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Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Album Cover Art
Composed, Co-Orchestrated, Co-Conducted, and Produced by:

Co-Orchestrated and Co-Conducted by:
William Ross

Co-Orchestrated by:
Andrew Barrett
Labels Icon
Walt Disney Records
(Commercial Album)
(December 15th, 2017)

Walt Disney Studios
(Promotional Album)
(December 26th, 2017)
Availability Icon
Two commercial releases exist, one the regular, widely available album and the other an exclusive product of Target stores in America. The musical contents of the two albums are the same; the Target version has specific packaging elements. The "For Your Consideration" awards promo was made available digitally a few weeks after the commercial album releases and could be heard or downloaded through Disney's official awards site.
Nominated for an Academy Award and a Grammy Award.
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Decorative Nonsense
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you, like most Star Wars enthusiasts, continue to marvel at John Williams' ability to stir the imagination with masterfully complex, melodic music that remains out of this world.

Avoid it... if you expect Williams to generate fresh new thematic ideas akin to those in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the abysmal plotline for this film limiting his ability to develop compelling musical identities.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 1/4/18
Star Wars: The Last Jedi: (John Williams) Striving to maintain the momentum created by 2015's popular Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 2017's Star Wars: The Last Jedi marks the eighth episode in George Lucas' original scheme and continues to mingle characters and concepts of the "classic" trilogy with those destined to define the universe for decades to come. While the previous film's handling by J.J. Abrams was met with wide approval, the writing and direction of The Last Jedi by Rian Johnson has stirred polarizing controversy within the fanbase. Critics widely applauded the film and its box office performance surpassed a billion dollars with ease, but the script contains excruciatingly obnoxious fallacies of logic and severe pacing issues, character behaviors often unsatisfactory. Entire subplots are pointless or rendered senseless due to other factors in Star Wars canon, and at no time in the primary episodes of these films has so many main characters perished without properly completing a natural story arc in each case. It's a slap in the face to enthusiasts of the original trilogy still struggling to reconcile how the universe's forces of good could have collapsed so thoroughly in the aftermath of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Ironically, the one main character meant to survive as to become the central lead in the next picture was General Leia, a fittingly ironic twist of fate given actress Carrie Fisher's death after filming The Last Jedi. Poor acting performances by newly introduced characters and a frightful lack of depth to Luke Skywalker are unforgivable, unforced errors by the production. There were reports of theatre audience disruptions caused by irate viewers standing during the film and yelling responses like "This is ridiculous!" or "I want a refund!" (or the succinct favorite: "Fuck this shit!") at the screen before stomping out; such dismay was often aimed at one scene in which Leia laughably uses the Force to survive unprotected in the void of space. Still, many of the atrocious storyline choices made by Johnson were glossed over by extraordinarily beautiful renderings, several of the franchise's top visceral highlights existing here to dazzle audiences' brains into submission. The mesmerizing eye candy within The Last Jedi is matched by John Williams' continued development of impressive symphonic music for the franchise.

As stated in several reviews of the magnificent score for The Force Awakens, the mere presence of Williams in this continuation of the franchise is a treat not to be underestimated by concept enthusiasts. While the story arc of this sequel trilogy may have damaged the legacy of the canon, Williams continues to work his mastery at maintaining the excellence and traditions he established 40 years prior. Now in his mid-80's, the maestro endeavors to write occasional film scores and actively conduct concerts around America, rejecting modern compositional tools as he writes music with pencil and paper at his piano. He managed to conduct portions of The Last Jedi himself but handed some of those duties to trusted collaborator William Ross. In retrospect, The Force Awakens retains its reputation as a superbly crafted masterpiece, its new themes and trademark Williams complexity featuring prominently in the film's success. Muddier is the music's presence in The Last Jedi, the lack of romantically flowing new thematic material, haphazard pacing, and occasions when the music simply drops out (or, worse yet, is artificially dialed out using the worst of modern, cheap shock techniques) all conspiring against Williams. As usual since the prequel scores, his recordings are micro-edited to death for the final film, especially in battle sequences. In fact, matching the music on album to that heard on screen is often impossible given the plethora of such rearrangements and the occasionally extensive editing of short passages together to form longer album suites. This review will analyze the score as heard on the commercial album and Disney's downloadable "For Your Consideration" (FYC) album that contains a few additional cues and different, film-edit presentations of the major battle sequences and end titles. Understandably, a handful of cues remain unavailable entirely, though some precisely pin-dropped repetition of material in the final movie may have been employed. A lengthy discussion regarding the merits of micro-editing a score specifically for album purposes awaits, because there are certainly times when the original recording's pacing, while not aimed at a fluid album experience, is actually more interesting to hear. This review won't dive deeply into that debate, but a comparison of the commercial album and FYC alternatives of the same cues reveals how silly and unnecessary these edits can be.

