Star Trek into Darkness Suite

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            This is Giacchino’s fourth collaboration with the director, J. J. Abrams, including Star Trek, from 2009.  Abrams is Hollywood’s go-to guy for directing the science fiction adventure and super hero movies for which America’s movie-going public has an apparently bottomless appetite.   Among his myriad hits have been many “Star Wars” sequels, even more continuing the immortal “Star Trek” shows, as well as his debut flick, Mission Impossible: III.  And, of course, many more. Star Trek into Darkness is the twelfth installment of the “Star Trek” movie stream.  The usual, and familiar, characters are here, including Leonard Nimroy in his last appearance as Spock before his death.  The plot, of course, is almost inscrutable in its twists and turns, but loyal fans of the series will encounter all of the familiar elements, and not be disappointed with spectacular special effects—nominated for an Academy Award for the latter in 2014.

            The mastery of the musical style demanded of the composer by this genre is again exhibited by Giacchino’s score.  A thread of historical continuity is embedded in the music by the composer’s use of the old, familiar main theme by Alexander Courage from the TV series of long ago.  The grandeur of that theme played by soaring brass is artfully preserved by Giacchino.  One cannot help but observe the irony that the sonic glories of the large symphony orchestra has become the essential musical element for the powerful, evocative stories of Hollywood epics.  “Star Wars” and all the rest are inseparable from that musical palette.   Thus, the variety of colors and effects of the modern symphony orchestra that was born of French Grand Opera’s dramatic demands in the middle of the nineteenth century now lives on through the equally dramatic requirements of Hollywood space epics.  Apparently, synthesizers, guitars, and saxophones will take you only so far.

--Wm. E. Runyan

© 2018 William E. Runyan