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Star Trek: Generations
Album Cover Art
1994 GNP Crescendo
2012 GNP Crescendo
Album 2 Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
Dennis McCarthy

Orchestrated by:
William Ross
Mark McKenzie
Brad Warnaar

Existing Theme Composed by:
Alexander Courage
Labels Icon
GNP Crescendo Records
(December 7th, 1994)

GNP Crescendo Records
(October 15th, 2012)
Availability Icon
The 1994 GNP Crescendo album is a regular U.S. release. The expanded 2012 GNP product is a commercial offering but limited to 10,000 copies and retailed for an initial price of $25.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you appreciated the conservative sound of Dennis McCarthy's music for the concept's episodes on television, for Star Trek: Generations is largely a simple expansion of that sound.

Avoid it... if you expect the memorable themes or dramatic majesty of the superior film scores that came before and after this comparatively dull entry in the franchise.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 2/5/99, REVISED 3/20/13
Star Trek: Generations: (Dennis McCarthy) A valiant attempt was made by Paramount in 1994 to bridge the gap in the "Star Trek" franchise between the "Original Series" and "Next Generation" casts, with widely mixed results. Inevitably, Star Trek: Generations would face insurmountable obstacles in both script and expectations; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was such a robust and popular conclusion (and goodbye) to the original franchise of films, while Star Trek: First Contact would follow this film with easily the most memorable "Next Generation" entry. With so many important story elements forced upon the plot of Star Trek: Generations, including the destruction of the Enterprise-D and the death of Captain Kirk, it's no surprise that the film become lost in the transition. Several almost laughable aspects of the production exposed its lack of focus, including the use of the same footage of an exploding Klingon Bird of Prey from the previous film as well as a confusing and unexplained switch of Starfleet uniform style for only some of the characters halfway through the film. With the seemingly unorganized producers of the popular television series now in charge of the film series, they made the nearly fatal mistake of treating Star Trek: Generations like an expanded episode, failing to elevate the ambience of the production to levels that could compete with the resoundingly massive scope of the films that came before and after. It was the first attempt by the producers of the franchise to use a regular composer of the television series instead of a traditional Hollywood composer, and, throughout the run of the original ten films, it would thankfully be the last. The prolific Dennis McCarthy had won an Emmy for his 80 hours of music spread over more than half of the 178 episodes of "The Next Generation," and director David Carson asked McCarthy to deliver the musical identity of that series onto a larger canvas for Star Trek: Generations. The result is a score that has all the elements of a "Star Trek" score (the big orchestra, Alexander Courage's television theme, and a full chorus), and yet McCarthy's music struggles to disconnect itself from its roots in television.

The scores for the television episodes were written quickly and were sparsely orchestrated, and a number of rules set upon their contributing composers by the producers (including such things as thematic limitation and an emphasis on ambience instead of sharp, individual personality for each episode) caused music that was serviceable but no competition for the feature films' scores. Unfortunately, McCarthy's music for Star Trek: Generations is doomed by the attempt to draw stylistic connections between this film score and the previous episodic ones. As a consequence, this score has the personality of an expanded episodic television score rather than an individual motion picture work that stands among the others in the series. Advocates of the music will claim that the use of the 95-member ensemble and a chorus negates this argument, but the problem with Star Trek: Generations is not its size. Rather, it's the lack of expansive thematic scope, a reliance upon obnoxious harmonic discord, and the absence of genuinely robust action structures. So much of the score is subtle and ambient that such issues are clearly a conceptual problem rather than one of execution. The opening titles are a frightfully blatant example of this deviation. Every film in the franchise before and after is graced with a fanfare, overture, or other massive title sequence. The floating bottle in space that accompanies the opening credits this time around was obviously not intended for a rousing score cue (a parody environment would have resulted), but at the same time, there has never been such a boring and more understated opening to any of these films as this two minutes. Granted, McCarthy's well-rendered explosion of Courage's theme at the end of the scene is a highlight of the score (and a truly magnificent recording), but the damage was already done. McCarthy's music excels when involving Courage's theme, but it flounders when his own original, primary theme tries to take center stage. The theme is far too optimistic in tone and bland in structure... much like one of the television episodes, of course. It's all in the major key, and considering the tragic storyline of the film, it borders on being completely inappropriate. The same bouncing, fluffy approach to a title theme was provided for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home by Leonard Rosenman, though it was acceptable in the context of that film because it was, essentially, a comedy entry.

Ratings Icon
Average: 2.8 Stars
***** 235 5 Stars
**** 267 4 Stars
*** 605 3 Stars
** 516 2 Stars
* 298 1 Stars
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Deanna, take the helm!
pangi - May 27, 2021, at 4:00 a.m.
1 comment  (25 views)
(Comment Deleted by Poster)
pangi - May 27, 2021, at 3:36 a.m.
1 comment  (16 views)
Dave Polain - January 31, 2014, at 1:21 a.m.
1 comment  (953 views)
I personally think Star Trek Generations is underrated
Sarah Brouns - November 10, 2013, at 8:33 a.m.
1 comment  (1280 views)
The Next Generation: The Sadness Continues   Expand >>
Rebecca - January 30, 2011, at 12:07 a.m.
2 comments  (2122 views)
Newest: April 13, 2013, at 8:58 a.m. by
Tits McFadden
a great and underrated score!   Expand >>
kharol - December 12, 2008, at 11:21 a.m.
2 comments  (2876 views)
Newest: December 22, 2008, at 2:49 p.m. by

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
1994 GNP Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 60:24
• 1. Star Trek: Generations Overture (4:14)
• 2. Main Title (2:53)
• 3. The Enterprise B/Kirk Saves the Day (3:13)
• 4. Deck 15 (1:41)
• 5. Time is Running Out (1:12)
• 6. Prisoner Exchange (2:57)
• 7. Outgunned (3:21)
• 8. Out of Control/The Crash (2:07)
• 9. Coming to Rest (0:57)
• 10. The Nexus/A Christmas Hug (7:07)
• 11. Jumping the Ravine (1:37)
• 12. Two Captains (1:32)
• 13. The Final Fight (6:15)
• 14. Kirk's Death (2:45)
• 15. To Live Forever (2:42)
16-38. Sound Effects
2012 GNP Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 141:50

Notes Icon
The sound effects comprise 23 tracks on the 1994 GNP album, so don't be fooled by the "track 16" listing on the exterior of the packaging. Each one has a title in the liner notes. The insert of that product also includes extensive notes by David Hirsch and Mark Banning about McCarthy, the score, and the film. Similar commentary can be found in the insert of the 2012 GNP album.
Copyright © 1999-2021, 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: Generations are Copyright © 1994, 2012, GNP Crescendo Records, GNP Crescendo Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 2/5/99 and last updated 3/20/13.
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