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


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A Few Things   Sunday, June 12, 2005 (8:05 p.m.) 

First of all, both this score and movie are much better than Attack of the Clones. Williams' score for that was his worst to date IMO. It was a lot of boring underscore. Across the Stars is beautiful, but not as breathtaking as the superior Fawkes theme Williams wrote for Harry Potter in the same year and definitely not as great as this review says. Apparently it's about ten themes in one. What a pity I've heard most of them in Hook before. Seriously, I love the love theme, but it was a rehash of Hook material. Apparently one semi-new theme can excuse the other two and a quarter hours of average (by Williams' standards of course; high standard compared to any other) underscore with a few thematic quotes here and there and a glaringly obvious, out-of-place statement of the Imperial March.

Sith is much more of an individual score and is much better than AotC. It doesn't rely heavily on thematic material - something of a departure for Williams, but a seeming trend recently if you also look at his brilliant work for Prisoner of Azkaban. Everyone's sick of the leitmotif approach; Williams was the big gun to use it, he used it to perfection, but now others have copied and it's just not that good anymore. It's refreshing to see him write from his heart, from what he sees straight away instead of coming up with different ways to manipulate a theme he's already established. It takes a lot to say that, as I'm a huge advocate of the leitmotif and Williams' themes have always been the defining moments of his career. But I say good on him for trying new things, and he has definitely succeeded in Revenge of the Sith. I'm glad he didn't rely heavily on the Imperial March as well. After all, it wasn't written until Empire Strikes Back when Vader actually deserved his own theme; his rank had gone up since the death of Tarkin in Star Wars. The Emperor's Theme, however is a little more curious; I wish it had appeared more, possibly intertwined with Yoda's theme in their battle, instead of the out-of-place Cloud City duel music. Oh well, can't have everything I suppose.

Another thing that grates me is the endless ragging on the lack of thematic material etc. etc., when The Return of the King suffered the same problem, but lo and behold it got five stars (and an Oscar). Where's the "Score as Heard in Film" rating? Isnt' that what film music is for? Surely that warrants some sort of consideration in the judgement of the effectiveness of a movie score? Apparently not, as the Prisoner of Azkaban suffered the same fate. In what was a curious move, Williams went in a completely new direction and produced his best score for nearly a decade. It was far better than the Star Wars prequels, and his previous Potter scores. But I digress, this isn't about PoA.

RotS is far better than AotC (and probably as good as Phantom Menace but some people are blind when they are stripped of their beloved themes. I agree with a lot of this review, and acknowledge that Christian thinks this is a very good score especially in relation to any other composer's works. But the first step backwards was awarding AotC five stars, and then proceeding to compare Sith to it when the latter is the better score.

Just had to get a couple of things off my chest. I don't ususally leave passionate remarks as I find they do very little on sites like this where anyone is attacked for their opinion - which I wasn't doing to anyone, not even Christian as I admire him and agree with a lot of what he says, but also disagree with some of what he says. That's all.

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Leitmotif is not dead.   Monday, June 13, 2005 (11:11 a.m.) 

You say everyone is sick of Leitmotif and that it's dead, but I must disagree. That's like saying Greco-Roman architecture is out of style. It's something that will always be around and have a place. I understand that you might be sick of it, but I must say I'm fairly disappointed there wasn't more leitmotif in RotS. I LOVE this soundtrack, but for me to have been ecstaticly overwhelmed with it, it would have needed another small theme and more crossing of themes. I just think it's a little late in the game for Johnny to change the formula.

I do like this soundtrack much more than Clones, other than "Across the Stars".

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Re: Leitmotif is not dead.   Monday, June 13, 2005 (11:29 p.m.) 

I didn't say I was sick of it; quite the contrary. I love the idea, and admire Williams' use of it throughout his career. However I can see that others are sick of it, and I wouldn't be surprised if newer composers are sick of it too. I thought it was brave of Williams to break free of a winning formula to create something unique and good in its own right.

I just hope he doesn't abandon it forever...

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