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Star Wars 2: Attack of the Clones (Score) Limited Edition, Soundtrack
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WILLIAMS JOHN / LONDON S. O.
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As I listen to the soundtrack from "Attack of the Clones," different scenes from the movie come flashing through my mind. From the "Star Wars Main Title," with its disappearing logo and title crawl to "Confrontation with Count Dooku and Finale," this album held me breathlessly captive as I followed Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Padme through the many perils and tribulations they go through on their rendezvous with destiny. And just as Lucas' visuals take the viewer from the tall skycrapers of Coruscant to the rolling meadows of Naboo and into the unfriendly arena on Geonosis, Williams' themes help the listener recall these images through the emotional context of the music.
Along with the visuals and the storyline, Williams' music is evolving "towards" the existing Classic Trilogy's thematic contact even as new action cues add freshness and avoid the "been-there, done-that" staleness that kills movie sequels and their scores.
Of particular note among the action cues is the combined "Zam the Assasin and The Chase Through Coruscant," a percussion-heavy composition that accompanies scenes with the Clawdite bounty hunter Zam Wessel and her frantic efforts to escape from Obi-Wan and Anakin through Coruscant's planetwide cityscape. It is fast-paced and relentless, alternating between purpose and desperation as the chase unfolds.
Just as The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme) dominated Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back's score to reflect the true driving force of the second Star Wars film, Across the Stars (Love Theme from Attack of the Clones) is the true heart-and-soul of Williams' music for Episode II. In this album we hear the concert arrangement, "Across the Stars," in its entirety: it is, like its close counterpart Han Solo and the Princess, a romantic theme that evokes the growing affection between the former Queen of Naboo and the rebellious young Jedi Padawan. Its main melody is full of yearning and passion, yet there is a hint of darkness to it at times. For Williams knows, as we do, that Anakin Skywalker is destined to fall to the dark side of the Force.....
The love theme appears in other tracks, notably in "The Meadow Picnic," "Anakin and Padme," "Love Pledge and The Arena," and, in a Star Wars tradition, as part of the end credit music in "Confrontation with Count Dooku and Finale."
Themes from the entire Star Wars saga are heard throughout the various cues. The classic Star Wars theme is, of course, heard at the start of Main Title, then reprised with the Rebel Fanfare (another Star Wars tradition) for the end credits. The famous "Duel of the Fates" vocal makes a cameo in "Return to Tatooine," Yoda's Theme from The Empire Strikes Back is heard in "Yoda and the Younglings," while the iconic Imperial March (which made little coy appearances in Episode I as part of "Anakin's Theme") is featured prominently toward the end of track 13. As usual, the Force theme (also known as Ben's Theme in the original Star Wars soundtrack from 1977) serves as a unifying theme, marking transitions in Anakin's journey to his destiny.
Heard alone or in conjuction with the other four Star Wars scores, this CD is worth adding it to your library of movie soundtracks, or, if you simply love music, the enjoyment of listening to compositions by the great John Williams.
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.
In "The Phantom Menace" soundtrack, there were several new themes introduced, including the "March of the Trade Federation", "Qui-Gon's Theme", "Jar Jar's Theme", and more importantly "Anakin's Theme" (which contains hints of the "The Imperial March") and the astounding "Duel of the Fates".
In "Attack of the Clones", the major new theme that is introduced is "Across the Stars (Love Theme)". It is a simple, hauntingly beautiful theme. Its layered, sweeping, and grand melody reflects the romantic and doomed love between Anakin and Padme.
The score not only covers new ground in the Star Wars music universe, it creates new ground. There is lots of rich, pounding percussion and eerie dissonance integrated into the music, and there are also some quotes of themes from the old trilogy--including The Force Theme, Yoda's Theme, and the Imperial March.
The only setback to the score was the minimal use of Anakin's Theme, Duel of the Fates, and the Star Wars Main Theme. But other than that John Williams accomplishes a great feat in creating another fantastic score. And unlike "The Phantom Menace" score, this one follows the linear storyline of the film.
