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THE LAST JEDI - OST Album MUSIC Discussion (No Movie Spoilers)

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Review from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

 

Quote

 

John Williams' new 'Star Wars' soundtrack fails to excite

Jeremy Reynolds
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

Normally, a film score doesn’t get a review. But this is “Star Wars.” ‘Nuff said.

 

The music in “The Last Jedi” isn’t great.

 

Please put down the pitchforks.

 

Let’s cut through the “John Williams is a legend” spiel (he’s a wizard, the grand poobah of film music) and the “Star Wars music rules” bit (it does, no matter how much you might prefer the less mainstream scores of Korngold, Herrmann or Morricone) and let’s get into the latest episode’s soundtrack.

 

Composed and conducted by Mr. Williams, the new score does a perfectly adequate job heightening the emotion of the film, dramatizing and emphasizing character connections and those other things a good film score should do. Blah blah.

 

But compared to the other installments of this 40-year-old space opera — make no mistake, “Star Wars” is the very best sort of space opera — this score lacks freshness. It lacks chutzpah.

 

Each prior film introduced at least one remarkable, unique theme.

 

Princess Leia’s melody in “A New Hope.” “The Imperial March” in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Luke and Leia’s motif in “Return of the Jedi. “Duel of the Fates” in Phantom Menace.” “Across the Stars” in “Attack of the Clones.” “Battle of the Heroes” in “Revenge of the Sith.” Rey’s music in “The Force Awakens.”

 

“The Last Jedi” introduces a new theme for Rose, the franchise’s only significant new character. (No, the Porgs don’t count.) It’s fine, but nothing legendary. There’s new tropically flavored cantina music. There’s new chase music for the escape of the maltreated race beasts.

 

Otherwise, the music is an uninspired rehash of the previous seven films.

 

When we hear Leia’s name we hear Leia’s theme. When the force comes into play we hear the force motif. When the Resistance does something resistant we get that natty march from “Force Awakens,” etc., ad nauseum.

 

Where was the epic new tune to hum on the way out of the theater? The creativity in the “Force Awakens” score helped the movie feel a bit less like a remake of “A New Hope.” Mr. Williams clearly still has the capability to create, but he didn’t deliver in “The Last Jedi.”

 

Further listening may prove otherwise. But after the crucial material he’s given fans in the past, the lack of creativity is disappointing.

 

Jeremy Reynolds: jreynolds@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1634; twitter: @Reynolds_PG. Mr. Reynolds' work is supported by a grant from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Getty Foundation, and the Rubin Institute.

 

 

http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/music/2017/12/13/Star-Wars-new-last-jedi-john-williams-soundtrack-music-film-score-review/stories/201712120107

 

 

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Listening to the score now, just to acquaint myself with the themes etc. So far so good, Rose's theme sounds like something I would expect to hear in BFG, but it's a memorable theme and some of the action music in the Crait track reminds me of the Quidditch material from Chamber of Secrets.

 

Overall I think this score is everything I was expecting, and a little bit more; Williams has done well to build from TFA as it shares the same sound and textures. Hopefully it'll all make sense in context when I see the film this weekend.

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Does anybody have time today to compare the waveforms of both the Main Title AND the End Credits opening to see if one or both are just tracked in from TFA's recording?

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8 minutes ago, Jay said:

Does anybody have time today to compare the waveforms of both the Main Title AND the End Credits opening to see if one or both are just tracked in from TFA's recording?

 

I put the two OST version main titles on top of each other as perfectly as I could. Listening all the way through, I didn't notice a single discrepancy, possibly some slightly different mastering. But I don't think the TFA OST version is the one in the movie, and I definitely didn't think even before this that the TLJ  OST version was the one in the film.

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5 minutes ago, Demodex said:

Does it matter?  Just enjoy them!

 

What a strange response.  I clearly enjoy the album very much.

 

 

 

1 minute ago, Holko said:

I put the two OST version main titles on top of each other as perfectly as I could. Listening all the way through, I didn't notice a single discrepancy, possibly some slightly different mastering. 

 

That sounds like you're only talking about the main title, right?

What about the end credits opening?

 

1 minute ago, Jay said:

But I don't think the TFA OST version is the one in the movie, and I definitely didn't think even before this that the TLJ  OST version was the one in the film.

 

 

This i the first time I've heard anyone say the Main Title on the TFA CD isn't the same as in the actual film.

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Also:  Its quite odd that Rian Johnson chose to specifically tweet out that he had the main title re-recorded, and then we get the TFA recording on the CD album.  I wonder if someone made a mistake.

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The two End Titles are in a different tempo, and I don't really feel like fidgeting with the speed to see if the TLJ is just the TFA slowed down - surely they wouldn't do that?

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8 minutes ago, Jay said:

What about the end credits opening?

 

They are in a different tempo, and I don't feel like fidgeting with the speeds to match them and find out if TLJ is just the slowed down TFA recording - surely they wouldn't do something like that?

 

I'll now look into the TFA movie-OST main title difference. If they're indeed different recordings, could the inclusion of the TFA OST titles on this OST be intentional? Using the same recording which is in none of the movies to give the OSTs an identity like the Prequels?

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I must say, as a Portuguese speaker, it was really fun hearing a small quote from Aquarela do Brasil in the Canto Bight track. It's extremely well known piece of music around here, a cultural stapple

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3 minutes ago, TheUlyssesian said:

 

I think you should have used Blade Runner, Dukirk and Batman V Superman as your examples.

 

Avengers has an immensely popular and recognizable theme. And Justice League is a Elfman score where he was atleast trying to be melodic (albeit with mixed results).

