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JJA

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  1. Which of the SW OST programs are the best/worst in your opinion? Please try to not allow your ranking of the scores themselves to influence your decisions. Rather consider how well these OST programs represent those scores, how many of the highlights are present or missing, how well the program flows as a musical experience, and so on. My choices: Best OST: TFA (SW and TLJ come close) Worst OST: ROTJ Best OT OST: SW Worst OT OST: ROTJ Best PT OST: AOTC Worst PT OST: TPM (really tough to choose between this and ROTS) Best ST OST: TFA Worst ST OST: TROS
  2. Best to worst: TESB - Utter perfection ROTJ - Great colorfulness and the great number of highlights offset any structural messiness SW - The original, though the above two add more to its thematic repertoire. Weirdly "alien" sound in a good way TPM - See ROTJ. Also great new themes. TFA - Great new themes and strong musical architecture. Lack of big highlights to an extent though. ROTS - The best highlights of either prequel/sequel trilogies, great underscore, is very emotional, also has rather messy musical architecture TROS - Have to let it sink in more to decide, but this position looks pretty right AOTC - Great love theme, but mostly auto-pilot Williams TLJ - Auto-pilot Williams. In a pinch more enjoyable than AOTC, but the new themes are less interesting.
  3. I think the Luke+Leia appearance is a case of expanding the purpose of a theme beyond its original conception, kinda like the Force Theme began as Obi-Wan’s theme. Remember that the scene is implying that Jannah is Lando’s daughter. So it has now become a ”emotionally satisfying kinship revelation theme”, rather than representing that merely for L&L.
  4. I have a hard time deciding which is worse. I think TPM has better visuals (more practical effects) and action, while AOTC makes (relatively) more sense, and the dual protagonists are an improvement on the messy ensemble of TPM. Can't decide whether Jar Jar or the AOTC romance is more cringeworthy. These two and TLJ are pretty much tied for me as the worst SW film, though purely as a film, TLJ is somewhat better due to its superior technical merits, such as acting and directing.
  5. The problem with Rey is not that she's female, but that she's so perfect at everything she does. Both Anakin and Luke had to be trained in the use of the force, but she pretty much can immediately use the Force (and mind tricks and whatever) after that single vision scene in TFA. She effortlessly beats Kylo in both of their encounters (way to make you antagonist seem a threat), knows how to use mind tricks without being taught how, even lifts dozens of heavy rocks after the trilogy started like a couple of days ago in story time. Her only real flaw is the whole seeking-for-replacement-parents thing (terribly handled as it is in its finer details, but I digress...). Basically, she should ideally be a well written character who just happens to be a woman, rather than "A Strong Female Character". The likes of Leia, Ripley, or Sarah Connor are examples of the former, and I don't recall anyone complaining about them. Rather, she's part of the trend where a minority/female character needs to be decipted as an overly perfect Mary Sue in order to be some kind of "empowering icon". This will date these films horribly down the road. Granted, there are characters - such as Roger Moore's James Bond - who are beloved wish-fulfillment characters of overt perfection, and in principle there's nothing wrong with having a female equivalent. But here's what's important: Neither of the previous Star Wars protagonists were decipted that way, but were characters who had flaws and challenges to overcome. She's also part of the trend where modern Hollywood hacks cast minorities or women into roles as a shield for criticism. If people complain about these poorly constructed characters, the filmmakers can immediately smear these critics as being part of a toxic fanbase of manbabies or whatever, which will then mobilize the social justice people to defend your film, regardless of its actual quality, or the quality of the characters in question. If people complained about a Steven Seagal character being a Mary Sue (which his characters most certainly are!), the filmmakers couldn't defend themselves from this accusation. But turn him a woman or a minority character (in itself absolutely no problem), suddenly these critics can be dismissed as "hating women" or "hating blacks" or whatever else. I don't care who you cast, just make them good characters, period. There's also the pandering to Chinese censorship in these films (why so selective in your wokeness, Disney?). The Chinese censorship of ghosts is why the force ghosts are no longer so transparent, and can now interact with the world (if force ghost Yoda can summon lightning or hit Luke with his stick, why didn't he just go to the Emperor after dying in ROTJ and kill him with the lightning?). I also suspect this is the reason for the whole disturbing "obey authority without question" message(?) in the Poe mutiny subplot, as well as an alternate explanation for why Rey can learn the Force so effortlessly (it makes it seem more like a superpower she had since birth, rather than some some of that "dangerous spiritual stuff")
  6. To my mind, the 2018 edition of ANH is largely superior in sound compared to the SE, which sounds far more "artificial" (hard to explain what I precisely mean), and has some loudness war issues in louder passages. Listening to the SE is rather fatiguing to the ears for these reasons.
