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  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsAaRwkNgk8 I literally just woke up, so if this is from one of the other films, blame my tiredness for not recognizing it. That said - thoughts?
  2. So, I've seen the film twice by now. Seen other reviews for context. Went with people who aren't informed in film criticism, saw what they thought. Now, I'll try to give it as professional a review as I can muster, without spoilers and in under 2,000 words. Long story short: I like the movie and I think its quite good, but nothing beyond that, really. It has too many issues with pacing, the implementation of humor and the use of some of its characters to be "great" in any real way. Now, short story long: Cinematography The visuals are very striking. I gave JJ Abrams kudos for slowing down his acrobatic camerawork for The Force Awakens in order to allow us to appreciate the setting, but here its taken to a whole other level: the film opens with a (virtual) long take down towards a fleet, and such long takes permeate much of the first act. Its a wise move not just in terms of allowing us to appreciate the corners of the frame (as opposed to just the focus) but also as a juxtaposition to the faster camerawork and cutting typical of a climax. Too much too often (a-la a Michael Bay film) and you become saturated in it. Simple, but wise nonetheless. As much as this film reflects Johnson's voice, there's an attempt to follow up in Gareth Edwards footsteps visually, with shots of big star-ships protruding out of the darkness of space, compared to the fully visible ships showcased in previous films. The action scenes especially are staged with a wink towards Samurai films (which were among George Lucas original inspirations) with flashy choreography (that still feels physical, unlike Revenge of the Sith) and exceptionally well-framed wide shots. There are a couple of faux-documentary touches that have plagued the series ever since Attack of the Clones, which I didn't appreciate and even a few shots out of focus, but no matter. There's striking use of lighting on-board the Dreadnaught, making it feel like a submarine. The white and-red planet already looked striking in the trailer, but its somewhat undone when the director has a character comment on it: "oh, its salt." There's some clever editing here. When Luke asks about Han, the film cuts to Kylo Ren, his murderer. There's cross cutting between the faces of Leia and Kylo that makes good use of the Kuleshov Effect. However, in looking at the various storylines that this film juggles, the editing ultimately fails to find a right balance between them all, a point we'll soon delve into. Production Value The film could do with a bit more polish: Many of the creatures in the film are brought to life via puppetry, but its often very obvious: It happens in some shots of the creatures on Luke's island and during the (brief) appearance of a certain character. Speaking of those creatures, they're not as annoying as previous creatures in this universe, but they're hardly essential to the film. Johnson stated that he wanted the island to feel alive, and that's on point, but the film features two or three different types of creatures just on the island and the scenes involving them, which are used to infuse the Luke-Rey storyline with some excessive humor, contribute to the film's running time to little effect. We could have done with just the caretaker-creatures. For a film series that has been taking pride of late in its reliance on practical effects, there's some shots of obvious CG when some of our characters find themselves afield in the red-and-white planet, and during a fight sequence with Phasma. In other cases, the filmmakers tried to mask the CG by darkness and extreme color grading that makes it very hard to see anything. The film sounds great, and John Williams' score is given much more presence in this. The main new theme, pertaining to the character of Rose, is a welcome addition to Williams catalogue, but the movie is otherwise thin on themes and ends up rehashing themes from the previous film, as well as The Force theme, often in very familiar settings. Johnson's temp track choice, which is apparently heavy on Williams' own score to Revenge of the Sith, is evident through the score. Characters The characters continue to be compelling. The acting is mostly strong, Johnson's superior direction shining through especially in the performance of the older cast (this is possibly the best Mark Hamil has even been, in any role), but strangely the outright corrupt villains - Snoke, Hux, Phasma and the occasional admiral - are really over-the-top, and are given very little to do. Its easily the worst we've seen of the otherwise outstanding Andy Serkis. Other characters such as Del Toro's DJ or Dern's Holdo are well-acted, but nonetheless do not feel fulfilled. Its become a fashion for films to feature a large amount of characters to evoke grandeur, but without sufficiently sly writing and ample screen time, they become too many, and most of them end up as mere figures, as opposed to a realized character. This film suffers for it. Plot and Story Unlike the previous entry, this film is original. There are nods to other films, but they're all appropriate, unless one is of the opinion that this film should go out of its way to flat-out ignore the previous entries. There's one moment which feels like fan service, because the film goes so far out of its way as to stage a fake-out death of a major character in order to create said moment. There's a fair bit of Lord of the Rings blood to this film (one scene made me want to call out for Grond), and the fake-out death is as cheap a trick here as it was there. Implementation of humor Gladly, this film somewhat subverts at least one such expectation from a "middle chapter' film, which is the darkness of tone. Yes, this film is more "serious" than The Force Awakens, and its deals with themes of murky morals, but its also very funny. Casual humor can work very well to leverage suspense, even in harrowing pieces of cinema. The first piece of dialogue in this film is of a comedic nature, and it goes on for quite a while. The humor certainly worked if my venue is of any