Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

Are we going to get a FIYH podcast about this movie? Maybe when the Blu-ray comes out? Because that would be awesome.

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Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

@Alex ....holy shit.  At first i was dismissing what you were saying as the standard post-modern hate of corporate driven consumerism, but this was actually some seemingly well-informed serious shit.  Where did you learn this stuff about the modern film-scoring process?  It makes total sense and I definitely buy it.   


Regarding other composers not being as good:

I've always thought of it like this:  Williams is the best in terms of technical virtuosity and out-and-out composition skill.  However, 1990's Horner is probably the best at conveying a deep and simple emotional texture ...and Silvestri is a close second to Horner in terms of emotionalism  (see Forrest Gump). 

But if we're talking about any other composer then yes yes YES 100% yes.  Zimmer is probably the prime example. Everyone talks about him these days and is obsessed over him, but I think his music used to be better (i.e. Gladiator).  His style is very monochromatic and relies largely on blaring fortissimo  to convey "intensity" combined with very simple rhythms and heavy heavy amounts of repetition.  In other words he's not even in the same league as Williams. I definitely agree that Giaccino can be good but doesn't have near the level of skill. 

One composer to watch out for is Junkie XL.  I was really surprised by the sweeping romanticism of his Fury Road score.  I mean, I wouldn't say it had anywhere near the level of rhythmic or textual complexity of Williams, but it felt like very old school film, like 1960's film, and because of that, endearing. 

Side Note:  I haven't seen many of the movies that Williams scored in the past 5 years.  Were any of them truly stand-out scores?

Bloggy:  Inf0verload

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Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

Hastings wrote:

@Alex ....holy shit. At first i was dismissing what you were saying as the standard post-modern hate of corporate driven consumerism, but this was actually some seemingly well-informed serious shit. Where did you learn this stuff about the modern film-scoring process? It makes total sense and I definitely buy it.

I am a composer, most of my friends are composers. We deal with this stuff every day, and when we get together, we tend to talk (read: complain) about it.

Also, in my now-sober state, I realize that I may have come across as totally hating on every producer ever--that's not the case. Producers are strange in that their job is to 1) make sure the movie gets made, preferably as under-budget as possible, and 2) make sure it's a good movie, which is obviously quite subjective and rests upon the creative outputs of a lot of people who are all trying to work together and not kill each other in the process.

The best producers are the ones who know how to let the people they hire do their job, and give thoughtful, constructive feedback in the process, while tempering expectations of money ("No, Mr. Abrams, we can't afford to build a real Starkiller base. Unfortunately that will have to be CGI"). Many of them have great taste and were creatives at one point before becoming producers.

The worst producers are business school graduates who have a hard time between choosing Wall Street or Hollywood--there's tons of money to be made in both, there's people with dreams ready to do anything and a huge lack of regulation ready to be taken advantage of, but only one offers the possibility of fame. Sometimes the absolute worst, most Palpatine-esque people end up as producers. In Hollywood people joke that in certain career paths you "fail upwards," and that's very true of producers.

Having met and spent time with some of the executives at a couple film studios, I'm guessing that Disney is no different--yes, there are some who are fantastic people with great taste who care about making good movies (for example, I'm sure Pixar did or is resisting the will of their new owners by having an unusually large number of good producers like this), but as the film market tightens around tent-pole franchises and the middle class of movie making disappears, we're seeing studios hire more and more people who have only one talent: making money. They don't necessarily love or even know anything about film, so if you say, "John Williams is scoring this movie," they go, "cool, so I have to go have a meeting with an old guy. Greeeaaaaat."

Hastings wrote:

I haven't seen many of the movies that Williams scored in the past 5 years. Were any of them truly stand-out scores?

He's definitely slowed down in the past decade, scoring only that which he feels like (most if not all of it being Spielberg movies). Lincoln was a stand-out for me--it was very mature, very held-back. It felt like it was being composed by someone in their 80s who has seen and done it all, and wanted to say the most with the least.

