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Williams Peaked Long Ago (A Quasi-Rant) ((2016 Edit: By a Young, Inexperienced, Brash JWFan))


Saxman717
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Were you there during the production of the CD?  Was Williams?  Probably not.  the guy scored the film and then went right into working on WOTW.  Like many of his soundtracks, it's a music editor that puts these albums together and re-edits them.  Please, stop making proclamations about matters that you obviously know very little about.  Labelling Williams "lazy" is pure ignorance on your part.  Most people know that he doesn't sequence or do much on his Cd releases.  We all must wait to hear how the music works in the film.  I remember not liking the segue on TPM and then saw the film realised that the opening track on the CD had 2 separate cues strung together.  

Please, wait until all of the evidence is in before you make statements like you have regarding Williams' work ethic.

I know this too......I mentioned it a # of times in my posts above......the key is that there are a # of places on the soundtrack where I'm 90% confident that it was JW's scoring decisions that resulted in the weird-sounding transitions or amateur cut-and-pastes. Now that I have a few minutes, I'll cite some specific examples:

End Title:

6:43-6:46....transition from Battle of the Heroes to Throne Room theme....this isn't too ugly of a transition (well, there's no real transition at all).....it's written into the score this way, and seems like JW didn't really care about bridging the two themes in an epic manner (which he would've done 30 years ago)

8:18-8:23.....is it just me, or does the orchestra sound completely lost and uninspired at this point? When the strings should crescendo to a head and sound very prominent and regal, they sound pretty wussy and lackluster.....maybe this is a mixing problem, but I figured I'd mention it

8:47-8:49.......this is written in the score this way, and is the most amateur I've heard Williams write (or rerwite) an ending to his piece......also, it makes no sense, because it sounds like an ending to it, and then for 9 more seconds he rehashs the theme again, most likely just to set up the key for the force theme solo coming up, but it's still pretty amateur......it's weird have the bombastic throng room theme reprised 1 more time, and just having it abruptly cut out to a force theme solo.....these weren't mixing edits, but were performed this way, it seems

9:45-10:03.....no problems here.....this is beautiful stuff....I absolutely love it, and wish he completed the buildup phrase that he started......it practically brought me to tears........until 10:03. The tatooine escape pod theme, while interesting to hear again, to me is completely out of place at this buildup point from the force theme. It sounds like Williams is going to produce a truly heartfelt and beautiful finale, and leave all his fans in tears, but then he strangely doesn't complete the phrase and rips everyone out of an emotional state by putting in the tatooine theme (again, this is in the score, not mixed in)

11:04 Throne Room statement *again*, in another key.......the reprisal of this theme from ~10:10 until this point was alright....transition from tatooine theme was OK, and the performance of the throne room theme by the trumpets etc. was pretty dull, but now he changes keys slightly again and restates it for a 4th time, and by this point, it's getting really old and he should know to change things up...throne room theme has taken up nearly 6 minutes of the 11-12 minute end credits

11:13-11:16 WTF is this.......this is amateur at it's worst.....now I'm only 70% sure this was performed this way......it *could* have been mixed in......but it doesn't sound like it. Either way, in the score he clearly didn't write anything good to bridge the final transition between the throne room theme and the main theme. It sounds really foolish.

Anakin vs. Obi-Wan

Everything seems great, even the first ESB cue mixed in at 0:23....it's pretty hot and well-incorporated.....

0:56-1:09 ..........here's where the ugly cut and paste begins......it's a moderately sloppy transition from BOTH to this pasted-in cue, and it seems to be written in the score that way........between 1:07 and 1:09, the added statement of the imperial march at the end of the phrase sounds rather amateur to me.

1:29-1:53......no complaints here (was that another old ESB cue I briefly heard? the trumpet fanfare in there?)

