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Chen G.

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Everything posted by Chen G.

  1. I do believe that that's what was going through the filmmakers minds when they lost those themes. I think they just found them a little to bold for the tone of the later two films. It makes sense on paper and I don't mind it all that much while watching, but I do think one or two cameos would be nice. Since Shore binds Thorin's theme to the Company theme, Thorin's theme sort of carries on the associations of the Company theme. In the Extended Edition, we are also introduced to the House of Durin (in its definitive form) much earlier, so it takes the place of that theme nicely. For the general audience, the Laketown theme takes the place of the company theme in terms of something they can hum.
  2. It has the ingredients of a good action scene because it utilizes the environment of the battle. But for me its a bit convoluted and overlong. It's over-choreographed to the point that it robs it of its intensity. There's a moment where both combatants twirl their sabers with hitting one another where you realize it's all about making the fighting looking cool. In that sense, I do like the battle in The Force Awakens better because they just use their light sabers to deliver BLOWS. It feels more driven by anger and there's a true desire to kill behind each blow. Also in Revenge of the Sith, there isn't dialogue throughout, and the way that the duel is won is both anticlimactic and undermines the supposed power of Darth Vader, and both those issues are also true of the duel in The Force Awakens: throughout seven films, lightsabers have been shown to be pretty deadly. But Kylo takes a couple of hits (and a shot from Chewbacca's blaster for good measure) to little effect. That Rey is stand her ground and than turn around to defeat him, and that even Finn can sneak a blow at him, does undermine his prowess. The Force Awakens also has nothing that comes even close to that "you were the chosen one!" monologue in terms of emotion. Nor does the Music!
  3. Both the scores and the films can be broken down to certain dramatic elements, which can be discussed in relative objectivity. Like I said, I like the prequel scores way better. Even Attack of the Clones at least had that wonderful love theme for the average filmgoer to rest his or her hat on. Also, the quality and quantity of the orchestral (not to mention the choral) forces - cannot be beat by a small Hollywood freelance orchestra. As for the films, The Force Awakens has two advantages: it has great polish in terms of production value, and it has better characters. But Revenge of the Sith has better drama. It's a tough call for me.
  4. I should rephrase: I like that entire musical "set-piece". Not just the march - all of it. It's genuinely good music. But: As good as it is, it's flawed. It doesn't undo it's effectiveness, but it does mire it. Even if it weren't flawed, a good moment doesn't save" the film. Or the score for that matter.
  5. Really? It's in 3:14 of "The Hidden Valley". Its the same melody as the diegetic "Valley of Imladris", I'm sure. It's almost like a new, secondary theme for Rivendell.
  6. Yes, the Imperial March in the end is very nice. In fact, I like most of the material in the finale: The Emperor's theme leading into a solo soprano voice (an unusual choice for a Star Wars score!), the love theme completly unleashed, etc... But I have to say that using it so blatantly distrupts the narrative of the trilogy, musically. The Phantom Menace and most of Revenge of the Sith do nothing short of a fantastic job in teasing the march, without stating it in its full militaristic guise. There are even good uses of it in Attack of the Clones: see the moment just after Anakin's confession.
  7. One of the problems I find with Attack of the Clones, is that the conflict that is set up in the opening (which is, someone wants Padme dead), doesn't follow through the entire narrative. She is sent away for just that reason, and Anakin goes with her - just for that reason. But, during their entire stay on Naboo, no further attempt on her life is made. It was even worst in the rough cut: Lucas originally had the pair go to meet Padme's parents, sit in her room, etc... Its a movie I watch gladly, but only in a meta kind of mindset. I just spend the entire running time (which, for a Star Wars movie, is considerable!) laughing off of the movie and the filmmakers.
  8. Hey, by Star Wars standards, its a good movie!
  9. I don't think Shore minded using the theme for films two and three: Notice that he also dropped his own theme for the company. I think the Desolation of Smaug was just both too dense and too grim for that theme: its too bold. Still, I would have liked to have seen a cameo of it. On a side note, I like the cross-over that occurs between diegetic music and score in this series: "The Misty Mountains" turns into a theme in the underscore and into an end-credits score, the martial Rivendell motif at the end of "The Hidden Valley" is almost immediately thereafter playe diegetically; Thorin's theme in the horn, Lament for Gandalf being heard by the characters, etc... It gives the music a sense of being a part of this world. You could almost imagine the score as an opera written about the Red Book during the Forth Age.
  10. Oh, absolutly. I mean, Attack of the Clones has more to do with the overarching narrative thrust of the series, in that we see Anakin training to become a Jedi with Obi Wan, we see the Clone Wars initiated. But the execution of it is just terrible. Outside of Across the Stars (which is gorgeous), I don't even really like the music.
  11. Even when on the throne, Williams couldn't create something trashy enough to be on par with the awfulness of the film that is Attack of the Clones. Not that it's a score that I particularly like: Just like with The Force Awakens, the score will go by the audience unnoticed. However, Attack of the Clones does have that fantastic love theme.
