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Ranking JW's 21st century scores


Alex
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Sad to see all these dismissals of MUNICH -- in my opinion one of the strongest Williams scores in the 2000s (clocking in at my own 7th place on the list on the last page), for one of the very best films he's worked on in the same period.

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1. A.I.

2. Memoirs of a Geisha

3. Star Wars - The Force Awakens

4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

5. War Of The Worlds

6. War Horse

7. The Adventures of Tintin

8. Catch Me If You Can

9. Terminal

10. Star Wars - Episode II - Attack of the Clones

11. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

12. Star Wars - Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

13. Minority Report

14. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

15. Munich

16. The Book Thief

17. The Patriot

18. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

19. Lincoln

 

Karol

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Christ this is tough...

 

1. A.I.

2. Minority Report

3. Lincoln

4. The Revenge of the Sith

5. Memoirs of a Geisha

6. Munich

7. The Force Awakens

8. The Attack of the Clones

9. The Philosopher's Stone

10. The Patriot

11. The Prisoner of Azkaban

12. War of the Worlds

13. The Chamber of Secrets

14. Catch Me If You Can

15. War Horse

16. The Terminal

17. The Book Thief

18. The Secret of the Unicorn

19. The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

 

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The Patriot 

The Force Awakens

AI

Lincoln

The Prisoner of Azkaban

The Sorcerer's Stone

Revenge of the Sith

Memoirs of a Geisha

The Adventures of Tintin and the Secret of the Unicorn

War Horse

Minority Report

The Terminal

The Chamber of Secrets

Attack of the Clones

Munich

War of the Worlds 

Catch Me If You Can

Indiana Jones 4

The Book Thief

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2 hours ago, Thor said:

Sad to see all these dismissals of MUNICH -- in my opinion one of the strongest Williams scores in the 2000s (clocking in at my own 7th place on the list on the last page), for one of the very best films he's worked on in the same period.

I like parts of it, but also feel it actually harms the film slightly. Which isn't any good anyway, despite solid direction.

 

Karol

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I just don't find it clever/intelligent/insightful enough. It kind of glosses over the subject matter without ever making any interesting point. I put it in the same category as Birdman... too ponderous and on the nose. And Williams' score, while pretty in places, is guilty of the same thing.

 

Karol

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29 minutes ago, crocodile said:

I just don't find it clever/intelligent/insightful enough. It kind of glosses over the subject matter without ever making any interesting point. I put it in the same category as Birdman... too ponderous and on the nose. And Williams' score, while pretty in places, is guilty of the same thing.

 

While MUNICH is Hollywood-sanitized, it is much more angry and bleak than either 'Amistad' or the recent 'Lincoln' and 'Bridge of Spies' - two movies which truly lack any interesting point. The best thing one can say about the score that for once its muted and subservient. Compare it to, say, the labored jewishness of Perlman playing 'Schindler's List's main themes it strikes me as rather off-the-nose, for Williams especially.

 

Bottom line: neither movie nor score deserve 5 stars but for this team, they are formidable deviations.

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Yup. It's the last Spielberg film that actually felt somewhat raw, which is what I can admire about it. The same could be said for the score, which is a great gem in Williams' post-2000s oeuvre.

 

Having said that, Birdman is a much better and more effective film than Munich.

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BIRDMAN was the most overrated film last year (it's a 2015 film in Norway). Didn't care for it at all, but I absolutely adored this year's THE REVENANT (it's a 2016 film in Norway). Hope it takes most of the Oscars it's nominated for.

 

In any case, I agree with publicist in that MUNICH is such a raw, sober portrayal (about as raw as Spielberg can get, anyway), but also very beautiful at the same time. So many fantastic things going on in the mise-en-scene here -- visual motifs (like hands), for example -- that makes it a multi-layered film. Williams' score answers beautifully to that in its restraint -- seething like a hypnotic pulse in the suspense scenes, but occasionally rising to the occasion (like the gorgeous cue with the Israeli hymn). The film is such a masterpiece, and deserves credit for being so.

 

It's also possible to give it credit without putting down other films (I like films like AMISTAD, LINCOLN and BRIDGE OF SPIES, but for wholly other reasons).

