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What changes would it take for you to not consider TLJ the worst of SW scores?

What changes would it take for you to consider TLJ score great?  

61 members have voted

  1. 1. I could have done more... but what exactly?---John Williams, 87

    • The First Order March
    • An catchy theme for Snoke.
    • A long, melodious theme for Kylo Ren
    • Reylo / Connection Theme
    • A new theme for Ankh-To. Jedi Steps is obviously not enough to represent it!
    • Rework Rebellion is Reborn, The Spark, and Canto Bight. They are all second-tier!
    • Better action music. What we got in TLJ is no good.
    • Reinvent your general sound palette (yes, again!)
    • Nothing. The Last Jedi score is already great.


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The only reason major problem with the score are the super obvious segments that are basically just pulled from the concert theme...which are obviously the parts Johnson's editor just plugged in. Everything from having the same music right after the main title, where they obviously plugged in Leia's theme for when she Mary Poppins, or Yoda's theme during his chit chat with Luke. Even Luke and Leia is almost exactly the same as the concert version when they're talking. 

 

Stuff like that reeks of not much attention given to the score by someone who doesn't understand that stuff so Williams just did whatever. 

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1 hour ago, Modest Expectations said:

So to sum up most of the complaints:

The main thing the score is lacking is... that there are inserts added? I don't understand this argument. It's like saying that Lapti Nek decreases the worth of the ROTJ score.

 

We are talking about beautiful arrangements for a concert hall being used in a film. It's excellent music put to a good, thematic use. If the argument is that they are not new, which is something socially discouraged, then just don't count them, or edit them out of your playlists. But how does that diminish what is new in TLJ compared to other SW scores?

 

That's why the poll options were basically: would action music have to be better for it to match other SW scores? Would themes have to be better? Or more numerous? What is it that it does not have?

 

"Superfluous" music can always be edited out; you can always find a way to not listen to something. But nothing can be added to tracks we got.

 

 

What does it not have? The new music that should have been written for those moments and scenes.

 

The argument that we should judge a score based only on the parts we like doesn't hold water for me. You're asking about people's perceptions of the score, and rehashed music plays a significant role in this score.

 

I do disagree entirely about Luke and Leia; that's a brand-new take on the theme, and I for one think it's fantastic. It fits the scene perfectly, it melts organically with the rest of the cue, and it never makes me think, "Here we go again." (I would have preferred not to have the piccolo solo after the main title, though. I prefer getting fresh music there, as we have with every other score except AOTC. But that's a minor issue for me when looking at this score as a whole.)

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Also I have to say that, for instance, the wish for a different take on Leia’s theme for that scene could only come from spoiled soundtrack-fans (my apologies). I mean, it’s great music, works perfectly for the scene so I don’t see the director or composer thinking ‘oh, wait, 0,01% of the moviegoers are not going to be happy with this! Let me write a new version for them, even though I still have to write some 100+ minutes of original music more but that can wait!’

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1 hour ago, Remco said:

Also I have to say that, for instance, the wish for a different take on Leia’s theme for that scene could only come from spoiled soundtrack-fans (my apologies). I mean, it’s great music, works perfectly for the scene so I don’t see the director or composer thinking ‘oh, wait, 0,01% of the moviegoers are not going to be happy with this! Let me write a new version for them, even though I still have to write some 100+ minutes of original music more but that can wait!’

 

Sure; never did I say that Williams was a colossal failure who ruined millions of moviegoers' experiences with that choice. The scene was controversial for other reasons, haha. I'm simply expressing what my brain's emotional response to the moment was, based on my own experiences and preferences. It's a very subjective thing. The only part that's pretty objective is the fact that this is different from Williams' typical approach. But whether it matters is going to vary from person to person. I have no desire to convince anyone that I'm "right" or something.

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7 hours ago, Datameister said:

 

Sure; never did I say that Williams was a colossal failure who ruined millions of moviegoers' experiences with that choice. The scene was controversial for other reasons, haha. I'm simply expressing what my brain's emotional response to the moment was, based on my own experiences and preferences. It's a very subjective thing. The only part that's pretty objective is the fact that this is different from Williams' typical approach. But whether it matters is going to vary from person to person. I have no desire to convince anyone that I'm "right" or something.

