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Innerspace
  • Composed by Jerry Goldsmith
  • La-La Land Records LLLCD 1114 / 2009 / 78:31

Joe Dante’s comic reimagining of Fantastic Voyage did OK when it was released in 1987, without being a spectacular success.  It’s not one of his better films, but it does feature winning performances from Dennis Quaid and Martin Short and an especially-amusing turn by Robert Picardo.  Innerspace was the fifth of ten collaborations between Dante and composer Jerry Goldsmith – the latter’s mischievous sense of humour making him the perfect foil for Dante’s fun adventures.

For the most part (as usual), Goldsmith plays it straight.  Much of the album is dominated by action music – beginning with the lengthy and impressive “State of the Art / The Charge”.  In parts this score is probably the closest Goldsmith ever came to sounding like Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  There’s a lot of action music here and it’s typically exciting stuff (nobody did action music quite like Jerry Goldsmith) though, apart from a few standouts, it can be a somewhat repetitive.  The best piece is the climactic “Stop the Car”, a frenetic, frenzied action extravaganza.

Jerry Goldsmith

There’s no particularly strong “main theme” here – though a lovely, warm motif is heard frequently through the score (and there’s an interesting account from Joe Dante in the liner notes of how it evolved from the temp track).  There are a couple of other themes – a love theme, usually heard for synths, which is quite pretty; and an amusing Morricone pastiche for Picardo’s character “The Cowboy” (complete with whistling) which contributes to the film’s funniest moments.  I mentioned the synths, and there are quite a lot of them here – not any moreso than usual in the action music, but elsewhere Goldsmith often uses them to carry the melody or to create a weird atmosphere, and those parts now sound very dated.

When Innerspace was first released, the soundtrack album contained only a very small sampling of the score, so this release will be welcomed by many.  Unfortunately, at almost 80 minutes, it doesn’t show the score in its best light either – lots of repetition, some frankly rather anonymous writing by Goldsmith’s standards, and those synths which are likely to appeal to people’s sense of nostalgia rather than their sense of musical taste – the best album would be somewhere in between these two.  Because of the 30-40 minutes of good music, it’s clearly one that Goldsmith fans will want – but I suspect most listeners will want to create their own playlist to show off the score at its best (and, notwithstanding the “too much is better than too little” argument, may be left wondering why that wasn’t done for them).  ***

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