1:53-2:06......transition is OK, but what are those weird, random muted cymbal crashes in the background to this old cue? It sounds pretty weird......like Williams "Special Editioning" up his old cues.....they were great the way they were before....if you're going to do anything, take them in a new direction, don't crap all over them with random percussive beats.

2:06-2:19.......those trumpet hits sound pretty stupid the way they are......I don't know why I dislike them so much, but they sound so over the top and cliche to me. This whole final restated cue from ESB really kills it for me. It *almost* worked for the times before in this piece, but this time, it makes me think I'm listening to some amateur fanboy composer throwing together old cues in a simplistic way. Williams should know (since it's his music) that placing the section from 2:06-2:19 after the section from 1:53-2:06 sounds awkward. Even the extended imperial march ending from 2:17-2:19 sounds painfully foolish. This is HIS music.....he used to know how to truly master it and develop wonderful new renditions of his themes......what is this foolishness? It's like stuff that I would hear for clips from one of those cheesy old "Making of Star Wars" VCR tapes.

Those are some parts that I can come up with right now that seem to be score-related and not mix-related.

While I'm listening, I want to mention some parts that I absolutely love, so that you all don't think I'm just some whining hater. From 2:30-the end of Anakin vs. Obi-Wan, that is brilliant stuff.....WOW....that's the kind of brilliance I want to hear throughout the soundtrack, like the old days. The opening track is great, and although pieced together, the action cues are all great and many are catchy. Some people don't like the Grievous cues, and while they are definitely in the PT style, which as a whole, I don't like too much, I do like these cues for the most part, and are satisfied with them. Anakin's Dream has some beautiful moments. The "A New Hope" part of track 15 is beautiful, but too short. I want more writing like that. There are probably some good moments in the other tracks in-between, but I haven't listened enough to remember them specifically.

-Sax Hoping I'm making more sense now and not just coming off as a no-credibility hater ;)

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I think Saxman717's post is well thought out and sincere, you may not agree, but it is lightyears above the average "Williams is a talentless hack" posts they sometimes fill the FSM Forum with.

Thanks man --- glad somebody is keeping it real on here.

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glad somebody is keeping it real on here.

if that isn't the most stupid comment I've ever heard, its way up there

its a comment for losers like Allen Iverson, "I'm just keeping it real".

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saxman, I don't think anyone's arguing about the fact that ROTS has problems in flow. Especially in the first and last tracks. They do sound edited together rather than flowing as a single composition. But I have found the same grievous errors on the other 2 prequel scores. I think this is honestly the decision of the filmmakers and not the composer. But like Ford Thaxton would say, we're just fanboys making suppositions. We do not know for sure who made what decision and making critical analyses based on these kinds of suppositions is speculative at best.

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glad somebody is keeping it real on here.

if that isn't the most stupid comment I've ever heard, its way up there

its a comment for losers like Allen Iverson, "I'm just keeping it real".

? Not sure where you're from, but I've been in North Carolina for about a year and many people say it down here. If you're pulling my leg, cool, but if not, then it's kind of low to write it off as stupid. How about this: Translation: 'Glad somebody on here can appreciate a relatively unbiased opinion and isn't too blinded by bias himself".

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glad somebody is keeping it real on here.

if that isn't the most stupid comment I've ever heard, its way up there

its a comment for losers like Allen Iverson, "I'm just keeping it real".

? Not sure where you're from, but I've been in North Carolina for about a year and many people say it down here. If you're pulling my leg, cool, but if not, then it's kind of low to write it off as stupid. How about this: Translation: 'Glad somebody on here can appreciate a relatively unbiased opinion and isn't too blinded by bias himself".

by using such lame and meaningless slang you devalue your entire thread.

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by using such lame and meaningless slang you devalue your entire thread.

Wow, sorry to hear that you think that.....not sure why you feel so strongly about such modern-day slang. Also, it's pretty irrational saying that everything I've said is garbage because I used a slang expression to thank somebody.