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1 hour ago, publicist said:

 

While MUNICH is Hollywood-sanitized, it is much more angry and bleak than either 'Amistad' or the recent 'Lincoln' and 'Bridge of Spies' - two movies which truly lack any interesting point. The best thing one can say about the score that for once its muted and subservient. Compare it to, say, the labored jewishness of Perlman playing 'Schindler's List's main themes it strikes me as rather off-the-nose, for Williams especially.

 

Bottom line: neither movie nor score deserve 5 stars but for this team, they are formidable deviations.

I never had that feeling about Schindler's List because it never felt to me like a mushy melodramatic underscore. It's emotional, yeah, but very raw at the same time. It has a more of a source music kind of rawness to it. Which became a cliche bit later, after the fact. In Munich, I just feel like someone is forcing me to feel a very specific way about what I'm seeing on screen, and that infamous sex scene pushed it to the point of laughable.

 

I liked the album very much when it came out, thought it was different and all. But it soon started to fall apart in my eyes. Maybe my opinion will change again one day. We'll see.

 

Karol

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4 minutes ago, Joey said:

it should be pointed out that the Patriot is not a 21 century score but a 20th century score.

 

seriously this is a stupid mistake.

It's technically an 18th century score

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It was a bit difficult, because some scores have really strong themes, but they lose points as an overall experience.

Anyway, here's how my list could look:

 

AI

HP1

Memoirs of a Geisha

Tintin

Catch me if you can

HP3

War Horse

HP2

The Patriot

The Terminal

Munich

Minority Report

Lincoln

The Book Thief

War of the Worlds

ROTS

AOTC

KOTCS

TFA

 

As you can see, I'm not so much a fan of sequel scores, especially when I think that in a 4th, 5th...7th score, the musical thematic material and language has been exhausted and one can't bring something new and exciting.

Of course there are exceptions, eg. I think Irina's theme is one of the best themes Williams has written. If it was written for a 40s film noir it would have been a classic!

1 hour ago, Mr. Big said:

It's technically an 18th century score

Well, no it isn't. ;)

It's technically a score for an 18th century story movie.

There is a difference.

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AI, HP 1 + 3, and Catch Me If You Can are my very favorites. Dramatically and musically, I just love these to bits.

 

The Star Wars scores and HP 2 I still listen to all the time. Endlessly entertaining. We'll see about Force Awakens' longevity but it's settling very well with me.

 

Only really listen to the highlights from Memoirs of a Geisha, War Horse, Lincoln, Munich, The Terminal, and Tintin anymore but I enjoy these too in roughly listed order. In terms of ranking I'd throw at least the first four in the mix with the second group.

 

I like The Book Thief and KOTCS but have no special feelings on either. Though I recently have really been getting into "Irina's Theme" for the first time. Never really paid it much attention before, but damn it's great.

 

Sadly don't own Minority Report, War of the Worlds, or The Patriot so have yet to really listen to these carefully away from the film, but I especially love the first two in context.

 

3 hours ago, Joey said:

it should be pointed out that the Patriot is not a 21 century score but a 20th century score.

 

seriously this is a stupid mistake.

 

Everybody loves pointing out that 2000 is not technically the beginning of the 21st century, but I still am not sure why it matters...? It's splitting hairs. For casual historical/cultural discussions it's obviously easier to remember 2000s, 1900s, 1800s etc. Yeah it's a misnomer but does anybody really care that much about giving the 1st century the full 1000 years? 

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Hmmm. I must confess I haven't listened to them all . . . .

