Years ago, I came across a cassette tape of the Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan soundtrack. I loved it until I realized that it contained maybe a sampling of the entire score at best. A few weeks ago, I learned that a remastered edition with the entire score with all the musical cues had recently become available. I had to get it and I got it in the mail last Friday. EVERYTHING FROM THE MOVIE IS ON IT! Including the take of the first time that a character other than James Tiberius Kirk delivered the immortal “Space… the final frontier” soliloquy. If you know who it was don’t ruin it for those who are not in the know.
Following the disaster that was the overblown, overbudget, snooze fest that is Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Paramount Pictures demanded a totally new picture that would compete with Star Wars and hopefully win over a few of its diehard fans. This even included a desire to scrap the music from the previous film (although many of the themes would later be used in subsequent films and television series including the Main Title and Klingon themes). Ingenue James Horner was eventually chosen to compose TWOK.
There is not one bit of music in the score that does not stir. The Main Theme combines Alexander Courage’s fanfare from the television series with a heroic march for Admiral Kirk plus a breathtaking nautical theme for the Enterprise, herself. Captain Spock is given a mystical tune on the panflute that really invokes a sense of wonder into the character. A menacing piece led by the French Horn adds even more villany to my favorite Trek villain. (Where was I in 1982? Ok… so I was 9. Or better yet, where was I in 1963 when the character of Khan Noonien Singh was created? I was -10 years old.) “The Battle in the Mutara Nebula” is an 8 minute 7 second masterpiece of space battle excitement.
I have been asked at which point I would introduce novices to the world of Star Trek. I always point to my introduction. Although the plot is a sequel to a then twenty year old episode, my favorite theme of the friendship between two heros is what draws me to it time and again: “You are my commanding officer; you are also my friend. I gave been and forever shall be yours.” So says Captain Spock as he relinquishes command of the U.S.S. Enterprise once again to Admiral James Tiberius Kirk after a little training cruise runs into a wee bit o’ trouble. I could sit and watch this movie once a day, every day. Twice on my days off.