Well, to begin this review I have to say that my expectations on this score were very high. But it didn`t sounded like I had predicted. In fact, it is quite different from it`s predecessor, The Phantom Menace, which was also a wonderfull score full of stunning themes and inspiring cues. This is the darkest and most serious Star Wars score so far,and it`s also more in style to the original trilogy than "The Phantom Menace". As George Lucas says, this is an interesting film,because it explores all new territories and elements in the Star Wars Saga, and that can be heard in the music too.
This score isn`t as thematic as the other SW scores, but in fact, I just find that relaxing because it makes the music less predictable.
Here is a track-by track analysis with ratings for each track : (Note!This analysis may contain mild spoilers, but I`ve tried not revealing too much).
1)Main Title & Ambush On Coruscant (3:45) : Main Title is the same as always and no Star Wars score begins without it!The rest of the track is quite dark and introduces a new motif for Count Dooku, the new villain. But the track is mislabeled - it should be "Main Title & Arrival on Kamino", as it is heard when Obi-Wan arrives on Kamino. Great track. ****
2)Across The Stars (5:33): I reeeeallly LOVE this one!This is the new,bittersweet,love theme for Anakin and Amidala. It is quite different from everything else in Star Wars we`ve heard before. It is more sounding like a love theme from the 40`s, and it`s really stunning. It doesn`t give a happy feeling, like the Han & Leia love theme, but it perfectly portrays the forbidden love - a Jedi should feel no anger,nor hatred, nor love!This is the main new theme of Episode II, and it is really memorable.
Definitly the best love theme ever done by Williams!*****
3)Zam The Assasin & Chase Through Coruscant (11:07): Another highlight. An eleven-minute action cue!This track consists of wonderfull percussion and some primitive drums and hand-clapping effects, which are all new to SW (there is even a rock guitar in this track, which adds a really urban feel to it). Unlike any other Star Wars chase music, this track is what will stimulate even the non-fans of typical Star Wars music. After about nine minutes of action, it is slowing down and becomes dark underscore. The last three mins of this track are heard when obi-Wan negotiates with the kaminoans. It is very menacing. *****
4)Yoda & The Younglings (3:55): This track begins very innocent, with some idyllic and sweet music for the very young jedis. It is very beautifull. Then, the love theme comes back for a short while, with a statement of Yoda`s theme from the original trilogy, which I really enjoy. It is followed by some mysterious choir, which is so beautifull I nearly want to cry,and with the force theme, this is a really moving track reminiscent of Williams`s underrated score for "A.I.". It ends with yet a statement of the love theme. ****
5)Departing Coruscant (1:48): A minor cue, and the least interesting on the CD. Only reason to ever listen to this track is about 15 seconds of the force theme. ***
6)Anakin & Padmè (3:54): Rather beautifull beginning which soon overgoes into the love theme played on piano, as Anakin expresses his love to Amidala. This track is rather similar to Harry Potter, and this makes it less interesting but it`s still a good one which I often listen too. ****
7)Jango`s Escape (3:48): Begins with the motif for Jango Fett, one of the new cool villains of the film. This is a highly percussive action cue which is similar to the track 3, but much stronger orchestral. It ends with some egyptian sounding music which I really enjoy and it accompanies the track very well.
Still, it could deliver little more of Jango`s theme. ****
8)The Meadow Picnic (4:14): Begins nearly identical to track 6, then overgoes into some sad music, before bursting out into a happy version of the love theme. Here, we have the old Williams back. At about 2:40, we are taken into Obi-Wan`s adventure when he is tracking down the enemy. The track suddenly becomes some exotic,percussive underscore with light choir. ****
9)Bounty Hunter`s Pursuit (3:20): A massive, percussive action cue at the first 1.5 minutes, which is reminiscent of the action music in "Return of Jedi". Then, it turns down to almost nothing,and ends with some incredible music - the most agressive and threatening version of the Trade Federation March we`ve ever heard.****
10)Return to Tatooine (6:55): Begins with some music reminiscent of Episode I, and it can really tell the story - Anakin returns to the place where he grew up. It is very low at bits, then getting a little more nervous and agressive, like a prelude to something horrible. It continues beeing that exciting for a while, giving us a heroic statement of the force theme, and the bursts into....DUEL OF THE FATES!This really awakens memories,as Anakin leaves to find his mother, and I really love this part. Then, it turns down to almost nothing, which gives it an eerie feel of the Tatooine wastelands. It ends with another statement of Count Dooku`s motif. *****
11)The Tusken Camp & The Homestead (5:54): The beginning is a lot similar to the tusken raider music of Episode IV, and works well. Then, it suddenly becomes both sad and mysterious, with some piano solos, reminding me of Eric Serra`s "Atlantis". This track is also rather feelsome, as it features several statements of The Imperial March, as Anakin`s anger flows through him. This makes this track close in style to the original trilogy. At the end,it also features some darkened chorus. *****
12)Love Pledge & The Arena (8:29):The best action cue on the entire CD! Begins with several variations on the love theme, as Anakin says "I truly,deeply love you". That goes on for about two minutes, and then, it is beginning to turn into a menacing march, which sounds like a mix of the trade federation & imperial march and much more. It is also a little similar to the action music of The Lost World, which was very enjoyable. It also features some drums and lots of percussion.
Here we finally have some really heroic action music, and the only opportunities to hear the love theme in action, as well as an heroic version of the force theme at the end of the track. A real highlight. *****
13)Confrontation With Count Dooku & Finale (10:44): Aaaah!My favorite!John Williams ends the score with this eleven-minute thriller, beginning with mysterious choir and the force theme.
That is followed by a wonderfull,eerie soprano and harp strings, which really portrays the dark side and then overgoes into some heroic music and several statements of the imperial march, and yet another version of the love theme closes the film, and the end credits roll. The end titles begins with the typical Sw theme, then several statements of the love theme and finally, a french horn solo of Anakin`s theme from Episode I, which sounds unique. Over all,a magnificent ending of yet another great adventure!*****
Over all, I find this score very enjoyable and I can`t understand what everyone is complaining at. When Williams`s didn`t gave us something new with Harry Potter, they`d complained. But when he finally does,with this, they want the same old stuff again!Are they never happy with the modern day Williams?
Anyhow, I think Williams is still the amazing composer he was 20 years ago.