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THE LAST JEDI - Score as heard in the movie thread - SPOILERS ALLOWED


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It's not about getting "upset" at the fact people don't like the score. It's the fact that we can't have a single thread on a JOHN WILLIAMS FAN FORUM to discuss the score's merits without the usual su

I'm with crumbs on this one. Every single discussion about this score that I've been involved in on this forum has died a premature death. Chen, you might not want to hear it but you're one of the wor

7 hours ago, gkgyver said:

 

Listening to his output of the last 10 years circa, I'd say what he is still suited for and excels at are his own concert compositions, drama movies, Spielberg films, and generally lower key films where his incredibly matured and experienced sense for flow and drama can come to full fruition.

He is not really suited anymore for writing a 120+ minute score full of action and a gazillion notes per page, including conducting, because that is very exhausting at his age, and that includes Star Wars films. And it shows that it's exhausting.

The highest creativity gets lost in that exhausting process, and that also shows.

 

I'm glad he can do another trilogy, but then he should really really stop.

 

I agree. TLJ is the least interesting Star Wars soundtrack, not counting Rogue One.  

Best movie since Empire, but worst soundtrack. 

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5 hours ago, crumbs said:

 

We clearly listened to a different score because The Last Jedi does not reflect this post at all. The score is even more energetic and orchestrationally dense than The Force Awakens, which he wrote two years ago. It's brimming with life in a way that other composers simply cannot match, because they just don't have the depth of understanding Williams has for the orchestra. This score feels right at home with almost anything he was writing in the early 2000s.

 

Williams of the early 2000s would never write a new score which:

is so thin on new thematic material.

recycles familiar themes in familiar settings.

uses said themes to excess and to little narrative purpose (e.g. The Force).

sticks so close to the temp-track and even lifts material from other compositions (e.g. the long goodbye)

 

Previously, I assumed this was Johnson's fault, but if his remarks on letting Williams do his own thing are to be believed, than we can't help but infer that Williams just wasn't as "into it" as before, which is understandable after 40 years and seven films.

 

I like the score, but its not one of his best efforts in the series, or in his career in general. That it is unfortunate, doesn't make it any less true, and no amount of wishful thinking will undo that.

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Two things I think this score needed or should change (but won't):

 

1) A strong, emotional core - a theme that could bridge Rey, Luke and Kylo that manifested as the narrative progressed.

 

2) Less reliance on older themes. The score often feels like a playbook of all of the prior themes in a similar fashion to Return of the Jedi. 

 

I think it's an underwhelming score, but I think my perception has been skewed by both the film it's attached to and my expectations before hearing it. I think more time spent with it, more music released from the score will definitely improve my opinion just as two years has on TFA.

 

Don't get me wrong, there are some fabulous gems to be found and the new Island/Luke theme is brilliant. I just wanted more focus, and perhaps more development for Rey.

 

Here's hoping Williams will make it to IX and assuage my fears!

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32 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

 

Williams of the early 2000s would never write a new score which:

is so thin on new thematic material.

recycles familiar themes in familiar settings.

uses said themes to excess and to little narrative purpose (e.g. The Force).

sticks so close to the temp-track and even lifts material from other compositions (e.g. the long goodbye)

 

I think what he did in TLJ isn't too dissimilar from the approach he used in Revenge of the Sith. He introduced only one new major theme in that film as well, most of the score was built upon the glossary of themes and textures he built in the previous five films. He also reprised some cues verbatim (The Duel from TESB, Duel of the Fates from TPM). Some of those ideas were much likely inspired from the temp Lucas and Ben Burtt used while editing. So it's hardly something new for him.

 

I think Williams is very conscious about the legacy of his own scores for this series of films and he's very aware about the issues such a legacy could present when writing a new chapter that has to fill into the whole musical continuum. Even at 85, it's still an ongoing process for him, a process of learning and even of trial-and-error. 

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32 minutes ago, Jay said:

The score (and film in some ways) reminded me of ROTS from my first listen, mostly in the sheer forward momentum and wall-to-wall-ness.  But I like TLJ much, much more

 

I think it's just the novelty of The Last Jedi talking.

 

I sure like Revenge of the Sith infinitely more.

