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Star Trek Into Darkness
Album Cover Art
2013 Varèse
2014 Varèse
Album 2 Cover Art
Composed and Produced by:

Co-Orchestrated and Conducted by:
Tim Simonec

Co-Orchestrated by:
Brad Dechter
Norman Ludwin
Andrea Datzman
Cameron Patrick
Larry Kenton
Marshall Bowen
Susie Benchasil Seiter

Performed by:
The Hollywood Studio Symphony
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Varèse Sarabande
(May 21st, 2013)

Varèse Sarabande
(July 28th, 2014)
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Regular U.S. release. Various international versions of the digital release of the soundtrack append different songs to the end of the album. The CDs contains only the score material. The expanded, limited 2014 set is limited to 6,000 copies and sold initially through soundtrack specialty outlets for a price of $27.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you bought into Michael Giacchino's approach to the score for this film's predecessor, for he doubles down on the new direction of the franchise that diminishes romantic fantasy in favor of conventional action in the music.

Avoid it... if you expect this score to connect with your heart in ways the prior one did not, the steady course represented once again by an initially flawed album situation and continued flatness of the recording's ambience.
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WRITTEN 6/11/13, REVISED 12/22/14
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2013 Album

Star Trek Into Darkness: (Michael Giacchino) Commercially and critically validated once more is the idea of the cinematic franchise reboot, the "Star Trek" concept reborn in the 2000's to outstanding success due to the remarkable talents of producer and director J.J. Abrams. When this franchise was rebooted in 2009 to initially skeptical audiences, Abrams managed to exceed most expectations by remaining loyal to the universe of "Star Trek" while also hitting the dreaded reboot button, involving the element of fantasy to explain increasingly tightly woven connections to the lives of the prior, famed version of the "Original Series" crew. With 2013's Star Trek Into Darkness, albeit a couple of years late in arrival, Abrams and his team take this loyalty to a new level, recycling significant plot elements from the William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy era of the franchise and again calling upon the latter actor to serve as a bridge between parallel universes. As such, the plot of Star Trek Into Darkness is somewhat controversial, regardless of how well executed its acting and fight sequences. Logical fallacies abound, especially when inevitable comparisons start to be drawn, and for those who never understood how the events of the 2009 film would have been even possible given Starfleet's extensive timeline preservation methodology in the future, an uneasy feeling about the whole reboot may persist. As before, Captain Kirk and his crew face a nemesis born from within, setting up the age-old formula for success in a franchise that has enjoyed its greatest triumphs when presenting worthy adversaries. One of the nagging issues about the "Star Trek" reboot in general is the clear movement of the franchise away from the grandiose, philosophical components of fantasy and an embrace of hardcore action and adventure, pandering to audiences that increasingly cannot easily tolerate ten minutes of screen time without a punch or an explosion. Because "Star Trek" has headed down this route in the 2009 and 2013 films, the music for the franchise has evolved significantly. Michael Giacchino, of course, is Abrams' composer of choice and has poured significant energy into achieving his own balance of new sounds and reverence for what came before. His talent in the 2000's generation of film composers is matched by few, and to hear the complexity of his writing for these newer "Star Trek" films is comforting when you compare it to the derivative, simplistic muck comprising other blockbuster scores of the era.

But the complexity with which Giacchino handles the "Star Trek" universe is also the reason why his scores for this franchise won't work for everyone. With the shifting pacing and tone of the reboot has come the need for the composer to forget about attempting wholesale continuation of the prior mould for "Star Trek" movie music. Outside of the token nods to Alexander Courage's theme for the original television series, the score for 2009's Star Trek could have just as well have functioned in a number of different franchises (including, most interestingly, the James Bond franchise, had a touch of jazz been infused into the equation). The same is true of Star Trek Into Darkness, a score that resembles very little of the franchise's past and instead is forced to address the new reality of "Star Trek Into Action." Shameless grandeur be damned, even when the Enterprise is given its full moments of majestic glory. Overwrought melodrama be damned, even when characters languish and die with Shakespearian flair. Expansive fantasy be damned, even when incredible vistas feed our imaginations with grace and awe. Most importantly, genuine heart be damned, even when character development calls for it, a victim of an imbalance between roaring, complex action and comparatively underwhelming moments of reflection. In many ways, Giacchino really has done the best he can with what he was given (although his mixing remains an issue, no matter the engineer). He is earning his pay for providing the right style of music for what the Abrams generation of "Star Trek" demands. Whether you accept that result or not is your choice. You would do yourself a favor by writing off any hope that you will receive the sweeping romanticism that defined the series when helmed by Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, and even Cliff Eidelman. Instead, look upon Star Trek Into Darkness and its predecessor as remarkable action scores in a standalone universe detached from the past. Giacchino's level of orchestral complexity is truly satisfying, his management of themes and counterpoint an intelligent reminder of why so many listeners originally believed, based upon his "Medal of Honor" video game scores, that the man could be the next John Williams. His ability to overlap melodies and mingle instrumental representations of characters in sonic battle is outstanding, evidence that he has really exerted copious amounts of thought into this work. Those thrilled by 2009's Star Trek will thus love the natural evolution of Star Trek Into Darkness in its capability to resurrect the prior score without sacrificing new opportunities for development.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.13 Stars
***** 99 5 Stars
**** 137 4 Stars
*** 147 3 Stars
** 99 2 Stars
* 80 1 Stars
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FVSR Reviews Star Trek Into Darkness
Brendan Cochran - July 4, 2014, at 5:50 p.m.
1 comment  (911 views)
Incomplete score
BruinRogue - July 28, 2013, at 4:48 p.m.
1 comment  (1218 views)
Very poor album
Jim Barnes - June 18, 2013, at 8:32 a.m.
1 comment  (1461 views)
Short Changed on the score   Expand >>
Ed - June 14, 2013, at 12:13 p.m.
4 comments  (3056 views)
Newest: November 28, 2013, at 1:59 p.m. by
Marvin Arnold

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
2013 Varèse Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 44:20
• 1. Logos/Pranking the Natives (3:01)
• 2. Spock Drops, Kirk Jumps (1:43)
• 3. Sub Prime Directive* (2:23)
• 4. London Calling (2:09)
• 5. Meld-merized (2:40)
• 6. The Kronos Wartet (5:25)
• 7. Brigadoom (3:41)
• 8. Ship to Ship (2:50)
• 9. Earthbound and Down (2:37)
• 10. Warp Core Values (2:56)
• 11. Buying the Space Farm (3:17)
• 12. The San Fran Hustle (5:00)
• 13. Kirk Enterprises* (3:00)
• 14. Star Trek Main Theme* (3:25)
* contains the original television theme by Alexander Courage
2014 Varèse Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 118:37

Notes Icon
The 2013 album's insert includes a list of performers and a note from the director about the score. That of the 2014 album adds a note from the composer, but not more detailed analysis of the score.
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