indication, but it isn't always casual: its doesn't necessarily grow out of the situation each time, and it often overstays its welcome. Structure and Pace To return to a "long story short", there lies the main problem of this film. Its too long, and this is coming from someone whose most revered films are long films: Nolan's Batman films, Braveheart, and above all, the Middle Earth films, especially the longest chapter which - in its extended form - clocks in at nearly twice the length of this film. Part of the issue here is how out-of-character for the franchise this film's length is. Yes, its on par with Attack of the Clones, but that's the worst film of the series, and its screen-time certainly doesn't help, so its hardly a good example. The issue isn't actually so much of outright screen-time, its a structural problem in the script: that's another aspect of "middle chapters" which this film doesn't subvert. On the outside, there's nothing wrong with the structure of the film: it has a clear-cut structure with an opening action sequence to keep us pumped through the first act which follows, than a long second act in two halves (with a twist introduced in the midpoint) and a third act that concludes the film. The opening action sequence works well enough. Thankfully, its not a single scene but a drawn-out sequence. Not so thankfully, though, its too drawn out. The demise of a figure from the resistance (whose significance is only to be revealed later) is treated to a long, elegiac death scene, tenfold the length of Han Solo's death in The Force Awakens; the aforementioned comedic beat in that sequence is way too long, there's a lot of exposition and fussing around with technology: fuel, tracking technology, light-speed, dreadnoughts, etc. Its missing the point of the Star Wars setting: "A long time ago" - it owes a lot more to The Lord of the Rings than it does to anything written by Gene Roddenberry. Its not supposed to make sense in terms of technology, only to feel "used". But the core issue isn't with the first act. More often than not, in fact, its not a long first act that merits accusations of bloat: The original Star Wars clocks at forty-five minutes before Luke sets off with Ben. The audience accepts the first act as buildup, and is still hanging unto the opening action sequence, which promises more action down the line, and the long first act evokes the sense of an epic journey. Its when the first half of the second act slugs, however, that's when audiences will start groaning. Once a goal is established for our characters and they set out to it, we expect the film to kick off, but if it starts only to stall again - that's when people will be checking their watches. Use of action After the opening action scene, the film is very light on action. There is peril, but there are only two more action set-pieces: one involving Kylo Ren in the midpoint, and another one in the end of the third act on that white-and-red planet. Both are well made but are too few and too far in between, which makes this film feel excessively pensive. These action scenes, and the film as a whole, suffers from the non-linear structure. We've grown accustomed to films, especially middle chapters of trilogies, trafficking in multiple story-lines. Done right, it heightens suspense. But once you move beyond two storylines and - more importantly - once you have all those storylines running through the entire film, you risk creating a fragmented film. Where in Empire Strikes Back, we cut back to Leia and Han every time when the audience craves action, here we cut from the action and drama to this film's version of Monte Carlo. Instead of one storyline elevating another, here one storyline pulls the others down. When we move from this to the action scenes, all the storylines are firing simultaneously, and it becomes too much. Think about the finale of The Dark Knight Rises, where we have a battle in the streets, a dooms-day-device in need of deactivation, a fight scene with Batman, an attempted evacuation, a fake character-death and major reveals all happening simultaneously, and it does a disservice to the sequence as a whole. Here it happens twice, with one of them only being halfway into the film. The film peaks so high with that action set-piece, that the next one almost feels redundant. The former action scene was apparently difficult for the filmmakers to come to grips with, and it involves some of the worst tricks in the Star Wars arsenal coming to the aid of our heroes: namely, contrivance and incompetence on the behalf of the villains. The latter action scene is much more competent, but is surprisingly thin on Rey's presence, because it doesn't serve to further her arc (it having already concluded at the midpoint) but rather Luke's. One can imagine that Carrie Fisher's death informed the editing choices of this set-piece, and there's a little bit of poignancy to it. Sadly, rather than end here, the film has two scenes that almost feel like the sort of scenes you'd see throughout the credits of a movie, with the latter not featuring our characters in any capacity. Surprises vs. Planting and Payoff Another structural problem involves the use of planting and payoff. The Empire Strikes Back has given fans of the series an appetite for surprising twists. Writer-Director Rian Johnson was so eager to provide us with such twists that in doing so his script forgoes the mechanism of planting and payoff. This film waits until the very end to showcase a new ability made possibly through The Force, and while it can be seen as related to an ability showcased at length earlier in the film, it comes off as something of a Deus-ex-Machina, due to lack of being set-up well enough. As part of a trilogy which is supposed to conclude the story of the main Star Wars episodes, this film feels more conclusive than middle chapters usually do. In a way, its appropriate given the way the last film ended: you can't end two of three films in a cliffhanger. Neverthelss, one could have wished for these films to be shot simultaneously like the Middle Earth features to create better continuity. With Abrams returning to conclude the trilogy, Johnson's entry seems destined to remain the odd film out due to his unique voice shining through.
