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Rey's Theme – John Williams' Best Theme Yet?

Rey's Theme – John Williams' Best Theme Yet?   

85 members have voted

  1. 1. Rey's Theme ? John Williams' Best Theme Yet?

    • YES! Sweeping, malleable, chameleon, fresh, beautiful, and perfect!
      26
    • NO! It's terrible!
      4
    • Maybe, it's too early to tell, but it keeps growing on me!
      37
    • I'm a Communist and believe all themes are equal, though Rey's Theme is more equal than other themes.
      13
    • I don't have any opinion yet
      4


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Some interesting comments by the editor of TFA:

 

"On Rey:

 

At one point Rey’s introduction was not entirely without words as in the final movie. They wanted to underline her loneliness, and after listening to John Williams’ theme on Rey, they decided to make the introduction with no words at all."

 

http://www.starwarsnewsnet.com/2016/05/editor-maryann-brandon-on-reys-parents-the-original-opening-of-the-force-awakens-how-powerful-is-obi-wan-and-more.html

 

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Not sure what they would have argued about...that moment is flippin' awesome! Even though I predicted the impending punchline the moment I heard a reference to an offscreen ship being "garbage", I still got (and continue to get) a huge kick out of that reveal and the use of the fanfare.

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I hadn't heard any of the score on my first viewing and found the whole experience a bit distracting (torn between deciphering the score and enjoying the film itself).

 

Upon my second viewing of the film I was very familiar with the score, and it blew me away how note-perfect it is for every single scene. Truly one of JW's finest efforts in recent memory, it fits the images on-screen like a glove. You can absolutely tell that he was able to re-write scenes as the edit changed, making for a stark contrast with the butchery of the prequels.

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Yes, but at the same time, there's a lot of tracking and editing. So some of it was a case of editors picking music that really fit, not necessarily Williams writing music that really fit (although I'm sure his original intentions were fantastic too).

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4 minutes ago, loert said:

There was so much editing and tracking done for the Falcon chase sequence that the music stopped being music.

 

 

THANK YOU, LOERT! That comment sums up all that is bad about "TFA". The score feels like two hours' worth of 30 seconds of great music, tagged on to 30 seconds of great music, but with no continuity. Compare the Falcon chase sequence, with "The Asteriod Field". Actually, don't, because you can't.

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7 hours ago, Datameister said:

Yes, but at the same time, there's a lot of tracking and editing. So some of it was a case of editors picking music that really fit, not necessarily Williams writing music that really fit (although I'm sure his original intentions were fantastic too).

 

I'm a bit surprised by this because I saw the film again recently and, aside from a couple of obvious moments, the score seems always pretty much intact overall. Surely I'm not uber-familiar with every single cue, but when compared to the OST album the music seems to have survived editors' usual post-production craziness. So, care to elaborate which are the most blatant examples of tracking aside from "Rey Meets BB-8" and the Falcon chase sequence?

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11 minutes ago, Richard said:

 

 

THANK YOU, LOERT! That comment sums up all that is bad about "TFA". The score feels like two hours' worth of 30 seconds of great music, tagged on to 30 seconds of great music, but with no continuity. Compare the Falcon chase sequence, with "The Asteriod Field". Actually, don't, because you can't.

 

I disagree. "The Asteroid Field" is a fun piece that fit the tone and that era of film-making very well. "The Falcon" as presented on the FYC and in the film is almost unlistenable save for the few moments of expanded material. It's like someone took a scalpel and started cutting willy-nilly. However all that being said, "The Falcon" serves its purpose for TFA. 

 

The TFA score at large has a great deal of lovely music that only gets better with age. 

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41 minutes ago, TownerFan said:

 

I'm a bit surprised by this because I saw the film again recently and, aside from a couple of obvious moments, the score seems always pretty much intact overall. Surely I'm not uber-familiar with every single cue, but when compared to the OST album the music seems to have survived editors' usual post-production craziness. So, care to elaborate which are the most blatant examples of tracking aside from "Rey Meets BB-8" and the Falcon chase sequence?

 

"Burning Homestead" too of course.

 

I definitely noticed a lot of editing when I watched it on Bluray. Scherzo for X-Wings is probably the biggest one which I think does really take away from the music. Plus nitpicky stuff like the musical transition (or should I say non-transition) from Rey/BB-8 walking off into the sunset to the establishing shot of the Star Destroyer is pretty jarring. The great little two-phrase fanfare from "Farewell and the Trip" as Rey and Chewie take off in the Falcon is cut down by half which is a little disappointing to me. Not an edit, but the big trumpet blast in "I Can Fly Anything" as their TIE Fighter is finally taken down kinda loses its punch because it's quickly faded out in the mix

 

Oh, there's a noticeable one in "Torn Apart" as well, basically snipping out that big climactic statement of the Force theme (which creates a weird musical emphasis on the shot of that Resistance extra giving a side-eye glance.) Han's death is cut down a little musically from the OST as well, though that's not quite as bad, just loses some of that buildup. 

 

I think these little things do accumulate, though, and perhaps did contribute to the vague impression that we saw from some people that the score sounded "weak".

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2 hours ago, TownerFan said:

 

I'm a bit surprised by this because I saw the film again recently and, aside from a couple of obvious moments, the score seems always pretty much intact overall. Surely I'm not uber-familiar with every single cue, but when compared to the OST album the music seems to have survived editors' usual post-production craziness. So, care to elaborate which are the most blatant examples of tracking aside from "Rey Meets BB-8" and the Falcon chase sequence?