 

Of the ones I can remember

 

TFA

Tintin

AI

Harry Potter 1

RotS

Book Thief

Harry Potter 3

AotC

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1. Harry Potter 1

2. A.I.

3. The Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

4. Indiana Jones and the Aliens (because I'm lovin that jungle chase)

5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Rey's theme is so good, it bumps the score up on my list)

6. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

7. Tom Cruise I: Minority Report

8. Tom Cruise II: War Of The Worlds (love the dark, low end of the orchestra and double the timpani)

9. Memoirs of a Geisha

10. War Horse

11. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

12. Harry Potter and the William Ross (I'd put it higher, but I wish there was less revisiting of HP1)

13. The Patriot (Would still have liked to hear David Arnold score this though)

14. The Book Thief

15. Lincoln 

16. The Adventures of Tintin (somehow this score didn't do much for me)

17. Tom Hanks Vs Airport

18. Catch Me If You Can

19. Munich (I don't like the female vocals, sorry)

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, crocodile said:

I never had that feeling about Schindler's List because it never felt to me like a mushy melodramatic underscore. It's emotional, yeah, but very raw at the same time. It has a more of a source music kind of rawness to it. Which became a cliche bit later, after the fact.

 

What??? Apart from the Auschwitz cue it's solemn Hollywood with a bed of strings. Or we have very different ideas of how 'raw' and 'source music' sound.

8 hours ago, Stefancos said:

Why would Bridge Of Spies need to be bleak or angry?

 

It only needed to be interesting. Which it decidedly wasn't.

9 hours ago, Thor said:

Didn't care for it at all, but I absolutely adored this year's THE REVENANT (it's a 2016 film in Norway). Hope it takes most of the Oscars it's nominated for.

 

Yeah. Nothing better than having a good, hearty 2-hour laugh in the aisles.

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4 hours ago, MrJosh said:

19. Munich (I don't like the female vocals, sorry)

 

 

 

Pity.

That one is a so strong theme, a highlight in Williams' late period.

 

And the main theme from Catch me if you can (and father's theme) which you listed before that, were so refreshing, that's why I ranked it so high in my list.

This is the Williams I would love to hear more often.

Not the 12th or whatever Star Wars score.

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9 hours ago, mrbellamy said:

AI, HP 1 + 3, and Catch Me If You Can are my very favorites. Dramatically and musically, I just love these to bits.

 

The Star Wars scores and HP 2 I still listen to all the time. Endlessly entertaining. We'll see about Force Awakens' longevity but it's settling very well with me.

 

Only really listen to the highlights from Memoirs of a Geisha, War Horse, Lincoln, Munich, The Terminal, and Tintin anymore but I enjoy these too in roughly listed order. In terms of ranking I'd throw at least the first four in the mix with the second group.

 

I like The Book Thief and KOTCS but have no special feelings on either. Though I recently have really been getting into "Irina's Theme" for the first time. Never really paid it much attention before, but damn it's great.

 

Sadly don't own Minority Report, War of the Worlds, or The Patriot so have yet to really listen to these carefully away from the film, but I especially love the first two in context.

 

 

Everybody loves pointing out that 2000 is not technically the beginning of the 21st century, but I still am not sure why it matters...? It's splitting hairs. For casual historical/cultural discussions it's obviously easier to remember 2000s, 1900s, 1800s etc. Yeah it's a misnomer but does anybody really care that much about giving the 1st century the full 1000 years? 

Because it's incorrect. It's not splitting hairs it's wrong. O is the end not the beginning but hey if you support stupidity?

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On 31/1/2016 at 7:25 PM, Thor said:

Sad to see all these dismissals of MUNICH -- in my opinion one of the strongest Williams scores in the 2000s (clocking in at my own 7th place on the list on the last page), for one of the very best films he's worked on in the same period.

 

I think the movie is great. The score does its job well in the film, but as a listening experience in itself, it's the kind of music that tells me almost nothing, except for a few tracks which are standard good Williams, but not terribly outstanding among the rest of his output (the female vocal piece, Hativkah and Avner's theme). The film definitely has many moments of real tension, which are very well enforced by the music, but this does not mean that the music alone is good. 

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12 hours ago, Score said:

 

I think the movie is great. The score does its job well in the film, but as a listening experience in itself, it's the kind of music that tells me almost nothing, except for a few tracks which are standard good Williams, but not terribly outstanding among the rest of his output (the female vocal piece, Hativkah and Avner's theme). The film definitely has many moments of real tension, which are very well enforced by the music, but this does not mean that the music alone is good. 

 

Depends if you like textures or not. I think Williams' textures are often very interesting, including MUNICH.

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Yes, but only one. That we all know.

