Star Trek: Nemesis (Soundtrack) by Jerry Goldsmith



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Star Trek: Nemesis (Soundtrack) by Jerry Goldsmith

Taking the Trek Once More
Review by Matt Peterson


Star Trek: Nemesis (Soundtrack) by Jerry Goldsmith

Star Trek:  Nemesis

Star Trek: Nemesis (Soundtrack) by Jerry Goldsmith


Category  |   Score

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






Jerry Goldsmith
Jerry Goldsmith


Quick Quotes

"Overall, this score is all substance and no style. There are no new themes to hum to yourself, no new instrumentation to enjoy, no new creative motifs to explore, no new chances taken to keep the series of scores fresh. Even at the height of the action music in the impressively robust second half of the score, we've heard Goldsmith do better."

Christian Clemmensen - Filmtracks Reviews
Star Trek: Nemesis




Music composed, conducted and produced by Jerry Goldsmith
Executive Producer: Robert Townsen
Music Editor: Ken Hall
Orchestrations by Mark McKenzie and Conrad Pope
Orchestra Contractor: Sandy De Crescent
Performed by The Hollywood Studio Symphony
Music Preparation: Jo Ann Kane Music Service
Computer Programming: Nick Vidar
Music Recorded and Mixed by Bruce Botnick
Released by Varese Sarabande - December 10th, 2002

After a lengthy wait, the tenth Star Trek film, Nemesis, has premiered in theatres around the country. However, it has quickly faded from the box office, due to the deluge of high profile holiday films, including Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York, Steven Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can, and the second installment in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. This is unfortunate, since Nemesis is a strong film--certainly one of the best Trek films in recent years. It addresses some interesting themes, including the immortal debate of 'nature vs. nurture.' It also includes some standout performances, great special effects, and a screenplay by Gladiator scribe John Logan that pays homage to several other Trek films, while retaining some level of originality. Director Stuart Baird brings his experience as an action film director to the Trek franchise, creating a film with a notably different visual style.

With every new Trek film comes a new Trek score to dissect. Once again, Trek vet Jerry Goldsmith has stepped up to the musical plate, and attempted to offer some new material to the long standing franchise. This is by no means an easy task. Let's face it: One man can only come up with so many musical ideas for a series (check out my review of Enterprise for a more comprehensive view on Trek music as a whole). Coming from a long line of strong science fiction work, including Total Recall, Alien, and no less than five Trek scores (including Nemesis), Jerry has a lot of experience from which to cull some strong music. Goldsmith also worked with Stuart Baird on Executive Decision and U.S. Marshals, the sequel to The Fugitive. On many levels, this plethora of experience helps produce a relatively good score. Unfortunately, this is a double edged sword. Goldsmith's past ultimately becomes the score's weakness: It consists of quite a bit of recycled material, including some uninspired suspense music. At the same time, Nemesis features a new Romulan/Reman motif, some great action cues, and some interesting electronic elements. In the film, the music works very well. In album form, it's familiarity becomes quite clear, but ultimately remains enjoyable.

The score flows quite well, with the majority of the action cues appearing on the latter half of the album. Clocking in at 48:31 (quite lengthy for a Trek score album, but by no means long), Varese Sarabande presents Goldsmith's score in what appears to be chronological order--a nice touch that is rarely found on score albums today (most producers prefer a reordered structure, attempting to make the listening experience more 'balanced'). Highlights include the synth heavy opening track, 'Remus,' which features the trademark Trek theme. Once the film's title zooms off screen, a pounding rendition of the Romulan/Reman theme scores an interplanetary tracking shot which ends over the Romulan Senate. This is a great cue, which features the interesting use of electronics heard throughout the score. These synthetic sounds will remind many of Goldsmith's bombastic Total Recall. This new theme (some may question if it is developed enough to be called a theme) is quite simple, utilizing a major/minor shift of descending notes. It appears throughout the score, during many portions of the film (as a result, it is hard to characterize it as a theme for a certain character or place, etc.). 'Odds and Ends' starts with a nice shocking opening, some lyrical travel music, and a great action cue, featuring a string variation of the new theme. The first half of the album is primarily suspense music, with 'My Right Arm' bringing some sentimental Trek melodies to the foreground. This track, which scores Picard's speech before a group of reception attendees, features some four note phrasing Goldsmith aficionados will recognize from past Trek works, most notably The Final Frontier (perhaps hinting at the crew's 'final journey'). 'Repairs' and 'The Mirror' contain a nice electronic and orchestral staccato motif, consisting of a simple ascending/descending phrase. From 'The Scorpion' on, the score's throttle blows wide open. Goldsmith weaves a series of engaging action cues, including 'Lateral Run' and 'Final Flight,' which features a superhero-esque motif, scoring a certain character's Kal-El-like flight through space. 'Engage' begins with some interesting suspense music, and then explodes into a brass/synth heavy action cue that repeats the same motif--each phrase ascends along the scales, until the cue simply ends with abrupt silence. The album ends with a phrase from the Irving Berlin tune 'Blue Skies,' and of course, the obligatory end credits, featuring the 'Motion Picture' theme, acting as two pieces of musical bread around the meat: An original Nemesis suite, which is a new variation on themes previously presented. A sense of musical resolution is clearly present, but the arrangement is quite unoriginal. This score is all well and good, but not much new is presented here. It's still a great listen, and definitely worth your time, especially if you are new to Goldsmith, or are an avid fan of his work.

Nemesis may very well be Goldsmith's last Trek score. This may be appropriate, since Nemesis appears to be the final Trek film featuring the crew of The Next Generation. Two eras seem to be ending simultaneously. With the poor box office performance of the film, another Trek film may be even further away than we expect. Long time Trek producer Rick Berman swears another is on the way soon, but I personally don't see Paramount backing another film before financial success is relatively assured. In the meantime, we have ten quality films to enjoy (some much better than others), along with ten quality scores. According to the liner notes, Goldsmith's work here produced standing ovations from the orchestra. Even though the score may not evoke such admiration from the average film score listener, there is enough strong material here to keep one occupied. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Nemesis may not be the most memorable among the many musical works produced for the Star Trek films, but it is certainly not among the very weakest.

Track Listing and Ratings


Title Time


1 Remus 1:58  *****
2 The Box 2:20  ***
3 My Right Arm 1:02  ***
4 Odds and Ends 4:37  ****
5 Repairs 6:26  ****
6 The Knife 3:09  ***
7 Ideals 2:15  ***
8 The Mirror 5:21  ***
9 The Scorpion 2:21  ****
10 Lateral Run 3:54  ****
11 Engage 2:12  ****
12 Final Flight 3:47  ****
13 A New Friend 2:36  ***
14 A New Ending 6:08  ***

Total Running Time


Star Trek: Nemesis (Soundtrack) by Jerry Goldsmith

*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
Catch Me if You Can



All artwork from Star Trek: Nemesis  is exclusive property of Varese Sarabande Records (c) 2002. 
 Its appearance is for informational purposes only. Review format version 5.7