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About Miz

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  1. Yet by that time he had already scored Endurance, which is an impeccable score and for me has one of the top 5 pieces of his career.
  2. But the plot structure and elements themselves are poorly conceived. If I can come up with something like the above within 2 weeks of seeing their post-it note of a narrative, they could've spent some more time on it. And that empty conclusion, gosh.
  3. So I'm going to be pathetic and reveal the plot ideas that have bounced around my head for weeks, that could have made Rise of Skywalker somewhat better, and actually live up to is name. The gap between the second and third films in each trilogy builds some significance into each trilogy: in the Prequels, they bookend the monumental Clone Wars; in the Originals, the capture and rescue of Han, and the reveal of Luke's self-styled Jedi level-up. The gap between Ep 8 and 9 is useless, only blandly revealing that the Emperor's back and everybody already knows except us, until now. Bad storytelling. Hide the Emperor. Kylo Ren is chasing the Rebels across the galaxy, fighting alongside his Knights of Ren so as to build a relationship with them that pays off with his betrayal later. Despite his victories, a Snokey/Palpatine voice is goading him to be as badass as Vader, which he's not, so he's getting stressed and losing his shit as a result. He researches the Sith further (on Dathomir, of course, EU fans) to try to find his place in that lineage, and he knows that Sith apprentices ascend by killing their masters, but even though he killed Snoke he doesn't feel like the boss yet. He also wrestles with the fact that badass Darth Vader did turn to the light side. Then he finds Palpatine, and doesn't feel up to the task of ending him...all the more reason to track down Rey, which the Emperor tasks him with. Along the way he is being dragged to the light... Leia forgives him the murder of his father and Luke admits to letting him down - "it wasn't your fault, but what happens now is your responsiblity": key insights into the Light side for Ben Solo. Rey is not a Palpatine. As we learn in The Last Jedi, anyone could be with the Force, and she must find her own way. She trains with Leia but Leia is using her efforts to contact Ben - it's one way of bringing down the First Order from within, and the Rebels have little else. They attempt to drum up support from resistance sympathisers, but find people too intimidated. Rose, Maz and Dominic Monaghan help with this. Finn and Poe bicker, but amidst the stress of their slim odds, find a way towards solidarity. Finn, Poe and Rey follow a daring lead to Kamino, where the once-proud arch-cloners are enslaved to the First Order; they reveal their technology has been used to resurrect Palpatine and build more armies, and the Kaminoans prepare to overthrow their masters secretly, then help the heroes escape. Their next lead takes them to Geonosis. They discover a new droid army that is arming a new fleet - we build towards the threat of the finale. Better to wrap up the galaxy and revisit celebrated locations with new eyes, rather than throw in endless new planets that have no character. As Kylo Ren tracks them down, yes, Rey does actually kill Chewie. This sends her towards the dark side; she can't control her power, nobody is here to train her, her Jedi master was essentially a coward. And the familiar temptation: the dark side has more powers. A new lead sends them to the Old Death Star as we have as seen (resistance fighters help, but you can cut the horses). Before their duel, Kylo Ren senses that Rey has been beckoned by Palpatine too. Rey bests Kylo Ren in a duel, during which she destroys his helmet, they accidentally swap lightsabres and she kills (then heals) him when he is distracted by Leia. She flees further into the dark side. Ben Solo is shamed, no ship, no helmet, no lightsabre, and he starts to see he has no place as the most badass Sith. Then ghost-dad forgives him too. Conflicted Rey heads for Palpatine's lair, Ben Solo gives chase, anguished now more than angry. The Resistance sends out its call for the end-game battle. They can't be sure Rey is able to destroy Palpatine, but they know they have to wipe out his clone facility and the sprawling new droid-operated fleet. That requires a team of commando engineers and fighters (enter Rose, Maz, Finn and others) to sneak into the command centre and set the destroyers against one another (no ragtag rebel fleet could actually wipe them out). Threepio's protocol droidery and R2's hacking skills are instrumental, BB8 can't have all the action. They also need to locate the cloning centre so that X-Wings and bombers etc. can destroy it. The battle reaches desperate