  7. However, in this revised broader meaning, it nonetheless still describes a sense of adventure that was embodied originally by Luke in the first film, both as an audience avatar and in terms of character motivations. Much of his initial motivation is based on wanting to escape his boring farm life for something more exciting, implicit desire for revenge over his aunt and uncle, living up to the false image he's fed about his "heroic" father, as well as a general wish to be a heroic figure, as is reflected in his "looking for a great warrior" statement to Yoda, who in turn is reluctant to train the "reckless" Luke. He misunderstands the Jedi path as being a process of becoming a "better hero/warrior", more or less. However, when Luke grows closer to truly embodying the Jedi teachings, the theme gets for the most part replaced by the Force Theme. When he throws his light saber away at the end of ROTJ, the choice of playing the Force Theme instead of Luke's original theme is very much deliberate. A case of "musical ego-sublimation", if you will. In retrospect, it's more like a theme for that adventure-seeking early phase in Luke's character arc, rather than precisely "his theme". Or to be more exact, it's a "Spirit of Adventure Theme" that happens to be initially attached to Luke, since he indeed embodies that spirit in his initial "state" or modus operandi. When he no longer does, it stops being attached to him. Indeed, in the sequel trilogy, he's primarily represented by the Force Theme and his other (new) theme, while the original title crawl music is still heard in adventurous contexts, but almost solely in scenes involving other characters. This communicates that the "spirit of adventure" is still an extant thing in the SW universe, with Luke being past that state of existence. The only time it's heard with Luke is in the reunion scene with R2, but there the context is indeed about rememberance of their previous "fun adventures".
  8. In regards to Herrmann, I must admit I rarely enjoy his music in C&C or other long presentations, with some exceptions. Not really sure why, as I generally prefer most other film composers' works in complete form. His music is however terrific in the films themselves, needless to say.
  9. The above piece has a reoccuring section (it first appears at 0:07) with an uncannily similarity to two separate Mario Nascimbene film compositions:
  10. The first three are pretty tied for me, and might prefer any one of them depending on my mood: 1. Miklos Rozsa 2. John Williams 3. Jerry Goldsmith 4. Erich Wolfgang Korngold 5. Alfred Newman (not sure - too hard to decide*) *= I also considered Howard Shore or Sergei Prokofiev for #5, but the former was solely on the basis of a single film franchise, while the latter (who might be my overall favourite composer in non-film context) has too few film compositions to be truly applicable. Also felt highly tempted to choose Ennio Morricone or Dimitri Tiomkin.
  11. Another observation: is the 0:24-0:37 section of "Return to Tatooine" in AOTC supposed to be a motif representing Anakin's childhood memories? In the film I clearly remember that section also playing when Anakin re-encounters Jar Jar at the start of the film (or at least, at some point during that whole scene). Or was that part tracked there from "Return to Tatooine"?
  12. THE SHOOTING PARTY is the most essential.
  13. If you were exposed to excerpts of music you had never heard before from familiar film or classical composers, which ones do you think you'd be able to recognize as coming from a certain composer? In other words, who are the most stylistically recognizable composers to you? I'd probably recognize Miklos Rozsa and Maurice Jarre pretty easily, at least. Many others too, assuming I had longer chunks to listen to.
  14. Another observation: Isn't the "Leaving Mustafar" motif in The Immolation Scene merely a distorted version of the Force Theme? At least I never thought otherwise...
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