Varese Sarabande in the States have just announced the release next week of a deluxe edition of James Horner’s 1988 score for Cocoon: The Return. Listening to samples takes me back to when I bought the first disc back in ’88 (God, so long ago!). While it’s not one of the composer’s most important or likely even most popular scores, and indeed the film wasn’t particularly special as I recall, it’s nonetheless great to see the score available again, especially now remastered in complete form on a disc lasting some 70+ minutes. And that cover, boasting boosted colours that better match the cover of the Cocoon album, sure is a beauty, yes? That poster art is by the late John Alvin, who of course also did the magical poster for the original Cocoon film and, amongst many others, also Blade Runner‘s original 1982 poster. I really do miss those days of painted posters for movies. Very often they were beautiful images in their own right, and when done well, they perfectly captured the essence of what a movie was far better than the photoshop monstrosities we see so often now.
This new Varese edition is limited to 2500 copies, and I would imagine it will take awhile to sell out, but just incase I have mine ordered already. Okay, it may not, in the great scheme of things, be one of Horner’s greatest scores but it’s a welcome release of an OOP score and any expanded release of a Horner score needs supporting.
The soundtrack of the original Cocoon soundtrack came out in expanded form a few years ago on the Intrada label. Buying these expanded releases and hearing them again is like revisiting old friends and brings those old days rushing back. The 1980s were probably the best years for Horner’s music, back when he was a rising star and truly on fire with some incredible scores, and this music takes me back to those heady days when every new Horner score was something new and fresh and yes, exciting. His music was so well orchestrated and melodic, I loved all that stuff, and hearing it again now really takes me back. It was a wonderful time to be ‘into’ film soundtracks and looking back, it was more special than I realised at the time. This score was certainly a part of that.
(Amendum: The disc arrived a little while ago and is a great listen. Old times indeed. It sounds great and Varese has actually made an effort with the liner notes which is a nice surprise.The only weakness of the disc is that much of the music is shared with the original Cocoon soundtrack. I can understand why Horner returned to the earlier films themes as it maintained thematic unity but it does sound very familiar. Fortunately an enriched orchestration keeps things interesting and on the whole the score is more intimate than the first. It’s a welcome expansion.)