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Everything posted by Jeff

  1. I disagree with your conclusion, but I think you may be on to something. As you said, implausible things happen in every movie. The filmmakers must make it all believable. But I don't think it matters HOW implausible the scenario is. It's all in the execution. Special effects can help , but they can also hurt, because the most effective way to make the audience believe that what is happening on the screen is real is to have the actors sell it. For example, Jabba is nothing more than a giant rubber puppet, but Carrie Fisher strangles him with such convincing disgust that we are willing to go along with it and accept that he is real. Mark Hamill's astonishment when Yoda raises the X-wing accomplishes a similar purpose. I could go on but you get the idea. In fact, I think that may be why some people dislike the prequel Star Wars trilogy - Lucas relied too heavily on CGI (OK that's not a new idea, but keep reading), leaving the actors out of the picture (in some cases even replacing the actors with CGI), so no one is there to help us connect to the reality of the fantasy we are seeing. And even when real actors are on screen, they are often interacting with a blue screen, making it very difficult for them to bring the scene to life. It's much more difficult for Ewan MacGregor to make us believe Jar Jar is real (though thankfully he is not) than for Mark Hamill to make us believe Yoda is.
  2. Does that really say Orson Welles in the cast list?
  3. Your analysis is pretty close to the way I feel. As I said in my post, I enjoyed the film - I try not to analyze it too much while I'm watching so that I don't spoil it for myself (I'm a very forgiving viewer). But I think you're right about what was missing (i.e., the emotional connection). Those moments are the reason Last Crusade is my favorite of the four.
  4. I think people are much too critical of KOTCS. Expectations were too high - viewers need to be more realistic. I for one was satisfied - I felt like I was along for the ride again with Indiana Jones on one of his trademark adventures; that's all anyone could really ask for. The only scene that I really didn't like was the the monkey vine scene. I'm not a fan of Shia LaBeouf in general but he did a decent job (going into it I was afraid he would ruin the movie for me since he kind of gets on my nerves). All of the Indy movies incorporate supernatural elements, and since this one took place in the 50's it was only logical that aliens would be involved. Nothing was too far off from the canon. The opening sequence with the nuke was classic. KOTCS still ranks above Temple of Doom out of the four films in my book.
  5. I'm new here and I thought this would be an interesting way to introduce myself to the group. A bit of background on how I chose these: I have a fairly solid primary education in music, but I'm by no means an expert. I'm particularly lacking in my knowledge of music history. I have a general knowledge of composers and their greatest works, genres, instrumentation, etc. Also, I should say up front that I haven't listened to even a quarter of JW's scores. My choices below are my "favorite" JW scores as far as listening enjoyment. There is a big difference between "appreciating" a score on an intellectual level and "enjoying" a score, which is based primarily on emotion (highly subjective). So with that caveat, here are my top 5 JW scores: 1) The Empire Strikes Back - By far my favorite of the Star Wars trilogy, I love every minute of the score, from the militaristic theme on Hoth (apparently dropped from the film if I remember correctly), to the Asteroid Field, Attacking a Star Destroyer, and even Lando's Palace. My favorite moment (musically) in the entire saga is Yoda lifting the X-wing from the swamp. I adore everything beginning at the light saber duel until the statement of Vader's theme at the end of the credits. The escape sequence with the agitated strings, the "ESP" coversation between Vader and Luke, and the jump to hyperspace carry the weight of these moments. I love the original Star Wars soundtrack as well, but I prefer the romantic style of ESB to the primal style (reminiscent of Rite of Spring in some parts) in ANH. 2) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - This one owes its main theme to Raiders, but, as Spielberg said, the score "matured" along with the audience for the third installment. There are so many moments I like, including the Young Indiana scene, Scherzo for Motorcycle, No Ticket, the father-son theme, the Keeper of the Grail, and the entire finale / end credits. Nothing will get you in the mood for an adventure like Raiders march - it is absolutely brilliant, especially as it's used in Crusade. Last Crusade also happens to be my favorite movie of all time, which may have nudged the score up a slot or two on my list. It's a miracle that there is so much new material, as the third movie in what was the trilogy; other composers might have relied more heavily on previous themes. I'm glad JW didn't phone it in. 3) Jurassic Park - Like many others who have posted, this was the album that introduced me to JW. In fact, it was the first album I ever owned (on cassette tape). Perhaps the reason I love it so much is the sentamentality attached to it, as I first saw the movie when I was 11, the prime age for obsession with dinosaurs. The score perfectly captures every mood: the sense of excitement in Journey to the Island, the humility of seeing the creatures for the first time as the main theme is played, the childlike endearment when Grant meets the triceratops (like a boy and his dog), the Hammond's nostalgia in Remembering Petticoat Lane (my favorite moment in the film and the score), and Grant's reflection in A Tree for My Bed. All of these moments, thanks in large part to the score, bring the emotion that makes Jurassic Park better than the run-of-the-mill action movie. But JW also delivers in the action sequences. It still scares me if I listen to Dennis Steals the Embryo while driving in the rain. The sense of urgency is perfectly captured when the Sattler and Muldoon take the jeep to look for the others. And of course, the triumphant T-Rex rescue is amazing. I'm surprised at how many of you have expressed a loss of appreciation for this score over the years. I must have listened to it at least a hundred times and it still brings me back to those 11-yr-old fantasies of seeing live dinosaurs every time I hear it. Whatever you all are doing to lose your infatuation with JP, I hope it never happens to me. 4) E.T. - My favorite part of the score ironically comes after the movie is over - the cascading piano with the supporting French Horn in the End Credits. The last quarter of the movie is scored brilliantly with the iconic flying theme, the good-bye music, and all the punctuations throughout the chase. And then there's the moment in "E.T. is Dying" with the harp playing that plucks at the heartstrings (pun intended). 5) Sabrina - The last one on the list is always the hardest to choose. If I had made this list next Thursday, Harry Potter might have been number five. In the end, what may have tipped the scales for Sabrina is that it is so different from everything else. I love to play the piano and Theme from Sabrina is up there with Claire de Lune as one of my favorites to play. And even though JW didn't write the melody, the rendition of La Vie en Rose in the film is the best anywhere. In contrast to all the bombastic, melancholy, or agitated music Williams writes, it's nice every now and then to relax to the gentle, graceful sounds of Sabrina. It pains me to stop at 5 (I don't know why I am - this was my idea), especially when I have to leave Harry Potter, Hook, Empire of the Sun, and every other Star Wars soundtrack off the list. But maybe I can express my gratitude to John some other time for the rest of the amazing music he has written. So if you had to choose just five scores, which would they be?
  6. I will be there the 28th as well. When is the rehearsal? Do you need separate tickets for it?
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