  3. Saw this posted on the Jedi Council Boards https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/times2/john-williams-the-best-film-composer-in-the-galaxy-l7jx0f8gq (the article is behind a paywall apparently)
  4. My guess, The Fathiers was temptracked with TOD music, probably the Nightclub Fight. The second part of The Fathiers sounds extremely TOD.
  5. Anyone want to weigh in on this "leak" from the ST to Rise of Skywalker? I can't hear the Rey theme as claimed, but kinda hear Kylo's theme (sorta)... and it does sound like it is about to go into the force theme at the abrupt ending.... https://www.reddit.com/user/some_famous_director/comments/czm4m0/tros_the_prodigal_son/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app More opinions on the validity here... https://www.reddit.com/r/starwarsspeculation/comments/czm5um/the_rise_of_skywalker_the_prodigal_son_way_better/
  6. Discuss the MUSIC ONLY here in this thread; Discuss the trailer itself over here please!
  7. Did Williams write the music for this Funko pops commercial? https://v.redd.it/4p54lvg1ubp31
  8. I like Rose’s Theme. But there are several oddities about it: It (or something damned close) was composed and recorded for TFA. It appears to be a major-key variant of the Force Theme. I know it’s controversial, but IMO the TLJ concert suite makes for a very satisfactory piece. It marries Rose’s Theme to the Luke in Exile Theme. These are two characters who have nothing to do with each other in the film. And it’s named “The Rebellion is Reborn,” which has nothing to do with either Rose or with Luke’s exile, however, Luke is the one who utters those words which seem to have captured JW’s fancy. I’m curious to hear your speculations about this. The best idea I can come up with is that JW originally wrote it for Leia. We know there were a lot of Leia scenes cut from TFA, including the one where Maz hands her the lightsaber (it can be seen in TFA Teaser Trailer #2) and all of the TRoS footage with her (the scene in TRoS Teaser Trailer #1 with the Throne Room medallion - Throne Room of course contains a rendition of the Force Theme). Then, if JW still thought of it as Leia’s theme for some time into the composition of TLJ, the suite perhaps can be thought of (much more satisfactorily) as being about Luke and Leia.
  9. Is this new/from IX? No music, but very nice to see!
  10. I think we can now safely assume that the TROS recording sessions have started - because that is very clearly the March of the Resistance theme! 😁 I’m so happy that this is really happening, 9 John Williams Star Wars scores.
  11. I assume he’ll be taking over duties shortly
  12. What the title says; what is your favorite *performance* of both the opening and closing titles? I'm not talking about the music/suites/cues that play AFTER the titles, I'm talking about the title cues themselves. You can either choose from one of the films, or concert recordings. In my opinion, Main Title: TESB or ROTJ End Title: ROTJ
  13. Where do you rank John Williams' music for "The Last Jedi" among his previous scores for the 'Star Wars' films?
  14. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/sandy-decrescents-impact-motion-pictures-industry-paksy-plackis-cheng
  15. This interview with TROS' editor probably explains how Williams was able to start writing so soon after production ended, in contrast with the post-production timeline for TFA. https://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/films/1136655/Star-Wars-9-Rise-of-Skywalker-editing-post-production-editor-filming-on-set-tight-schedule She goes on to discuss the benefits of this approach, including getting pickup shots and inserts while the main production was still underway (this was done much later in post-production for TFA with reshoots -- a contributing factor to Williams constantly rewriting TFA as the edit kept changing).
  16. And Trank's replacement is the directing team of Christopher Miller and Phil Lord - the directors of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, The LEGO Movie, 21 Jump Street, and 22 Jump Street And it's a Han Solo movie, with a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan! http://www.starwars.com/news/christopher-miller-and-phil-lord-to-helm-han-solo-anthology-film
  17. There's a picture of Williams recording in the new Vanity Fair cover story on The Rise of Skywalker. I just want to confirm, is this from Force Awakens???? It can't be new, right? The caption under the picture just says: https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2019/05/star-wars-cover-story
  18. Seeing as production on Episode IX should be wrapping up in the next month or so, John will likely start working on this score in the near future. Seems like a good time to start some very early Episode IX predictions! I've avoided any questions about specific new musical themes in the score, considering we know next to nothing about the film's storyline or the new characters.
  19. I couldn't include Poe's Theme as it didn't have a proper concert version Didn t include Rey's Theme for this poll because it might get too many votes and screw up my poll for me #1 is Galaxy's Edge followed by Rebellion is Reborn
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