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Comments about the soundtrack for Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (John Williams)

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Re: New trilogy music and Special Editions
• Posted by: Bren   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Thursday, May 26, 2005, at 7:00 a.m.
• IP Address: edsiaah02.eds.net
• In Response to: New trilogy music and Special Editions (Fraley)

> The entire approach to the music in the new trilogy is quite different
> from the original. Rather than having Williams compose a complete score to
> accompany the action, as in the original trilogy, here Lucas has Williams
> compose some new stand alone pieces, such as Duel of the Fates and Battle
> of the Heroes, then goes into the editing room and puts whatever music he
> feels like using, whether its pieces of the new material, or edits of
> existing Star Wars music, into the film.

True to an extent; TMP had several new, distinct fully realised new themes (JarJar, Anakin etc). This is less true of AOTC and ROTS. Sometimes this works, as in Duel of the Fates underscoring Anakins bike ride to save his mother in AOTC, and sometimes not - the Approaching Coruscant music from TMP being used for Obi Wan's fighter docking with Bail Organa's ship in ROTS.

It can't help when Mr. Williams is composing that the fiolm itself isn't locked down in terms of editing. Back when editing was done with strips of film, it had to be locked before scoring and effects work could be done on it. Now with digital non-linear editing machines for both video and audio, everything can be monkied around with until the last minute - even post scoring. This can't help when trying to match composition the mood/action of what is on screen when the foundation you're building on is subject (and likely) to change.

> Essentially, Lucas just has a library of music and edits it into the film
> as he sees fit.

Possibly not so, but definately causing headaches for the composer once he starts editing post scoring.

> Also, as someone else already commented on, the music is mixed much lower
> in the sound mix in the new trilogy, sometimes being barely audible. This
> urked me the most during AOTC. I have noticed that "running the
> blockade" from Ep I seems to have become a favorite piece of Lucas',
> because it shows up repeated in Ep II and III.

The low mixing of the score in the final soundtrack of the film is a choice of the director and sound mixer. A choice I'm fully prepared to endorse; it's their film. What does concern me slightly is the retrospective lowering of the score in the mix for the recent issues of the OT (namely the dive of the x-wings towards the Death Star in ANH, the force theme is virtually inaudiable). Note this is not to say the films creative bods do not have the right to do this, merely that it concerns me somewhat.

> This, by the way, bodes ill for the prospects of special editions of the
> new trilogy. There was already a "complete" two disc release of
> Ep I, and it was badly received because it was the music as presented in
> the film: a hacked together mess. Unfortunately, that's because that is
> how the music exists. There really aren't many complete cues. Example: In
> "Empire", the Battle of Hoth was scored mostly straight through.
> This allowed the music to be presented on the Special Edition album as one
> long, flowing cue. The final battle scenes in both Ep I and Ep II contain
> very little original music. A minute here, a few seconds there, but its
> just music edited into place from from existing Star Wars music bridged
> together by a few seconds of original score. Granted, there is still some
> original score from Ep II and III that hasn't been released, but for the
> most part, the unreleased music consists of cues a few seconds in length
> intended either to bridge together library music, or add emphasis to a
> particular moment.

As much as I'd love for 2 discs of each PT score to be made available, I fear you may be right. Time will tell of course, and if there is demand for some of the odd merchandise tie ins that have accompanied the PT, we may yet get expanded releases of the score. Hopefully someone at Sony will understand the appeal of the Spec Ed trilogy scores and the reasons for the TP:UE backlash.

If, as you suggest, the PT scores are nowhere near as fully realised and structured as the SE scores, then we will never see them.

> Considering how badly the extended release of Ep I was received, and how
> little original music remains unreleased from Ep II and III, I find it
> unlikely we will ever see extended releases of them.

> On a side note, it seems to me that Lucas' approach the film making pretty
> much consists of collecting a series of "tools" -- this includes
> lots of footage of actors against blue screen, and a library of sounds and
> music, and then effectively creates the film in the editing room.

This, in my opinion, has always been apparent. He has always been much happier at an editing console stiching together raw footage and elements then he has been shooting on set and dealing with actors etc. I believe he has said as much in interviews past.

Bren




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