December Sun – A Web Comic

February 13, 2009

The People vs. George Lucas

Filed under: 3,film music,george lucas,john williams,star wars — admin @ 12:08 am

I think that this is just awesome. It’s a film about people’s gripes with George Lucas.

What I’d love to see in this, which probably won’t be addressed, is how Lucas totally ruined the music of John Williams in two of the prequel, ‘Attack of the Clones’ and ‘Revenge of the Sith’, by the constant reuse of his music, cut and pasted from other unrelated films. ‘Attack of the Clones’ featured music lifted from ‘Phantom Menace’, whereas ‘Revenge of the Sith’ featured music taken not only from ‘Phantom Menace’, but also from ‘Empire Strikes Back’(!)

To fans of Williams, this was a huge disappointment of the prequel films, hearing the same music cut-n-pasted into the film again, but I can’t imagine that this is going to be a big enough concern to be addressed in the film. More than likely, it’s Jar-Jar that will be one of the biggest rants. Sometimes it seems like I’m the only one who notices the issue with the music, but I can’t help but speak out about this. To me, the music is one of the most principle things of the Star Wars films. When I found out about the new prequels, one of the things I was most excited about was the new John Williams score, not necessarily that there would be a younger Obi-Wan and Anakin character in the film.

And to it’s credit, the score for ‘Phantom Menace’ is remarkable, and doesn’t have a lot of cut-n-pasting (although it does feature some reused music, such as the ‘leaving Naboo’ musical clip, which seems to resurface a few more times in the film, as well as in ‘Attack of the Clones’). But it’s only when you get into ‘Clones’ and ‘Sith’ that the reuse of music is constant. If you’re a fan of the music, and you’re sitting in the theater watching these films for the first time, you can’t help but pick up the fact that the SAME music has been recycled back into the film again. And instead of being treated to an all-new musical score, Lucas is just feeding back more of the same music again.

I can’t imagine that this was John Williams’ idea to keep reusing musical material like this, and I can’t understand how Lucas, supposedly having a genuine appreciation of Williams and his music, wouldn’t notice the blatant reuse of all the music and say, “Whoa, let’s give John some more time, to write some more music for this sequence.” I have a suspicion that Lucas devoted more time to the computer animation department than to the crafting of the music, but this is just speculation.

Even more remarkable to me is that Spielberg allowed the same practice to take place with the ‘Indiana Jones/Crystal Skull’ film. Spielberg has worked with Williams on dozens of films, and yet he didn’t notice, or care, that music was being cut and pasted from other, older Indiana Jones films and used for Crystal Skull?

I’m trying to see this through the eyes of the producer: there is going to be a demographic of film-goers (albeit a small demographic) who want to see a film largely for it’s music, not necessarily it’s acting, story, or anything else. And instead of just taking the stance of, “I will, for whatever creative reason, copy and paste music from a different film”, I’d be more along the lines of thinking: “let’s give the composer more time to write his music”, or, worse, case, “Let’s find another composer with a similar sound who can score these scenes in the film where the music is lacking (due to our delayed computer animation department or whatever)”. The final product would be far more rewarding, and there wouldn’t be a sense of reheating and reserving the same music again.

Well, whatever. I think this is probably the last time Williams will score a Star Wars or Indiana Jones film, so this won’t happen. But what a rotten way to cap off the legacy, with having your music recycled.

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