Wednesday, May 30, 2012
I think this is by far John Williams' best score for the prequel trilogy because it's so dramatic and emotional and really helps the scenes that aren't directed or acted very well. The most memorable piece of music from this film is Battle of the Heroes, the theme for the duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin. It suits the tone of two former friends turned bitter enemies perfectly, managing to be exciting and epic but also somber and tragic. I really like the bit that plays when Obi-Wan and Anakin are forced to take cover as the structure they're on melts off and you see a shot of Mount Etna. Not only does it convey the hopelessness of their present situation but it also creates a sense of tragedy that this is what everything that's happened has led their friendship to. The piece that plays as Yoda and the Emperor enter the Senate's meeting room is so epic with those singing voices that it's a reason why I get chills every time I see it and it was really good to hear a reprise of Duel of the Fates from Episode I during the main part of their battle as well. I also like the atmospheric music that plays when Obi-Wan tries to tell Anakin early on in the film that something is not right about Palpatine's refusal to give up his emergency powers and during the scene where Anakin and Padme are thinking about each other while on opposite sides of Coruscant, the latter once again accompanied by haunting singing voices and made all the more striking by the deep-orange sunset and shots of the city. Finally, we get a powerful reprise of the music from Qui-Gonn's funeral at the end of Episode I, now with an even more tragic sound as Padme dies after giving birth, Obi-Wan and Yoda somberly look at the babies and their deceased mother, and the newly created Darth Vader is raised forward on a slab and learns that he killed Padme. We hear a much less bombastic version of it during Padme's funeral and an eviller version during the lost shot of Vader and the Emperor, which are both very well done and fitting to the scenes. And what would be a better piece to hear during that last moment on Tatooine than Luke's theme, which we first heard in the original Star Wars during the similar scene. The music for the other action scenes are good and exciting and a great prelude to the darker music heard later on but the emotional and dark melodies are my favorite parts of the score and are why I think this is Williams' best work in the prequels.