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

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Star Wars Episode VII: The Opinion of Amuro Regarding REVENGE OF THE SITH
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• Posted by: Amuro
• Date: Sunday, May 29, 2005, at 8:45 p.m.
• IP Address:

Episode VII


It is a period of civil war between the film score fans. Some have gone to the side of dislike regarding the new STAR WARS film score. There is little doubt that the great JOHN WILLIAMS has provided a great new film score, but there is unrest regarding its position in the Star Wars list.

During this time, many have come to review the score including CHRISTIAN CLEMMENSEN, whose name I believe I spelled wrong, and I apologize for said spelling error. Clemmensen's review was a well thought out, valid opinion which spoke of a less than perfect score. However some, would disagree.

Those of us, juxtaposed to the views of FILMTRACKS have begun stating our opinions in large amounts. However, it is difficult to find a civil argument anywhere. The goal of this post, is to provide a civil opinion of the score, and not sound like a total ass. Let us hope that it succeeds....

Well, now that i'm done being retarded, here I go.

I personally have absolutely no problem with this score, especially when compared to other STAR WARS scores. This is a great film score, from the opening blast to the final blast, its a real joy to listen to. I would definetely rank it right behind ESB in the line of STAR WARS, and I know, some of you will hate me for that. I don't care, its an opinion.

I loved the music which directly followed the main theme, I thought it was a great mix of action music from the film (since it jumps all over the place), and I loved the title of it, "Revenge of the Sith" its totally apt. I like the use of the force theme, and the introduction of General Grievous' motif. Its just a real great way to open up the score, it DEFINES the action music of the new trilogy, and also adds a hint of the action settings of the older trilogy.

Next comes "Anakin's Dream" which I also loved, its one of my favorites. The scene it accompanies is just... well, terrible, the only enjoyable part was the music. I love the fiddle, which is very "un-Star Wars" but at the same time, adds a hint that this is a darker film. The horn, presenting the "Across the Stars" theme is very lovely, and tender, not too poignent like some of the statements in AOTC. And then, the string clusters break the mood perfectly, and fit the film EXACTLY. What follows is remeniscent of the ending to "The Meadow Picnic" in AOTC with the brooding low strings, and low woodwinds. Thats what I think that Williams was trying to tie it to.

And then comes, arguably, the best track on the album... "Battle of the Heroes." I know, I might get (BADWORD) for this, but I prefer it to "Duel of the Fates." This is a powerful, yet simple theme which as far as I can tell is in the 6/8 meter. Obviously giving it a sense of being "off" but still somewhat normal, unlike a weird time like 7/8 or something. The chorus really adds a bit of power, and the melody itself is sad, and at the sametime spiteful, yet heroic... its a grand mesh of all the feelings the battle implicates. My good friend put it two ways, when she and I were in the theatre she said "thats so sad" and when she spoke of listening to the end credits on album she said "thats so evil," the theme conveys so many emotions, "Duel of the Fates" IMO does not. I also love the treatment of the "Force" theme in this track as well. Its the closest thing we'll ever get to the force them by full chorus. Its not "spectacular" but its still DAMN good. The only bad part, is the ending, which didn't bother me until I watched the DVD... its too corny, and too "horror-movie-esque" but other than that, I find it to be a stirring, wondrous melody, which will keep my ears busy until something new attacks them!

Anakin's Betrayal, is without a doubt, beautiful, and heart wrenching. In fact, I'm going to slip the CD in right now... the opening string motif is very lovely. When the chorus comes in, it truly gets heart wrenching, I believe this is the scene which follows the "jedi purge." The cue builds more and more, with the strings ever present behind the chorus, until the brass come in with a timp hit. Its truly beautiful, and is a stand out cue on the album. It really captures the feelings which leap of screen, especially as we watch our favorite side characters die (for me, its Kai-Adi-Mundi). I believe this to be a very poignent cue, simply because of the sheer emotions put in by the players, a definite favorite of mine.

"General Grievous" gets one negative comment... WHY DOES THE GRIEVOUS MOTIF ESTABLISHED IN "REVENGE OF THE SITH" NOT MAKE AN APPEARANCE?!!!!!!!!!! That makes me so mad. But other than that, I think its a great fun cue. However, compared to "Revenge of the Sith," "Battle of the Heroes," and "Anakin's Betrayals" it really just doesn't stand out nearly as much. It kinda passes without too much thought. Its just a great representation of typical Williams action music, not that that is a bad thing by ANY means!

The next cue, "Palpatine's Teachings" is one of severe controversy. Let me simply say, that I can see why the "Emperor's Theme" would not appear, after seeing the movie, but of course, it does appear, just very softly in the low strings. This cue was too short, and some may say "NO IT WASN'T IT WAS DULL!" but this comes from a guy whose favorite score is SOMMERSBY by Elfman... I like my dark music. This is a very enjoyable cue, because it offers a break from the action music, and over romanticism of the former cues. Its dark, and relatively simple (Man, I love that deep male throat singing). I dislike how the "hyperspace" motif breaks the mood. Especially since those are in polar opposite parts of the film.

