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Star Wars: Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones by John Williams

"The Clone Scores"
Review by Christopher Coleman

 

Star Wars: Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones by John Williams

Star Wars: 
Attack of the Clones
8/10

Atlantis: The Lost Empire by James Newton Howard

 

Category  |   Score

Originality 8
Music Selection 9
Composition 8
CD Length 9
Track Order 8
Performance 7
Final Score 8/10
 

 

Real Audio Clips

 
 
 
 

 

Composer John Williams
Composer 
John Williams

 

Quick Quotes


"While Attack Of The Clones is an exciting listen on album, this is the kind of score that will light up like a Christmas tree once you see the film. As a CD experience, it falls short of the comparable (in epic size) The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring by Howard Shore, which I found more immediately enjoyable
." ****

Ryan Keaveney - Cinemusic Reviews
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

 

 

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Composed and Conducted by John Williams
Album Produced by John Williams
Performed by The London Symphony Orchestra, The London Voices
Released by Sony Classical Records - April 23, 2002

The musical saga continues....

Star Wars

Episode II

Attack of the Clones

It has been a dark time for the Star Wars legacy.  Having suffered its greatest set-back with the release of The Phantom Menace, the saga's creator, George Lucas, moves to bring balance to Star Wars fandom with the release of the second chapter of the prequel-trilogy, Star Wars:  Attack of the Clones.

With the dreaded hype-machine now minimized, Lucas and company have carefully chosen where to strike with their marketing attacks.  Unbeknownst to Star Wars movie and film music fans alike, one of those strategic points has turned out to be the first soundtrack release of John Williams' score.

Having learned serious lessons from his apparent over-confidence, Lucas chooses to, in Attack of the Clones, keep "his faith in friends," namely composer John Williams.  The music for Attack of the Clones gives all indication that Williams has been given the freedom to use his creative abilities, with very little "interference."  For those of us hoping to see the franchise return to its glory days, and to the film music fan, that means foremost the music, this musical saga has taken some significant steps in that direction,...but among the stalwart foundations of Williams' newest compositions of Star Wars music, there are a few menacing tremors.

As the music of Episode One found its anchor in the "Duel of the Fates" theme, so the music of Attack of the Clones is centered around "Across the Stars"Track 2 - Across the Stars.  This time; however, the backbone of the episode is a love theme.  Drawing on the  beauty of the London Symphony's strings and the dualistic sound of the oboe (being both innocent and tragic), "Across the Stars" is a worthy focal point for the score.  This theme, as presented on the original soundtrack, is more of an integral part of the score than "Duel of the Fates" proved to be in The Phantom Menace.  In the style of the original trilogy scores, this new love-motif makes numerous appearances throughout - suggesting, hinting, and finally becoming the single most memorable element of the score.

Having well represented this main theme, Sony Classical also presents a number of other entertaining cues that capture a number of other persona and atmospheres of the film.  Yoda and Younglings (4) Track 2 - Across the Stars is a warm and innocent piece that provides much-needed contrast to the music's overall dark undercurrent.  Also woven in is the theme of the famed Jedi-master, Yoda, along with the Force theme, and a mystical boys choir.  As the drama of the saga continues to increase, Williams returns to thrilling audiences with high energy musical sequences such as:  Zam the Assassin and Chase through Coruscant (3), Jango's Escape (7) and Bounty Hunters Pursuit (9)Track 2 - Across the Stars.  Of course the best Star Wars episodes end with an unforgettable climactic piece leading straight into the end credits.  Attack of the Clones returns to that tradition.  Confrontation with Count Dooku and Finale (13)Track 2 - Across the Stars, a nearly eleven minute thriller, brings the film and music to an exciting climax.  During this final piece, eerie vocals arise as the audience gets its first view of Darth Sidious' and his apparent Sith apprentice's, hideout. The complex destiny's of both Anakin and of the Republic are made clear as a full orchestral statement of Across the Stars follows an outburst of the Imperial March, before finally transitioning into the neatly edited and free-flowing end credits.