In the first track, "Star Wars Main Title and The Ambush on Coruscant" displays a great rendition of the main theme before leading into some dark rhythmic music that sets the darker tone of this score. This is followed by the beautiful "Across the Stars". The next track--and the longest on the soundtrack--is "Zam the Assassin and The Chase Through Coruscant". This is very complex and exciting track, with lots of pounding percussion and an interesting, and brief, use of electric guitar. It rivals the "Asteroid Chase" music from "Empire Strikes Back". "Yoda and the Younglings" and "Departing Coruscant" are the next two tracks which have pieces of the Force Theme, Yoda's Theme, and the Love Theme woven in. The Love Theme is also integrated sweetly and magically into the later tracks "Anakin and Padme" and "The Meadow Picnic as well. In "Jango's Escape" and "Bounty Hunter's Pursuit" there is more pounding action music, and even a blast of the Trade Federation March in the latter. "Return To Tatooine" is a fantastic track that included excellent renditions of The Force Theme and Duel of the Fates. "The Tusken Camp and The Homestead" is an eerie track that displays a soft, creepy portrayal of the Imperial March. "Love Pledge and The Arena" is a cool mix of the Love Theme, the Force Theme, and some excellent, pulse-racing action music. The final track is incredible. "Confrontation with Count Dooku and Finale" begins with the Force Theme and moves into some haunting vocal work, before finally letting loose with the first loud, powerful use of the Imperial March, which will bring a grin to the face of every Star Wars fan. This sweeps into a beautiful climactic rendition of the Love Theme before sweeping into the crash of the Star Wars Main Theme and from then into the concert version of the Love Theme, with Anakin's Theme and the Imperial March briefly quoted at the end.
All in all, this is a dark and beautiful addition to the Star Wars music. The heart and soul of the score is Across the Stars, which rivals any other cinematic love theme ever. The touches of Yoda's Theme, the Force Theme, and the Imperial March were awesome, and I only wish that more Duel of the Fates, Anakin's Theme, and the Star Wars Main Theme had been used. And I am also looking forward to an expanded addition, 80 minutes just isn't enough. Of course, hours and hours wouldn't even be enough. John Williams has struck again with one of the best scores in the saga so far. Only another 3 years to wait in order to find out how John Williams continues the brialliant evolution of the music from Episode I and Episode II into the final chapter. Another stunning achievement from the greatest composer of our time!!
To sum up, this music is typical John Williams but it's going to disappoint those who love the loud, full orchestra orchestrations heard in the other movies because there isn't as much here. From a stylistic standpoint, this is more like what one hears in John Williams' music written for the concert hall. However, those who know and like the alternate unused cue for the battle on Jaba's sand barge in "Return of the Jedi" or "Battle in the Snow" from "The Empire Strikes Back" will appreciate this CD more I think.
Well I've seen the movie now, and it's definitely better than "The Phantom Menace". However, John Williams' score is definitely a step downwards. In fact, it may be the weakest of the Star Wars movie scores.
That's not to say I totally hated the music, because at times I absolutely adored it. The fact is, like so many other reviews have pointed out, John Williams doesn't have as many themes as he did in the previous ones. There is "Across the Stars", the love theme to highlight the relationship between Anakin and Padme, and it's brilliant. I can't compare it to Hook (because its been awhile since I've seen Hook, and it would also open up another can of worms on how John is borrowing from himself), but the theme is majestic and epic, evoking "Gladiator" and "Titanic" at the same time, if that were possible. The rest of the CD is incidental music. Nothing stands out, not even the chase music. Remember how the asteroid chase in "Empire Strikes Back" had its own definitive music? The music for this films asteroid chase and Courscant chase isn't nearly as good. Fast paced, yes, but forgettable.
When one watches the film, the source of the problem becomes appearant. Lucas wanted John to musically link the movie with the others, but it appears someone simply cut and pasted previous themes here and there. Without spoiling too much, there is a battle sequence in an arena that is not found on the CD, because the music is lifted directly from the Gungan/Droid battle in Ep. 1, where the Droids start overwealming the Gungans. A further battle sequence, involving Clone Troopers vs. the Trade Federation droids, seems to borrow music directly from the original trilogy.This happens a few more times throughout the movie, and it gets annoying after awhile. I can't see an expanded release improving on this one too much, because there's not much to expand on. The music that isn't on this CD has been heard in the other films.
There is also the debate as to whether John Williams has been too overpowering, methodical in his music. Critics have accused Williams of not only turning out cookie-cutter themes, but of making his scores too dominating, if that were possible. If you are among those critics, then this is the soundtrack for you, because all of the music is incidental. However, consider this: George Lucas has never considered himself a "human" director. His talent is in giving us great eye candy, and he excels at this. In fact, George has often referred to the Star Wars films as silent films, needing the occasional bit of dialogue, but mostly powered by John Williams' incredible score. This is the point of Williams' music, to completely retell the story on its own. When I purchased the original single-CD Phantom Menace soundtrack, I could more or less picture the movie in my head before it arrived in theaters. I can't do it with this one. Don't listen to the critics, John; your score was one of the bright spots of "The Phantom Menace", and you did it by making the score dominate when the actors and Jar Jar Binks didn't.
This CD is still recommended; it's difficult to turn down anything that's Star Wars, and there are some notably good tracks here, 2, 12, 11, and 13, but that's because they use the love theme or other previous themes in some way. Hopefully by Episode III, John Williams will strike back and give us the ultimate score to end the saga with.