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Star Trek: Nemesis
Album Cover Art
2002 Varèse
2003 Bootleg
Album 2 Cover Art
2013 Varèse
Album 3 Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:

Orchestrated by:
Mark McKenzie
Conrad Pope

Performed by:
The Hollywood Studio Symphony
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Varèse Sarabande
(November 26th, 2002)


Varèse Sarabande
(December, 2013)
Availability Icon
The 2002 Varèse Sarabande album is a regular U.S. release. The expanded bootlegs circulating around the secondary market starting in 2003 sometimes existed on two CDs. Others crammed the contents onto one CD with one less track at the end. The expanded, limited 2013 set is limited to 5,000 copies and sold initially through soundtrack specialty outlets for a price of $25.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... only if you seek to complete your collection of all five of Jerry Goldsmith's feature Star Trek scores, for this entry is by far the least dynamic and engaging without good reason.

Avoid it... on the expanded album presentations if you expect more than just a couple of minutes of memorable material; the rest of the additional music is largely redundant and compounds the stylistic weaknesses of the work.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 12/10/02, REVISED 2/2/14
Star Trek: Nemesis: (Jerry Goldsmith) This tenth installment of the famed Star Trek film franchise was met with all the grand anticipation of a finale feature, advertising a tagline that suggested that this movie would depict the final voyage of the starship Enterprise with an established crew that fans knew and loved. Those fans had to endure an abnormally long wait for this film, with a Star Trek record four years in between motion pictures, raising hopes and expectations beyond franchise norms. Producers for the film promised the pinnacle of quality for several elements of the plot, including a fantastic villain and superior battle sequence, for Star Trek: Nemesis. Talent from outside the franchise's typical crew infused the series with edgier subject matter, including a notably grittier sexual component. The reintroduction of the Romulans to the equation allowed for superior starship designs and an extended series of impressive combat shots represented a significant improvement over the lackluster equivalents in Star Trek: Insurrection. The early promises of greatness also came from those involved with the production of the music for this tenth film. Hailed in post-production as one of composer Jerry Goldsmith's most memorable achievements in the latter stages of his career, the score was said to have inspired a Rudy-like standing ovation from the studio orchestra players when recording was complete. Little could anyone have known that Star Trek: Nemesis was not only a send-off for the "Next Generation" crew, but also for Goldsmith, who would not enjoy an accepted, solo effort for the big screen in the remaining two years of his life. Musically speaking, Goldsmith had defined the "Next Generation" films with the same popularity that James Horner utilized to define the height of the original crew's journeys in the early to mid-1980's. This being his fifth Star Trek feature, Goldsmith had solidified his grip on the "Next Generation" sound, acting as almost the most expected piece of the franchise's production team of that time. His previous score for the series, Star Trek: Insurrection, had been commonly considered by film music critics to be the strongest Goldsmith "Trek" score since his original, Oscar-nominated entry in 1979, sending collectors on a mad scramble for lengthier bootleg albums of that music.

With Star Trek: Nemesis, however, the situation became a cloudier mystery. The dark and more complicated nature of this final Goldsmith venture opened new doors to the composer. This time around, he'd have the ability to score a larger epic that depicts the struggles of the Remus slaves against their Romulan cousins. He would also be able to dig deeper into the well of musical emotions, offering a psychological twist to a series of otherwise straight forward "Trek" films in the recent past. The introduction of a super villain, Shinzon (a younger, evil mirror of Captain Picard), his massive warbird, the Scimitar, as well as the unveiling of a beautiful new Romulan warbird design all led to opportunities for Goldsmith to whip up a frenzy of creativity and theme. Likewise, the promotion at last of Commander Riker to his own ship, his long awaited wedding, the loss of a friend, and fate of the Enterprise called, to an extent, for Goldsmith to compose both a triumphant and bittersweet farewell to the beloved crew with a culmination of harmonic force consistent with what Cliff Eidelman had done with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. It was Goldsmith's chance to neatly wrap up the music of the ten films by revisiting many of his favorite motifs of times past. Everything pointing to this project indicated it as a winning proposition for Goldsmith. But the end result of his efforts, unfortunately, sadly missed many of these opportunities. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly why the music for Nemesis underachieves so thoroughly; it is loud, suspenseful, pounding, and electronically diverse, but it is also, ultimately, tired and unoriginal. Given the amount of stimulating action music presented (as promised) in this effort, the reason for some people's major disappointment with it needs to be delicately considered and analyzed from a neutral standpoint. There is an intangible sense of enthusiasm and adventure that always balanced the gravity of drama in Goldsmith's (and Horner's) music for this franchise. In Nemesis, you hear the gravity in weighty doses, but the sense of adventure has been compromised. The spirit of the final frontier is muted as the composer recognizes the bittersweet nature of this conclusive chapter, forcing most of the components in the score to express themselves with resignation. It is a score that could be described as being among the awkward few that offer all substance and no style.