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Saxman. Go buy the Gerhardt conducted Star Wars and Close Encounters. Listen to theThrone Room and Finale from Star Wars. You will notice that this piece was composed a long time ago. He didn't write those transitions for RotS. He wrote them for a big Star Wars concert in the 70's.

Though, of course, there was no BotH or Lea concert version in there, but that's the only difference.

It sounds like Williams is going to produce a truly heartfelt and beautiful finale, and leave all his fans in tears, but then he strangely doesn't complete the phrase and rips everyone out of an emotional state by putting in the tatooine theme (again, this is in the score, not mixed in)

This makes me think you thought he was writing this for Episode 3... He wasn't. He wrote that transition long ago. Only until you hear the original recording can you understand. Also, why do you call it the Tatooine theme. Its not the same as that. Its a climax/transition fanfare unique to the series.

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Saxman. Go buy the Gerhardt conducted Star Wars and Close Encounters. Listen to theThrone Room and Finale from Star Wars. You will notice that this piece was composed a long time ago. He didn't write those transitions for RotS. He wrote them for a big Star Wars concert in the 70's.

Though, of course, there was no BotH or Lea concert version in there, but that's the only difference.

It sounds like Williams is going to produce a truly heartfelt and beautiful finale, and leave all his fans in tears, but then he strangely doesn't complete the phrase and rips everyone out of an emotional state by putting in the tatooine theme (again, this is in the score, not mixed in)

This makes me think you thought he was writing this for Episode 3... He wasn't. He wrote that transition long ago. Only until you hear the original recording can you understand. Also, why do you call it the Tatooine theme. Its not the same as that. Its a climax/transition fanfare unique to the series.

No, I haven't heard this concert version of the Throne Room. If part indeed is in that old version, then that's almost more disappointing....I was giving JW the benefit of the doubt that he actually put some effort into it this time to come up with some fresh developments of his old work. If all he did was slap in the concert version Throne Room piece and leave it at that, then that's pretty unfortunate and confusing.

The tatooine/escape pod cue I'm talking about is between 10:03 and 10:13. It's not a direct rip of the cue from the droids in the escape pod, but it's a rendition of it, with just slightly altered rhythems.....the same chords and instrumentation are there though, right?

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No, I haven't heard this concert version of the Throne Room. If part indeed is in that old version

Yes it's the same version he wrote for concertperformances in 1977 and was performed and recorded by Charles Gerhardt and Zubin Mentha shortly after that.

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Even if this score was at the level of a Horner score John Williams is still the man, and still has the juice. If you are not convinced go pop in Harry Potter POA. And anyone who calls him a hack is either deaf or plain ignorant.

But it is ok to like other scores more than others, and other composers more than others-this is natural. But to claim the man has no skills anymore is bogus.

Thanks my opinion.

_hoby ( who still hasn't heard the score and will not give in)

and who also blames in fault musically in the score to GL or BB - becuase I do not like them anymore.

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Hoby, I have not heard anyone make the claims you describe in your post.

Williams is still an outstanding composer, but not as good as about 25 years ago, IMO anyway.

Tru, yes not so much the members here, but the occasional people who register and then leave us a great pile of BS. If you want to hear John Williams criticized go to any good music university, the people at Eastman were the worst!! People cannot except a man as talented as JW decided to compose for film and not the concert world.

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Well, may be those last Star Wars movies (AOTC and ROTS) does not really inspire him?

Besides with A.I. and POA and Catch Me If You Can he shows us that he is still on the top of his game.

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Personally for me A.I. is as good as Star Wars, Jaws and The Temple Of Doom, its just different.

If only AI and TPM could be presented in right way on the album they can be absolute masterpieces!

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Who?

Neil

That is the kind of answer (made even when i was joking) that makes me think about what in the hell Giacchino may have done to you. Your disrespect towards him looks almost personal.

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Who?

Neil

That is the kind of answer (made even when i was joking) that makes me think about what in the hell Giacchino may have done to you. Your disrespect towards him looks almost personal.

