Dennis McCarthy adds a magificent new theme to the Star Trek universe. Maybe it's not as stirring as Goldsmith's STTMP/STTNG theme and not as noble as Goldsmith's First Contact theme, but it definitely suits to Star Trek in general.
This score's other advantages are the huge orchestra and the choir as well as its quiet moments and it's constant quality. “Main Title” contains an awe-inspiring sequence at the end, which can be heard when in the movie when the Enterprise B is shown in full size in the construction facility. The music heard during Picard's first moments in the Nexus is wonderful (“The Nexus/A Christmas Hug”). “Jumping The Ravine” is a reprise of the main theme, which is featured heavenly and magnificently once more. “Kirk's Death” is a quite moving piece, as it should be.
Interestingly, McCarthy re-uses a short mysterious sounding motif from his Emmy-nominated score to the STTNG TV episode Yesterday's Enterprise in “Time Is Running Out”. The music that depicts the merciless battle between the Enterprise and its Klingon enemies and the Enterprise's ultimate victory (at the end of “Outgunned”) is particularly exciting. I was informed it was later re-used by McCarthy in the Star Trek: Deep Space 9 episode “Way Of The Warrior”.
Seen as a whole, when compared with other Star Trek scores, McCarthy's compositions might be lacking some depth and inspiration. In particular, considering the destruction of the beloved Enterprise D, the death of Picard's only relatives on Earth, and the death of Kirk, the constant use of a major key seems somewhat inappropriate. However, as has been pointed out by others, with Dennis McCarthy having scored more than half of the STTNG TV episodes, it was only fair to let him score the first silver screen adventure of the crew, and in my humble opinion he should be offered more jobs at the movies, especially considering Jerry Goldsmith's rather average effort in “Insurrection”.