The most likely cause of Williams' potentially unmemorable approach to The Last Jedi for some listeners is the film's lack of overly compelling new storylines or characters. There was an opportunity for Luke Skywalker himself to receive a redemption theme built from his suffering in exile and maturing for his return to glory at the end of this film, and although Williams offers the character a theme for his exile and an outstanding motif for his return, the overall transformation of the character throughout the movie fails to yield a consistent musical connection. The plight of the dwindling resistance against the evil First Order could have used a prominent, thematic cry of desperation during its foolishly elongated plotline, but Williams once again underplays his hand here, only mingling the freedom fighters' existing melody with a few new ideas that never congeal enough to form a lasting new theme. The most significant new character of the franchise is the rebel Rose Tico, who does receive a solid musical identity from Williams but not one strong enough to carry the entirety of the score. As such, The Last Jedi fails to meet the standard set by Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, which offered three extremely potent new melodies for its plot. One can blame Johnson for the circumstances in which Williams found himself, because the composer did try his best at reinforcing existing themes while exploring new ones in the minimal chances offered by the script. Thus, The Last Jedi is a score of absolute technical mastery that conveys a wealth of lesser new themes, some of which truly outstanding, but doesn't raise the bar for the franchise as a whole. If anything, it plays like a placeholder soundtrack in the larger tapestry. Fortunately, Williams in placeholder mode is better than anything else in this era of film music, so there's still plenty to love about the soundtrack for The Last Jedi. Just don't expect it to overwhelm the masses like The Force Awakens. Rather, the key to appreciating The Last Jedi is similar to how you must approach Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith; become lost in the magnificence of individual moments of incredible writing that occasionally outshine the sound effects in the film and worry less about the circumstances of failure pushed upon it by the horrid script. This score may have missed some opportunities to musically tie characters and plotlines together as obviously as necessary, but the connective tissue that does exist, along with many individual highlights, will more than impress.

