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CD: Galaxy Quest (1999)
Rating:   Excellent
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April 16, 2012

Tracks / Album Length:

22 tracks / (53:07)


Composer: David Newman

Special Notes:

28-page colour booklet with liner notes by Tim Greiving / Limited to 3000 copies.

Comments :    

A brilliant (and strangely reverent) satire of all things Star Trek, Galaxy Quest also gave David Newman a plum chance to tackle almost every genre in one film, spanning parody, action, otherwordly terror, tragedy, and absurdism. The end result is a modest modern classic in film scoring that’s bustling with energetic writing and the composer clearly having fun with musical conventions within the Star Trek TV and feature film canon.

The sweeping theme for the fictional TV series (and this film) is a great riff on James Horner’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), whereas its opening bars fall perfectly within the instrumentation and chords of Jerry Goldsmith’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) theme. “Red Thingie. Green Thingie… Run!” also recalls Horner’s use of marching rhythms and Goldsmith’s blaster beam, and the heavy children’s chorus is very Hornerish, yet Newman’s own style is evident in every fluid musical juggling act, matching wild screen action and simultaneously working in some subtext to ensure when the film becomes a little more serious near the end, we fully empathize with the juvenile aliens who believed the Galaxy Quest actors were fully capable of saving them form a brutal rival species.

Newman’s use of orchestral and electronic elements is beautifully balanced, and the score’s original sound engineering comes through cleanly in La-La Land’s CD, which has slightly more content than the promo disc issued by Super Tracks in 2000. Tim Greiving’s liner notes – more of a full-length composer profile, with lengthy interview quotations - provide an excellent concise history of the film, and the booklet’s filled with numerous stills (including several flattering Sigourney Weaver in full bursting cleavage mode, as per her character’s requirements).

Like the film, Newman’s score is a perfect parody of scoring conventions within the Star Trek realm, and although done with affection, there are specific pokes at Horner which are hysterical in their spot-on assault. Nicely conceived & executed.


© 2012 Mark R. Hasan

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