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Chen G.

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  1. I don't mean "out-of-place" in that its not funny, although one's mileage may vary. I mean out-of-place in that its unlike the rest of the series, which is why some found it odd. In a film series, you do come to expect some degree of a unified style.
  2. Interestingly, a lot of the reviews seem to praise the humour, which was one of the distinct (and out-of-place) traits of The Last Jedi.
  3. The Gondor Reborn one - no. The Nazgul one - also no, because as people seem to forget the use of the theme is entirely consistent with its use in The Lord of the Rings.
  4. The fact of the matter is that the use of the Ringwraith theme here is entirely consistent with its use in The Lord of the Rings. Having said that, I do agree that The Gondor Reborn one, though... Yeah, that doesn't make one lick of thematic sense. I mean, you could say that it has to do with what Gandalf says about how "Rivendell, Lorien, The Shire - even Gondor itself will fall" should the Quest of Erebor fail. But we all know that - musically - its a stretch if ever there was one. But, in my book, every composer should get the chance to occasionaly use his themes a bit more freely for sheer impact. Wagner did it; Williams does it. Surely, Shore could be excused for doing it once or twice, especially given the volume of his work on the series.
  5. Which doesn't make it ineffective. Plus, they did go through the trouble of writing a new variation of the theme, and set it to new lyrics. If it was just a last-minute decision because the Ringwraith/Servants of Mordor music sounded cooler, they would have tracked or lifted it from somewhere and called it a day. I'm sure that was the rationale, but it doesn't work with the sequence as we have it. The cutaways to closeups of Azog grinning and to Balin, Gandalf and Bilbo looking concerned - all conspire to make us the audience know that this charge is doomed from the moment it begins. True, it ruins any chance of misdirection and surprise. But it creates great suspense instead, because - as Hitchcock put it - we now know something that the main character does not. The power of the composition and of the sequence lies in the inevitability of its outcome. The music choice as it exists in the film, hightens this. I've seen the footage lined up with the original composition, and it just never clicked for me. Maybe in an alternate cut of the film.
  6. Only one of my very favourite directors. Even as an Israeli Jew, I couldn’t be bothered to let his antisemitism hinder my enjoyment of his art anymore than I do Wagner’s. I mean, talk about ambition in filmmaking! To, in your second directorial outing, tackle an epic (a genre deceased for three decades at the time), shot on treacherous locations and with unrelenting violence, and present it as a summer blockbuster. And to then have that film - and the films that followed - be a work of such passion and conviction. A friend of mine once said that he found the finale of The Dark Knight un-suspenseful because: “at no point did I think Christopher Nolan was going to end a summer blockbuster with a seven year-old getting shot through the head.” The same could not be said of Braveheart, or any other of Gibson’s films, really.
  7. Can’t blame them for not going with Shore’s original composition: I’m a sucker for the Dwarvish music in these films, but in this case the triumphant sound of the piece is totally at odds with the desperation and folly of Thorin’s assault. And while I do think that An Unexpected Journey uses nostalgia as a crutch way too often - particularly through the music - it’s really not that big an issue. A lot of the choices I find do work better than what’s on the album - for instance, the hymn variant (on tin whistle, no less) of the Shire theme for the final Rivendell scene, and especially the use of A Hobbit’s Understanding for Bilbo’s sparing of Gollum. It’s so much better than what’s on the album.
  8. In early writings, they were different. Within the context of The Hobbit, Goblins are Orcs. The Goblins of the films are clearly related to the Orcs. I like it: adds variety. I never particularly minded the choice. It gave me a moment’s “huh?” when I first saw it, but I then instantly recalled that this theme was used for the Mordor Orc Armies, for Sauron himself, and was intended to be used for Frodo’s vision of Barad Dur itself. This wider application of the Ringwraith theme (and its development, the Power of Mordor) is also consistent in earlier versions of the score. I mean, look at its use in the Rarities’ iteration of the prologue. I doubt the Ringwraiths ever made an appearance there; and yet “their” theme is clearly present. Also, keep in mind that in the two-film version, this scene was very quickly followed by the full revelation of Azog’s backstory (which was - in that cut - postponed to Beorn’s house), closely followed by the reveal of his allegiance with Sauron. The theme prefigures this. Even within the three-film version, it’s a pertinent hint of a reveal that happens soon thereafter, if you watch the films back to back. It’s made all the more appropriate given the construction of Azog’s own material. Weren’t there hints of Ringwraith material around the Orcs and Goblins in the film? I think that it works dramatically much better than what’s on the album: by highlighting Azog’s supremacy (in much the same way that the closeups of him grinning or Balin looking concerned) the theme brings forward Thorin’s folly. The original composition’s much too triumphant for that.
  9. Yeah, in all fairness to Williams, the most important thing is to get the edit of the film right. If it causes some other post-production departments - including music - to work overtime or make compromises, so be it. Editing down to the release date wasn't entirely unheard of during the film-cutting days: Sir David Lean did it on virtually all his epics.
  10. Sounds about right. Although - like so many things - scale is a matter of taste: some people just love it when things are writ large. Others are oblivious to it.
  11. I don't think there was ever such a distinct change in sound between two Star Wars scores within the same trilogy. With The Force Awakens, I forgot there was music in the film until the very end. With The Last Jedi, the music was a presence from the very first minute, and really throughout the picture. Delightful.
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