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At what point did we start to consider Williams as a bad composer and how do we feel about it?


Joni Wiljami
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Autopilot and complex are two different things. I also don't think he is too loud.

I think he can't write simple music and contrast it with complex music anymore. He writes complex music and really complex music.

You simply can't deny that Williams's writing relies on more ornamentation in the last 15 or so years than the rest of his career. There are of course notable exceptions: Prisoner of Azkaban, Memoirs of a Geisha, War Horse. Those three scores are very effective in balancing simplicity with complexity as needed.

Most of his other work in the last 15 years sounds like he didn't write notes with a pencil, but instead spray painted the notes onto the page.

It's an annoying compositional choice to say the least, and I think it works to the detriment of his scores.

However I would rather listen to 70 minutes of John Williams' spray painting than many other composer's works. So...there's that.

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I think to most JW is still tops by far.

but in the last few years members joined who like Howard Shore and LotR better or Zimmer type scores equally to Williams and they tend to be pretty vocal about it (like the other thread gkgyver started)

I don't really care how Williams scores fit in the films in the past 10 years , most of them are mixed too low anyways to have any impact. I just care about the music in itself on c.d.

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Most of his other work in the last 15 years sounds like he didn't write notes with a pencil, but instead spray painted the notes onto the page.

It's an annoying compositional choice to say the least, and I think it works to the detriment of his scores.

I just cannot disagree more.

Well it's my job here.

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but in the last few years members joined who like Howard Shore and LotR better or Zimmer type scores equally to Williams and they tend to be pretty vocal about it (like the other thread gkgyver started)

I find this funny, Williams's Star Wars was my first film score, and yet I like LOTR and certain Zimmer/Powell scores as much as some of the Star Wars scores, just because one doesn't like only Williams, doesn't mean he's a bad guy.

besides, K.M you liked Griskey's score to TFU, and I find that to be worse than some Zimmer scores...

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Yes, scores like A.I., MR, CMIYC, Azkaban, Geisha, SITH, WarHorse & Tintin are very autopilot?!?!

Sorry, there is no film composer who had outdone even this short period....

I specified "on and off." A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Prisoner Of Azkaban, and War Horse are insanely good scores. Tintin, Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, and Chamber Of Secrets not so much.

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Hornist,

I think I've used this analogy before, but I think it wonderfully illustrates how John Williams' writing has changed over the last decade and half.

This was the John Williams I think is genius, combining elegant simplicity with rich but complex but crisp and clear detail.

Baroque architecture:

3iMlf.jpg

Below is John Williams' majority of output over the last 15 years..combining "That's a bit much" with "OWWWWW GOOD LORD THAT'S EVEN MORE! MAKE IT STOP! NO IT HURTS. SO MUCH...NOOOOOO!"

Rococo architecture:

PP6py.jpg

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Neither would I.

I'm personally fine with his dense action writing. Do I prefer his classic stuff? Yes. But the new style doesn't bother me as much as it bothers others around here.

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Would we prefer that Williams was part of the brutalism school?:

Jarvenpaan_kirkko020905.jpg

(That is a church btw, not a prison)

And no I do not think he is a bad composer but best of composers.

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I think to most JW is still tops by far.

but in the last few years members joined who like Howard Shore and LotR better or Zimmer type scores equally to Williams and they tend to be pretty vocal about it (like the other thread gkgyver started)

I don't really care how Williams scores fit in the films in the past 10 years , most of them are mixed too low anyways to have any impact. I just care about the music in itself on c.d.

Why is it that you have to shoehorn LotR into your posts whenever a discussion arises that could lead to people saying Williams compositional choices in the last 10 years have been less than ideal?

The thread I started was about Williams overorchestrating and overdoing his action\adventure style. Nobody brought up either Zimmer or Shore, and most certainly nobody said Williams was a bad composer.

People here are so insanely touchy.

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I think it's a good metaphor, because I feel the same way about those architecture styles as I do JW's music: both are equally good, but for different (and similar) reasons.

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At what point did we start to consider Williams as a bad composer?

Did we? Over the 50 years of his cereer he has come up with better or worse scores, more or less inspired ones, but, come on, 'a bad composer'?! I am not great fan of the score to War Horse as it's heard in the movie (or, to be particular, it's first half), but it's still really good music anyway.

