It was only a matter of time before I looked at a Giacchino score! First up is his score to the reboot of the Star Trek franchise, which is one of his best…heck, I could say that about any of this guy’s scores!
Giacchino is one of the most adaptable and capable composers out there today. I would even venture to say that he’s the best film composer around right now. A bold statement, yes, but just look at his track record: LOST, The Incredibles, Star Trek, Up, etc…the list goes on and on!
Though I’ve owned Giacchino’s score to Star Trek for a couple of years now, today was the first time I sat down and listened to it critically, and I noticed something: it’s highly reminiscent of John Williams’ score to Star Wars – in a good way! For example, take a listen to the first track, “Star Trek”, and compare it to this track from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, “Binary Sunset”. Long, beautiful melodies played on the solo French horn? Yup, definitely a match! You can hear this influence from Star Wars throughout, most evident in the heavy brass parts with the light woodwind/string countermelodies in the background – something that Williams is king of, but Giacchino comes awfully close to matching this skill.
While I’ve said that, yes, the score to this film is remininscent of Star Wars, Giacchino still manages to make it completely his own. “Labor of Love”, a heartbreaking piece that takes place as
Thor Chris Hemsworth’s character gives up his life to save countless others, sounds hugely different from anything in Star Wars. “Enterprising Young Men” is exciting throughout, and “Hella Bar Talk” is a beautiful reflection of Jim Kirk’s decision to join Starfleet. There are also some cool parts featuring a chorus, such as in the track “Nero Death Experience”. “Nero Sighted” is aggressive and suspenseful, with an awesome low brass melody that is infinitely cooler (though, unfortunately, less iconic) than “The Imperial March” from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
Perhaps EVEN COOLER is how Giacchino intersperses an updated main theme from the original TV series, Star Trek: The Original Series, heard in “To Boldly Go” and “End Credits”. If I was a Trekkie, I would have jumped up and down in the theater upon hearing this nod to the original. How cool is Giacchino?!
Overall, Michael Giacchino’s score to Star Trek is everything that a Trekkie could ask for, everything a film score appreciator could ask for, and it raises the movie to heights higher than even the USS Enterprise could take them. Plus, with clever track names full of pop culture references (i.e. “Does It Still McFly?”, “Back from Black”, etc.), what’s not to love?
Rating: 5 (out of 5)
1 “Star Trek” 1:03
2 “Nailin’ the Kelvin” 2:09
3 “Labor of Love” 2:51
4 “Hella Bar Talk” 1:55
5 “Enterprising Young Men” 2:39
6 “Nero Sighted” 3:23
7 “Nice to Meld You” 3:13
8 “Run and Shoot Offense” 2:04
9 “Does It Still McFly?” 2:03
10 “Nero Death Experience” 5:38
11 “Nero Fiddles, Narada Burns” 2:34
12 “Back from Black” 0:59
13 “That New Car Smell” 4:46
14 “To Boldly Go” 0:26
15 “End Credits” 9:11
Total Length: app. 45 min.
Note: I know that all of these positive reviews may be tiresome, but all of these scores are being chosen from my personal collection at the moment, so why would I own anything that I dislike? Eventually, as the number of albums left to review thins out, I’ll experiment more with what I purchase, so, hopefully, my review ratings will vary more. Thanks for your patience!