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Star Trek: The Motion Picture
(1979)
Album Cover Art
1986 Columbia
1999 Sony
Album 2 Cover Art
2012 La-La Land
Album 3 Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:

Co-Orchestrated and Additional Music by:
Alexander Courage
Fred Steiner

Co-Orchestrated by:
Arthur Morton

"Blaster Beam" Created and Performed by:
Craig Huxley
Labels Icon
LABELS & RELEASE DATES
Columbia
(1986)

Sony Legacy/Columbia
(January 26th, 1999)

La-La Land Records
(June 4th, 2012)
Availability Icon
ALBUM AVAILABILITY
The 1986 Columbia album is completely out of print but is still available for reasonable prices in some corners of the market. The 1999 2-CD set is a regular U.S. release available for many years for slightly higher than normal retail prices. The 2012 3-CD set from La-La Land is limited to 10,000 copies and was made available primarily through soundtrack specialty outlets for an initial price of $35.
Awards
AWARDS
Nominated for an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, and a Golden Globe.
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ALSO SEE




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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you are unfamiliar with the feature Star Trek scores and seek Jerry Goldsmith's original classic of romance, adventure, and suspense that influenced most of the subsequent music in the franchise.

Avoid it... on any album prior to the 2012 3-CD set from La-La Land Records, the definitively comprehensive presentation of the score (and its early, rejected alternative by Goldsmith) in the best sound quality available.
Review Icon
EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #111
WRITTEN 1/24/99, REVISED 9/3/12
Goldsmith
Goldsmith
Star Trek: The Motion Picture: (Jerry Goldsmith) Despite a strong following of devoted fans after just a few years on television, Gene Roddenberry's "Star Trek" concept was floundering. NBC had cancelled the sci-fi show by the outset of the 1970's and an animated version in the middle of the decade was by no means a success. A full-length theatrical feature reviving the cast of the original show a few years later was a massive financial risk for Paramount, with fundamental production problems plaguing the highly anticipated Star Trek: The Motion Picture for years. Arguments over the script, special effects, and other elements of the film caused endless delays and last minute changes. The best that Roddenberry and famed director Robert Wise could offer for the film's December 1979 release date was no competition for George Lucas' Star Wars franchise, which surpassed the fledgling Star Trek alternative in nearly every way possible. After meeting with disappointing box office returns and critical indifference, Roddenberry's fortunes would only turn around with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, a less spectacular film but one with a phenomenal story and equally impressive special effects. It's hard to imagine that even as the finishing touches were being put on Star Trek: The Motion Picture (less than a week before its wide opening), there was no expectation that any franchise would follow. Its story spent significant time reassembling the famed crew and reintroducing its ship prior to engaging in an philosophically existential journey to communicate with a space probe from early in Earth's space program that has returned home in massive and dangerous form to find its creator. After opening with a remarkable battle sequence between this probe and a few Klingon vessels, the film's pace slows to a crawl for its remainder, relying upon intellectual and emotional romanticism rather than the more conventional action (and villains) that would follow in the sequels.

The awesome visual effects of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, provided by numerous groups eager to compete with the Star Wars universe, played to a resurgence in audience interest in the fantasy genre, however. These effects, along with Jerry Goldsmith's historically significant score, are the two commonly credited reasons why the project, despite its many faults, led to so much more success down the road. There are many reasons why Goldsmith was the appropriate choice for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, including both his established credibility in the 1970's science-fiction scene and his close friendship with the likes of Alexander Courage and Fred Steiner, composers who had contributed greatly to the music for the original television series. Goldsmith brought both of those composers on as orchestrators (and co-composers) and enlisted friend and conducting collaborator Lionel Newman to help supervise the recording sessions. In later interviews, Goldsmith often thought back wistfully about his experience on Star Trek: The Motion Picture, acknowledging its frustrating creation while also enjoying the hope that Roddenberry's vision represented. For the composer, the "Star Trek" universe was a welcome friend in which he would spend much of the latter stages of his life, even though he wasn't a die-hard fan of the concept. The origins of his involvement with it, however, weren't as peachy. Due to the considerable post-production delays and other problems, Goldsmith was left with little finished material by which to be inspired. The special effects sequences, which make up a significant portion of the film (to its detriment in the excruciatingly slow narrative of its latter half), were not finished, nor were the titles. With only the live action scenes in the first half of the picture to guide him, Goldsmith wrote an elongated, fluid, and romantic theme for the Enterprise, a theme that was painfully rejected by the director, who correctly pointed out that the idea wasn't succinctly memorable enough to function as a qualified theme. There was a distinctly nautical feeling to this flowing identity, and the composer maintained some of that character in his ultimately revised writing.