Last edited by Alex (2016-01-21 20:38:34)

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Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

Hastings wrote:

Regarding other composers not being as good:

I've always thought of it like this:  Williams is the best in terms of technical virtuosity and out-and-out composition skill.  However, 1990's Horner is probably the best at conveying a deep and simple emotional texture ...and Silvestri is a close second to Horner in terms of emotionalism  (see Forrest Gump). 

But if we're talking about any other composer then yes yes YES 100% yes.  Zimmer is probably the prime example. Everyone talks about him these days and is obsessed over him, but I think his music used to be better (i.e. Gladiator).  His style is very monochromatic and relies largely on blaring fortissimo  to convey "intensity" combined with very simple rhythms and heavy heavy amounts of repetition.  In other words he's not even in the same league as Williams. I definitely agree that Giaccino can be good but doesn't have near the level of skill. 

One composer to watch out for is Junkie XL.  I was really surprised by the sweeping romanticism of his Fury Road score.  I mean, I wouldn't say it had anywhere near the level of rhythmic or textual complexity of Williams, but it felt like very old school film, like 1960's film, and because of that, endearing.

This one's too long so I'm not going to go through and fix your crazy double spaces after sentences like I did in the last one tongue

Firstly: Yes, Williams is a better composer (technically-speaking) than all those guys. But that really ignores what makes him special: he hits you hard, man. Leia's theme is my favorite theme of all time. It's so perfect. Like all creative fields, technique is only used as a servant to the emotional hit. In fact, they're inseparable. I've never quite gotten that distinction.

I agree that Horner could say quite a bit simply (such a shame he passed--his score to A Beautiful Mind is one of my all time favorites), and Silvestri is incredible too. But also, this is sort of the flip side to Williams...saying that they can say a lot with a little ignores how good they are/were technically. Again, there isn't a reason to differentiate the two, because who cares if you can write fast stuff (it's much easier than playing it) or even if you have an intimate knowledge of orchestration. If it's not in the service of making people feel shit, it doesn't matter.

To hopefully close this debate once and for all, here's two scores of mine, put humbly in the same post as the names of all these amazing composers.

Star Wars fan film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wPSSa4RyZM
And a score for a drama: https://soundcloud.com/alexruger/sets/dead-metaphors

From a narrow viewpoint, the first one is far more technically complicated/interesting/whatever than the second. But they each (I hope!) make you feel what you're supposed to feel, right? First one is hopefully giving you the feeling of/supporting the action on screen that gives you a feeling of "holy shit"-ness, excitement, etc. Second one is depressing, melancholic, somewhat bittersweet and hopeful.

From a broad viewpoint, the second one is in my opinion far more interesting in terms of technique, and far more complicated. It required much more in terms of sound design, music production techniques, etc than the first, which is basically just orchestra. Williams couldn't use a synth if he tried (he has, and it was bad), so from that perspective, Zimmer is better "technically" than Williams.

None of that shit matters. What matters is that it hits you in the way it's supposed to hit you. And speaking of Zimmer:

He's an incredible sound artist, producer, and knows how to whittle away at themes like Williams does. Granted they're very different types of themes (and also you have to differentiate between Lion King Zimmer and Inception Zimmer), but his themes support the characters and/or story as well as Wililams' do.

The problem is when you have a lot of people look at Zimmer and go, "Ooo, it's simple! 4/4, medium tempo, big chords. I can do that!" And then everyone tries to do it and it sucks.

I've written about this before, but Zimmer is a minimalist. Check out this piece: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtFPdBUl7XQ

Beautiful and simple. Unbelievably simple. But it didn't start out that way, and what it expresses isn't simple at all. It's been whittled down to its essential parts. And Zimmer frequently does that (Batman Begins is a great example of that). He starts with a very interesting concept or some emotional goal of weight, depth, and complexity, and tries to find the nugget at the core, and then bases his scores around that, all while producing the music better than most people in this industry.

But, his sound is popular, and instead of coming at the music from "heavy concept -> simple music," his copycats come at it from "simple music -> I can do that," so none of the emotional goals are there. It's just dumb and simple and what you get is a dumbed down version of something that has already been dumbed down, but in Zimmer's case it's been dumbed down in a good way, as I explained above.

