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The Journey to the Grey Havens Vs. / Saying Goodbye (from E.T.)

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;)

It'd been so long by now, but I've just been listening to the complete Grey Havens track (as heard on the CR) and it felt so fresh and moving to me; I was actually compelled to compare it with E.T.'s legendary farewell cue which too deals with exactly same themes as the LotR piece. Both have moved me to tears within their respective films and indeed outside of them as music in their own right. What's interesting though is there's a massive dramatic and stylistic gulf between the pieces - with E.T.'s cue being very much the full-on romanticised hit of sheer unabashed sentimentalism and RotK instead taking a far more tactile and reflective approach whose own melancholic flavour seems to work on more of a reflective, yearning level. It's a very gentle piece. The two cues are desperately bitter-sweet, but very different in terms of how they ultimately accomplish the same thing.

Which do you prefer?

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I love The Grey Havens to death. It's deeply moving and elective.

But...

Saying Goodbye is the single greatest track that John Williams has ever composed. When he passes away it is the one I will be playing after I hear the news and I will cry for him.

And when JW reaches heaven, God will thank him for that track. For creating the one thing He couldn't!

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The 1982 OST is as close as the film version as has been released and it's the one I listen too.

Lee I've listened to that track HUNDREDS of times since the 90's. And still none of it's power is diminished.

I have the E.T. Blu-ray here, waiting to be watched.

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I've worn several casette tapes with E.T.

I played it endlessly on my bikeride from school to home.

I've got the OST on CD 3 times, for some reason.

The weird thing is, even though Williams and others have recorded it with other orchestra's, and I've heard it performed in concert twice (once by the LSO no less) For some reason it never has the same impact as the "original" recording.

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Why is this not a poll?

Anyway, it may be the minority opinion, but I think Williams has done better than ET. The Grey Havens for me. ET hits too close to the typical sirupy Hollywood ending for me. And it's not bad.

But, despite being basically built just around a few chords, The Grey Havens is really an exercise in placing music to perfection, and doing so much with so little. It doesn't litter the scenery with superficial sugar, which would have been all to easy, but rather a very calm sense of realisation that is found very rarely. And it's really that which makes the scene so gutwrenching.

On the other side, I have a John Williams finale of which there are plenty.

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Is anyone seriously expecting a fair comparison here?

Possibly the highest regarded Williams finale of all time, and against a score that many people here hate? It's an invitation for KM to come in and tell anyone who votes LotR that they're morons.

E.T. is superior to any other film composer's work. It's the definitive score.

I find many parts of it rather boring really. And yes, I'm, serious.

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E.T. is a beautiful, brilliant score, and clearly one of William's best. That much is clear.

Nonetheless, I prefer The Grey Havens, if for no other reason than I feel more of an emotional connection to what's going on in ROTK than I do at the end of E.T. And I don't necessarily agree that they're covering the same exact same emotional ground. I'm also not nearly as big a fan of E.T., the movie, as I am ROTK, or any of the LOTR films, and admittedly I can't separate that from how I feel about the score in general. And while I think ROTK is the weakest of the three films, for a variety of reasons, the Grey Havens scene packs an emotional punch for me.

In fact, as an adult, there are several times in the last 30 min of ROTK that I've gotten choked up, and that's never happened in my viewings of E.T. as an adult. So that obviously has an impact on how I regard the music accompanying those scenes as well. It has nothing to do with Williams vs. Shore and who did their job more effectively, they both succeed remarkably. But yeah, I prefer the Shore in this case.

Sorry.

PS. Yoda and the Force is the greatest piece ever Williams ever composed.

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When I first saw ROTK the ending has a terrible impact on me and so did the music. Today I like the music, I particularly like the end credits song, but I don't feel the same. Just a certain melancholy. I don't associate the music with the film much either.

When I first saw E.T. I felt that certain melancholy making its way into the music. But today it makes me want to cry my eyes out. I mostly only listen to the beginning of the score.

The kid wants to be an adult, the adult wants to be a kid.

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The E.T. finale works better without that horrible music. ;)

Karol

Hmmmm. If the point of that clip is supposed to be that the scene sucks w/o William's music, I'm actually not that sure it accomplishes what it wants to. I think the scene without music has a kind of atmospheric coolness about it...I love all the ambient noises going on there...the soft hum of the ship, the owl, the quiet night breeze. Beautiful sound production.

Not that it's better obviously, just different from the very Hollywood emotional moment the score creates. The scene clearly would not work this way, but I enjoyed watching it like this.

Interesting. But off the top of my head I can think of half a dozen Williams cues (I don't know, Binary Sunset) that would have illustrated this point better.

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I find that ET has an Identity crisis, the more dire film score, and the happier album.

I find the finale (after the action music) meandering.

Really? I think the triumphant finale (after all the sobbing is over and E.T. returns to his ship) is possibly the greatest close to a movie, ever. Williams and Spielberg talk a lot about synch throughout this long piece and while it's the case that they were on a technical level, it's never mentioned by anyone that in those final closing seconds as the ship lifts off director and composer were in synch on much more than than just a technical level. It was there mentally and spiritually, too. Powerful stuff.

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The whole notion of that just seems "too hip for the room" kind of talk. I can see it now... film class... everyone watches the ending of E.T., and with berets and finger-snapping, the class agrees "Man, dig that downer music, turn it off, Daddy-O! I can't handle you right now, JW."

Beatnik1.jpg

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Is anyone seriously expecting a fair comparison here?

Possibly the highest regarded Williams finale of all time, and against a score that many people here hate? It's an invitation for KM to come in and tell anyone who votes LotR that they're morons.

Wait, so we're not allowed to compare a JW work to a non-JW work because we're biased? Can't we just enjoy the conversation for its own sake, regardless of bias? Is anybody claiming this thread was intended to establish the definitive answer to the question of the two cues?

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