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I think TLJ is the better score of the two as well, if only for how superior of a central theme Rose’s theme is to Battle of the Heroes. I realize this is an apples and oranges situation, but Rose’s theme and its development give the score more of a spine than ROTS has, even if Rose’s theme is not as prevalent as we’d like

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33 minutes ago, Taikomochi said:

I think TLJ is the better score of the two as well, if only for how superior of a central theme Rose’s theme is to Battle of the Heroes. I realize this is an apples and oranges situation, but Rose’s theme and its development give the score more of a spine than ROTS has, even if Rose’s theme is not as prevalent as we’d like

 

Rose's theme doesn't define the identity of the score in the way that Battle of the Heroes or even Anakin's Lament does, simply because it's a theme for a secondary character.

 

So much of the score is a rehash of existing themes in existing arrangements that it doesn't work for me the way Revenge of the Sith does. Sorry.

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I wouldn't say that. The thing I like about The Last Jedi is that the music is actually a presence in the film. Its all well to have nice themes, but if they aren't unnoticeable they don't become informed by the story and the visuals, which is the whole point of leitmotives. Also, I really like Rose's theme.

 

But than, so much of the score is just flat-out regurgitated from other scores, namely The Force Awakens, but also Yoda's theme straight out of the concert arrangement, the Force theme out of the Binary Sunset, The emperor's theme, as well as near-quotes (from Revenge of the Sith of all scores!) that are generated purely out of temp-track love. Come on!

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1 minute ago, Demodex said:

If it wasn't for this message board I wouldn't even know there was a new Luke/Island theme. At least DOTF and BOTH are pretty obvious in the movies they're in. 

And I still don't know Holdo's theme. 

 

And Anakin's Lament!

 

Even the music for Grievous is very high-key.

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12 hours ago, crumbs said:

 

We clearly listened to a different score because The Last Jedi does not reflect this post at all. The score is even more energetic and orchestrationally dense than The Force Awakens, which he wrote two years ago. It's brimming with life in a way that other composers simply cannot match, because they just don't have the depth of understanding Williams has for the orchestra. This score feels right at home with almost anything he was writing in the early 2000s.

 

Frankly I find your post borderline insulting and ageist, as if lecturing Williams that he's too old to be writing certain types of film scores. He can score whatever the hell he likes, his age is completely irrelevant if he

still has the passion and love for writing these scores (and one need only listen to the score to realise he does). 

 

If he was so exhausted doing these movies then he wouldn't be doing them, simple as that!

 

Then we must have listened to different scores in the early 2000s because even just based on orchestration, both TFA and TLJ immediately separate themselves from his Star Wars/Fantasy scores of the early 2000s. TLJ and AotC for example couldn't be more different in colour and diversity. Not to mention Phantom Menace or Prisoner Of Azkaban. The originality and impact of these beat TLJ any day. Hell, Tintin beats it. Crystal Skull beats it, and that had its share of nostalgia, too.

 

You won't get any discussion from me that the score of TLJ is incredibly dense and energetic, and I have no problem listening to something like The Fathiers and thinking "that is really technically excellent".

The problem is, I don't judge a score, or any music, on techniques. I judge it on how it involves me, and how it carries me along. It's not about the number of notes and gestures in each bar, it's about the meaning each note holds. And John Williams has been able for decades to capture a certain intangible "it" factor in his music, no matter how complex the cue. And with age - he is EIGHTY FIVE for Christ's sake - and his elaborate and intricate style of writing action and chase music, it's inevitable that the highest level of creativity gets lost when you take it upon yourself to write, orchestrate, and conduct 2 hours of complex Star Wars music.

I listen to this action and chase music in TLJ and TFA (more in TLJ though), and find myself saying "this is really amazingly complex", but I couldn't remember it an hour later because Williams lost the core of the music among all the boom-tzzz and runs and rips. But that's the quality Williams scores always had, being emotionally involving while being outstandingly complex. And when TLJ is emotionally involving and gets you hooked on a motif or a theme, it's recycled down to the orchestration.

The rest to me feels like Been There Done That.

 

Sure, if you listen to the CD 10 times per day, you remember it, but that's just memorizing. You never needed to listen to a Williams score a dozen times in order to play a few highlights in your head afterwards. For god's sake, the "Luke's Island" theme is a rhythmic figure that would have been a bypassing Moment in a Prequel score.