Ten days of toil and the eventual delivery of key special effects sequences in Star Trek: The Motion Picture assisted in guiding Goldsmith to the thematic formats he would eventually settle upon, and he altered the main tune to match the lofty heroism that the visuals suggested. The incidental character of the early variations of his theme for the vessel remain in the final version of "The Enterprise," the lengthy cue that introduced the updated ship for audiences to marvel over. Still, Goldsmith's misguided conceptions of the film's beauty and message had caused him to abandon 25 minutes of his own score after two months of writing and recording. He continued to generate material up to six days before the release of the film, and the composer turned to concept veterans to ghostwrite 10 to 12 cues based upon his final set of themes. Fred Steiner handled the majority of these duties, though Alexander Courage was asked to contribute to the effort with a couple of rather grim adaptations of his original television theme for "Captain's Log" sequences in the film. One of the reasons the score was such a daunting task was because of Goldsmith's unwillingness to miss a prime opportunity to explore not only a plethora of themes and motifs, but also the unusual instrumentation with which he had experimented throughout the 1970's. The ideas that he conjured for Star Trek: The Motion Picture were so effective in their precision that they inspired nearly every piece of music to follow in the franchise. The pervasive influence of these choices was such a grand match to the film's tone that they earned him another Oscar nomination (he lost to a lovely, but not as deserving A Little Romance by Georges Delerue). Only two of Goldsmith's five major motifs for Star Trek: The Motion Picture carried over directly to the cinematic and television spin-offs that followed, though the general character in both those and the other three would still heavily influence the franchise. The aforementioned theme for the Enterprise was so well received that Roddenberry insisted that it be merged with Courage's original series theme to form the identity of the immensely successful "Star Trek: The Next Generation" television continuation less than a decade later.

Also used by Goldsmith as the primary identity of the ship's future incarnations in the later film sequels, the main fanfare for Star Trek: The Motion Picture is among the most easily recognized in modern entertainment, signing off with the conclusion of the "Next Generation" cast's involvement in 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis. The appropriately bold but humble theme is optimistic in tone, establishing a foundation for his four sequel scores and directing the Emmy-winning theme for "Star Trek: Voyager." The title theme's over-exposure through the years has had the effect of diminishing the pleasure that many of its sparse, early recordings can yield in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The primary statements in the title and credits sequences lack some refinement and seem strikingly simplistic compared to the acoustically brilliant recording of the theme at the end of digital-era scores like Star Trek: Insurrection. The far more interesting renditions of the theme exist in the snippets that appear throughout the actual accompaniment to the film's action, highlighted by "The Enterprise," which puts the idea through its most elegant permutations of the entire franchise. One of the lasting disappointments about Goldsmith's use of this theme in subsequent films was his unwillingness or inability to continue exploring the potential of the theme outside of its fanfare applications; some of the more enjoyably nostalgic (and short) cues in the last three of Goldsmith's scores for the franchise were those that briefly treated the Enterprise-E to a toast of this material. The softer, whimsical performance of the theme in "The Enterprise" is a direct extension of the romantic intent behind "Ilia's Theme," the score's secondary theme and the main holdover from Goldsmith's rejected version of the work. There has been no theme like it in the franchise's future, truly a shame given Roddenberry's upbeat notions of culture and exploration, though with the television series and films becoming increasingly sinister in tone as they approached the 2000's, the lack of anything as graceful is perhaps a consequence of reality-oriented script writers. One of the keys to Goldsmith's success with Star Trek: The Motion Picture is the combination of the beauty of "Ilia's Theme" and the softer variants on the Enterprise theme with the stark suspense music for the V'Ger invader, a balance that Goldsmith would only attempt to extend (with limited success) in some of his four sequel scores.

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VIEWER RATINGS
3,656 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 4.13 Stars
***** 1,936 5 Stars
**** 818 4 Stars
*** 528 3 Stars
** 209 2 Stars
* 165 1 Stars
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COMMENTS
8 TOTAL COMMENTS
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FVSR Reviews Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Brendan Cochran - July 21, 2014, at 5:58 p.m.
1 comment  (250 views)
Review at Movie Wave
Southall - December 23, 2012, at 8:42 a.m.
1 comment  (452 views)
Expand! Expand! Expand!
Cousins - June 12, 2009, at 3:12 p.m.
1 comment  (1764 views)
Differences between CD and OST
David Murray - April 14, 2009, at 11:03 a.m.
1 comment  (1718 views)
What an enormous space-fantasy score!
Jouko Yli-Kiikka - November 8, 2007, at 2:20 a.m.
1 comment  (1981 views)
Excellent music
Sheridan - August 26, 2006, at 6:55 a.m.
1 comment  (2131 views)
More...


Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
1986 Columbia Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 39:58
• 1. Main Title/Klingon Battle (6:51)
• 2. Leaving Drydock (3:29)
• 3. The Cloud (5:00)
• 4. The Enterprise (5:58)
• 5. Ilia's Theme (3:01)
• 6. Vejur Flyover (4:56)
• 7. The Meld (3:15)
• 8. Spock Walk (4:17)
• 9. End Title (3:15)
1999 Sony Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 133:33
2012 La-La Land Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 221:13

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
The 1986 Columbia album's insert contains no extra information about the film or score. The 1999 Sony and 2012 La-La Land sets contain a plethora of information about both; a track by track analysis is also provided, including recording dates, sequencing, and details about the origins of the main theme and the Blaster Beam. The 1999 product comes in a holographic slipcase cover.

In October 1998, after completing the score for Star Trek: Insurrection, Goldsmith said the following about his involvement with the franchise:

"Doing a Star Trek film is like returning to an old friend. Beginning with the first one which was difficult, to say the least, because of all the technical problems we had. I've gotten very fond of it. The theme from the first motion picture became the theme of "Next Generation" and then I wrote the theme for "Voyager" and the four "Star Trek" episodes as well, so I feel very much in tune with "Star Trek." I love the stories because I think that they're big and they're romantic. You know, it was Gene Roddenberry's hope it'd be a nicer place to live. That's the sort of world, the universe he created and that's what I think all of these scripts portray."
Copyright © 1999-2015, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Star Trek: The Motion Picture are Copyright © 1986, 1999, 2012, Columbia, Sony Legacy/Columbia, La-La Land Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 1/24/99 and last updated 9/3/12.
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