51 Shades of Geek

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (Newly Expanded Edition) – music by James Horner

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (Newly Expanded Edition)Maybe we should’ve expected a release like this in a year in which the Star Trek franchise is suddenly coasting along on both warp power and the goodwill of a receptive public thanks to its big-screen relaunch, but this CD’s release caught me completely by surprise, and I hope it’s a sign of things to come.

Simply put, this CD gathers the complete score of James Horner’s celebrated, career-making music score from the second Star Trek film, in order, every note – even including material that was jettisoned after a studio-mandated reshoot required Horner to re-convene his orchestra and add more music at a late date. The soundtrack from Star Trek II has been released before, but this definitive remastered edition adds half an hour of music and represents every note heard in the course of the film. Add to that the usual lavish, well-researched booklet from Film Score Monthly, and you get a package worthy of one of the best scores in the franchise’s big-screen history.

Key passages of music that haven’t been heard before include – believe it or not – major movements in the movie’s climactic space battle, atmospheric tracks from early in the movie, and a brief piece of music that should be forever famous if for not other reason than underscoring William Shatner screaming “KHAAAAAAAAAAN!” Oh, and the death and funeral of one Mr. Spock. In short, the previously omitted tracks are not minor moments in the movie, and why they were left out on the original release is probably down to the fact that, in the LP-dominated days of the early 1980s, a 45-minute soundtrack album was considered more than enough unless, maybe, the movie’s title had “Wars” (rather than “Trek”) after “Star”. Even with that limitation in mind, some of the omissions from the original release are mind-boggling. This CD handily corrects that, and the improvement in sound quality is quite noticeable.

The booklet itself is worth the price of admission too: virtually everything you could possibly want to know about the movie’s music and its composer (including how he got the job and who else almost got the job) is here, lavishly illustrated, painstakingly researched, and the photos even reveal something I had never known about this movie: its composer can be seen in Starfleet uniform in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it walk-on part.

I’m literally praying to God (who may or may not need a starship) that Film Score Monthly isn’t going to be content to leave the Star Trek franchise alone after this release. The third through eighth films cry out for more fully fleshed-out soundtrack releases like this, and I 4 out of 4wouldn’t kick FSM out of bed if they wanted to do something crazy like venture into unreleased music from The Next Generation or Deep Space Nine. A pipe dream? Maybe. But until FSM announced it, the expanded Star Trek II score seemed just as unlikely. It’s been worth the wait – great music finally getting a fitting treatment.

Order this CD

  1. Main Title (3:08)
  2. Surprise On Ceti Aplha V (0:46)
  3. Khan’s Pets (4:20)
  4. The Eels Of Ceti Alpha V / Kirk In Space Shuttle (3:54)
  5. Enterprise Clears Moorings (3:34)
  6. Chekov Lies (0:42)
  7. Spock (1:13)
  8. Kirk Takes Command / He Tasks Me (2:08)
  9. Genesis Project composed & performed by Craig Huxley (3:17)
  10. Surprise Attack (5:08)
  11. Kirk’s Explosive Reply (4:03)
  12. Inside Regula I (1:37)
  13. Brainwashed (1:25)
  14. Captain Terrell’s Death (2:00)
  15. Buried Alive (0:58)
  16. The Genesis Cave (1:11)
  17. Battle In The Mutara Nebula (8:09)
  18. Enterprise Attacks Reliant (1:30)
  19. Genesis Countdown (6:35)
  20. Spock (Dies) (1:55)
  21. Amazing Grace (1:27)
  22. Epilogue / End Title (8:47)
  23. Epilogue (original version) / End Title (7:29)

Released by: Retrograde Records (Film Score Monthly)
Release date: 2009
Total running time: 75:16

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