With the Total Recall remake coming out soon, I'm willing to make a prediction that the score to it will have very little connection to the excellent score by Jerry Goldsmith. Considering that it doesn't have any of the elements from either the original short story or the 1990 film by Paul Verhoeven, it won't have the mysteriousness or a sense of wonder like the original film had.
Here's hopin'. In the meantime, let's talk about that excellent score by Jerry Goldsmith.
And I mean what I say that it's THE score that appropriately blends action, mysteriousness, and a sense of wonder all in one score. Jerry Goldsmith himself had said that his score is the best he's written. I won't go as far to say that it is the best, but it's certainly up there.
The composer managed to get the National Philharmonic Orchestra to perform, an orchestra that he works with on occasion, including scores like "Basic Instinct" and "Legend". The performance and the mixing are all well done and it gives the score a grand scale.
Jerry was always a person who wanted to try new things and his use with electronics are fascinating, giving the electronic parts a different sound that pertains to the film, like his score to "Hoosiers" where the drumbeats are meant to sound like basketballs dribbling. He said once that the electronics are the "fifth" member of the orchestra, with the woodwinds, the strings, the brass, and the percussion being the main four members.
Thus, he gives the electronics a sense of style that does not overshadow the orchestra in any way, a style that Hans Zimmer and his guys at Remote Control Productions should take note because I'm sick of all the buzzing noise that's coming from the computer in their scores.
The track, "The Dream", is the main theme of the film, and plays throughout the score. People who are fans of the Basil Poledouris score of "Conan the Barbarian" will notice the percussion rhythm from the track "Anvil of Crom" in "The Dream". Watching the behind-the-scenes feature on the film, Jerry Goldsmith mentioned that his score was criticized for not having a theme, which he thought was absurd. As do I. The theme is there, just not as pronounced as one would think.
If I were to pick the best track out of the album, it would be "The Mutant". This particular track is played when the mutant leader of the resistance, Kuato, is revealed and helps Schwarzenegger's character, Quaid, find the control panel that would help release air out into Mars, making it a breathable planet. This track is the perfect example of how to give a particular scene a sense of wonder while being mysterious at the same time. Every time I hear that track play, I get goosebumps. It has the right atmosphere and crescendos to an excellent conclusion by the French horns.
Although it's a great science-fiction soundtrack, it's also the best action score ever. The main highlights being "For Old Time's Sake", "Clever Girl", "The Big Jump", "The Massacre", "The Treatment", "The Hollowgram", and "End of a Dream".
"For Old Time's Sake" is when Quaid fights his "wife", who turns out to be a spy to keep an eye on him. It's all fought in the dark during the first part, and the action music stops for a few seconds when the attacker is revealed, and it goes back to more action.
"Clever Girl" actually starts when Quaid says, "Clever girl", to the spy and it turns into chase music when he gets chased by Richter and his men that eventually ends with Quaid jumping into the train and the train leaving the station.
"The Big Jump" plays off when Quaid and his love interest, Melina, escape after Quaid kills his spy wife. Richter and his men try to catch up with them, managing to catch a ride with Quaid's acquaintance, Benny.
"The Massacre" occurs when the resistance base is attacked by Cohaagen's men and all of the resistance members are killed, along with Kuato after being betrayed by Benny, because after all, he has four kids to feed.
"The Treatment" plays when Quaid struggles to get out of the machine that would wipe his memory, freeing Melina, and dealing with Benny, who happens to be driving a large, tunneling drill. This all ends with Quaid shouting, "Screeeewwwwwww Yoooooooouuuuu!!"
"The Hollowgram" is where Quaid and Melina try to get to the control panel in the abandoned Martian spaceship while avoiding Richter and his troops. This particular track is spelled that way apparently as a joke since this is on the Deluxe Edition of the soundtrack and the movie, The Hollow Man, was out at the time, which happened to be both directed by Paul Verhoeven and composed by Jerry Goldsmith. Get it?
"End of a Dream" is actually a lot longer than what played in the actual film. Before it hits the two minute mark, that's where the score ends in the film, but in the album, it's longer and sounds like there was more action happening that was not there. Deleted content or Jerry getting WAY into it?
If there's one thing that all those tracks I mentioned have in common is that they're tense, played by all parts of the orchestra, with brass blasts, strings bowing, and pumping percussion, with different electronic sounds used to bring more intensity to the action. It reminds me what an orchestra can do to produce great action material, rather than relying all on electronics to make the action material.
I mentioned that there was a Deluxe Edition of the soundtrack. It turns out that there was an album that was released simultaneously with the film by Varèse Sarabande. The problem was that it only had 40 minutes of score, while more cues were left missing. The same company, hearing the complaints from fans, re-released the album, calling it the Deluxe Edition, and adding additional cues, making it 74 minutes.
When it all comes down to it, I believe that this score is very influential, much like how Star Wars, Star Trek, Blade Runner, and Logan's Run were influential in creating a musical sound for science-fiction films, or sometimes, science fantasy films. Don't believe me, listen to the Mass Effect soundtrack and you can tell where the sound came from, and not just Blade Runner.