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S T A R  T R E K

I N S U R R E C T I O N

or, Jerry Goldsmith Strikes Back
Apparently, Rick Berman & Co. finally realized that Jerry Goldsmith is THE Star Trek composer.  After the somewhat mediocre First Contact, Goldsmith concentrated on a new, more positive sound for Insurrection.  Unfortunately, most of the more touching moments are abandoned on this CD release, replaced by similar action cues with a motif derived from his earlier U.S. Marshals.  By the time you've sat through the four action tracks on this album, you'll be ready to turn it off.  However, the rest of the score is based on an extremely uplifting Baku motif, which only gets featured in a few tracks.  Overall, the music heard in the film is very good, while the album release gets about a C+.

Track by Track Analysis:
1. BA'KU VILLAGE (6:52)
Goldsmith opens with an arrangement of Courage's fanfare similar to First Contact, with his U.S. Marshals action horn riff in the background.  This builds up and eventually surges into the first statement of his Baku theme.  I haven't heard Powder, but this is supposedly similar to it.  It's basically a very touching melody played by winds with harp underneath.  Following the first statement, he adds strings and presents the entire thing again, this time continuing to build.  All of this happy music is interrupted by an ominous horn call followed by descending electronic blips.  The rest of the cue is an action piece based on the opening horn riff.  Parts of it combine the touching Baku sound heard earlier with more action music.  One part has a horn ostinato under piercing electronic pitches, which leads to the first statement of his main march theme.  This time it's very subdued (I guess he thinks we should know it by now.)
2. IN CUSTODY (1:14)
This is a nice, short action cue with shimmering strings over variations on the horn riff.  It ends with fading low brass.
3. CHILDREN'S STORY (1:47)
We return to Baku music, with a descending harp motif eventually accompanied by electronics.  It segues into the first statement of what I call the Youth Motif, since it always plays when the characters are talking about the anti-aging effects of the planet.  The motif itself is reminiscent of the Baku theme, but slightly more touching.  The rest of the track is a reprise of the descending harp motif.
4. NOT FUNCTIONING (1:45)
This is the first of Insurrection's action cues.  It has a driving piano ostinato under various statements of the overused horn riff.  Of course, we get more electronic blips, and an introduction of another principal action motif.  This is what the other action cues are principally based on.
5. NEW SIGHT (5:44)
This is definitely one of the best cues on the album.  It opens with a statement of the excellent Youth Motif on the oboe with string accompaniment.  This time, it's heard in its entirety, followed by assorted string meanderings.  Then comes a new motif slightly based on the Youth Motif, which is also heard as a bridge between the march and Baku theme in the end credits.  Like the rest of the tracks on here, each moment features some kind of electronic effect.  After the first statement of this motif, we get more string passages, followed by another statement of the new motif, and the track ends with more of the Youth Motif, this time played by different instruments.  Unfortunately, at the very end, the moment is spoiled by a barrage of action music.
6. THE DRONES ATTACK (4:10)
Along with the next track, this is the action highlight of the album.  Goldsmith opens with a statement of his all-purpose action theme, followed by smatterings of the horn riff.  Basically, the entire cue is structured like this, and it's very exciting.  Oh yeah, the entire thing's accompanied by electronic blips which slightly ruin the effect.  Additionally, we get our only glimpse of the Klingon theme from the previous films in this track.
7. THE RIKER MANEUVER (3:09)
Finally we get a break from that tedious horn riff! (although the opening low-brass motif is based on it)  The all-purpose action theme is noticeably absent, also.  This opens with a pounding low brass hit, which the rest of the cue is based on.  Halfway through the track, we get fluttering flutes over, get this, the Superman theme!  Yeah, I was amazed, but it's true, although it is in a minor key instead of a major one.  I'm sure that's not what he was trying to do, but it's what it really sounds like.  The track ends with more blips, the piano motif, and assorted action punches.
8. THE SAME RACE (1:16)  - Gee, I hope you've seen the movie.
This opens with a foreboding oboe solo over strings.  Then we get a chromatic flute motif, followed by some pounding low brass under that pesky horn riff.  The rest is an ominous action cue.
9. NO THREAT (4:12)
Opens with blips, followed by ominous ambiance.  Suddenly that horn riff makes a comeback, along with the action motif from track 1.  That chromatic flute motif returns, and then we get foreboding string/synth combos for the rest of the cue.
10. THE HEALING PROCESS (7:15)
This has to be my favorite track on the score.  It opens with pounding pianos under a variation of the good 'ol horn riff.  This builds and is eventually met with a driving rhythm in the bass.  Then, Jerry Goldsmith finally does something interesting with that blasted horn riff!  He gives us an excellent extension of the call that could actually be called a theme.  Too bad he had to wait until the next-to-last track.  Anyway, this plays for the next few minutes, gradually becoming bigger and bigger, and we get another great surprise: he takes the horn riff and adds a synthetic choir to it.  Again, why did he have to wait until the end of the movie?  The action music quiets, and the orchestra gives us the most moving version of the Youth Motif in the entire score.  It's as if Jerry's giving us one last look of the anti-aging effects that the crew is leaving behind in order to uphold the morals that their organization was founded upon.  Near the end of the track, we get one last listen to the Baku theme, which leads into the bridge motif, which continues to build, complete with synths, and segues into...
11. End Credits (5:26)
Insurrection's end credits have to be the best version of the march theme I've ever heard.  He adds a ton of reverb to make it sound spacious, and reduces the accent on one of the key sections.  Also, the transition to the Baku theme is so much smoother than that of First Contact.  This time he uses the shortened Youth Motif heard in a few other tracks, and gives us another rendition of the Baku theme, identical to the main title.  That awesome-sounding arrangement of the march rounds out the album.

Here is my new ranking of Goldsmith's Trek scores:
1. Star Trek: TMP
2. Star Trek 5
3. Star Trek: Insurrection
4. Star Trek: First Contact
The tone of this album makes it a worthy, albeit different addition to the Star Trek canon.  The packaging is gorgeous, with informative essays for liner notes.  The performance is great, but there's a small amount of hiss on the CD that is easily ignored.



 
Star Trek Insurrection:  The Final Score
Music Rating 8/10
Packaging/Liner Notes 9/10
Orchestral Performance 9/10
Sound Quality 8/10
Length 6/10

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Star Trek Insurrection is Copyright 1998 by GNP Crescendo.  Its appearance is for informational purposes.  Review Copyright 1999 by Andrew Drannon.  Opinions are not those of Tripod.