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Worst scored scene by John Williams


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It's so interesting to revisit this thread, and to see folks' opinion on Attack of the Clones when it was still fresh. Have any of your opinions changed on 3M3 "The First Kiss"? @King Mark?   

I'll get murdered here for this but most of the deleted/tracked over stuff for Empire. All that inside Echo Base is way too much, Snowspeeder Rescue is too weird and goofy for a tense and dramatic sce

I knew you would mention that scene, KM. I don't see what's your problem with that scene. It was wondefully scored and worked so well in the movie. The music trully became a character in that scene.

Worst scored scene by JW? It's difficult, really. The better question would be the less well-scored scene by JW.

Maybe...damn, I really cant' think of a badly scored scene. I really can't.

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Banning Back Home, from Hook.

It's an independent cue, and you can't hear this theme anywhere else in the score. The jazzy style is not the most appropriate one, IMO.

As we have more information about HA2, Holiday Flight (or We Overslept Again) was going to be like that one, but John Williams (I assume) decided to change it.

Sad he didn't do the same with Banning Back Home.

It's interesting, the music is funny, but it could have been better.

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I'm with you there Mark. The whole cinema I was in burst into laughter at that point in the music, and being an avid JW fan I was disappointed and embarrassed. What was he thinking?!

I think that's exactely what it was intended to do.

Everybody in the theater here burst into laughter too. This scene is in my opinion very effective, but very BADLY written imho.

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As Kevin, the music was suposed to make the scene humoristic. People weren't laughing at the music, they were laughing because of the music, and in that sense, JW did his job perfectly.

Nah,I really doubt it was meant to be funny,not any of the love scenes.Jar Jar and the droids are there for the "humor" bits.

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It's suposed to be funny, beacause you hera the beginning of a grandiose love theme in a setting like that, you just think "ok, they feel in love".

But no, JW pulls the rug from under our feet and the music takes and unpredictable turn and the situation of the characters, instead of idilicaly romanticn, becomes embarassing. In that way, it is funny because when you wathc the movie you don't expect that to happen.

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I basically agree Merkel's postt. JW, likes always, scores a scene in a literal way. If the scene doesn't work its because of the way its directed. The music just reinforces in the musical idiom what is happening visually on screen. You have this sumptuous setting and the most romantically set kiss, with the lighting, the sea, etc. and then all of a sudden you see Amidala pull away and the moment is lost. The music catches all of this in the exact manner that is is seen and directed, which is what a composer should do.

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A.I. - bedroom argument scene, right after David is introduced, comes pretty close to the worst scored scene. I don't know whether to fault Williams or Spielberg though - that scene should simply not have had any music - and if it should, it should've been a background scoring, not a foreground one, trying to intensify the tension on the screen.

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I totally agree with Marc; it'd've been completely illogical to insert a comic scene there (not that Lucas hasn't done illogical things before). The thing is, the music was pretty much what made the scene comical. Take out the music, and you'd've got pretty much no laughs, unless you're just an idiot who laughs at everything. Of course, I expect you people to reply that that's merely a testament to the power of film music... ::rolls eyes::

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I basically agree Merkel's postt. JW, likes always, scores a scene in a literal way. If the scene doesn't work its because of the way its directed. The music just reinforces in the musical idiom what is happening visually on screen. You have this sumptuous setting and the most romantically set kiss, with the lighting, the sea, etc. and then all of a sudden you see Amidala pull away and the moment is lost. The music catches all of this in the exact manner that is is seen and directed, which is what a composer should do.

A composer should also have an interpretive sense of the tone of the story and where it's going. True, JW says he doesn't like to read scripts first because he likes to react primally and expressly to the visuals. But I'd say that if he doesn't take into careful consideration the narrative concerns afterward, then he's not doing his job.

Just because it was an embarrassing moment for Anakin and Padme doesn't mean we're supposed to laugh.

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Here's an adapted and inversed thread idea from FSM.

any scene where looping or bad editing is suspected don't count.

Mine:Anakin and Padme Break Off their First Kiss(Unreleased on c.d.,Attack of the Clones)

I agree completely. I'm also with Simon R.'s idea that Williams' music in that scene from A.I. was way too intrusive.

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Don't forget, Williams has a well wicked sense of humor.

He nails it every time, no matter what he's working with.

See him on the live at the shrine footage on the E.T DVD "It's like having a camera in your bathroom, I'm glad I'm clothed" (or something like that)

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Don't forget, Williams has a well wicked sense of humor.  

He nails it every time, no matter what he's working with.  