lows, sacrifices are made, plans change on the hoof and they have to prevent rogue destroyers from reaching orbit. Rey faces Palpatine, and he obviously tries to draw her to the dark side, even goading her to kill him. "Strike me down and I'll become more powerful than you can possibly imagine". She refuses and is bested by him, but Ben Solo arrives, conflicted. His Knights aren't convinced by his allegiance and they fight him, and in destroying his old students of darkness he truly becomes 'light side' (mirroring the reason he turned dark in the first place, the student betrayed by master). Ben comes to Rey's aid. He reveals that Palpatine's Sith ghost needs anchoring to a body, that the cloning facility is destroyed and that they could destroy him together. It takes a sacrifice on Ben's part to do so, and the Sith ancestor ghosts flee as there is now no longer a master OR apprentice. Rey says farewell to a dying Ben. Stormtrooper squads press in on the heroes trapped in the destroyed clone facility, and they are nearly done for. Rose and Finn's relationship is forged in their expectation of death. But with the stormtroopers' leaders, the resurrection tech and the fleet gone, and surrounded by rebel ships, they are fighting to the death. Finn (dressed in stormtrooper guard since sneaking in) addresses them over comms and uses his history as one of their own to persuade them to put down their weapons and go free as individuals. They take off their helmets to greet each other as people, some of them are Jango clones, but must still find their way as people. The rebels take them in. The Empire is not only destroyed, but dissolved. The light side wins by virtue of peace. The rebels celebrate, Chewie is memorialised with his long-awaited medal, and Han, Luke, Leia and Chewie, the 4 heroes of the Yavin Throne Room are finally gone. We find out what might be next for each hero: Poe has gone from smuggler, to hero-pilot, to... Republic general? Finn and Rose help the Republic, with Lando's help, to rebuild the parts of the galaxy destroyed by the wars. Rey does Jedi outreach in all the hard-up places they have visited, including Jakku, and spread the word of that mysterious myth: the Force. She finds one of those kids from The Last Jedi who has force powers. She ends up where she started (not necessarily permanently), but she is changed, and there are no more wars, only patient help towards the needy, and the possibility of an apprentice... the fate of a Jedi of the Light.
  4. Thanks, that increases my appreciation of this score somewhat. I still think it is a bit of a strange and insufficient thematic approach, but cannot be helped in a film that was flailing all over the place with its inherited ideas.
  5. The bittersweet, fall-of-innocence tone of the Rise of Skywalker suite reflects the fall of innocence of Star Wars itself, its heart now lost to the cash-grab motives and mishandling that have characterised Episodes 7 and 9. Discuss!
  6. In what way do these new themes serve the film, or the score in-movie or as a stand-alone listen? Not much, methinks. But it is the film's fault more than the score's...
  7. I get that JW can throw in whatever new themes he likes into appropriate points of the film. For me, the addition of this theme into an otherwise-scattered action cue reflects the larger issues of the score and the film. There's an extra theme here when existing themes aren't used in obvious places they could be, and in the wider film there is a new 'Rise' theme used in plenty of places where existing leitmotif would probably have the greater impact. All in all the score to TROS seems to be an accumulation of existing transposed themes from before, a few new, unnoticable themes that the plot or character development didn't call for (and are not served by), and lots of scattered action music or meandering underscore. This all reflects the film itself: lacking any core identity, solid plot progression or decent character development. It throws in the new without developing it, or giving the required gravitas or development to the old. Personally I think JW was on autopilot for this one. He saw the cut of the film, thought it was a mess, and duly scored it sufficiently from scene-to-scene (because the film feels like a fast sequences of scenes), but could not use his music to lift it above what was written, filmed and edited. That's why we got a couple of concert pieces, and those new themes threaded thinly throughout, with just-enough working of existing themes (most notably Rey's).
  8. Can anyone confirm the ostinato is of Rey's Theme, because to me it sounded more reminscent of Imperial March, i.e. an allusion to Anakin. It occured to me that the second phrase of Rey's Main theme may have been initially constructed to allude to the concluding notes of Vader's theme.
