Discussion in 'Star Wars And Film Music' started by jeykey, Jan 3, 2015.
That's a cute way to put it!
This was the only Star Wars movie that didn't have a memorable theme I could "hum" upon leaving the theatre,
The Prequel Trilogy had "Duel Of The Fates," "Across The Stars", "Battle Of The Heroes"
There is nothing as memorable in TFA. Nothing.
Also, the opening credits don't sound right. In Episodes, 1,2,3,5,6 there is a clear orchestral blast that sounds fantastic. I don't know what it is about TFA but it sounds different, almost synthetic. It doesn't sound as orchestral.
Look for yourself. Return Of the Jedi has the best opening blast
Return Of The Jedi's opening blast is at 7:37, while the Force Awakens is at 9:12.
Switch between them quickly back and forth with your mouse, so you can see the difference. TFA is just not right.
For you, maybe. I find "The March Of the Resistance", "Kylo's theme", and "Rey's theme" to be very "hummable", at least after a few listens (I find instant "hummability" to be a relatively superficial feature of music that fades after the first few listens anyway). Rey's theme in particular bests anything in the prequels for me (especially the vastly overrated "Duel of the Fates").
The music in the prequels was wonderful. Probably better than the original trilogy.
I'm not saying that the music in TFA was bad. Clearly it wasn't. But it's still not as good as the other 6 films and I think the reason is the lack of George Lucas.
Lucas is a visual storyteller. The music, in many ways matches the visuals to the extent that episodes 1-6 can be watched as a silent movie, just with music.
The visuals in TFA are boring, uninspired and clearly show the absence of George Lucas. This has affected the music, which is good, but lacks the inspiration and lacks the strong memorable themes that exist in all the other films.
The OT has far better music than the prequels, which have a lot more filler and less thematic development (especially ROTS, which is a disconnected series of set-pieces more or less).
The differences in pacing between the Abrams and Lucas films do make a difference in the music's prominence but I wouldn't peg that on the "genius" of Lucas. If anything, Williams was compensating in the prequels for dull moments/lack of drama.
I don't think so. Williams has spoken very highly of TFA and Abrams in interviews, even saying that their collaboration reinvigorated him. (It probably helps that Abrams didn't mangle Williams' music in editing nearly as much as Lucas did in the prequels) I think the real reason the music sounds different is that Williams himself has changed his approach in some ways. He no longer writes showstopping stand-alone set-pieces like those of the prequels, favoring more subtle ideas that are extensively developed throughout the score.
Well, call me shallow, but I like the big show stopping stand alone set pieces. They have been a signature of John Williams for decades. I do genuinely appreciate his work in TFA which is subtle, but it's still not as good as the prequels. You also make an assumption that because the prequels have great stand alone set pieces that there is no subtlety - as if Williams can't walk and chew gum at the same time. There is subtlety in all his work. The problem with TFA is the absence of the signature show stopper. It's not true Star wars without a show stopping signature theme.
I mentioned before but I firmly believe that Rey's Theme is the showstopping signature theme of the score. It's one of the most powerful, evocative, and malleable themes Williams has written this century and comfortably resides alongside the greatest Star Wars themes.
There is subtlety in the prequels but not so much in the "epic choir" set-pieces. Battle of Heroes especially just feels like the "epic choir theme of the week". It comes out of nowhere with little-to-no foreshadowing and the melody itself is pretty weak and uninspired by Williams' standards.
I would say Rey's theme AND the March of the Resistance are both classic Star Wars show stopping themes, used to great effectiveness in the film. I completely reject the notion that the score for TFA is somehow inferior to the other six Star Wars scores.
Also I almost laughed out loud at the idea that TFA is missing George Lucas' touch. The man is a terrible director and writer. He hates doing both tasks. What he truly loves is editing. Plus he's amazing at coming up with the universe, the worlds, the underlying mythical story structure. But actually MAKING good directing and writing choices is not in his wheelhouse. TFA had better dialogue than all three prequels combined. It felt more like a Star Wars film than anything since Empire Strikes Back.
I know I am not alone when I say I don't miss George Lucas at all.
Agreed on every count.
