As synonymous with Star Wars as John Williams' peerless scores, the poster artwork of Drew Struzan or character moments as varied as "I know" and "tell your sister you were right about me" are the sounds that populate the films and n many instances have burrowed their way deep into the collective pop cultural psyche. What movie sound is more iconic than the laboured breathing of Darth Vader, the ignition of a lightsaber, the scream of a TIE Fighter or the wail of a wookiee? This may sound like a back-of-book blurb but it's all very true, no arguments.
The main problem with The Sounds Of Star Wars is that although the many effects (often created from scratch) have their origins described, the sounds themselves are merely reproduced (though most often stripped of accompanying score and dialogue). In fact, in the book's 256 sounds, there is only one instance of the original sound, unaltered, being offered for aural consumption. I realise a lot of the original sounds would be lost, but I doubt they all are, and I feel it's a real shame that there aren't any clips of Ben Burtt's voice or various animal effects BEFORE they were tweaked into the sounds we recognize.
The book itself is well written and really nicely presented (with a good few production stills I've not seen before), but the process of describing the sound creation is dominated by references to specific machines, and despite the copious quotes from Burtt and others involved, it still manages to feel oddly alienating. Still, I can't give it any less than three stars for what it has achieved, nor would it be fair to judge it on what I expected of it rather than on its own merit. I would stress that this is probably of interest only to those at the more hardcore end of the Star Wars Fandom spectrum, and has less casual appeal than, say, the same author's The Making Of Star Wars.
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