 

AVENGERS has one seven-note lick that is recognizable. And it's never developed or used creatively in the score(s), just repeated over and over again verbatim. If Williams had done the AVENGERS series of films, not only would the overall team have a theme, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Widow, etc., would all have their own intricate themes which would intertwine and subtlely play off one another.

 

As for JUSTICE LEAGUE, it's notable that the only recognizable themes in that score were cribbed from previous movies/scores-- Batman and Superman-- one of which is Williams's. I take that back, Wonder Woman does have a strange battle cry-like theme, but much like the AVENGERS theme, it's only about five seconds long and it only gets re-stated over and over again. Nothing is ever actually done with it musically.

 

But your point is taken. There are plenty of other examples to choose from to make the point that Williams is really the only one out there these days composing real film scores as opposed to musical special effects.

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5 minutes ago, Holko said:

The two End Titles are in a different tempo, and I don't really feel like fidgeting with the speed to see if the TLJ is just the TFA slowed down - surely they wouldn't do that?

 

You're right, the end credits must be a new recording.  Thanks!

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Aquarela do Brasil is definitely known around the world!  I pointed out back on page 1 or 2 when I first describe the Canto Bight track that I recognized it (I just didn't know the name).

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Looks like I was wrong, the TFA OST main titles IS the one used in the movie, just with important mastering diferences which threw me off - for years now. The movie wersion has the cymbal and other percussional strikes under the first note mixed louder, therefore giving it more umph.

 

But this take is different:

 

 

The percussion strike is much more powerful than in the movie mix of the final take, and the first note isn't held as long.

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6 minutes ago, Jay said:

Aquarela do Brasil is definitely known around the world!  I pointed out back on page 1 or 2 when I first describe the Canto Bight track that I recognized it (I just didn't know the name).

 

Yeah but it's much more than a theme "that's been used in cartoons and stuff"! ;)

 

3 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

 

Yep, Acuarela do Brasil is the basis of Kamen's masterpiece

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8 minutes ago, BTR1701 said:

 

AVENGERS has one seven-note lick that is recognizable. And it's never developed or used creatively in the score(s), just repeated over and over again verbatim. If Williams had done the AVENGERS series of films, not only would the overall team have a theme, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Widow, etc., would all have their own intricate themes which would intertwine and subtlely play off one another.

 

As for JUSTICE LEAGUE, it's notable that the only recognizable themes in that score were cribbed from previous movies/scores-- Batman and Superman-- one of which is Williams's. I take that back, Wonder Woman does have a strange battle cry-like theme, but much like the AVENGERS theme, it's only about five seconds long and it only gets re-stated over and over again. Nothing is ever actually done with it musically.

 

But your point is taken. There are plenty of other examples to choose from to make the point that Williams is really the only one out there these days composing real film scores as opposed to musical special effects.

 

I understand your point. But just wanted to point that in something of an anomaly, The Avengers theme/hook is very simple-minded but has tremendous audience recognizability. I would say one of the most recognizable themes in recent years from a major franchise. And I think Elfman elevated that theme to almost the level of a classic theme.

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Just listened to the OST (have not seen the movie).  While my preference would be a SW score with a palette of new JW themes, this score offers something else.  Engaging and heart-pounding action, and, more importantly, the chance for the new themes of VII to shine properly.  I never understood why the resistance march was not used in the final act of VII.  This score rectifies that problem and ensconces it as a solid, even "hummable," theme to the average fan.

 

I also think Rose's theme is a very memorable and flexible.  Fun, heroic, but even a bit solemn in some instances.  If this were not a SW score, it could easily be the centerpiece of a new JW score.  I hope it gets a proper concert version.  I also like the new smaller motifs that show up here and there. 

 

All in all, the score is cohesive and exciting.  It is like a final movement of the symphony that draws together the big musical ideas from the previous movements.  Of course, there is one more movement to go in this case...

 

My only grip is the inclusion of Yoda's theme in the end credits.  Develop Rose's theme for another minute instead.  

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2 minutes ago, Rick said:

 

Yeah but it's much more than a theme "that's been used in cartoons and stuff"! ;)

 

 

Yep, Acuarela do Brasil is the basis of Kamen's masterpiece

And Brazil is Johnson's favorite film of all time.

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Just finished. WOW!

 

I feel after hearing the Finale that there's a full concert suite for Princess Leia missing from this album.

 

And certainly there is more "non-rehashed" music in the film that's not presented here, in the format most fans will listen to and enjoy the most. The FYC album should fill in many gaps.

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I must've listened to Canto Bight about 20 times today. The main thing I love about it is how the score is included at the beginning, and that lovely transition between score and source. These kind of transitions are something I usually miss from incomplete presentations. The transition between the two source cues, however, is really irritating. There's no time to switch rythms, by the time one has inished, the other is already a note into it. Can't remember if it's that way in the movie (while watching, I was preoccupied with being excited that I was listening to a new JW source cue for the first time!), don't know if it was recorded that way, but something like this is probably far less jarring to listen to on its own: http://picosong.com/wFGH8/ (Anyone, feel free to remove this link if it's not okay)

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45 minutes ago, Jay said:

Also:  Its quite odd that Rian Johnson chose to specifically tweet out that he had the main title re-recorded, and then we get the TFA recording on the CD album.  I wonder if someone made a mistake.


I can almost go along with it being a mistake actually. The edit from the main titles to the New Hope wind segment and then into the original Last Jedi music is all pretty jarring. Doesn't sound right at all.

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