 

I will use a couple seconds here to praise John's 21st century scores. It's definitely better pack than the one from 90's. I know

most of the fans have been grown with the scores from 90's JP; Hook etc. but that is just nostalgic...

 

And I have to predict that after we have had the BGF, SW8, PlayerOne,SW9 and name one more 2019 Spielberg classic score

his 2010' output can battle against the 70's an the 80's!!!!!     

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8 hours ago, hornist said:

Well the Münich isn't very good because the film is awful. Nice music though.

 

Don't know what you've been smoking, but MUNICH is a masterpiece -- probably the next best film Williams has scored since 2000 (the best being A.I.).

 

Wish you could read Norwegian, because a colleague of mine wrote this brilliant, in-depth analysis of the film and its many motifs:

 

http://montages.no/2013/06/munchen-2005/

 

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Actually I can read norsk but that doesn't change my opinion about that flick.

 

And I'm not going to watch TBS, looks annoying, Hanks and everything. Steven should do only fantasy like MR,BGF etc. where he is good at.

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6 minutes ago, hornist said:

Actually I can read norsk but that doesn't change my opinion about that flick.

 

And I'm not going to watch TBS, looks annoying, Hanks and everything. Steven should do only fantasy like MR,BGF etc. where he is good at.

 

Ah, I see. THAT's why we disagree so fundamentally on this. I love Spielberg in fantasy mode etc., but I love his "serious" films just as much (sometimes even more). It's how he constantly alternates between the two, but with his own visual and thematic trademarks running through, that makes him such an auteur and the greatest filmmaker who ever lived.

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Nice discussion! :)

 

I'm biased toward some movies (Star Wars for example) so I don’t think I can make a fully objective list. I certainly have favourites from this century, I’m one of the people who really loves his later scores.

 

If I’m trying to be as unbiased as possible (so I exclude all SW and HP), then I think my no. 1 is Memoirs of a Geisha. I did not know anything about it before listening to it and seeing the movie, and it completely blew me away. Beautiful, just beautiful. With awesome solo performances, Asian influences, but with his recognizable style.

 

I really loved his quieter outputs from this time period, like the Terminal and Catch me if you can.

 

War Horse was another score I did not know anything about but loved, but from the same category I couldn’t really get into AI, because back then I did not like the child actor who played the main character. So again, I cannot be objective about the music because my experience with the movie altered my experience with the score.

 

In the battle of the Americana, The Patriot wins for me over Lincoln, mainly because I love its action writing, Tavington’s Trap is one of my secret favourites. As I’m not a US citizen, the added historical emotional component is not as powerful for me, so I can view it as an outsider. And I can say I really like his American-themed scores (JFK, 4th of July, Nixon, etc.).

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10 hours ago, SzPeti42 said:

I couldn’t really get into AI, because back then I did not like the child actor who played the main character. So again, I cannot be objective about the music because my experience with the movie altered my experience with the score.

 

I hate the movie something fierce but the score is in my top 5 Williams' scores in the last 15 years, and one of my favorites in general.

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52 minutes ago, nightscape94 said:

 

I hate the movie something fierce but the score is in my top 5 Williams' scores in the last 15 years, and one of my favorites in general.

 

I can get behind that, I’m just usually not like that. It’s easier when I listen to the score first and I build an emotional connection with it before seeing the movie, so I can love it even if the movie does not meet my expectations, but back then I was like 13, without fast internet here in Hungary, and with really inflated CD prizes and a general lack of public interest in these kinds of music.

Generally I could get 1 or 2 Williams albums for Christmas or Birthdays if you could find any at all and that's it. I received Harry Potter and the 69-99 Greatest hits CDs as presents around that time, so the only time I heard AI when they broadcasted the movie on TV.

 

I’ve listened to the score a few times since then, but the emotional connection is not there. I can say that it is a really fine score, and I do like it, I just couldn’t put it as my all-time favourites :)

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1 minute ago, Thor said:

Wow. It's hard to imagine two people having SO radically different opinions on a film. For me, it's on so many "top" lists -- best film since 2000

What movie from 2000 beats A.I?  Is it The Patriot? 

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