  12. I know. He also said in an interview, just before Empire Strikes Back was released, that he wrote thematic material for the Battle in the Snow. In both cases it's more the application of a certain orchestral color than any fixed melodic or even rhythmic idea. There's a reason neither appears in Adams' analysis. Hell, The so-called thematic material for Hoth isn't even mentioned by Matessino, either! I guess what I'm saying is don't over-analyze. Williams refrains from writing so many themes, and he does so intentionally! As he so often says, he doesn't have the audience's full attention during the film. So writing a very dense score, in his eyes, would only create confusion.
  13. That's true of Rey's theme, certainly. But I don't think its entirely untrue of the prequels. Anakin's theme, while not introduced as early in the film as one would hope (although the same is true of Rey's theme!), does explore some interesting variations.
  14. There are over ninty motives in there! I think its something of a case of over-analysis, if you will. It probably includes the motives that Williams uses to portray individual set-pieces (think about the music of the Battle in the Snow, the prison scenes in Cloud City or even the ostinato in Chase Through Curoscant), which don't quite count as leitmotives because they don't recur. Also, Williams often repeats certain gestures that you'd be hard pressed to assign any clear-cut thematic significance: the aforementioned music of the prison scenes in Empire returns when Boba had escaped with Han's effigy, for instance. But is it a leitmotif, though? Williams also uses certain orchestral colors to represent things: "bouncing" horn for Luke's landspeeder; women choir for the underwater scenes in The Phantom Menace. Neither is really a leitmotif when you really think about it. All those things lend themselves to over-analysis. There's also the issue of long-lined themes. Is Luke's theme one leitmotif, or could the B-section be considered a separate one? what about the end-cap of Across the Stars? the ostinato accompaniment of Duel of the Fates? I myself much prefer the less inclusive approach taken by Doug Adams et al. It doesn't cover all episodes, but if it did, it would probably amount to about half of the number of themes.
  15. That's an interesting notion! I do, however, think that it all speaks more to Williams knowing that it would be a hit by virtue of the fact that its music bearing his name and the name "Star Wars." Its like how Howard Shore put The Hobbit in Four Movements at the start of his "Music of Howard Shore" events. I also think that the deeper he goes into this sequel trilogy, the more proud he becomes of his achievement: In terms of the thematic architecture, Star Wars is by far his magnum opus.
  16. To each his own, I suppose. Its not like the other two films are that much shorter, anyhow.
  17. If a film is a drama - it's objective is to be moving, and any and all production elements are subservient to that end. If the film is a clear-cut action film - it's objective is to be exciting; If it's a comedy - it's objective is to make people laugh, etcetra. Simple. Return of the King is primarily a drama - and on that level it works incredibly well.
  18. Hey, what can I say, I'm better with words than with pictures. I'll conjure something up tommorow.
  19. Sure I do, I'm an post-graduate of Middle Eastern studies. That a lightweight in terms of length. Look up Cleopatra, Branagah's Hamlet, and a few of the epics regarding the American civil War. I like Return of the King infinitely more. Much more moving.
  20. Of all the four hour films (of which there are more than you would think), Return of the King is the most deserving of that length. About the only thing I would have streamlined would have been the meeting with Saruman, which goes on a bit too long. In a way it kind of needs that length. The multiple endings are understandable when you consider that this film wraps up the whole trilogy, not just itself: think of the coronation as the finale of Return of the King proper, and the other endings as the conclusion of the trilogy. Now that its a sextet, it's all the more warranted.
  21. Kylo Ren's motif is a bit more noticeable because it's typically scored for brass. It's also often used to herald his arrival as we see his spaceship arrive, at which point there often aren't many effects in the film to cover it up. Both aren't particularly memorable to the wider audience, though.
  22. I don't he didn't give a damn. He just tried dabbling in a more dense, motivic score made of short, interconnected motifs. It just didn't work particularly well. That said, I'll take the love theme from that film over Rey's theme any day. If I'm being brutally honest, I think people wanted the new John Williams' Star Wars score to be great so badly, that they aren't emotionally sincere about approaching stuff like Rey's theme. If you'll take a person who watched the film and liked it, but isn't as keyed towards the music as we are, and play Rey's theme for him or her - I doubt it would leave too much of an impression on them. It's just too lilting and soft compared to his more sweeping themes. I wouldn't be caught humming it, even if my life depended on it. I know I'm not emotionally biased against the themes in the prequels: I loathe Attack of the Clones. But even I admit that the love theme is beautiful.
  23. Films are dramatic narratives. Technical issues in films are only a problem if they plague a large portion of the narrative or if it so bad that it takes the audience out of the film. As such, the only true narrative flaw that I find in the film is that the instigator of Denethor's madness isn't fleshed out. But there are so many characters in the film that it might have been beyond the audience's capacity, and it was better to have just be an arse.
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