Newman actually makes this sound like something in the vein of a real scifi movie with desperate fanfares of the main theme weaving their way throughout the madness, as well as a gargantuan choral line.  Upon repeated listenings, this will probably be a track that you come back to often.

11. Shuttle to Planet (1:43)
The score quiets into another noble trumpet rendition of the theme, building into a monstrous fanfare worthy of one of Goldsmith's Trek scores.  The choir provides a quiet interlude, and a ferocious action bit based on the main theme rounds out the track.

12. Trek Across the Planet (2:55)
This is one of the more impressionistic tracks, opening with eerie synths and choir, a mood which continues throughout the majority of it.  A new synthesized motif enters, sounding a lot like a few of Goldsmith's 90s themes.  It is also in this track that we hear one of the few pop-inspired moments with a synth rhythm.  The remainder of the track reprises all the elements heard thus far, sometimes incorporating the main theme.

13. Rolling Sphere (2:35)
The impressionistic, almost comedic mood continues with a pizzicatto accompaniment of the main theme.  In the second section, a fun action section enters, blending parts of the previous track with the theme.

14. Pig Lizard (1:44)
This continues the action motif and ostinato first encountered in the previous track, with various outbursts of the main theme and chorus.

15. Rock Monster (1:56)
Although possessing a few popish elements, this is still a fun track, blending perfectly with the desperate tone of the last two tracks.  It's pretty hilarious when Newman incorporates the pop backbeat with the main theme.  The last few seconds return to the choir, synths, and action ostinatos.

16. Digitize Me, Fred! (1:18)
A few lighthearted variations of the theme comprise this track, although it turns ominous towards the end.

17. I'm So Sorry (1:44)
The tone of the previous track carries over to here, which uses a simple, melancholy piano version of the theme under high strings.

18. Fight Episode #17 (1:16)
The horn motif of this track reminds me a lot of Elfman's Mission: Impossible.  The track eventually builds into a frantic scherzo with a lengthy horn line and hints of the main theme.

19. Hallway Sneak (1:02)
The underlying action ostinato from tracks 13 and 14 appears again in a rushed, suspenseful track based around the main theme.

20. Alex Finds Quelick (1:22)
Nothing really new here - another action motif with hints of the choir and theme.  Its high point is a large fanfare of the theme.

21. Omega 13 / Heroic Guy (3:13)
An exciting, difficult brass fanfare opens this track, later hinting at the theme.  Later, the motif of track 20 returns under a bed of dissonance.  The chorus returns again in a rousing cadence again worthy of KRULL.  More discordant, ostinato-based action rounds out the track.

22. Big Kiss / Happy Rock Monster (1:19)
This is absolutely hilarious - a theremin imitating a solo violin in a parody of the classic Hollywood kisses with a sci-fi twinge.  After a few seconds of action, that mood returns, later resolving into the theme.

23. Quelick's Death (2:09)
Newman gives a quick respite with a melancholy string/choir elegy, again interlaced with the theme.

24. The Battle (3:08)
As you'd expect, the composer lets loose here with several complex minutes of action-packed chases, always with choir, creative synths, and TV theme.

25. Mathazar Takes Command (:58)
Newman goes back to the bittersweet tone of track 23 with another string/choir elegy.  The final 15 seconds are home to an exciting, sudden action riff.

26. Serris Kills Everybody (1:30) {cool title}
Probably the most dissonant track of the album, this is heavy on synths, glissandi, and general atonality.  A highlight of the score, especially since he gives the theme a break.

27. Goodbye, My Friends (:52)
This sounds a lot like tracks 23 and 25 with a wistful string/choir version of the theme, which dissolves into a frenzied action bit.

28. Crash Landing (:40)
A rousing finale of the action sequences with copius brass fanfares, themes, etc.

29. Goodbye, Serris (2:06)
The dissonance of track 26 comes back for a short while, greatly enhanced by synths.  A choral anthem of the main theme forms the second half.

30. The New Galaxy Quest (1:00)
This finale cue is a mirror image of Track 1, giving exactly the same arrangement of the theme, but now with hugely grand orchestration and dynamics.

In summation, Galaxy Quest is a huge step in the career of David Newman, and well worth a purchase.



 
Galaxy Quest: The Final Score
Music Rating 8/10
Packaging/Liner Notes 5/10
Sound Quality 9/10
Length 7/10
Orchestral Performance 9/10


Galaxy Quest is Copyright 1999 by David Newman.  Review Copyright 2000 by Andrew Drannon.  All Rights Reserved.