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Galaxy Quest (Soundtrack) by David Newman

Tracksounds Rating = 8/10

Composed and Conducted by David Newman
Executive Album Producer: John J. Alcantar III
Produced by David Newman and Ford A. Thaxton
Released by Geffen Records 1993

Perfect Parody
by Christopher Coleman

Once in a while a score is produced that, for varying reasons,  is extremely difficult to review or rate.  David Newman’s score for the Star Trek parody film, Galaxy Quest, might be the epitome of this dilemma. While, on the one hand, Newman does a masterful job of producing a tongue-in-cheek score, a perfect fit for the film, on the other, cheeky scores are not easy to listen to over and over, whether the corniness is intentional or not.  

David Newman deserves all the credit in the world for coming up with a Nebraska-grown-corn- main theme for the short-lived television show, Galaxy Quest, and for seemlessly incorporating it throughout the entire score.  It perfectly parallels  the  television cult-heroes’ venture into the “real world” galactic crisis they are beamed into, as the stars of show have only their tv-episode experience to draw from in solving this galactic dilemma.  This main title serves as the backbone for the entire score.  David Newman's main theme would have pushed David Arnold’s main title for Independence Day off the throne of Cheesdom had Newman’s main theme not been intentionally cheesey.  Since this is the case, Arnold’s theme rests safe as King Cheese.  

Newman finds a way to walk a tight rope between true  “cornography”  and very listenable music.  All the while, Newman further demonstrates his talent for film scoring.  Taking a fairly dramatic turn from his intriguing west-meets-east-score to Brokedown Palace, Newman opens up the adventure gates for Galaxy Quest.  Just how do you make serious parody music?  Newman gives us a primo lesson!  Just as one is starting to really take any particular cue too seriously, here comes that silly main theme to remind you its all for laughs. 

Now, as I stated, Newman has crafted a perfect score for this film.  The problem is that apart from the film, this score loses something.   The problem is that mixed in with this corn-o-copia is some fabulous music that one can take seriously and easily enjoy.  One would truly have to be in a tongue-in-cheek-topsy-turvy-mood to give this repeated listens though.  It is bombastic.  It is playful.  It is adventurous.  It is, once in a while, majestic, but it is none of these for any long stretch of time. 

I know trying to find serious musical moments in such a score is foolish; nonetheless, two of the most enjoyable tracks are, two of the most serious, Pathetic Nesmith (track 3) and “I’m So Sorry” (track 17).  Of course, this was composed for the most serious portions of the movie, so it, again, is a perfect fit.   Since the respective scenes featured no comedic twist, the tender music was warranted.

I have rated this score in a special way.  One, I have rated each track for their value on the CD, apart from the film, as I do with all reviewed scores.  Two, I have included a special category “As Heard in Film” in the categorical rating section to help make my rating a little more fair.  Enjoying the score as a part of the film is the optimum listening scenario.  Unless one has some strange affinity for this movie (a Questie ?) and wants to relive moments of it over and over , there is little cause to listen to this score by itself.  Certainly, David Newman deserves plenty of praise for this work as doing such a score cannot be easy; however, despite its higher rating, cannot say this is a must have. 

 

     
Track Title Time Rating

Track

Title Time Rating
1 Galaxy Quest:  The Classic TV Theme 0:59 *** 16 "Digitize Me, Fred" 1:18 ***
2 Prologue:  Galaxy Quest clip 1:34 *** 17 "I'm So Sorry" 1:44 ****
3 Pathetic Nesmith 0:59 **** 18 Fight Episode #17 1:16 ***
4 Revealing the Universe 1:03 **** 19 Hallway Sneak 1:02 ***
5 Meet the Thermians 1:11 *** 20 Alex Finds Quelick 1:22 ***
6 The NESA Protector 0:45 **** 21 Omega 13/Heroic Guy 3:13 ***
7 Crew Quarters and the Bridge 1:32 *** 22 Big Kiss/Happy Rock Monster 1:19 **
8 The Launch 2:08 **** 23 Quelick's Death 2:09 ***
9 Seris Tortures Captain 1:17 *** 24 The Battle 3:08 ***
10 Red Thingie, Green Thingie 3:33 *** 25 Mathazar Takes Command 0:58 ***
11 Shuttle to Planet 1:45 **** 26 Serris Kills Everybody 1:30 **
12 Trek Across the Planet 2:55 *** 27 "Goodbye, My Friends" 0:52 ***
13 Rolling Sphere 2:35 *** 28 Crash Landing 0:40 ***
14 Pig Lizard 1:44 *** 29 Goodbye, Serris 2:05 ***
15 Rock Monster 1:56 *** 30 The New Galaxy Quest 1:00 ***
            Total Playing Time

49:32

 
 

Category

Score

   
 As Heard in the Film 10  
 Originality 7  

Music Selection

7  

Themes/ Composition

7  

CD Length

8  

Track Order

8  

Performance

7  

Final Score

8  
         
Post your thoughts about Galaxy Quest or this review at ... 
Other reviews:

If I have not mistaken, this is the first time that Newman scored a space adventure. However, after you hear the score, you probably would not think so. His symphonic score is very effective and enjoyable. The score is often serious and rousing but yet you can strongly feel the comical elements inside. ****

Yu Lui - Film Score Magic

David Newman
Composer
David Newman

Galaxy Quest (Soundtrack) by David Newman

For the film, David Newman wrote an exciting, science fiction score, now available as a promotional release from Super Tracks. It's rousing, adventurous and often totally over the top, but that is one of the reasons it's so entertaining. All the essential ingredients for the stereotypical sci-fi score are there. The catchy, fanfare inspired, main theme, swirling strings, woodwind runs, hyper active brass and pounding percussion, as well as synthesizers. ****

Andreas Lindahl - Score!

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All artwork from Galaxy Quest is exclusive property of Dreamworks L.L.C. (c) 1999.  Its appearance is for informational purposes only.

 

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