 

Yeah, it is true that it is different from Williams’ typical approach. All I wanted to say is that he probably doesn’t have people like us, a very small percentage of fans, in his mind when writing a score and making these choices. Personally I think that’s good to keep in mind when criticizing a huge score like this. :-)

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While I love the score to TLJ, I got the impression that Williams heart wasn’t in this one as much as TFA. I mean, combining unrelated themes into a single concert arrangement, a copy/paste end credits suite, less new themes/motifs and the reuse of existing music. I’m guessing the reuse of existing music wasn’t Williams idea, so I’ll give him a pass for that. Disney is all about nostalgia nowadays and understand that fans go crazy when they hear the original music verbatim. 

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I agree, I remember I first thought it was sort of boring when I heard all those concert piece moments but then realized none of them had actually been used in the films and it was just me who’d overplayed them lol. So I don’t really think it’s lazy, they’re definitive and deserved to be used as score.

 

The only thing I really agree with is the overuse of the Force theme, especially in so many similar versions (way too many on the old solo horn/strings, plus the big brassy one more than once, and the classic crescendo back-to-back at the end) The way he used it in TFA was basically perfect, I was impressed he restrained himself with it and it grows pretty naturally in the score culminating in the full Binary Sunset at the end.

 

Though I will say for TLJ, that little “fill” in the Luke’s death version just before it fully ascends is one of those great little touches that sounds like it’s always been there. It seems like something he’s thrown in there before a dozen times but I think it was new?

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On 10/23/2019 at 11:16 PM, Chen G. said:

Part of what makes it particularly egregious with regards to the Force theme is that, across all seven previous scores, it’s already been used many, many times. The Last Jedi very nearly killed it through over-exposure: it didn’t just lose its heft, it lost its meaning: It went from being the old Ben theme, to being The Force theme to being the “something-vaguely-impactful-is-happening-onscreen” theme.

 

I honestly really wish that the Force theme didn't make its first appearance in the film until the very end when Leia sees Luke for the first time in many years to coincide with Luke himself reaching out and drawing upon the Force for the first time in many years (the most important usage of the Force in the film, mind you).

 

There are scenes throughout the flick that you could argue easily justify the usage of the Force theme (Yoda showing up, Leia saving herself in space, Kylo killing Snoke, etc) but with the wealth of great themes that exist in the film to draw upon, I think you could pretty easily workaround not having to specifically use the Force theme for those instances as the payoff of waiting until the very end, over 2 hours, to hear it finally appear at the emotional climax of the film would just be so delicious. There is already so much emotional weight to that scene, but having it also be the first appearance of the Force theme within the film would really send it over the top. Would have also helped ease the perhaps excessive use of that theme in the concluding 15 minutes. 

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I suppose that when Luke is explaining the Force to Rey, you could have opted to, instead of doing a copy-and-paste rendition of the Force theme, an entity Luke himself has cut himself off from, take it as an opportunity to give us a good rendition of Luke's theme, something that I think wasn't stated in the film as much as I would have liked. Chiefly, though, the theme most appropriate would be, as you said, the Force theme, so forget what I said haha.

Ultimately I guess what I would have liked is a usage almost similar to the Bond theme in Casino Royale where Arnold hints at it throughout the film here and there but never really plays it until the very end when Bond is truly Bond. Similarly, you could have hinted at the Force theme, played maybe the first three or four notes here and there, but you never really hear it in full until the Force fully comes back to Luke at the end. I'm kinda spewing here but you get what I mean. 

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3 minutes ago, Cerebral Cortex said:

I suppose that when Luke is explaining the Force to Rey, you could have opted to, instead of doing a copy-and-paste rendition of the Force theme, an entity Luke himself has cut himself off from, take it as an opportunity to give us a good rendition of Luke's theme, something that I think wasn't stated in the film as much as I would have liked. Chiefly, though, the theme that would be most appropriate would be, as you said, the Force theme, so forget what I said haha


Although in general I really like the idea of pulling way back on the Force Theme on the island since Luke has cut himself off from it

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The problem is he kinda re(-re-re-re)purposed it as Luke’s Theme in TLJ and so it shows up everywhere, but it’s just white noise because it also serves its usual functions for the Force and whatever else.

 

Everybody points out the back-to-back reprisals at the end but the Yoda sequence is another where he specifically overdoes it. It shows up when Luke watches Rey take off on the Falcon, when Yoda lights the tree on fire, and “Skywalker, still looking to the horizon.” The first two could have been something different to at least make the third more effective. Do the ESB-style minor key Luke’s Theme for the first and a badass Yoda’s Theme for the second, easy.

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On 10/26/2019 at 11:48 AM, Remco said:

 

Yeah, it is true that it is different from Williams’ typical approach. All I wanted to say is that he probably doesn’t have people like us, a very small percentage of fans, in his mind when writing a score and making these choices. Personally I think that’s good to keep in mind when criticizing a huge score like this. :-)

 

Indeed. 

