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Battle Beyond the Stars & Humanoids of the Deep (Soundtrack) by James Horner

Before They Were Stars
Review by Christopher Coleman

 

Battle Beyond the Stars & Humanoids of the Deep (Soundtrack) by James Horner

Battle Beyond the Stars
Humanoids from the Deep
7/10

Battle Beyond the Stars & Humanoids of the Deep (Soundtrack) by James Horner

Category  |   Score

Originality 6
Music Selection 8
Composition 6
CD Length 8
Track Order 8
Performance 6
Final Score 7/10

 

Composer James Horner
Composer 
James Horner

 

Quick Quotes


"
All in all, this is a fascinating glimpse into the artistic beginnings of one of our most prolific and popular composers. Whether you're a hardcore Horner fan or just a score buff, this one is definitely a keeper. Just sit back, relax, and have fun trying to name all the subsequent movies that have been graced with the music James Horner first presented here." ***

Matt Barry -  SoundtrackNet Reviews Battle Beyond the Stars and Humanoids from the Deep

 

 

Composed and Produced by James Horner
Executive Producer for GNP Crescendo Records:  Neil Norman
CD Release Produced by Ford A. Thaxton
Released by GNP Crescendo Records August 28, 2001

The late 1970's and early 1980's found many of today's more popular composers breaking into the feature-film scoring business. Such was the case with composer James Horner.  With the super-success of 1997's Titanic, James Horner became a household name.  Two of Horner's earliest works have only been available on various sci-fi/horror and James Horner compilations. Now, GNP Crescendo delivers both Battle Beyond the Stars and Humanoids from the Deep together one on compact disc.  With this issue, fans are given an opportunity to get a detailed look into the career of James Horner, before he was a star.

This release provides an intriguing peak into some formative moments in Horner's career. Of course, listening to the selections from Battle Beyond the Stars and Humanoids from the Deep reveals the budding of some of Horner's early trademark sounds. The above average liner-notes also provide somewhat of a candid glimpse into the career of James Horner. Whether one is a fan of the B-film industry, Roger Corman, or of James Horner, Battle Beyond the Stars/ Humanoids from the Deep makes a nice addition to one's collection.

Along with Safan's The Last Starfighter, Battle Beyond the Stars remains one of the few sci-fi film scores of the early Eighties, outside of the dominating realms of Star Wars and Star Trek, to make a memorable mark regarding its music. Battle Beyond the Stars, as well as Humanoids, was molded in classic Corman-style, and Horner's score features many of, what would become, early Horner trademark techniques. Relying heavily upon brass to form the heroic main theme and drive the action sequences, not to mention his exhilarating use of strings, features which would help make Horner's following works: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn and Krull, some Horners most beloved. The influence of Jerry Goldsmith is quite clear in both Horner's use of brass but also in his employment of synthesizers. In much the way Goldsmith communicated the mysterious threat of V'ger in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Horner uses an deep, electronic-rhumble to indicate the nemesis this movie.

While the score for Battle Beyond the Stars holds its own against most other sci-fi film's of it's era, and even though it desperately sought to ride the wave that Star Wars, in particular, created, it is unfair to compare it to John Williams' or Jerry Goldsmith's stellar scores.  Both Williams and Goldsmith were much further along in their careers at the time of Star Wars and Star Trek:  The Motion Picture, than Horner was when he worked on these two projects.  While Horner was merely "breaking into" feature film scores, Williams already had several big-budget film scores under his belt and Goldsmith had already established himself as one of the Kings of film music.  Direct comparisons are unfair, but it is fair to say that the budding composer was definitely inspired by both of the mammoth works from Williams and Goldsmith.

James Horner was also hired by Roger Corman to provide the underscore one of his next projects, Humanoids from the Deep.  Rounding out the almost 77 minutes of music, is an adequate selection from Humanoids.  As the title clearly suggests, the film was not a big-budget extravaganza, but built on around those ingredients that drive-in fans most crave. James Horner's dissonant score isn't as engaging as its CD-roommate score. Horner's nudging at Bernard Hermann's classic Psychoing-shrieks is among the most identifiable elements. Another is his main theme - a lowly few notes played by the trumpet. The selections from Humanoids from the Deep won't "wow" too many, but it does make for a nice bonus and some additional incentive to pick up the disc.  Two early-Horner-classics for the price of one?  One could do much worse.


Track Listing and Ratings

 Track

Title Time

Rating

  Battle Beyond the Stars    
1 Main Title 2:00  ****
2 Malmori Rear Guard 3:52  ***
3 The Battle Begins 4:33  ***
4 Nanelia And Shad 1:27  ***
5 Cowboy and the Jackers 3:36  ***
6 Nanelia's Capture 1:29  ***
7 The Maze Battle 3:11  ***
8 Shad's Pursuit 3:23  ****
9 Cowboy's Attack 1:45  ***
10 Love Theme 3:52  ****
11 The Hunter 1:40  **
12 Gelt's Death 1:38  ****
13 Nanelia 1:32  ****
14 Heading for Sador 0:59  ***
15 Destruction of Hammerhead 2:36  ***
16 Epilogue/ End Title 5:03  ****
  Humanoids from the Deep    
17 Main Title 2:27  ***
18 The Buck-O 3:45  ***
19 Unwelcome Visitor 2:02  ***
20 Night Swim 1:48  ***
  21 Jerry and Peggy 0:57  ***  
  22 Trip Upriver 1:58  ***  
  23 The Humanoids Attack 2:54  ***  
  24 Jerry's Death 2:04  **  
  25 Search for Clues 1:56  ***  
  26 Strange Catch 1:07  **  
  27 The Grotto 3:22  **  
  28 Night Prowlers 2:08  **  
  29 Final Confrontation 3:04  ***  
  30 Aftermath and New Birth 2:22  **  
  31 End Title 2:12  ***  
 

Total Running Time

76:34  

Battle Beyond the Stars & Humanoids of the Deep (Soundtrack) by James Horner

*The Experience-O-Meter displays the track to track listening experience of this soundtrack based on the 5-Star rating given to each track.  It provides a visual depiction of the ebbs and flows of the CD's presentation of the soundtrack.

 

Referenced Reviews
 

 

 

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