 

You can't look at me with a straight face and say the constant recycling of existing material pre-TFA doesn't take away a significant chunk of enjoyment away from the score. How can you listen to Canto Bight for example, and not play the Tintin Main Titles in your head? 

I'm well aware this isn't popular here, but in my opinion, Williams recaptured the flair of Indiana Jones ten times better than he does it with Star Wars here.

 

My stance on this isn't insulting in the least because it clearly says I'd want Williams to spend his precious remaining years writing music he excels at, and stop doing things like writing these elaborate Star Wars movies completely on his own, where he just spends a lot of energy while not reaching the level he used to. I just think at his age, he needs to work wiser, not harder.

And since Williams has a contractual thing, where he needs to sign off on any Star Wars music not written by himself, don't think there is not at least a bit of ego involved in him doing this trilogy, where he would find the thought of anyone but him scoring these main canon films not appealing, to say the least.

I stand by my opinion that the better option would have been for Williams to write a good amount of suites for the film, and work with someone he trusts to use and adapt them. This way, we probably would have gotten more creativity from Williams as far as themes and set pieces are concerned, and the rest of the underscore would have been just as sufficient.

A Chamber Of Secrets situation, with Williams being more involved instead of writing something else at the same time, would have been the better solution. It's not like the application of themes in TLJ as it is, makes a hell of a lot more sense than the application of themes in CoS.

 

The temp track excuse surely is a joke? What the hell do you think, John Williams never heard a temp track before? Is he magically bound to it?

 

Anyway, enough ranting.

Please stop pretending like everything but orgasmic enthusiasm is some form of personal insult directed at Williams or members here, or some form of disqualification for this board. And stop pretending John Williams is some kind of saint, above all human flaws such as ego.

Nobody can count the number of times other well-respected composers on this board were on the receiving ends of relentless bashing. Nobody seems to care every time. 

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3 minutes ago, gkgyver said:

 

Then we must have listened to different scores in the early 2000s because even just based on orchestration, both TFA and TLJ immediately separate themselves from his Star Wars/Fantasy scores of the early 2000s. TLJ and AotC for example couldn't be more different in colour and diversity. Not to mention Phantom Menace or Prisoner Of Azkaban. The originality and impact of these beat TLJ any day. Hell, Tintin beats it. Crystal Skull beats it, and that had its share of nostalgia, too.

 

You won't get any discussion from me that the score of TLJ is incredibly dense and energetic, and I have no problem listening to something like The Fathiers and thinking "that is really technically excellent".

The problem is, I don't judge a score, or any music, on techniques. I judge it on how it involves me, and how it carries me along. It's not about the number of notes and gestures in each bar, it's about the meaning each note holds. And John Williams has been able for decades to capture a certain intangible "it" factor in his music, no matter how complex the cue. And with age - he is EIGHTY FIVE for Christ's sake - and his elaborate and intricate style of writing action and chase music, it's inevitable that the highest level of creativity gets lost when you take it upon yourself to write, orchestrate, and conduct 2 hours of complex Star Wars music.

I listen to this action and chase music in TLJ and TFA (more in TLJ though), and find myself saying "this is really amazingly complex", but I couldn't remember it an hour later because Williams lost the core of the music among all the boom-tzzz and runs and rips. But that's the quality Williams scores always had, being emotionally involving while being outstandingly complex. And when TLJ is emotionally involving and gets you hooked on a motif or a theme, it's recycled down to the orchestration.

 

Sure, if you listen to the CD 10 times per day, you remember it, but that's just memorizing. You never needed to listen to a Williams score a dozen times in order to play a few highlights in your head afterwards. For god's sake, the "Luke's Island" theme is a rhythmic figure that would have been a bypassing Moment in a Prequel score.

 

You can't look at me with a straight face and say the constant recycling of existing material pre-TFA doesn't take away a significant chunk of enjoyment away from the score. How can you listen to Canto Bight for example, and not play the Tintin Main Titles in your head? 

I'm well aware this isn't popular here, but in my opinion, Williams recaptured the flair of Indiana Jones ten times better than he does it with Star Wars here.

