Timeline – music by Jerry Goldsmith

If there’s one eternal truth that every composer of film or TV music faces sooner or later, it’s the rejection slip. Everyone gets one eventually. And even a composer of Jerry Goldsmith’s stature gets them, such as the one Goldsmith received when he turned in this score to the already-troubled time travel flick Timeline. However, as much as I love Goldsmith’s work in general, listening to this CD of his rejected score, released by Varese Sarabande, I came to one conclusion: there’s a reason Brian Tyler wound up scoring this movie.

For whatever reason, Goldsmith’s take on Timeline winds up sounding like, well, reheated Goldsmith. Now granted, even well-worn works by this particular composer make for good listening, but there are whole passages that sound almost exactly like music from Star Trek: First Contact. Given that this was one of Goldsmith’s final scores, I almost expected to hear stuff that was more like Star Trek: Nemesis, and thought that maybe I’d find a few things that he salvaged from this unused work for that movie. Nope. There are big stretches that sound a lot like, in particular, First Contact‘s “The Dish” cue, particularly the percussive, guttural battle music. (Ironically, I now realize that even when working on First Contact, Goldsmith used a particular kind of action music that dates back to the Logan’s Run score.)

The element that’s unique to Timeline is a strange approach to a brass theme, a clarion call that occasionally dips just far enough out of the dominant key that it seems to be at odds with everything else behind it. It sticks out just enough to be distracting early on, and one can only imagine the reaction of the movie’s director or studio head upon hearing that.

2 out of 4Sadly, I can’t say this is one of Goldsmith’s finer works; as a limited release, it’s clearly intended for Goldsmith collectors and completists only, though even that crowd may find themselves wondering what one of their favorite composers was thinking when working on this one. Then again, at the risk of overlaying my own opinion onto the proceedings, the source material – the movie itself – doesn’t appear to have been terribly inspiring either. This soundtrack-that-never-was is a curiosity for the late maestro’s faithful followers.

Order this CD

  1. The Dig (4:10)
  2. Cornflakes (2:05)
  3. No Pain (3:10)
  4. To Castlegard (1:27)
  5. Find Marek (1:55)
  6. The Rooftop (4:21)
  7. A Hole In The Wall (2:27)
  8. Move On (6:58)
  9. Be Careful (1:28)
  10. Ambushed (1:12)
  11. Setting Up (2:12)
  12. Greek Fire / Light The Arrows (2:32)
  13. Prepare For Battle / Victory (11:12)
  14. To My Friends (1:40)

Released by: Varese Sarabande
Release date: 2005
Total running time: 46:49