See him on the live at the shrine footage on the E.T DVD "It's like having a camera in your bathroom, I'm glad I'm clothed" (or something like that)

That's great. I'm glad to hear that Williams can't subordinate his "wicked" sense of humor for the sake of filmic appropriateness.

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As Kevin, the music was suposed to make the scene humoristic. People weren't laughing at the music, they were laughing because of the music, and in that sense, JW did his job perfectly.

I dunno, Merkel....the laughter I heard in the theater was uncomfortable, almost bewildered. My friend (a composer himself) and I shared a look of disbelief ourselves. The change was so sudden, so overstated, that it called attention to itself instead of supporting the scene (its primary obligation). That's part of the problem, I think. There's no clear idea what the intention is, whether humorous or otherwise. That should never be a problem; the director should always make the dramatic intent of a scene understood.

And if it was meant to be amusing, that's just another liability in a love story fraught with them. From a few fragmented moments (such as the arena entrance), it's clear enough that Lucas was making an attempt at an epic romance here. Trouble is, after enduring scenes like the Mentos-commercial meadow scene, the pubescent puppy-love angst of the evening by the fireplace, and yes, the kissus-interruptus, it's very hard to take this seriously as a passionate tale of star-crossed lovers. That's one of the things I stated once before - that Williams, in writing a theme both epic and passionate, blessed this story with music it frankly doesn't deserve, or at the very least, can't live up to. The real problem with this is, as a result, Williams is forced to play down to the material more than once, such as having to water down the theme with a few measures of playful xylophone during the aforementioned meadow antics - or worse, to completely seize the orchestra at the moment of lip failure. Compare this last example to the concupiscent building of music in the Raiders scene when Marion kisses Indy, only to have the moment interrupted by a sudden attack of narcolepsy. Williams didn't cut the music off all at once; there was a sudden decrescendo, yes, but he filtered in a lilting coda, a postscript to remind us the scene wasn't over yet and that Marion - and the audience with her - was still awake.

I think we all agree that filmusic is a representation of emotional subtext. Well, emotions, especially those experienced in a situation like this, don't just turn off with the flip of a switch. It would have been infinitely better to do something similar to the Marion/Indy scene, and insert at least a few soft notes to express the emotional wake and inevitable consequences of what just took place. As it is, John's cutoff affected the empathy of this scene in much the same way the cold shower affected Anakin in the next (in a sequence removed from the final cut of the film).

I have to go with you on this one, KM....I don't think I could come up with a better example of a poor decision by the Maestro. Still makes me cringe just thinking about it.

- Uni

Note: This post represents a subjective response to a subject previously deemed public domain, and does not in any way constitute Lucas-bashing, Star Wars-hating or any other form of derogation against franchises in galaxies far away. Thank you.

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Well my comment was really directed at K.M, who started the thread.

Still, I always appreciate what Johnny boy does, how he plays around at times. He is often way ahead of the ball as far as what the filmmakers are hoping for.

Perhaps only Spielberg can keep up with him.

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I wasn't watching, and almost missed the landmark....

The last post I made in this thread was my 100th. I'm in triple digits at last. I would celebrate, but after comparing my numbers with those of Stefan's, I think I'll just drink some hot chocolate and lie down instead.... :)

- Uni....who keeps telling himself he values quality over quantity....

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KM, you didn't like the confession scene? I think it's one of the best scenes in any SW movie.

The music in this specific scene was very effective,so in the end I did like the scene

K.M. playing around with HTML codes

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I agree with K.M. That first kiss scene was one of the worst scored scenes in any movie, by any composer. I am the first to be knight in shining armor when it comes to Williams but that was just plain embarrasing. I went with not one, but 5 composer buddies of mine and some other friends. It's the ifrst thing we all talked about when we left the theatre. It was just BAD. I have no clue what he was thinking, but that scene was not supposed to be funny. Lucas is trying (failing) to build up a romance in the style of any epic out there. No one would inject that sort of ridiculous humor there. Everyone laughing that was in my vicinity was completely confused. There were shouts of "Oh come on!" and "What Crap" etc etc etc... I really truly hope it was a George Lucas mistake, but whoever it was, bad choice!

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I dunno, Merkel....the laughter I heard in the theater was uncomfortable, almost bewildered.  My friend (a composer himself) and I shared a look of disbelief ourselves.  The change was so sudden, so overstated, that it called attention to itself instead of supporting the scene (its primary obligation).  That's part of the problem, I think.  There's no clear idea what the intention is, whether humorous or otherwise.  That should never be a problem; the director should always make the dramatic intent of a scene understood.