I almost wish that George Lucas had been involved with some of the world-building of the film (which the film was lacking in my opinion) though he'd likely want to have his fingers in all of the pies.
The soundtrack itself was amazing. I still think that all the other tracks 1-6 is even more...Ambiguous?
I dunno, 1-6 are used in such a great big thematic way. TFA, I felt did not use the music as visual storytelling than 1-6.
I partly agree. There are only a couple of scenes in TFA where the music is allowed to truly lead the way. Out of all of the 7 scores, TFA is the most like a traditional film score. That being said, I love traditional film scores too and it's not completely out of the question for me to prefer one over the more "Star Warsy" score (hence why I'd still rank it over AOTC and some of ROTS). Plus the mastery John Williams brings to these kinds of scores surpasses virtually everything else written for major Hollywood films nowadays.
Howard Hand - Can I ask how you consider TFA the most like a traditional film score? I'm curious what criteria it meets, as I've never heard such a comparison about any of the scores.
*grabs the mic*
Darth DoJ is in da house .. death star ... death star II ... starkiller base
force choking the phonies and up in yo face
force-tapping a beat by bouncing the hats
of all the storm troops and the beat is so phat
i got a piece of a map but don't wanna be a stalker
it might be crap but maybe it'll lead to skywalker
the force tells me he's on an island surrounded by water
the map is incomplete but follow his possible daughter
while I overthrow darth emo and snoke
send someone out to go after that bloke
why not send the peon with the dead eye
he's disposable but might just take out... the last of the jedi.
the 4/4ce is strong in this one
There's a bit more action underscore and the big thematic pieces are a bit shorter in length in the film.
Ah, that's very true.
I suppose the JW type, epic cinematic scores are my favourite so I have never paid too much attention to the "common" style of film music.
I just came here to say that I'm OBSESSED with the militaristic horn phrase in the track "Han and Leia" that starts at 1:11. It's orchestrated so similarly to that part of the Jurassic Park score when they first drive up to the visitors' center. Anyone feel me? So perfect.
I will admit that I was a bit underwhelmed by the soundtrack for The Force Awakens, at first. However, after repeated viewings, it's really starting to grow on me.
I will also add that I loved Rey's Theme from the first time I heard it, and I think it deserves a spot alongside the top tracks in the entire saga. It's as iconic as The Imperial March to me.
Its no diffferent to picking up an album by your favourite band. It always gets compared back to the classic stuff thats been around your head for years.
The OT soundtracks have had between 39-33 years to become engrained in our minds. The PT soundtracks have had 17-11 years to settle in and TFA just a few months. Personally I think some people are making snap judgements on the quality of the music based on hardly any listens in relation to all the other soundtracks.
The first TFA track I listened to was Rey's Theme. My first impression was "That's it? How dull." I've listened to it almost every day for the past few months.
Watching the OT as a child at the cinema I can't remember coming out of them and much of the soundtracks being memorable to me, the exceptions were the main theme, the imperial march and the cantina music. There was so much to take in that it wasn't until I had the vinyl soundtracks and then later the videos that I could take it all in and that's soaked in for the last 30+ years.
Equally I came out of each of the PT films thinking that there wasnt much memorable in their soundtracks either. Nothing that grabbed me like some of the music from the originals. But it kind of dawned on me that I had seen the originals tens if not hundreds of times and listened to the soundtracks on their own on vinyl and then cd. But over time and more viewings of the films and listening to their scores I realised there's a lot of great stuff in the PT too.
The same applies to TFA, which is why I'm not going to pronounce on just 2 cinema viewings and a handful of listens to the soundtrack cd that it's not as good as the others or is the worst of them all.
So bear no offence when I take the criticism in threads of TFA soundtrack in comparison to the others with a pinch of 'modern day snap judgement love it or hate it immediately" pinch of salt. It'll take time.
The TFA soundtrack really does take time to get used to.
I don't honestly remember my first reactions to the soundtracks to the first 6 movies.
The President's Own USMC Band:
Absolutely this. TFA's soundtrack has clicked with me, and that connection will only strengthen with the passing of time.
I watched the film on Blu Ray last night, my first home viewing since seeing it at the cinema. I picked up on so much more in the music. To me that's the sign of good music when there's always something new to discover and notice.