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Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
(2002)
Album Cover Art
2002 Regular
2002 Limited
Album 2 Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:

Performed by:

Vocals by:
The London Voices

Recorded at:
Abbey Road Studios, London (2002)

Orchestrated by:
Eddie Karam
Conrad Pope
Labels Icon
LABEL & RELEASE DATE
Sony Classical
(Regular and Limited)
(April 23rd, 2002)
Availability Icon
ALBUM AVAILABILITY
Both the regular (SK 89932) and primary limited (SK 89965) albums are regular U.S. releases. Copies of the limited album sold through obesity-choked Wal-Marts (SK 89989) contained extra printed materials and a screensaver. The more commonly available limited album came with three different covers (Yoda, Anakin and Padme, and Jango Fett). Both limited albums contain one additional 3-minute track.
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AWARDS
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you, like most film score collectors in general, recognize that John Williams' music for the Star Wars franchise, even in its less satisfying incarnations, is still vastly superior to most other modern movie music.

Avoid it... if you require more than one dominant new theme and only a few passing references to the most famous, previously established themes in the listening experience on the inadequate single-CD Sony product.
Review Icon
EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #48
WRITTEN 2/27/02, REVISED 12/21/08
Williams
Williams
Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones: (John Williams) Nearly 25 years after the Star Wars universe first captivated audiences around the globe, George Lucas' far away galaxy returned to the big screen for the fifth time on May 20th, 2002. The rebirth of the Star Wars saga still seemed refreshing and mystical once again in the 2000's, hardly close to any resolution that would send audiences to the events at the beginning of Episode IV. True fans of the concept knew where the overarching storyline was headed, though, and all three prequel films in the franchise understandably became darker with each passing frame. The anticipation for Star Wars: Attack of the Clones was nowhere near the overwhelming levels stirred by The Phantom Menace, however, and the same could be said about John Williams' music for this second episode. The hype machine was kind to Williams for the returning first and concluding third episodes, and Attack of the Clones often gets lost in the mix. In many regards, though, the second prequel score was easier to evaluate than the first, because at least there was now some established context for the music of the more recent trilogy. It had been difficult to review The Phantom Menace in the context of this new Star Wars era because it was fifteen years removed from the original trilogy and had to stand alone as a foreshadowing of the new trilogy. It was also difficult to judge The Phantom Menace because listeners had no way of knowing which fledgling themes and motifs from that score would eventually take center stage in the following films. For the most part, Attack of the Clones answers some of those questions, playing along some predictable lines and revealing more about how Williams was trying to tie so many musical loose ends into one coherent whole. Surprisingly, it would turn out that Williams didn't actually elaborate on many of the previous identities in the franchise. Still, for the composer, the task of immersing himself once again in the franchise proved to be substantially easier than some might have speculated. The experience was rejuvenating to an extent, an opportunity to reminisce with friends both musical and human.

During a January 2002 weekend in Boston, he sat down at a piano at the Four Seasons Hotel. Williams, whose task was to wrap up the score for the final few cues yet to be written, stopped for a moment and remarked, "I'm just revising one scene. I'm working with my music editor, Ken Wannberg (we've been together for 35 years) and he's here in the hotel, got all the film on tape, we cue it up and go to work." It may seem odd to imagine the world's premiere composer of the era working on a hotel piano to complete a score for the greatest film saga of all time, but the process of writing for Attack of the Clones had been easier for Williams than the first episode. "One picture ago, The Phantom Menace was a reintroduction, or a revisiting, of Star Wars after twenty-two years," Williams said. "I thought that this will be a tough transition, but it was something like bicycle riding. Some of that score, and this one too, is musically incestuous, referring to the themes of before, and that helps us get back into Lucas' imagination." In a statement that, in retrospect, reminds film score collectors about Howard Shore's work for Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings franchise, Williams continued, "These scores have about two hours of music. Not in quality, but in quantity equal to an opera. At the end of six films, we've got 12 hours of Star Wars, certainly in the history of cinema something unique. The whole canon is so voluminous, which is part of the fun, actually... taking an earlier theme and morphing it into the new one." For Attack of the Clones, Williams revisits the old favorite, the Star Wars main title, and expands upon the transition from "Anakin's Theme" into the "Imperial March" most commonly associated with the fifth episode, The Empire Strikes Back. Among the other themes, Williams reprises the popular "Force" theme, Yoda's theme, and the choral "Duel of the Fates" fanfare from the previous film. Smaller common motifs and creative connections to seemingly individual parts of the other films also exist once again.