Despite a significant improvement over the score of The Phantom Menace, there are unsettling tremors that linger around this Clone score.   First off, vile and ruthless bounty hunters have come to influence the economics of the galaxy once again.  Only three years ago, the diabolical mercenary, Del Rey, released the novelization of The Phantom Menace in various "collectible" covers.  With Del Rey returned to legitimate practices, Rey's apparent apprentice, So Ny, disguised as a member of marketing guild offers its four, limited-edition, collectible covers for the original motion picture soundtrack.  In addition, an even more cunning hunter, the villainous Tar Get, has captured and currently holds track 14, "On the Conveyer Belt" for a small ransom to anyone daring enough to enter its system; well known to be toxic to many humanoid life forms.  Such corruption in the galaxy has brought on uprisings of rebellion and the kidnapped track has been found circulating throughout the Hutt's personal communication links, covertly referred to as "Da Net."  And still even more disturbances can be felt...

As the darkside begins to consume our young hero, Anakin, his innocent theme introduced in Menace is all but vaporized.  A statement of Anakin's theme makes its sole soundtrack-appearance at the conclusion of the end credits contained in track 13.  The ultimate destiny of Anakin was barely hinted at in Menace, but is declared with reckless boldness as The Imperial March/ Darth Vader's Theme is decisively performed in track 13, as well.  Many will cheer at hearing such a "full" performance of the notorious theme, but, in actuality, the performance here is disappointingly thin and "tinny."  Further, with such emphasis placed on "Duel of the Fates" at the conclusion of The Phantom Menace, its solitary and brief appearance in track 10, Return to Tatooine, is peculiar. 

The music's function within crucial sequences of the film may be the greatest disturbance of all - specifically within the climactic scenes of the film.  As our heroes go head to head with a mass of enemies ranging from ravenous, alien creatures to the useless battle droids introduced in the last episode, to Darth Sidious' latest henchman, Count Dooku, John Williams' original compositions are mercilessly edited to fit the quick cuts and transitions of the battles.  Lengthy segments already used in the film, portions from Zam the Assasin and the Chase Through Coruscant (3)  in particular, reappear.  Further, segments from the final battle of The Phantom Menace, have been included.  As to what dark forces have been at work to bring this tragedy to pass remains a mystery, but those on the side of good can only pray that the production circumstances surrounding Attack of the Clones have forced this cheap re-use of music...and that the future of the music of Star Wars is brighter than that of Anakin and the Republic. 

The post Phantom Menace pre-Clones years may, when all is said and done, prove to be the darkest of time for the Star Wars franchise and its fans.  With the disappointment and disillusionment in the abilities of the "powers that be" some have simply left the galaxy or demand immediate change; however, John Williams' score for Attack of the Clones, as presented on this disc, can be seen as a source for new hope.  Sony Classical's initial soundtrack release will likely prove to contain the most important themes and cues from the film, arranged in the most ear-pleasing fashion.  Motions have already been made for a "complete" release of the music; however, an unedited version, like The Phantom Menace:  Ultimate Edition, will be an even more painful experience.

Ironically, as peril and darkness increases, hope is being birthed as the galaxy appears to be returning to those things which made it great so long ago.  The music of John Williams for Attack of the Clones is no small contributor to this.  Attack of the Clones is much closer to the style of the original trilogy scores, but still clearly reflects the "matured" sound of the maestro.   Where Attack of the Clones ranks among Star Wars scores will become clearer over time, especially when considering how well it helps to set up the prequel's final chapter - Episode 3.


Track Listing and Ratings

 Track

Title Time

Rating

1 Star Wars Main Title and Ambush On Coruscant 3:46  ****
2 Across The Stars (Love Theme) Track 2 - Across the Stars 5:33  *****
3 /Zam the Assassin and the Chase Through Coruscant 11:07  ****
4 Yoda And The YounglingsTrack 2 - Across the Stars 3:55  ****
5 Departing Coruscant 1:44  ***
6 Anakin and Padme 3:57  ***
7 Jango's Escape 3:48  ****
8 The Meadow Picnic 4:14  ****
9 Bounty Hunter's PursuitTrack 2 - Across the Stars 3:23  ***
10 Return to Tatooine 6:57  ****
11 The Tusken Camp and The Homestead 5:54  ***
12 Love Pledge and The Arena 8:29  ****
13 Confrontation With Count Dooku and FinaleTrack 2 - Across the Stars 10:45  *****
14 *On The Conveyor Belt (Bonus Track - Target Release Only) 3:02  ***
 

Total Running Time

76:47  

*The Experience-O-Meter displays the track to track listening experience of this soundtrack based on the 5-Star rating given to each track.  It provides a visual depiction of the ebbs and flows of the CD's presentation of the soundtrack.

 

Referenced Reviews
Star Wars:  The Phantom Menace

 

 

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