I didn't find it funny at all, and I think it made good dramatic and emotional sense in that it's sort of a back to reality thing for padame. And anyway, I always try and focus on the music so to me it didn't make any difference how much the music was gaining attention. And has the big bonus of being unconventional.

That's one of the things I stated once before - that Williams, in writing a theme both epic and passionate, blessed this story with music it frankly doesn't deserve, or at the very least, can't live up to.

I think that's sort of the point of it, after all the romance is doomed to fail.

The real problem with this is, as a result, Williams is forced to play down to the material more than once, such as having to water down the theme with a few measures of playful xylophone during the aforementioned meadow antics

I don't see the problem with doing that.

The worse scene scored by Williams is when Obi Wan is holding onto that assassin droid thingy. Williams scores it as pure excitement. Doesn't make any sense at all when the scene appears scary and you can see fear on obi wan's face.

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I think.  There's no clear idea what the intention is, whether humorous or otherwise.  That should never be a problem; the director should always make the dramatic intent of a scene understood.

I think this is the key to the thread. No matter how well Williams scored it, I think the point Lucas wanted to make wasn't clear. I'm also thinking now of the representation we have of Yoda after seeing AOTC... But that's been already discussed and is a dead-end topic.

And Also thanks Uni. I still really enjoy reading your posts (always a good point of view, clear as the sky, soft and smooth as Amidala's skin... LOL I'll stop now, I'm turning into a Lucas... :biglaugh: )

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IMO ROTFLMAO ,Two persons have strayed away from the point of the topic

1- Morn(as usual),AUTOMATICALLY disagreeing and then giving a VERY WEAK example of what hardly anybody would consider a badly scored scene.

2-JoeiAr, pointing as expected at the two Spielberg MOVIES he didn't like as "probably" having scenes scored inappropriately (one of the only thing that IS right about the FilmTracks review of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is that it's score album does seem to be born from fantasy/adventure films that Williams scored in between 1989 and 1992,mainly Home Alone,INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE and HOOK)

To keep the topic going,here's (imo)another specific example of an errely weird scored scene in THE PATRIOT.In the big end battle scene,as limbs are ripped off by canonballs,people explode and blood splatters all over the screen,we get a treated to a rousing kick ass rendition of the main theme(great on c.d.,but imo inappropriate in the film)

K.M.

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'Traning Montage' from 'Spacecamp' gets my vote, with an honorable mention going to another training cue, this time from 'Hook', think it was called 'Pick Em Up' or something like that? 'Orrible as Bob Hoskins would say.

'We Don't Wanna Grow Up' isn't much better mind you.

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Williams light pop and disco like tunes are weak,cheezy and basically don't fit any scene in which they appear.

It's too bad the official c.d. release of Hook is almost ruined by "Banning Back Home","We Don't Wanna Grow Up" and "When you Alone".At least on expanded 2 c.d. boot they yanked some of these out or tossed them at the end of disk 2.

K.M.

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IMO  :) ,Two persons have strayed away from the point of the topic  

1- Morn(as usual),AUTOMATICALLY disagreeing and then giving a VERY WEAK example of what hardly anybody would consider a  badly scored scene.

2-JoeiAr, pointing as expected at the two Spielberg MOVIES he didn't like as "probably" having scenes scored inappropriately (one of  the only thing that IS right about the FilmTracks review of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is that it's score album does seem to be born from fantasy/adventure films that Williams scored in between 1989 and 1992,mainly Home Alone,INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE and HOOK)

See KM, I disagree, I feel that both Harry Potter scores are firmly entrenched in the 77-84 period, rather than that awful 89 period.

It is very hard saying the worst. I really don't want to pick on AOTC, but that would be my easy choice.

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The first kiss in AOTC was the first and only time I didn't give Williams the benefit of the doubt. I think the music after Padme pulls away could have been more subtle, or the crescendo before that could have been toned down.

Think about the same moment in Empire. The music doesn't abruptly stop. It segues nicely into plucked strings (when 3PO enters). Yes, we don't have a comical entrance in AOTC, but the music there is so cliched. If you watch any similar moment in a romantic comedy, you'll find the composer doing the exact same trick for intended laughs. It seems hard to believe that Williams or Lucas want us to laugh at Anakin for kissing her, or at Padme for pulling away quickly.

AOTC is not a romantic comedy. Williams is not your typical composer. He and Lucas should have agreed on a subtler approach.

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My vote goes to the totally disastrous intrusion of the DotF concert arrangement in the TPM light-sabre fight scenes, followed by the highly inappropiate (to say the least) and absurd substitution of the original Ewok Celebration in ROTJ with "Victory Celebration" (which, nevertheless, is a good theme by itself) for the SE.

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