Composing to films relies heavily on what director or producer demands, therefore most of Williams' missteps must be attributed to either their misguided direction or wrong decisions. If the music doesn't work at all or works improperly at some lever, it's their task to ask composer to make necessary changes. For example, if they expect Williams to write sweeping cue for a scene that would benefit from something restrained, it's not his fault that he deliveres.

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Dont overreact.

I mean people outrightly saying Williams music (specially in recent times) is bad.

When it isnt. You may not like it but it is not bad music.

Dont overreact.

I mean people outrightly saying Williams music (specially in recent times) is bad. or that he dropped the ball,etc etc.

When it isnt. You may not like it but it is not bad music.

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John Williams is a class of his own and the last surviving master of composition. To even use the word bad in the same sentence is an insult.

To criticize him with being too complex is of course bullshit. Some members here have no clue or don't have the "ears" to enjoy complexity and change of style in his music. They always prefer the John Williams of the 80s. They dismiss his modern action style (maybe even gone now with War Horse's new action style) and are angry about the rythmic instead of thematic/motific approach.

In their blind/deaf anger they fail to recognize recent masterpieces (Prisoner of Azkaban, War Horse, The Phantom Menace, Harry Potter 1) and fail to understand the brilliance of his modern action tracks (Best one is "Chase through Coruscant" from AOTC).

I recommend to ignore these members in regards to John Williams because they probably joined the board for other perfectly understandable reasons (It is one of the best forums on filmmusic on the web). I am glad that they are here but i am disspointed when they dismiss or fail to understand John Williams excellent work of the more recent years...

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i edited my post... but did it wrong and quoted myself. So i meant

I mean people outrightly saying Williams music (specially in recent times) is bad.

When it isnt. You may not like it but it is not bad music.

Says who? Who gives you the right to say what is bad and what is good?

Nobody. Its just a fact.

A rapper can say Mozart's music is the most dull, boring and awful music to listen to.

But the fact its Mozart's music is great, and the rapper just dislikes it.

it.

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John Williams is a class of his own and the last surviving master of composition. To even use the word bad in the same sentence is an insult.

To criticize him with being too complex is of course bullshit. Some members here have no clue or don't have the "ears" to enjoy complexity and change of style in his music. They always prefer the John Williams of the 80s. They dismiss his modern action style (maybe even gone now with War Horse's new action style) and are angry about the rythmic instead of thematic/motific approach.

In their blind/deaf anger they fail to recognize recent masterpieces (Prisoner of Azkaban, War Horse, The Phantom Menace, Harry Potter 1) and fail to understand the brilliance of his modern action tracks (Best one is "Chase through Coruscant" from AOTC).

I recommend to ignore these members in regards to John Williams because they probably joined the board for other perfectly understandable reasons (It is one of the best forums on filmmusic on the web). I am glad that they are here but i am disspointed when they dismiss or fail to understand John Williams excellent work of the more recent years...

Right, so if Williams composed something like Inception, it would be an insult to even consider it bad film scoring? Of course not! say the bear. The man is a genius for trying such a radically different approach to the medium, all hail John fucking Williams.

You're the epitome of fanboy.

i edited my post... but did it wrong and quoted myself. So i meant

I mean people outrightly saying Williams music (specially in recent times) is bad.

When it isnt. You may not like it but it is not bad music.

Says who? Who gives you the right to say what is bad and what is good?

Nobody. Its just a fact.

A rapper can say Mozart's music is the most dull, boring and awful music to listen to.

But the fact its Mozart's music is great, and the rapper just dislikes it.

it.

Why does it have to be a rapper, is it because you think it's bad music when you simply dislike it? There is no definition for good or bad music, there's just music that is universally loved or praised, music that is universally hated or trashed, and everything in between.

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John Williams is a class of his own and the last surviving master of composition. To even use the word bad in the same sentence is an insult.

To criticize him with being too complex is of course bullshit. Some members here have no clue or don't have the "ears" to enjoy complexity and change of style in his music. They always prefer the John Williams of the 80s. They dismiss his modern action style (maybe even gone now with War Horse's new action style) and are angry about the rythmic instead of thematic/motific approach.

In their blind/deaf anger they fail to recognize recent masterpieces (Prisoner of Azkaban, War Horse, The Phantom Menace, Harry Potter 1) and fail to understand the brilliance of his modern action tracks (Best one is "Chase through Coruscant" from AOTC).