The two new major themes Williams applies to The Last Jedi exist for Rose and Luke's exile. They are conveyed in a concert arrangement in "The Rebellion is Reborn" (a poignant line Skywalker uses to taunt Kylo Ren), the two melodies extensively mingling in that recording. Rose's redemptive, pleasant theme is a pretty idea that lends itself to fanciful performances in "Fun With Finn and Rose" before being applied in more singular moments of heroic action later in the work. Its interlude at 1:27 into "The Fathiers" is lovely, and the theme recurs at 1:23 in "The Battle of Crait" and elsewhere. Williams offers the Rose theme initial placement during the end credits suite as well. The other theme of "The Rebellion is Reborn" is actually a pair of related phrases meant to accompany Luke's oddly efficient lifestyle on a remote island. Both of the two halves of the theme, one a more urgent variation of the other, utilize the same rhythmic pacing and descending melodic lines that end on key, denoting the finality of Luke's situation. The more forceful of the two halves, expressed most notably at 3:07 into "The Rebellion is Reborn," exhibits characteristics not dissimilar to the new material for the fleeing resistance in the movie, perhaps utilizing the same thumping bass string and brass tones as means of expressing shared dread about the whole situation. The Luke exile theme is heard exclusively in the film during the scenes on the island, condensed on album to mostly the latter halves of "Ahch-To Island" and "Old Friends." (Note the landscape shot scored with an exhilarating rendition of this theme at 3:33 into the first cue). The general pacing and chords of that theme are mutilated by classic, roiling Williams suspense late in "Lesson One" as Luke panics. Interestingly, the composer chose to abandon this theme in the second half of the score, replacing it with either expressions of the Force theme or a singular idea for Luke's return. Williams still offers the theme its due time after Rose's theme in the end titles arrangement, where it explicitly leads directly into the theme for the resistance. Three minor new identities are developed in repeated applications by Williams for The Last Jedi, all three relating to the ridiculous space pursuit involving a small band of fuel-deprived rebel ships and the fleet of star destroyers and dreadnaughts that, for some inexplicable reason, can't find a way to catch up to them at sub-light speeds. For the villains' most massive weaponry, a new motif is paired off against the resistance at 1:31 into the FYC version of "Escape" and at about 4:46/4:49 (album/FYC) into "The Battle of Crait," and these statements are always both followed by the new resistance material.

Ratings Icon
Average: 4.08 Stars
***** 352 5 Stars
**** 194 4 Stars
*** 103 3 Stars
** 62 2 Stars
* 22 1 Stars
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Read All Start New Thread Search Comments
Does all of Australia have something against this review?   Expand >>
Noah - January 8, 2018, at 9:52 p.m.
3 comments  (2591 views)
Newest: June 10, 2018, at 7:19 a.m. by
Intestinal Worm
Microedits and album producer
CampOla - January 8, 2018, at 9:24 p.m.
1 comment  (1235 views)
Star Wars and the Age of Entitlement   Expand >>
Zephos - January 8, 2018, at 2:35 p.m.
2 comments  (2324 views)
Newest: June 15, 2018, at 4:49 a.m. by
Christian, I'm disappointed in you   Expand >>
Intestinal Worm - January 7, 2018, at 9:13 p.m.
13 comments  (5118 views)
Newest: February 11, 2018, at 7:23 a.m. by
Kind of Expected a Break Down on the Score like ROTS
Rob - January 7, 2018, at 5:57 p.m.
1 comment  (1315 views)
Alternative review at Movie Wave
Southall - January 7, 2018, at 3:01 p.m.
1 comment  (1535 views)

Track Listings Icon
Regular Commercial Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 77:49
• 1. Main Title and Escape (7:26)
• 2. Ahch-To Island (4:23)
• 3. Revisiting Snoke (3:29)
• 4. The Supremacy (4:01)
• 5. Fun with Finn and Rose (2:35)
• 6. Old Friends (4:29)
• 7. The Rebellion is Reborn (4:00)
• 8. Lesson One (2:10)
• 9. Canto Bight (2:38)
• 10. Who Are You? (3:05)
• 11. The Fathiers (2:43)
• 12. The Cave (3:00)
• 13. The Sacred Jedi Texts (3:33)
• 14. A New Alliance (3:14)
• 15. "Chrome Dome" (2:03)
• 16. The Battle of Crait (6:49)
• 17. The Spark (3:36)
• 18. The Last Jedi (3:04)
• 19. Peace and Purpose (3:08)
• 20. Finale (8:29)
Disney Awards Promo Tracks   ▼Total Time: 66:14

Notes Icon
The slipcase packaging of the commercial albums contains a list of performers and extensive photography but no extra information about the score or film. The Target-exclusive album is identical but adds slightly different art and two trading cards. The Disney promotional album is a digital product with no official packaging.
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or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Star Wars: The Last Jedi are Copyright © 2017, Walt Disney Records (Commercial Album), Walt Disney Studios (Promotional Album) and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 1/4/18 (and not updated significantly since).
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