Forgive me. I didn't realize you were the only person who could joke here.

Neil

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Who?

Neil

That is the kind of answer (made even when i was joking) that makes me think about what in the hell Giacchino may have done to you. Your disrespect towards him looks almost personal.

MG has lots of ghost writers.

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I don't GIacchino has ghost writers but he does get orchestration help from Tim Simonec (who also conducts all of his stuff too).

After listening to ROTS and also being a big Giacchino fan I'll say this: If Spielberg is looking for a John Williams replacement, Giacchino will have to work VERY VERY hard to fit that bill. Hey, Michael's really good, bu Williams' writing is still on a whole other plain.

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I just wish we would get one last score where you could truly say that was a JW work worthy of his 1980's peak period.

What about the first Harry Potter score?

Neil

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I've been noticing something that John Williams built into Revenge of the Sith. Editability! It seems to me he was aware that the film would be edited, and made the action music from the first track editable, especially towards the end of the track. Maybe he understood what rough cut means in Lucasville this time.

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What about the first Harry Potter score?  

Neil

Aside from the repetition of the theme, yes, it is superb. I think RotS will benefit from a film viewing, as well as a complete chronological release. Also, Williams usually has time to program his albums himself, but from what I understand, this time he went straight into WotW.

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I just wish we would get one last score where you could truly say that was a JW work worthy of his 1980's peak period.  

ROTS certainly isnt this.

Aawwwww. You poor thing....

Here's a bunny for you:

1bdc5c80.jpg

:wave::P

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  • 11 years later...

Resurrecting this thread, not because I have anything profound to add to it, but just because it was quite a bit of fun going back through this thread and seeing where Williams has gone in the last 11 years since its creation (as well as knowing what still lies ahead). 

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The ROTS OST was a bit weak, but once we saw the film on opening night, I know all our hairs were standing when Palpatine tells the story to Anakin.

 

Of course, now it's trendy to bash these films and write off the scores and hail Disney. But don't worry, everyone, your secret is safe with me.

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I haven't read a single entry in this thread except skimming through the first one, but interesting that it was ressurected now. I just had a discussion about this over on Maintitles, where I said that Williams hasn't "fired on all my cylinders" since 2005 -- the same year this thread was created. So what the topic starter laments in the first post, is what I now miss.

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Funny, for me he had a bit of a down phase from 2002 to 2005, seemed burnt out. All soundtracks of this phase have moments of brillance (HP3 especially), but did not convince me in their entirety as a whole body of art. But with Tintin, War Horse, Force Awakens and BFG he has started a new phase of excellence, IMHO.

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1 hour ago, Gurkensalat said:

Funny, for me he had a bit of a down phase from 2002 to 2005, seemed burnt out. All soundtracks of this phase have moments of brillance (HP3 especially), but did not convince me in their entirety as a whole body of art. But with Tintin, War Horse, Force Awakens and BFG he has started a new phase of excellence, IMHO.

 

Wow, that's actually the polar opposite of what I think. Intriguing. I found he was tremendously creative and engaging in the early 2000s, building carefully on what he did in his unsurpassed 90s, but exploring minimalist tendencies etc.

 

There have been some good individual tracks and stuff in the years since 2005, but I could easily fit them all on a neat 40-50-minute album (and perhaps throw in a couple of shorter concert pieces that have been good).

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For me the thing is simple... as they didn't make movie like "before" anymore, JW just can't produce scores like "before" anymore.

 

I know some of you guys try to view the scores as an "isolated" thing, some of you even hear scores without never having seen the movies (what an horror!). 

 

But you can't really separate a score from the movie it belongs to....They are linked, that you like it or not.

 

Movies where slow, scenes where long... and we got the music that goes with. But it's a past thing... now with all the quick and frenzy montages made by computers... we got the music that goes with!

 

JW didn't change.  But the way we make movies today changed a lot.

