His action writing is definitely his Achilles heal. But the LotR action stuff is still head and shoulders above 90% of what's been written for movies in the last fifteen years.
But when you think the action writing of this score in relation to his previous scores in his career it is simply staggeringly good and unexpected. Actually these scores are the highest point of his career in every respect really. They have besides intellectual depth also strong emotional resonance as well.
What I admire in these scores is the constant flow of material, the thematic ideas building from one another and how they play interlaced and in conjunction, even the apparently repetetive rhythms of the action pieces carrying thematic significance. And it doesn't feel cluttered at all to me, just well and intricately constructed.
I do admit that some elements like long drawn out chords for either drama or tension do grate a bit in their uneventfulness but those are luckily in my opinion far and wide apart.
I was really skeptical about Shore's involvement with these films at first but the scores won me over little by little until I was completely convinced of their greatness. I if anyone was highly critical and had certain expectations for the music of my favourite novel but Shore succeeded to my eternal amazement beyond those. I am really happy about this since the music stands high in the junction of my three passions, music, film and literature, combining elements from all into a compelling whole.
Ars superior est vita hominum.
"We pop out and come into the world and music is there. We didn't invent it - it's all organised in the atmosphere by divinity or whatever. It's a miracle." - John Williams-
I think music is a stream of some kind. It could be blood. It could be water. It could be ether. Whatever it is it seems to be a living, organic force that’s in motion, that serves humanity and is part of humanity and part of what describes us as humans. We sing, play, dance, all the things that we do. And there is a vibrant and great literature we have been given. ... As musicians, we join the stream. We swim in the stream with all the other millions of music makers. It’s a life force, a strong one, surrounding us and we are part of it. -John Williams-