Jerry Goldsmith

" Explore Goldsmith in space "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the limited release

Explorers wasn't exactly a box office success, considering the previous movies of director Joe Dante made some kind of an impact on audiences (not the least the box office hit Gremlins). Now Explorers was much more harmless than Pirhana, The Howling and Gremlins, and only received a cult following after it aired on VHS. For the music, Dante returned to the man that secured a place in our hearts with Gremlins, namely Jerry Goldsmith. And it was a collaboration that surely sparkled for many years to come. Goldsmith was Dante's creative wizard after every single effect was put on screen, and his musical ideas enhanced whatever the movie might have been lacking. And truthfully, Explorers is definitely not lacking something creative.

Explorers is still available in a 40 minute package, but somehow Intrada expanded the Varèse release with some 35 minutes of music. If you delete the 3 songs that were featured on the original release, it even is 45 minutes of new music. Enough to ask yourself, does more music make it better?

I can not deny that listening to this full package is making me miss Jerry Goldsmith more and more. I know that I always say this, but Explorers is not a classic score, and yet it carries all his trademarks, and so identifiable. By far his most remarkable trademark is his creative action / adventure / suspense music. A tone of music that hasn't been matched by any composer today. Just listen to the explosion during "Free Ride" (unleashing for the first time the construction melody). "The Construction" cue itself stays to this day a fantastic piece, and personally I don't mind it not opening the album like on the original release. In fact I find it cool to hear several mini versions of the theme before actually exploding with it in the 13th track.

A thing I notice now is that the actual main theme gets a lot more airtime. The first appearance may be in "Sticks and Stones", but the lovely version in "Home" and "Peek-a-Boo" (again throwing in a mere couple of notes of the construction theme) is wonderful to hear. It gets much more airtime in the "First Flight" cue, is lovely in combination with the soft construction theme in "Time for Bed" and gets its climax in the amazing "Have a Nice Trip" track.

Another moment that's noticeable is the lovely warm music for the boys in general. Their enthusiasm, their passion and their friendship lives on through Goldsmith's music (with harmonica) in "The Thunder Road" and "Let's Go".

The moments enhancing the fantasy element are of course everywhere. Either through the synthesizers (giving us enough remembrances of Baby, Legend or Innerspace), Explorers is always exploring space and adventure at the same time. The bouncy "The Bubble", the fantastical "Crazed Bubble / Fuse Box", the suspense of "No Air" (with matching ethereal vocal), the magical opening of "More Dreams / Dreams" and its continuation in "Let's Go", the feeling of exploration with enough synthesizer effects to prove it in "Fast Getaway" and "Wait Up", and the bouncy theme for the aliens in "We Come in Peace" and the fetching "She Likes Me". I'm sure the Alien theme in "Looks Real" has to be an inside joke, funny enough to notice the dream theme and soft minutes of string music after that in the unreleased "Gifts / Home Flight".

Altogether Explorers is a lovely delight on its own, but to call the expanded score a necessity if you already own the original one is stretching it a bit. While the entire experience is a fun one, somehow most of the new tracks don't necessarily make it on my 'memorable to hear again list'. Plus, for once I actually enjoyed the songs that were featured on the original release, and so I'm kinda missing them here. I can tell you that it would not be such a bad idea to enhance your original CD with an extra 15 minute play list (the dream theme and the harmonica moments alongside the 30th track), but for the rest I would happily include the songs with it. Either way, short or long, Explorers will happily entertain you with another charming, bouncy and creative little adventure score, holding again several themes that will cheer up your day.

Explorers (1990 release) ***1/2
Explorers (2011 release) ***1/2


1. Main Title (Unused Version with "Wak's Boogie") (0.51)
2. Main Title (Film Version) (0.47)
3. The First Dream (0.58)
4. Sticks and Stones (2.23)
5. Lori / Intervention (0.50)
6. Home (2.10)
7. The Bubble (1.47)
8. "Sci-Fi" Flick / The Roof-Top (2.04)
9. Crazed Bubble / Fuse Box (2.44)
10. Free Ride (3.43) Excellent track
11. Peek-A-Boo (1.53)
12. The Prospect (1.40)
13. The Construction (2.35) Excellent track
14. The Thunder Road (1.25)
15. First Flight (3.03)
16. No Air (2.34)
17. I Want to Live (1.42)
18. Time for Bed (1.36)
19. More Dreams / Dreams (1.45)
20. Let's Go (1.44)
21. Fast Getaway (4.58)
22. Wait Up (1.00)
23. The Spider (0.56)
24. Alien Love Call (0.57)
25. We Come in Peace (2.04)
26. She Likes Me (2.39)
27. Neek Chords (0.19)
28. Looks Real (2.03)
29. Space Pirates (0.32)
30. Gifts / Home Flight (7.13)
31. Have a Nice Trip (8.03) Excellent track

Bonus Tracks
32. Tannhauser Overture [Excerpt] * (4.04)
33. Space Movie ** (3.02)

* Composed by Richard Wagner
** Composed by Alexander Courage

Total Length: 74.12
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 16 votes - average 4.34/5)

Released by

Intrada Special Collection Volume 180 (limited release 2011)

Conducted by

Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrations by

Arthur Morton