"Grievous and the Droids" - see "General Grievous"

"Padme's Ruminations" opens oddly, with the solo female voice... I think. It was a truly enjoyable part of the film, the emotions which rip Anakin to shreds are very evident in the music. Its odd, and extremely "un-star wars" like, but think of the solo voice at the end of AOTC, in "The Confrontation with Count Dooku" is that not similar? I think Williams is making a connection, Dooku offered Obi-Wan a similar choice in AOTC, and now Palpatine is offering Anakin. This may just be my own random connection, but I still really like the cue.

Of course, who doesn't enjoy "Anakin vs. Obi-Wan?" How could you not enjoy it?! Its the kind of action music we got in the older trilogy, where themes would weave into the action material. I like the tie to the scene where Vader throws stuff at Luke in ESB... although it accompanies Yoda and Sideous.

I honestly have no idea where "Anakin's Dark Deeds" fits, it just might be the "jedi purge" and i'm just wrong about "Anakin's Betrayals" inform me if this is the case! But its still enjoyable, especially with the darker side of the choir, and the fluttering woodwinds and keyboards. The rolling timp adds a bit of character too. Is this the scene where they attack the Jedi Temple? I think so, now that I hear it. But its still great, how the theme form "Anakin's Betrayals" is given a more robust treatment, with the action material. Its a lovely, heartwrenching cue, just like the former. I love it, its another highlight of the album.

"Enter Lord Vader" is another source of controversy... why didn't the Imperial March make a robust appearance?! Because, if you saw the movie, it doesn't fit at all! And it doesn't, its a definte hightlight as well, of the film and the film. The opening horn fanfare, suddenly, and without warning, gives way to the dark underscore with a loan flute and harp over the strings. Its a great change of pace, and its lovely. The march like theme, sounds like "Deal with the Dark Lord" from ESB. I believe this accompaines the scene with Anakin, Mace, and Palpatine... and if I'm right, I can think of no greater music to go with it. It hints at action, but also at confusion, and emotions running high, which was a problem with the action material in AOTC... it was if the outcome of the fight had no meaning, whereas here, its very present. There is also another hint of the "Emperor's Theme" too!

I have no idea which scene is the "Immolation Scene" but its a damn good cue. The strings are so lovely, with the constant bass presense. It really does move one when they listen. It is a truly lovely scene, and also, ties to the ending of "The Meadow Picnic" from AOTC in my opinion, or to my ears at least. The lush, sweeping, strings bring new emotions, emotions of pure sadness. (Is this when Anakin and Padme meet on mustafar?). Anyway, its truly beautiful, yet ANOTHER highlight.

Now, most people don't care for "Grievous Speaks to Lord Sideous" but I find it to be really fun. Especially the chorus, its so delightfull "Williams" the horn solo is lovely as well. It FINALLY hints at the Grievous motif set up in the first cue. And its glorious, you can sense the urgence of Grievous to speak with Sideous. The chorus also adds that extra bit of fun. Some will definetely disagree, but I am allowed to have an opinion!

"The Birth of the Twins and Padme's Destiny" is a curious cue. It accompaines the two scenes where Luke and Leia are born as well as the creation of the familiar ol' Vader. The opening bells are a little remeniscent of HARRY POTTER (okay, a lot). But it gets the "Baby" feeling out of it. Its also mysterious, especially when Obi-Wan and Yoda realize she has twins. The use of the Funeral theme from Qui-Gon's death in Episode I is curious as well. I believe it represents not only Padme's death, but also the death of Anakin, whom Qui-Gon wanted to be trained so... or perhaps because Qui-Gon was right, and Anakin has taken a step closer to his destiny. Either way, it works. I liked the re-use of the theme, and enjoy it so much that I just dont' care too much.

If you don't like the end credits, thats fine... but I do. The opening of the last cue is weird, but I like the use of Leia's theme, and Lukes theme too. But the highlight is the horn solo, of the force theme, which ties to A NEW HOPE perfectly! Its brimming with emotion from the player, you can tell this horn player WANTED to play that solo. And I think the underplayed orchestral burst of the orchestra at the end was perfect. The key change, definetely did not make me cringe either. But as far as the themes in the credits are concerned... I don't care. "Leia's Theme" is always gorgeous. And this arrangement is just as good as the one in ANH... and "Battle of the Heroes" was a shoe in... look at how the themes appear in the other movies. Yes, the throne room is a odd choice... but it does NOT appear in the film's end credits. But still, I love the Throne Room, and I don't want to think of its validity in the score, just about the fact that its enjoyable! Its the end credits! For once, stop thinking about how it should tie in, and just let the music take over!

Yeah, I'll definetely give this score a ***** I love it, plain and simple. I waited three years for this, and I can safely say, I was NOT dissapointed!



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