Star Trek: First Contact
GNP Crescendo, 1996
REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/13/2007
As I sat down to write this review something dawned on me; this movie/soundtrack was released 11 years ago. 11….years…..ago. I can remember going to see this movie on opening night; I was so incredibly excited that the Borg were the main villains, and there was going to be more action, Captain Kirk wasn’t going to die again…but I digress. Suffice it to say, I feel really old right now.
As such, this was around the age when I began to first start buying CDs, and being the Trekker (there is s a big difference between a Trekkie and a Trekker) that I was, First Contact had the honor of being the first CD I had ever purchased.
One of the more memorable aspects of the Trek canon are the scores, and while no one would rank First Contact as one of the top ones, it certainly is no Nemesis either. Jerry Goldsmith took over the scoring duties for the film and his career has certainly been solid to say the least.
Goldsmith would introduce a new theme on the First Contact soundtrack; it plays out during the “Main Title” and the credits as well. It’s nice enough, and actually contains portions lifted from Star Trek V. Normally that would the kiss of death for any creative entity, but Goldsmith must have found the sole nugget from that horrendous film.
The big deal with First Contact was the use of the Borg as the main villains. The Borg, for those who don’t know, were cyborgs bent on taking over the galaxy. Thus, there was a need for some unique music to represent them on the disc. Goldsmith captured their essence well; when the Borg are introduced the listener is presented with a hugely bombastic, monolithic theme. Later on, that gets twisted into a more sinister, mechanical presentation. Again, no one would confuse this with the “Klingon Theme,” but it works in the context of the movie and its own merit.
Some of the more familiar Trek pieces of music make their way into the score; the infamous “Alexander Courage,” the aforementioned “Klingon Theme,” but generally speaking this was completely new music, and not recycled from the original cast films or Generations. That music has been done to death admittedly, but I equate Trek soundtracks to Bond soundtracks; give me what I know, and what I love. It’s nice to hear something new, but it takes away from what makes this a decidedly Star Trek piece.
First Contact is a good example of a professional composer churning out a professional work. Soundtracks are much like the films they provide the music to; once in a while a great film comes along with a great soundtrack, it’s rare that one or the other is terrible. First Contact is not a great soundtrack, but it’s representative of what the average work is like.