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Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
Album Cover Art
1991 GNP Crescendo
2010 FSM
Album 2 Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:

Orchestrated by:
Greig McRitchie

2010 Album Produced by:
Lukas Kendall
Labels Icon
GNP Crescendo
(January 21st, 1991)

Film Score Monthly
(May 24th, 2010)
Availability Icon
The 1991 GNP Crescendo album was a regular commercial release, but out of print as of 2003. The 2010 expanded album from Film Score Monthly was not limited in its pressing and retailed for $25.
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Decorative Nonsense
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you have already established an affinity for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and seek a thematically faithful extension of that sound with a little more instrumental spice, primordial hysteria, and exotic mysticism.

Avoid it... if your favorite parts of Star Trek II are the relentlessly brutal, driving action cues, for their disappointingly anonymous replacements are a new, obnoxiously pitch-defying Klingon theme and vaguely atmospheric Vulcan material.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 6/16/03, REVISED 6/7/10
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock: (James Horner) Shock and dismay had overwhelmed the nucleus of "Star Trek" fans in 1982; by the conclusion of the otherwise popular Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Spock was dead, and a beloved fixture of the television show and first two films was gone. Before production on Star Trek II could even be finished, the uproar over such a potential outcome was realized by the series' producers, and the bulk of the third film was devoted to bringing the character back to life. The film also re-introduced the long-awaited Klingons into the mix and gave life to the cloaking Bird of Prey, a stylish vessel which would become the most recognizable class of "Star Trek" ship outside of the Federation for mainstream audiences. After a resurrected Spock is rescued from the rapidly aging Genesis planet and the Enterprise is destroyed, he joins his former crew aboard the Bird of Prey to save a pair of whales (and thus the Earth) in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, creating a tight, continuous trilogy within the franchise's second through fourth films. As a story, Star Trek III achieved its main goals as a bridge, setting the original cast back in motion and preparing the way for a newly designed Enterprise in the next film. As the series took a respite from dark melodramatics, actor Leonard Nimoy once again served as director to point the concept in the direction of comedy in Star Trek IV before unsuccessfully tackling the troubles of the universe at large in the extremely inferior fifth entry. With Nimoy at the helm for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (his screen time is obviously held to a minimum anyway), he was inclined to hire his friend Leonard Rosenman to provide the score; the producers, however, insisted upon maintaining continuity between the second and third films by re-hiring composer James Horner for the direct continuation of the narrative. Horner's music for the previous film had been a stunning success for the newcomer, a harsh, but bold sea-faring score worthy of spirited adventures in space.

Not only had Horner utilized Alexander Courage's original television theme and revisited Jerry Goldsmith's Blaster Beam effect for Star Trek II, but he had also integrated a Spock-specific theme into the second film that could be elaborated upon as a central Vulcan idea in the third one. It's intriguing to recall that in 1984, Horner had established himself as the "Star Trek" franchise composer, briefly unseating Goldsmith. Despite Horner's affinity for the concept at the time, reportedly jumping at the chance to score Star Trek III, the younger composer's career would outgrow (so to speak) the "Star Trek" universe after this installment, and he would turn down several opportunities (according to the composer) to bring his sweeping theme back for another "Star Trek" film. Nimoy, thus, would finally have his chance to bring Rosenman into the franchise for Star Trek IV. Even though history has not been kind to opinions of Star Trek III as a film, Horner's score has not been completely to blame for that dissatisfaction. The Klingon commander, Lord Kruge, despite Christopher Lloyd's welcome theatrics, was simply no match for Khan as a villain, and the filmmakers resorted to the death of a minor character and the self-destruction of the Enterprise to carry interest beyond the simple resurrection of Spock. Horner picked up right where he had left off with Star Trek II, reprising nearly all of his thematic structures. He increased the size and scope of his performing ensemble, however, to include a collection of worldly specialty instruments, highlighted by ethnic horns and cimbalom. These elements mostly apply to the Klingon material in the score, though they also extend to scenes involving the Enterprise to accentuate the rogue behavior of its mischievous crew (the cimbalom in "Stealing the Enterprise" is a memorable highlight). For enthusiasts of the previous score, Horner does not shy away from reprising grandiose, string-dominated thematic statements. He begins the prologue of the third film with the same contemplative tone that finished the Star Trek II before launching into the recognizable sea-worthy title theme for the franchise, a broad identity for the Enterprise that continues to rival Goldsmith's in quality.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.55 Stars
***** 322 5 Stars
**** 151 4 Stars
*** 170 3 Stars
** 128 2 Stars
* 92 1 Stars
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FVSR Reviews Star Trek III
Brendan Cochran - November 27, 2015, at 7:50 a.m.
1 comment  (506 views)
Prologue and Main Theme
Jeffrey Ooi - January 9, 2012, at 11:36 p.m.
1 comment  (1197 views)
2010 FSM Expanded Edition
Travis K - June 7, 2010, at 10:05 p.m.
1 comment  (1831 views)
Thinly veiled Prokofiev references   Expand >>
Phillip Cheah - January 21, 2009, at 7:11 a.m.
2 comments  (3962 views)
Newest: August 31, 2011, at 11:20 p.m. by
Display a wide range of emotions
Sheridan - August 26, 2006, at 6:20 a.m.
1 comment  (2388 views)
This was my second soundtrack
Eric - March 21, 2005, at 10:49 p.m.
1 comment  (2387 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
1991 GNP Crescendo Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 46:56
• 1. Prologue and Main Title* (6:27)
• 2. Klingons* (5:55)
• 3. Stealing the Enterprise* (8:33)
• 4. The Mind Meld (2:30)
• 5. Bird of Prey Decloaks (3:37)
• 6. Returning to Vulcan (4:49)
• 7. The Katra Ritual (4:29)
• 8. End Title* (6:12)
• 9. The Search for Spock (3:43)
* contains original television theme by Alexander Courage
2010 Film Score Monthly Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 116:42

Notes Icon
The 1991 GNP Crescendo album's insert includes a note about Horner's career up to 1990, as well as a synopsis of the film's plot (with spoilers! dang!). The 2010 Film Score Monthly album contains extensive notation about the film and score, as well as a wealth of artwork in an attractive design.
Copyright © 2003-2021, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
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 III: The Search for Spock are Copyright © 1991, 2010, GNP Crescendo, Film Score Monthly and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 6/16/03 and last updated 6/7/10.
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