  9. My clue about this disappointing film came when I listened to the score as a preview. I love listening to the pure musical storytelling before seeing the film, when it becomes forever associated with the images and scenes. Now I'm a devotee to John Williams, but how strange that I found this score dark, melancholy, and even meandering and lost. I thought it was the characters that might get lost, but alas it was the film itself. It's also worth noting this score features the fewest hearings of original trilogy themes, which have served as storytelling anchors since Episode 1. This has few, the film has no centre, and an avant-garde score didn't help. I agree with all your points. Poor characterisation is this films biggest flaw. Ben's turning to the light - the TITLE OF THE FILM - was handled so badly: a talk with ghost dad, Rey saying she would've taken Ben's hand, and Leia reaching out to him. (The last had to happen so that Leia could go the way of Carrie Fisher, her big CGI head and odd one-liners were getting awkward). And to cememnt his turning, the Knights of Ren were one of the many lost ideas in this trilogy so a face off with them was already going to be flat, but might have had more effort put into it (after the choreography of TLJ's red-suits fight, this felt like they didn't want to bother). I would've loved Rey's tantalising delve into the dark side to actually have been a struggle and gone somewhere, but nah. Finn and Poe's charisma was great, but didn't make up for their lack of development - bickering yes, but exploring how strife and the presence of evil turns the best against one another, and how they find solidarity, is what their story could have, should have, been about. Finn didn't need a new friend, he needed to focus on working on his existing friendships lol. Lando did his best, introduced unceremoniously within a moving box. And yes, Rose was criminally ignored. So if you're not going to work on your characters, get a good story. This plot was pish. I was hoping for the plucky rebels rallying support across the galaxy, new helpful, interesting friends, and looking for a way to defeat the baddies in one last desperate assault. The Emperor could get a twisted reveal as master orchestrator and Rey and Ben destroy him together, never quite eliminating evil as the light and dark balance is alluded to. But no, the Emperor is flagged up in the first line - "This film will be about Emperor Palpatine" - and gets shlocky flash-shriek horror treatment from the off. Our heroes know about him already and have to find a Horcrux or whatever to be able to access the necessary final battle. We fly from place to place, or back and forth, while seeing lots of people we don't know much about. Jeopardy is missing for a number of reasons, and the ultimate threat of the Final Order fleet doesn't really help. The action is flashy, but doesn't matter much, and feels 'lighter' than ever. That 'ground battle' was pointless, was entirely exposed to cannon fire from above, and knocking out a comms dish does not neutralise a fleet. An entire fleet of rebels is great, but how many destroyers do they manage to destroy? I didn't really get any sense of the ebb and flow of battle. Does the melting of Palpatine, the destruction of the flagship (sadly not an Executor-type like previous ones), a few more falling down, and "people rising up across the galaxy", count for a total victory? Doesn't really feel like it, except that I'm being told so. I'd rather roll with Return of the Jedi's simple battle station elimination and forest victory, then party with some teddy bears. And the mechanics finally got to me; I could tolerate TLJ's fleet-running-out-of-fuel-and-slowing-down-in-space, the arcing laser blasts and the comms-through-hyperspace. These are totally geek criticisms, but this film really cemented this trilogy's move from away from plausible science-fiction mechanics in the originals, tilted towards science-fantasy by the Force, into the realm of out-and-out fantasy. Now the Force is bending it's own rules arbitrarily to serve story (as per Rey's/Ben's healing and its cost). Now the Falcon's is light-speed jumping into absurd scenarios as if moving at light-speed is like using a portal - the audacious trick is tried twice in TFA where they just about got away with it. But compare it to the original trilogy where the first light-speed jump takes an entire scene to prepare, and the use of one precious light-speed jump to escape capture in The Empire Strikes Back creates almost the entire jeopardy of that film. And now the Empire can destroy a planet with a star destroyer's penis-cannon: isn't it amazing how they've miniaturised their technology! Back in the seventies you needed a battle station the size of a small moon to destroy a planet. Again, too much threat, not enough jeopardy. It's obvious that this film was batted about a bit: the credits show Trevorrow worked on the story before it was handed on. They couldn't have helped Carrie Fisher's absence, and their handling of that would've been forgivable within a better-conceived, better-executed film. But Trevorrow got the gig by directing Jurassic World, and it's clear that him and Abrahms are adept at flashy, hollow fan-service that might carry some gravitas if the studios put