I recommend to ignore these members in regards to John Williams because they probably joined the board for other perfectly understandable reasons (It is one of the best forums on filmmusic on the web). I am glad that they are here but i am disspointed when they dismiss or fail to understand John Williams excellent work of the more recent years...

Right, so if Williams composed something like Inception, it would be an insult to even consider it bad film scoring? Of course not! say the bear. The man is a genius for trying such a radically different approach to the medium, all hail John fucking Williams.

You're the epitome of fanboy.

I sure hope so, this is a John Williams Fan Board after all :john:

And of course many of the members here who like to criticise JW for whatever reasons still love many of his scores. I don't deny that. But some criticism of JW post 1999 scores just has to be ignored because it is so unfounded and sometimes even stupid.

For Inception JW would have composed something 3 classes better than anything Zimmer and his horde of ghostwriters could do.

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I just don't see why he's exempt from any criticism. I don't think it's unfounded to say Sorcerer's Stone, Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull and Tintin sound like retreads of his past work.

Come on, tell me what genres he had not done before these films (and animation doesnt count because Tintin is an adventure movie)?

Just realize that he has done almost all genres that exist. So he cannot compose a score where he doesn't retread to any of his works cause he did it all already.

To stay original means to present already done genres in new, exciting and engaging ways. He did that in at least two of the mentioned scores with outstanding effect. KotCS is in some areas a bit more average (like when he uses the same orchestrations of old indy theme statements).

I hope you get my point...

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Tintin is an animated film, but that's besides the point.

He's clearly capable of writing outstanding music without treading over old ground, but he simply doesn't in those three particular scores. Hedwig's theme is great, but I get so unbelievably bored listening to Sorcerer's Stone, it's all just Home Alone and generic orchestral writing to me. Chambers Of Secrets isn't great either. Tintin is just more Home Alone and Sorcerer's Stone stuff, with a splash of Catch Me If You Can (which is a great score). Attack Of The Clones fits right in with these scores in terms of blandness as well.

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Attack Of The Clones is mostly absolutely mind-numbing.

If I ever wanted to demonstrate to someone how John Williams sounds on complete autopilot, this will be the one.

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Ok, you didnt get my point and ignored my statement about the already done genres...

Home Alone is a christmas score with christmas songs in it. How stupid to call Harry Potter Home Alone! I mean there is only 1 minute of christmas music in Harry Potter 1 at all.

If your criticism would be the way to go we had to say the following stupid stuff:

Genre: Adventure --> ToD, LC, Jurassic Park it's all just Raiders

Horror --> Black Sunday, War of the Worlds,... it's all just Jaws and Images

Fantasy --> Harry Potter1, 2, 3, Hook, ... it's all just Home Alone

SciFi --> TPM, RotS, AOTC, Space Camp, TESB, RotJ, Superman --> it's all just Star Wars

Any Drama post 1993 --> it's all just Schindler's List mixed with ET

Jazz --> It's all just like his 60's Jazz works

...

This is so extremely stupid Koray, pls stop to judge scores and their originality on other scores composed years ago in the same genre by the same composer!

This makes no sense in a serious discussion!

Attack Of The Clones is mostly absolutely mind-numbing.

If I ever wanted to demonstrate to someone how John Williams sounds on complete autopilot, this will be the one.

It's sad that you fail to see that JW created his MOST creative and original action music in his modern action style just for AOTC. The amazing "Chase through Coruscant" cues are more complex and creative than you even begin to grasp. It's built on rythmic motifs you obviously fail to see... maybe someday

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It has nothing to do with the genre SF1_Freeze. The Sorcerer's stone can simply be tied to the melodic constructs of Home Alone and Hook. Regardless, the score might be one of the last true Williams classics.

And I also think AotC is pretty underrated around here.

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Star Wars ties into the exactly same melodic structure as Superman. I know people who constantly would confuse the Superman March and the Star Wars main title. Is anyone one of those uninspired or the same? (and PLEASE don't mention King's Row, it only shares a few notes in between)

It's of course about the genres. Home Alone, Hook and Harry Potter share the genre of magical christmas kid movie / magical fantasy movie.