 

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14 minutes ago, Bespin said:

For me the thing is simple... as they didn't make movie like "before" anymore, JW just can't produce scores like "before" anymore.

 

See, that's where I disagree. Most, if not all of the movies Williams has scored since 2005 have been pretty much within his "comfort zone" of what he did before, and it clearly requires the type of music he's done with ease in the past. Yet, it seems he's not able or willing to do that anymore, so it ends up as halfassed approximations of what he once was ("whimsical" being the key adjective). 

 

You can clearly hear an evolution with his concert music (more exploratory and modern, especially the longer pieces), but he's not been in a position to apply that to his film music. If he had, we would probably have gotten something far more interesting. This is what I felt he managed so wonderfully in the early 2000s, but I think a mental 'schisma' happened after his post-2005 break from film scoring.

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1 hour ago, Thor said:

 

Wow, that's actually the polar opposite of what I think. Intriguing. I found he was tremendously creative and engaging in the early 2000s, building carefully on what he did in his unsurpassed 90s, but exploring minimalist tendencies etc.

 

There have been some good individual tracks and stuff in the years since 2005, but I could easily fit them all on a neat 40-50-minute album (and perhaps throw in a couple of shorter concert pieces that have been good).

 

Of course everybody has different taste which is fine. To perhaps explain mine better: In 2002-2005 the underscore (non-highlight) cues I find often boring and routine, while since 2010 they ofter much more intricate work. Tintin and BFG may sound whimsical to you, but they also have a degree of motivic density I remember from the golden phase around 1980, enhanced by even higher instrumentation finesse.

 

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1 hour ago, Bespin said:

For me the thing is simple... as they didn't make movie like "before" anymore, JW just can't produce scores like "before" anymore.

 

I know some of you guys try to view the scores as an "isolated" thing, some of you even hear scores without never having seen the movies (what an horror!). 

 

But you can't really separate a score from the movie it belongs to....They are linked, that you like it or not.

 

Movies where slow, scenes where long... and we got the music that goes with. But it's a past thing... now with all the quick and frenzy montages made by computers... we got the music that goes with!

 

JW didn't change.  But the way we make movies today changed a lot.

 

 

There are periods or eras when an artist can suddenly blossom but I don't think this is a good period for John Williams, and many other artists, for that matter. Depending on the times we're living in, there are certain kinds of music that are in demand, while others become out of fashion. That's why musical styles come and go ... Today is not a high day for Neoromanticism, the music Williams is a master at. 

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I love the Williams between 1995 and 2005, maybe not unconditionally but enough that i even can accept the stuff that's pure pastiche (Potter I+II, Phantom Menace) or polished patina (The Patriot) on the terms that he recklessly bypasses that in so many scores from 'Sleepers' to 'Rosewood' to 'A. I.' or 'WOTW' and 'Memoirs'. 

 

I said it countless times but it seems the post-'Far and Away'/'Jurassic Park'/'Home Alone 2' Williams was fed up with the same-old harmonic and melodic corselet he had so perfectly mastered. He's too much of an old-schooler to ever shake it off but he seldom delivered such hum-along crowdpleasers again, 'Fawkes The Phoenix' and some others excepted.

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Man, the OP sure likes to hear himself talk     :-D

 

I agree with some of what Young Saxman lamented, but think that much of it was a knee-jerk reaction and a bit over-the-top.  The full ROTS score was pretty brilliant.

 

Funny how JW trolled me again in TFA with cut-and-pasting the part from "The Return Home" of ANH in when Rey catches the lightsaber. 

 

-  Saxman + 11 years of maturity

 

 

PS --- My favorite JW era still is the late 70s to late 90s 8-)

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1 minute ago, Saxman717 said:

Funny how JW trolled me again in TFA with cut-and-pasting the part from "The Return Home" of ANH in when Rey catches the lightsaber. 

 

That would've been JJ and his sound editors, not JW I'm sure (but who knows really).

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