A handful of new themes were destined to make their initial appearance in Attack of the Clones, including the film's most prominent (and most speculated-about) love theme, "Across the Stars," and even a short, curious piece for Jango Fett. Along these lines, the thematic construction of the score was to be exactly as most fans would expect. As Williams puts it, the "incestuous" nature of Star Wars music continued. Nearly all of the composer's writing for Attack of the Clones was printed on paper in January of 2002, in preparation for the film's release in late May of that year. By mid-February, Williams had completed nearly all of the recording of the score with the his usual ensemble for the franchise, The London Symphony Orchestra. The first recording sessions with the LSO were held in Abbey Studios in the final two weeks of January and were substantially wrapped up by the end of the first week of February. Both George Lucas and producer Rick McCallum attended those recording sessions, with Lucas known to be pacing in the halls of the studios by himself. McCallum commented in late February that "It went very, very well... effortlessly, as it always does with John. Hearing a musical score for the first time is one of the most wonderful events that can happen to you. Obviously, John hears the music when he's writing it, but no one gets the opportunity to fully experience it until then. Even though you may have heard little melodies on the piano, it never has the same impact unless you can really read music well to understand it." For each of its recording sessions, the London Symphony Orchestra included 110 players (strong by film score recording standards, though certainly not one of the largest ensembles assembled for film composers), and the choral work was recorded in just one full day of work. "There's a massive amount of music, over 125 minutes worth," says McCallum. "That's a lot for a film; the average film has probably about 40. George made maybe five or six changes with certain cues that he wanted a little bit more intensity put in, or less. That was very easily done, especially with someone as talented as John is and as well as with music editor Ken Wannberg."

With themes from the first trilogy and the previous episode being joined by those that would be foreshadowed for the third episode, McCallum commented about how the saga was coming full circle in the musical sense. "It really is an arc now, and the music brings in all the films together," he continues. "The major themes that will come in the series start in The Phantom Menace, build in Attack of the Clones, become more refined in Episode III, and then are there for IV, V, and VI. One of the first new things that came up was the love theme, and thematically, it's beautifully structured, it's really interesting, and has really wonderful moments that preview what is about to come in terms of character development." Other than these early comments about the score, further information about Williams' 2002 creation had been interestingly limited by more secrecy than with The Phantom Menace. None of the first four theatrical or television trailers, ranging in release date from November 2nd, 2001, to March 10th, 2002, included recordings of the new music, instead relying on portions of the previous scores. Devoted fans were already disgruntled before the debut of the film because the announced Sony Classical album (to be released three weeks prior to the movie's theatrical opening) was to be a single-CD concert arrangement of the score despite the great mass of music composed for the film. Indeed, when evaluating Attack of the Clones, like its predecessor, it's important to remember that conclusions drawn from the 73-minute commercial album for the soundtrack are neglecting half of Williams' material unique to this endeavor. Though The Phantom Menace received a "complete" 2-CD album (and a controversial one at that) not long after its release, neither of the two subsequent entries were treated to an expanded album in the same, almost immediate fashion. As such, you have to take any analysis of Attack of the Clones based solely on the album and general film viewing with a grain of salt, though that's essentially what you are about to read below.

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VIEWER RATINGS
29,121 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 4.08 Stars
***** 15,726 5 Stars
**** 5,865 4 Stars
*** 3,648 3 Stars
** 2,035 2 Stars
* 1,847 1 Stars
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COMMENTS
872 TOTAL COMMENTS
Read All Start New Thread Search Comments
Jango Fett Theme
Drew C. - September 26, 2013, at 7:26 p.m.
1 comment  (304 views)
"Across the Stars" and "Luke and Leia"
Jedivan - October 20, 2009, at 9:52 a.m.
1 comment  (1370 views)
Brass Section (London Symphony Orchestra)   Expand >>
N.R.Q. - July 11, 2007, at 7:16 a.m.
2 comments  (1414 views)
Newest: April 7, 2015, at 1:19 p.m.by Simon
Love Theme Is Like Braveheart!
Trevor - December 8, 2006, at 5:22 p.m.
1 comment  (1607 views)
Interesting orchestral solutions,worth trying
Sheridan - August 20, 2006, at 6:43 a.m.
1 comment  (1397 views)
stat wars rocks
pat - December 17, 2005, at 6:45 p.m.
1 comment  (2448 views)
More...


Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
2002 Regular Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 73:34
• 1. Star Wars Main Title and Ambush on Coruscant (3:46)
• 2. Love Theme from Attack of the Clones (Across the Stars) (5:33)
• 3. Zam the Assassin and the Chase Through Coruscant (11:07)
• 4. Yoda and the Younglings (3:55)
• 5. Departing Coruscant (1:44)
• 6. Anakin and Padme (3:56)
• 7. Jango's Escape (3:48)
• 8. The Meadow Picnic (4:14)
• 9. Bounty Hunter's Pursuit (3:23)
• 10. Return to Tatooine (6:56)
• 11. The Tusken Camp and the Homestead (5:54)
• 12. Love Pledge and the Arena (8:29)
• 13. Confrontation with Count Dooku and Finale (10:44)
2002 Limited Albums Tracks   ▼Total Time: 76:36

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
Williams with Lucas
George Lucas shows Williams early edits of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

The packaging of all the album variants includes a note from George Lucas and a number of stills from the film with quotes from the characters in the stills. The limited albums contained additional printed materials. Sony established a site with more information about the score at http://starwars.sonyclassical.com.
Copyright © 2002-2015, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones are Copyright © 2002, Sony Classical (Regular and Limited) and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 2/27/02 and last updated 12/21/08.
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