Think about it, just using a similar melodic structure means nothing. Else all the Wagnerian scoring would be the same... all have the love theme, the main theme, the villains theme,...

AOTC is indeed very underrated... especially its action scoring

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I am sorry, I think SS is just a retread of Hook, it even has the "celtic" "source" music in between (Presenting The Hook vs. WhateverTheCuesAreNamedInSS)

Again, pls stop to judge scores and their originality on other scores composed years ago in the same genre by the same composer!

This makes no sense in a serious discussion!

Then every score who has a main theme, villain theme and love theme is a retread to the THE SAME OLD SAME OLD great scoring of the Golden Ages of soundtracks which would be a retread to the Wagnerian way of music. That would of course be completely stupid!

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Ok, you didnt get my point and ignored my statement about the already done genres...

Home Alone is a christmas score with christmas songs in it. How stupid to call Harry Potter Home Alone! I mean there is only 1 minute of christmas music in Harry Potter 1 at all.

If your criticism would be the way to go we had to say the following stupid stuff:

Genre: Adventure --> ToD, LC, Jurassic Park it's all just Raiders

Horror --> Black Sunday, War of the Worlds,... it's all just Jaws and Images

Fantasy --> Harry Potter1, 2, 3, Hook, ... it's all just Home Alone

SciFi --> TPM, RotS, AOTC, Space Camp, TESB, RotJ, Superman --> it's all just Star Wars

Any Drama post 1993 --> it's all just Schindler's List mixed with ET

Jazz --> It's all just like his 60's Jazz works

...

This is so extremely stupid Koray, pls stop to judge scores and their originality on other scores composed years ago in the same genre by the same composer!

This makes no sense in a serious discussion!

I ignored your point about genres because genre has absolutely nothing to do with it. It's about writing fresh music, which he has failed to do so on multiple occasions. I wasn't judging Sorcerer's Stone based on the 1 minute of Christmas music, I was judging it as a whole. A lot of its melodic ideas are derived from Home Alone and Hook. Simple as that.

Your examples of genre scoring are frankly stupid, nor is Black Sunday a horror film. I'm talking about particular scores while you keep going on about some greater whole. I never implied that all of his adventure scores sound the same, or his drama scores, etc.

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Sarcasm or not... hm

Ok, you didnt get my point and ignored my statement about the already done genres...

Home Alone is a christmas score with christmas songs in it. How stupid to call Harry Potter Home Alone! I mean there is only 1 minute of christmas music in Harry Potter 1 at all.

If your criticism would be the way to go we had to say the following stupid stuff:

Genre: Adventure --> ToD, LC, Jurassic Park it's all just Raiders

Horror --> Black Sunday, War of the Worlds,... it's all just Jaws and Images

Fantasy --> Harry Potter1, 2, 3, Hook, ... it's all just Home Alone

SciFi --> TPM, RotS, AOTC, Space Camp, TESB, RotJ, Superman --> it's all just Star Wars

Any Drama post 1993 --> it's all just Schindler's List mixed with ET

Jazz --> It's all just like his 60's Jazz works

...

This is so extremely stupid Koray, pls stop to judge scores and their originality on other scores composed years ago in the same genre by the same composer!

This makes no sense in a serious discussion!

I ignored your point about genres because genre has absolutely nothing to do with it. It's about writing fresh music, which he has failed to do so on multiple occasions. I wasn't judging Sorcerer's Stone based on the 1 minute of Christmas music, I was judging it as a whole. A lot of its melodic ideas are derived from Home Alone and Hook. Simple as that.

Your examples of genre scoring are frankly stupid, nor is Black Sunday a horror film. I'm talking about particular scores while you keep going on about some greater whole. I never implied that all of his adventure scores sound the same, or his drama scores, etc.

Oh great, that's your critizism that i put Black Sunday under horror and forgot to write thriller? Genre has to do everything with it and if you understand that you wouldnt have criticised these scores as not being fresh. Sadly you don't get my point at all or just ignore it!

I put this list together to show you how stupid that sort of argumentation is. Because this list is exactly what you are implying.

There is no retreat to the same melodic ideas. I mean just listen to the completely different themes in these movies. Nothing is the same, absolutely nothing except the GENRE, style and the FEEL of the music out of necessity!

The music FEELS largely the SAME because it is a similar Genre which out of necessity includes music written in a similar style!

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