Silly comedies often flourish with scores that have all style and no substance (like The 'Burbs) and straight action films often flourish with scores that feature all substance and no style (like the Rambo works). But the Star Trek films are a different breed. They have required both style and substance ever since Goldsmith introduced the elegant themes of the first film alongside the substantively creative blaster beam effects and the memorable fanfare. For Nemesis, Goldsmith created an abundance of substance: hard, relentless, driving action cues that will knock around the walls a few times. The amount of pounding timpani alone in this score is overwhelming. But Goldsmith's keen sense of style is minimal, if non-existent, and most of it is tied to electronic effects that had matured enough by this point to keep them particularly interesting. The first half of the score is built around the zipping, panging, and swooshing electronics in an effort to address the suspense of an approaching adversary of great horror and power. This meandering underscore is largely uninteresting in its lack of base, lack of strong theme, and lack of creative instrumentation. The latter half of the score is led by the kind of stale, non-engaging action material heard in films like U.S. Marshals and The Last Castle, not the rousing partnership of rhythm and theme that fans heard in The 13th Warrior and even, to a lesser extent, in Star Trek: Insurrection. The thematic development for Shinzon, his warbird, and the greater Romulan Empire is restrained to a basic, cascading five-note theme that occasionally develops into a 10-note extension of surprisingly dull simplicity. As opposed to the uniquely devised and performed four-note Borg theme in Star Trek: First Contact, this Shinzon theme doesn't have the same gripping power or fear-instilling quality. At least the composer does attempt to manipulate the theme greatly throughout the score to mirror the villain's appeal, often transferring the idea to solo woodwinds for early conversational scenes. To his credit, Goldsmith does express the idea with increasing anger as the work progresses, a cue like "Odds and Ends" traversing most of this spectrum within four minutes, taking the idea from soothing string shades to trademark Goldsmith action rhythms of almost a heroic personality. Perhaps more creative would have been a Picard-oriented sense of pensive elegance and allure with the idea, a thought only touched upon in the end credits suite.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3 Stars
***** 769 5 Stars
**** 658 4 Stars
*** 1,300 3 Stars
** 946 2 Stars
* 614 1 Stars
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End Credits
Mr. K - November 5, 2011, at 5:30 p.m.
1 comment  (1664 views)
Brass Section (Hollywood Studio Symphony)   Expand >>
N.R.Q. - May 28, 2007, at 7:42 a.m.
2 comments  (4060 views)
Newest: June 6, 2007, at 8:11 a.m. by
A very under-rated score
Pudgy - December 7, 2006, at 8:15 a.m.
1 comment  (3256 views)
Good,but could have been better
Sheridan - August 26, 2006, at 6:32 a.m.
1 comment  (2619 views)
I need one cue
M - April 19, 2006, at 5:58 p.m.
1 comment  (2404 views)
Really good
Mathias Sender - September 22, 2005, at 10:11 a.m.
1 comment  (2348 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
2002 Varèse Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 48:31
• 1. Remus (1:58)
• 2. The Box (2:20)
• 3. My Right Arm (1:02)
• 4. Odds and Ends (4:37)
• 5. Repairs (6:26)
• 6. The Knife (3:09)
• 7. Ideals (2:15)
• 8. The Mirror (5:21)
• 9. The Scorpion (2:21)
• 10. Lateral Run (3:54)
• 11. Engage (2:12)
• 12. Final Flight (3:47)
• 13. A New Friend (2:36)
• 14. A New Ending (6:08)
2003 Bootleg Tracks   ▼Total Time: 79:35
2013 Varèse Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 114:50

Notes Icon
The 2002 Varèse product's insert includes a short note by album executive producer Robert Townson and a list of performers in the Hollywood Studio Orchestra. No extra information about the film or production of the score is provided. The bootlegs feature a wide range of fan-created art. The insert of the 2013 expanded set includes detailed notes about the film and score.
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The reviews and other textual content contained on the 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: Nemesis are Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2013, Varèse Sarabande, Bootleg, Varèse Sarabande and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 12/10/02 and last updated 2/2/14.
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