Tag Archive: Star Wars: The Force Awakens soundtrack


TheArtOfSWTFA

Review by C.J. Bunce

Not just another visual guide to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a new art book from Abrams looks behind the creative process in making a major motion picture.  The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is unusual in that it doesn’t rely on film stills or the typical art design imagery you might find in a making-of movie work.  It is closer to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles–Art & Design reviewed previously at borg.com here than say Star Trek: The Art of the Film, discussed here, in that it is an exhaustive account of the trials and discarded concepts that come along with creating a new story for an established franchise.

Also, like the Hobbit Chronicles book series, Lucasfilm chose to use one of its own to chronicle the pre-production of the film.  Author Phil Szostak, who has a long history with the art department at Lucasfilm, was embedded in the art department of The Force Awakens crew as a conceptual researcher and archivist from December 2012 through the end of the making of the film.

Luke or Finn

The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens provides many possible paths that might have been taken in creating the look and feel of Episode VII.  The most surprising may be that Rey and Finn were going to be called Kira and Sam for nearly the entire production process.  Many members of the press have used imagery from this book to assert that somehow scenes were deleted from the final cut or that the concepts and ideas in the book reflect the original plan, but that’s really not the case.  The ideas thrown around in the planning stages are the same types of ideas used in any production–some ideas are good and are used, others don’t make the cut for any number of reasons.  This is illustrated well in the pre-production for Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, as seen in Elysium: The Art of the Film, reviewed here.  Many good ideas just get left behind for the needs of the plot and the timing of the film.

Continue reading

Star-Wars_The-Ultimate-Vinyl-Collection

Just like I could make the case that The Empire Strikes Back is the best film of the saga, I could make a similar argument for the superiority of John Williams’s stunning score for The Empire Strikes Back.  And no version of that soundtrack surpasses the original 1980 two-disc vinyl set, which hasn’t been available in its original version for literally decades.  Thanks to Sony Classical, the original soundtrack for not only that film is coming back, all six original soundtracks are returning to store shelves in 2016 in CD, digital, and yes, good ol’ vinyl formats.

I still have my vinyl two-disc LP sets for both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, and they still play with the clarity and punch as they did in the late 1970s and early 1980s on the same 1950s Magnavox record player I first played them on.  If you’re not into the vinyl scene, no worries, just pick these up in one of the other formats.ESB vinyl 1980 reverse

As to The Empire Strikes Back soundtrack, I go back and forth between Side Two and Side Three as being the best of the set.  Side Two begins with the epic Darth Vader theme in The Imperial March and ends with the menacing Hoth assault in The Battle in the Snow.  With Side Three probably the most exciting of any of John Williams works is The Asteroid Field followed by the sweeping Bespin arrival theme in The City in the Clouds.  Throughout all four discs are cues from the Star Wars main theme, the haunting Yoda theme, and the touching Han and Leia theme.  As with the prior release of the Star Wars soundtrack in a two-vinyl set, the tracks for the original 1980 release of The Empire Strikes Back are not presented sequentially, and masterfully they are instead included in a very cohesive and musical order crafted for each album.  The CD versions of The Empire Strikes Back released and re-released in the 1990s are in sequential order, yet they don’t provide the complete musicality of sound experience as the original vinyls.

SW box set CDs

Sony Classical announced they’ll reissue the six soundtracks January 8, 2016 (or about the time you’ve seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the tenth time) in three editions: Star Wars: The Ultimate Vinyl CollectionStar Wars: The Ultimate Soundtrack Edition, and Star Wars: The Ultimate Digital Collection.  Here are the details:

Continue reading