Too much bullshit here in this forum again. 

 

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2 hours ago, hornist said:

 

Indeed. 

Too much bullshit here in this forum again. 

 

 

You keep coming back so you must find some enjoyment here!

 

All I want to know is anyone actually attacking this score? The thread title presupposes there's some giant opposition who hates TLJ, when even some of the more firm statements made here are quite mild. Most of the criticism is made for what the score doesn't do versus what it does.

 

 

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36 minutes ago, hornist said:

It was not for you. I understand your point of view. Sorry! 

Hey, there's no need to apologize! We're all just discussing and debating this topic and these things come up! 

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It's not the best SW score, but not the worst either. I agree that some portions are directly extracted from the concert arrangements which makes them less... "original" but the new segments are great. I love 'The Resistance is Reborn', 'The Spark', 'The Fathiers' and, in general, all the action music. Is not a flawless score but I prefer it from all the precuels (except TPM).

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The movie and its soundtrack rely so much on old themes that I was just tired of hearing them. What I love about Williams and his scores for Star Wars is his reinvention. Each trilogy had its own themes, sound, orchestrations, colours… For me, at least. I grew up with The Phantom Menace and I don't think Williams got to write something as bold for anything. He was aiming for a new Star Wars sound — that eventually was ravaged by editing and Lucas and so on in the sequel.

 

But I don't hate TLJ. This and TFA are a bit too nostalgic for my tastes. Even the Resistance theme is… it's good. It's not great. It's sounds a bit tired. I pretty much love what Williams did for Solo tho.

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I think each of the three prequel scores hit consistently greater heights of melody, emotion, invention etc than TFA or TLJ and so they’re more entertaining to listen to on a track-by-track basis, but I am overall preferring how he’s treating the thematic material in these latest two. Like I feel pretty good that this score will showcase Rey’s Theme in a way that didn’t happen with Ep 3, beyond isolated straight reprisals of things like DotF and the funeral music and a couple novel variations on Across the Stars. I imagine Kylo Ren’s motifs and the Resistance March will continue to play their roles as well and basically get their curtain calls. Whether or not it’s like the most amazing thing ever or ends up making the superior standalone listen, it’s still an itch that doesn’t often get scratched in film scores so I am excited for that.

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6 hours ago, Disco Stu said:

I love this score but if the defense against criticism is basically “If it works for people who don’t pay much attention who cares” that’s not a very good defense.

 

You’re really exagerrating my ‘defense’ though. I only think that this particular criticism on the re-use of concert versions - since that seems to be a serious reason people enjoy this score less, of consider it the worst SW score..?! - is too far-fetched, and I explained why.

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1 hour ago, Remco said:

 

You’re really exagerrating my ‘defense’ though. I only think that this particular criticism on the re-use of concert versions - since that seems to be a serious reason people enjoy this score less, of consider it the worst SW score..?! - is too far-fetched, and I explained why.

 

Good luck trying to reason people out of their emotional responses to music. As I said before, it's highly subjective. It often takes me out of a film when I hear reused music. That's not a choice I'm making; I usually can't help feeling a sense of "here we go again", unless the music is being reused very intentionally to draw parallels between two scenes. (In this score, "Here They Come" is a good example. I really enjoy that. As an example from beyond Star Wars, I love the reprise of "Leaving Hogwarts" at the end of DH2.) The frequency also makes a difference. Doing it once or twice in a score is very different from including old material in seemingly every other cue.

 

I quite like TLJ's score. There are parts of it that I even love. But the competition is fierce, as I hold the 7 scores that preceded it in very high esteem. It's not my least favorite because I hate it or something; it's my least favorite because the others are so frickin' good. If you feel differently, I'm happy for you, or perhaps sad that you don't enjoy the others as much as I do. Different people respond differently to different music.

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3 hours ago, Disco Stu said:

JWFan is a community so specifically obsessed with one man’s music, that it can become an endless series of driving wedges into thin cracks, if you know what I mean.  Differences of opinion that aren’t really that far apart or meaningful tend to get exaggerated and factional.  I guess it’s inevitable.

 

It happens in any fan community...human nature. 🙂

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I must admit i never listened to it again after it came out, save for that one concert cue i put on some playlists. From what i remember the composting got a bit much, especially since Williams' new composing style and his more heart-on-its-sleeve old themes don't really mesh that well. All three movies should make for one good saga finale playlist, methinks. 

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