J.J. Abrams returns to the Star Trek universe with his second film in the franchise, Star Trek Into Darkness. The sequel ramps up the action compared to the last film, offering plenty of ship-shattering set-pieces. Michael Giacchino offers a score to match the raw energy of the Abrams film series. The score rarely slows down to take a breath. Giacchino blends material from the last film and adds a few new ideas to continue the new, bold direction for Star Trek.
Highlights abound on this album. “London Calling” features a 12/8, homophonic melody over arpeggiated chords for piano. In an interview with HuffPost Entertainment, Giacchino explains his approach with “London Calling”:
"J.J. (Abrams) just wanted it to feel like we weren't in a 'Star Trek' movie. It was a very conscious decision to make that base sound different; then, from there, we were able to evolve to our theme for the character. I remember when J.J. heard it, he said, 'Oh, it sounds English. That's perfect!' I'm not exactly sure what that meant, but in his mind it fit perfectly. I was just going for something that felt emotional and questioning as opposed to being so direct that it tells you what's going on” (HuffingtonPost.com).
“Kronos Wartet” is a polar opposite of “London Calling”. The 41-person choir rips through the track while the percussion provides additional, brute force. “The San Fran Hustle” uses a dash of music from the original series, music from the pivotal fight scene in the episode, “Amok Time”.
“Star Trek Main Title” concludes the score with a straight rendition of Giacchino's main theme, rather than Alexander Courage's theme for the original show. Although the end credits performance of Courage's theme is similar to the first film's presentation, its absence here is keenly felt, especially since the penultimate track, “Kirk Enterprises”, leads so naturally into Courage's theme.
Varese Sarabande's 44-minute release makes for a decent, though short, sampling of Giacchino's work. The running time of this release is similar to the Varese release for the 2009 film. Varese later released a limited edition, expanded release, which more than doubled the running time from the first release. One can only hope Star Trek Into Darkness would receive the same treatment sometime in the not-too-distant future; preferably sometime before the 23rd century.