 

My stance on this isn't insulting in the least because it clearly says I'd want Williams to spend his precious remaining years writing music he excels at, and stop doing things like writing these elaborate Star Wars movies completely on his own, where he just spends a lot of energy while not reaching the level he used to. I just think at his age, he needs to work wiser, not harder.

And since Williams has a contractual thing, where he needs to sign off on any Star Wars music not written by himself, don't think there is not at least a bit of ego involved in him doing this trilogy, where he would find the thought of anyone but him scoring these main canon films not appealing, to say the least.

I stand by my opinion that the better option would have been for Williams to write a good amount of suites for the film, and work with someone he trusts to use and adapt them. This way, we probably would have gotten more creativity from Williams as far as themes and set pieces are concerned, and the rest of the underscore would have been just as sufficient.

A Chamber Of Secrets situation, with Williams being more involved instead of writing something else at the same time, would have been the better solution. It's not like the application of themes in TLJ as it is, makes a hell of a lot more sense than the application of themes in CoS.

 

Anyway, enough ranting.

Please stop pretending like everything but orgasmic enthusiasm is some form of personal insult directed at Williams or members here, or some form of disqualification for this board. And stop pretending John Williams is some kind of saint, above all human flaws such as ego.

Nobody can count the number of times other well-respected composers on this board were on the receiving ends of relentless bashing. Nobody seems to care every time. 

 

Anyway....we delivered the bomb.

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7 hours ago, Chen G. said:

 

Williams of the early 2000s would never write a new score which:

is so thin on new thematic material.

recycles familiar themes in familiar settings.

uses said themes to excess and to little narrative purpose (e.g. The Force).

sticks so close to the temp-track and even lifts material from other compositions (e.g. the long goodbye)

 

Previously, I assumed this was Johnson's fault, but if his remarks on letting Williams do his own thing are to be believed, than we can't help but infer that Williams just wasn't as "into it" as before, which is understandable after 40 years and seven films.

 

I like the score, but its not one of his best efforts in the series, or in his career in general. That it is unfortunate, doesn't make it any less true, and no amount of wishful thinking will undo that.

I can't hear anything in this score that suggests a composer who wasn't interested or involved in the project. If you want to infer that, that's your right, but I think it's really unfair to insist that your dissatisfaction with the score should lead to one single assessment of Williams' investment in the work. Frankly I think the issues go beyond substituting temp track for spotting session, if we want to take Rian Johnson literally. As an aside, personally I'm still trying to square that comment with an earlier story where he talked about joking with Williams about replacing the main title as they watched the film. Perhaps he did a temp track and viewed the film with Williams without a temp? If there was just a temp and no discussion until the stage, Williams may have simply concluded that some moments were not as important musically and shifted his attention elsewhere. A lot of the dramatic underscore has its own personality and adds a lot of weight and substance to the story; the material for Luke on the island really enriches that part of the story and gives it a sense of grandeur that it might not have had otherwise. I don't think it's a case of losing interest, necessarily; it may rather be a case of him being sensitive to the fact that some parts of the film needed more attention or a different kind of attention than others. I can't listen to cues like "The Spark" or "The Fathiers," or hear the application of the themes for Luke and the island, and think he doesn't care about this anymore, or didn't care about it this time, at any rate. I just think your explanation is perhaps too facile and too dismissive. But it's really all a moot point, isn't it? No one will ever know for sure what was going through Williams or Johnson's mind.

 

One thing I do think to be true is that Johnson may not have quite known what was really possible in working with Williams--I think the score was well-served by the lack of constant rewrites, but I think a little more collaboration and discussion may have resulted in a more coherent musical narrative (or maybe not, the movie does jump around a lot). Star Wars obviously requires a different musical approach than his first three films, and it's possible Johnson didn't quite know what to do in that regard other than letting Williams alone.

 

I don't think a week is enough time to get the measure of the score, especially with half of the music in the film not appearing on the album. And as someone noted in another thread, a lot of the unreleased music isn't quite as dependent on the existing themes. A week isn't enough time for me, anyway. This score doesn't have the immediacy of TFA, but I do think it will be a grower--or at least it will be for me (and probably some others, I imagine). I certainly can't even begin to think about where it ranks in the series but in terms of sheer energy I think it outpaces TFA and the final two prequels.