enough time and talent into script-writing. Too busy churning them out to a schedule. It's also not very clear in what way this is an ending, with Disney so eager to continue milking this juiciest of cows. For a supposed 9-film arc, it certainly didn't wrap up with the anything like the sobriety or reverence of Avengers: Endgame, or Return of the King. It feels to me like The Force Awakens is the best of this trilogy, while not even being a great film. It could have been so different if Disney, acquiring the OP 5 years ago, before embarking on the first of the new films, had spent some years planning with committed creative minds a whole and well-ordered trilogy, drawing some of the best ideas that many authors have explored in sequel novels since the late 80s. Instead this trilogy tries to be everything, but ends up flitting here and there, overbaked by too many cooks - multiple contradicting intentions and half-executed ideas, and films that feel like they are 'about Star Wars'. The Original Trilogy and Prequel Trilogy benefitted from George Lucas' creative vision at the centre - the first one being seminal, a new context for old mythology with stunning aesthetic design and cutting-edge technological execution. The Prequels famously suffered for Lucas' weak script-writing and flat direction, and the opposite of today's problem: his dominance of the creative process without the diversity of producers to round things out. Both trilogies are also quietly awful in their race and gender representation, though worst in their beginnings. And now we have films for the modern attention-span, featuring the modern ethics, full of the modern self-referential, recycled repetoire. My ill wife was watching The Hobbit, for which all of this applies too methinks, and I remarked how we should go back and watch good old-fashioned racist and sexist Lord of the Rings, because we knew where we stood with those tired old values, and at least each thing mattered in it. If only our new films in beloved franchises could be brought towards better values without having to be hacked to little pieces for the ADHD generation or made-to-recipe for the widest possible box-office grab. I think I'll got watch The Mandalorian. It doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is.
  10. So, I'm trying my best to like this score, but I'm not getting it. Lots of meandering underscore, not much action music (most of it sketchy), a scattering of old themes in familiar presentations, and a few indistinguishable new themes that weren't really necessary. When a blurt of the Resistance march is the most anchoring feature of a significant part of the score, you know there's not loads to grab on to! It doesn't help that the film itself is another swerve in direction, with a weak piecemeal plot and not enough character development for anyone. But what is this new adventure theme during The Speeder Chase, and why does it matter? Can someone point me to the highlights of this score's intelligence? To the new themes getting used in smart ways? To the development of old themes? I do hope this one is a 'grower'.
  11. I'm liking how this score is developing, and enjoying it before watching the series (though I have seen the first two episodes as tasters). Of course there are some unlistenable tracks - however they channel the feel of Morricone's western scores into a new, modern, well-produced realm...and there's some ear-catching and driven pieces too. I'm not ready to deconstruct themes yet, but it will be an interesting mix-tape album I create by the end of it! I think LG and John Powell are definitely recommending themselves to continuing the Star Wars musical universe, but JP is so selective and values-led in his projects, I don't think he'll sign up as Disney's next music-farmer. Let LG take flight instead!
  12. Blatantly gonna listen to the The Last JW SW Score on it's own before seeing the film. His musical storytelling is unsurpassed and it's such a purely musical journey that it can only be listened to before the film, and never unheard after associated with the images. Accordingly, my cinema tickets will be booked later than the immediate rush to the release showings.
  13. I could lap up clips like those for days! Surely the best trilogy of scores since LotR and Star Wars...
  14. So, who has listened to Endurance? I've just watched Endurance after delving into the score for 3 weeks, a fascinating early one from Powell. Eager to know where it came from, I enjoyed the drama-documentary and the tracking of the music wasn't even that disappointing! As an instant-fan of the score I was disappointed that The Final Race wasn't featured in it's crescendo entirety... does anybody know what music was used instead? Was it the Ethiopian national anthem?
  15. Powell has become my favourite current composer based off my early foray into Bourne, then X-Men 3, then of course How to Train Your Dragon (a trilogy of scores that's up there with Star Wars and LoTR, methinks). Solo is a riot, and now I'm interested in many of his other works... but am put off by cutesy Dreamworks silliness. I have tried Happy Feet 1 & 2, and while it has his flavour, I can't feel its coherence and I don't care for its origins. Any other suggestions?
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