 

In addition the examples already given, I'd cite the music heard in the following scenes:

 

* the flourish that transitions into the militaristic music as the transports appear over Jakku

* Ren halting the laser and meeting Poe

* Finn taking his helmet off

* Hux's introduction

* Unkar offering to buy BB-8

* Han and Chewie walking around the Falcon after "we're home"

* the entire rathtar sequence

* the transition to Ren taking to Vader

* much of Rey's vision

* "The Resistance" contains some editing

* part of Rey's interrogation scene

* the end of Snoke's second scene

* some of the scenes with the troops searching for Rey on the base

* after the Falcon crash-lands on the base

* all the scherzo stuff is hacked to pieces

* Snoke's final scene

 

I don't know if I'd can these "blatant" - they all fit their respective scenes, and you'd only catch them through multiple meticulous listens - but they're there, and they're numerous. Not to mention all the music that was either cut (e.g. Hux's speech) or replaced by inserts.

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Not sure. The music is effective in that scene - but chunks of it were clearly taken from other cues. The other chunks may have been written for that scene, or they may have been written for other scenes and then not used in those.

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17 hours ago, Jay said:

It really felt like John Williams wrote his score to a perfectly fine cut of the film, but as post-production went on and on, JJ Abrams kept trimming this shot and trimming this scene and tightening this up and removing this scene - probably under a lot of pressure from Disney execs to make the film as zippy as possible - so with all that editing, the music suffered a lot.  The music editor(s) did the best they could to preserve Williams' intentions I think, but there's only so much you can do when the scenes have changed so much from what Williams originally wrote to.  Luckily the budget for the scoring process was so large that Williams was able to write and and get recorded a lot of inserts and revisions, but even those can only go so far when there's so much post-production tinkering.

 

I think the OST showcases a lot of Williams' original intentions, but even it has its share of internal edits and some spots where we are definitely getting a revision and not his true original idea for sequences.

 

A recording session leak for this score would probably be about the most important and interesting leak in his canon so far, I think.

 

This is exactly how I see the situation, too. 

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Didn't Williams score the film one or two reels at a time, out of order, due to JJ's unusual editing process?

 

Easy to see how, once reels started being assembled alongside one another, they started re-working the lengths of shots.

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I'm curious if the majority of alternates are just the same cues with minor extensions or contractions of notes, or if the film underwent radical tonal changes throughout post, requiring different musical approaches from Williams once the reels were assembled in order (and Williams gained a clearer understanding of each reel's place in the bigger picture)?

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1 hour ago, crumbs said:

I'm curious if the majority of alternates are just the same cues with minor extensions or contractions of notes, or if the film underwent radical tonal changes throughout post, requiring different musical approaches from Williams once the reels were assembled in order (and Williams gained a clearer understanding of each reel's place in the bigger picture)?

 

There are definitely cases of both. The Blu-ray features contain snippets of alternate cues, some of which just sound like "rough drafts" of the final versions. Others are radically different takes on the same scenes. What's unclear is how much of the material we haven't heard falls into the first category and how much falls into the second.

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1 hour ago, SafeUnderHill said:

Have there been any comments from official sources on the tracking of Burning Homestead (I think it's confirmed to be tracking)?

 

It's clearly tracked from the ANH recording.  Why would you think otherwise?

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Fan edits combining the ANH recording with the OST track have been available all over youtube since a few days after the film was in theaters

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Oh I getcha.  I seem to remember reading something where JJ did talk about leaving the temp score in, but I cannot recall exactly.

 

It's clearly and 100% the ANH recording, anyone who was originally unsure was incorrect.  The music Williams intended to be heard there is on the OST.

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Yeah, the Force theme statement Williams wrote is nice, but it doesn't really express how pivotal the moment is for Rey. The transition from the tracked music back to the fantastic music for the duel is awkward thanks to the differing key signatures, but otherwise, I really like the use of the passage from ANH. It serves the film better.

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Yeah, I agree that the "Ways of the Force" version plays as more of an action beat and lacks the haunted emotional quality that "Burning Homestead" brings to the moment. I'm sure he could have written something very powerful but whatever the reasons his dramatic instincts didn't serve him there as well as they usually do.

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Gotta be context. It was one of the last reels he scored, so he probably approached the scene as Rey in badass Force sensitive mode rather than haunting Force mode as she discovers her power.

 

At least that's my interpretation of his writing there. I like the change to Burning Homestead given the context of the moment.

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11 hours ago, Jay said:

Fan edits combining the ANH recording with the OST track have been available all over youtube since a few days after the film was in theaters

 

I've heard a couple and none were satisfactory. Any recommendations? 

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7 hours ago, Lonnegan said:

I know people here find it jarring, but during the sounds of the movie itself I find it perfectly 'seamless'. 

 

Sound effects can cover a multitude of sins. But as Steef said, getting it to sound natural on its own is probably not possible.

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Since they are in different keys, there will never be a satisfactory edit when you listen to it without the sound effects of the film on top.

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Yeah they disguise the film edit with the "whoosh" of the lightsaber and some foley with Rey's hand. It works in the film proper but I've got no interest in having the film edit over Williams' intended cue in a purely musical listening experience sense.

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8 minutes ago, crumbs said:

Yeah they disguise the film edit with the "whoosh" of the lightsaber and some foley with Rey's hand. It works in the film proper but I've got no interest in having the film edit over Williams' intended cue in a purely musical listening experience sense.

 

Exactly this.

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