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My take on the 2017 Williams versus the early 2000s Williams is that both eras have pros and cons, and I'd find it very difficult to conclusively decide which era is better. 

 

I mean I've never been a huge fan of Jango's Escape. It is perfectly fine score but I think it is a fairly weak action cue when compared to the catalog of other Star Wars action music. In contrast, The Fathiers knocks it out of the park.

 

You can criticize TLJ for apparent lack of new thematic material, but ROTS only had one major new theme and Battle of the Heroes doesn't even feature throughout the movie as much as Rose's Theme or the Luke island theme, so you could almost call it an action sequence theme (like The Asteroid Field) rather than a major thematic idea for the entire movie. And I also think Battle of the Heroes is the weakest of all the major themes to be introduced in a new SW movie and I include Rose's Theme and the Luke Island theme in that.  

 

But likewise, anyone could some up with several examples of how ROTS or even AOTC is a better score than TLJ, so ultimately it comes down to personal taste and music preferences. 

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On 12/14/2017 at 7:40 AM, Oskar said:

Guys, I can't find my absolute favourite musical moment from the film on the OST.

Am I not listening to it right, or is it not included?

 

It's when:

 

  Hide contents

Admiral Holdo turns the ship around

 

 

 

It's Holdo's Theme/Motif, Love it! I think it's in the end titles

On 12/14/2017 at 4:13 PM, Skywanker said:

Who  orchestrated the music?

Williams. He always orchestrates his own music, the orchestrators are copying everything he already orchestrated. He's pretty thorough and a control freak with his orchestrations.

On 12/14/2017 at 4:33 PM, Jay said:

 

No orchestrator is listed in the OST Album booklet, which COULD indicate JW orchestrated it all - not sure.

 

20171213_184131.jpg

TFA and TLJ and all his newer film score went straight from him to Joann Kane and the guys and girls there copied everything out into score form.

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2 hours ago, Chen G. said:

AND THAT'S THE PROBLEM.

 

I don't for a second believe that Williams meant to quote Battle of the Heroes. Its wholly inappropriate, especially within the narrative of the episodes. It was just temp-track-love.

 

JW: "But Rian baby, I don't want to quote Battle of the Heroes here."

RJ: "YOU MUST FOLLOW THE TEMP TRACK EXACTLY."

 

Yeah that seems plausible.

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1 hour ago, Bespin said:

There's bits of Battle of the Heroes in a track of TLJ.  I have to listen to it again.

 

It's in track 1 "Escape". In the film, it's when Rose's sister finally drops the bombs onto the Dreadnought. I personally think it's just coincidence. Why would that theme make any sense there? We'll never know the truth.

 

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On 12/15/2017 at 8:01 AM, Stefancos said:


There's really no reason why they couldn't have met at the end of TFA. But we didnt see it so it never happened.

They didn't meet in the film but they did meet in the book of TFA. 

 

Also Holdo and Leia were friends from childhood and there's a ton of them in the newest Leia book which is set before A New Hope.

On 12/15/2017 at 8:16 AM, mrbellamy said:

 

Yeah it's New Alliance. Probably my biggest disappointment with the score, that sequence really did deserve something much more distinctive and I think he kinda let it down. Maybe the best sequence of his career to have the most anonymous music? That and the chase through the Crait mines really felt like big missed opportunities for some bold new material.

 

One unreleased bit I noticed and liked was some pretty cool fluttering underscore as Rey's pod landed to meet Kylo.

They didn't bother me in the film and I loved the use of Tie Fighter Attack during the Crait chase as they were being attacked by Tie Fighters. As for the unreleased music, I LOVED that music with that triplet trumpet line as her pod was descending!!!

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I also seem to recall a near-quote of Anakin's Betrayal; and the return of the SATB choir and chu-daiko also shows the footprints of Revenge of the Sith, as well.

 

I would have been more okay with it if it were based on some other, more closely related scores in the Star Wars narrative. Sadly, Revenge of the Sith and these themes have nothing to do with this film.

 

13 minutes ago, artguy360 said:

It's hardly a quote anyways and only the most devoted JW fans notice the similarity. 

 

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