Junkie is good much in the same way that Zimmer is, but hasn't really proven himself yet. I liked the Mad Max score, but 300: Rise of an Empire was boring, what I've heard for Batman V Superman is boring (from both Zimmer and Junkie). Who knows, it could very well be that Junkie has been paired with directors/producers with shitty taste or they don't give him any sort of creative freedom. We'll see. For that reason you can only really judge a composer by their body of work, not on specific scores, because you never know the details that went in to that particular score, but trends that have been there throughout their career tend to be the heart of who they are.

Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

clap

Also, I'll just leave this here.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

What kills me about the Ep 7 score, which is indeed crazy forgettable and lame, is that there's multiple opportunities where the movie would be like 10 times better if you were to just use some of the old themes.

Like, how do you not use the Han/Leia theme when Han gets killed. I just do not understand the decision. As it is, Han's death feels so underplayed and unimportant....this should arguably be the biggest moment in the whole series! I understand producer meddling, but you'd think J.J would have the weight to say "Guys, this moment NEEDS this".

As for "replacements", the only one I could offer is John Powell, but it sounds like he's been sticking to animated movies specifically because he got burned out dealing with the generic studio scoring requirements. At least in animation he's allowed to write a fucking melody.

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Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

Yeah, I think your'e right about Powell. There's an interview somewhere--too lazy to look it up--where he's asked about the hardest part of his job, and he answers something like, "pretending to care that I give a fuck about your shitty movie." As far as I know he's as retired as you can get without actually retiring.

And yeah, I agree with Han/Leia theme. That was insane. And during the climb up the stairs at the end, how could you not play Rey and/or Luke's theme? I know that right before the movie ended, in its final, like, five seconds, we got Luke's theme. But before that, there's just some...music. No theme, no nothing.

And the thing is, there's another point in the score where Rey and Luke's themes are played together--they were designed to work as one--so why not do it there?!

Again, I just can't see Williams or even JJ making these decisions. But I could easily see some producer who has never cared about movies in his life going, "I don't get it. Why have a single melody for a character? Why not just score the action as it is?" Things like subtext--even the most basic kind, which is what character themes fall under--are lost on an annoyingly huge part of the population.

Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

I've been listening to the OST for a few days. It actually has many memorable themes that probably aren't as obvious as Rey's on the first viewing. Partly because the film probably puts too much emphasis on the forgettable action parts of the soundtracl, but also because there's little re-use of the themes in different atmospheres - which, as Clemmensen pointed out, Williams has always been insanely good at. Or maybe that as Alex said, they're more phrases than themes.

Still, I was pleasantly surprised that listening to it changed my mind a lot. I especially love the opening track and its suspenseful violins/high trumpet blares associated with the First Order attacking. It's a very different treatment than the Empire's and feels new. Not even talking about The Jedi Steps, which effortlessly carries incredible drama and meaning with just a few notes. I think it easily enters my favourite SW melodies.

Taken as a whole, it's certainly not as memorable as the OT's, but there are great themes (or phr... yeah you get the idea) to be found in it. What it's not is "crazy forgettable and lame", at least to me.

PS: I'll admit I don't care much for Snoke's theme, though; it feels like a rehash of Palpatine's theme but without its greatness.

Last edited by Saniss (2016-02-06 11:34:28)

Sébastien Fraud
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Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

His name is Magistrate Poot.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

You know what, I don't even agree with what I said before: there is re-use of the themes. The more I listen to the OST, the more I find it brilliant. Rey's theme and its relation to Luke's. The tragic, Schindler's List-esque piece of Starkiller destroying the planets, only equalled by Han's death scene. The grand, heroic (the word that even comes to my mind is royal, if that makes sense) March of the Resistance. The dramatic then menacing theme for Kylo Ren. The only parts I still don't find myself really liking is Snoke's theme, and the action piece that I think is associated with Finn (but it's probably strictly musical taste for the latter).

What I think is at fault here is how the music was handled in the film. I'll finally be seeing TFA a second time tonight, so I'll pay extra attention to the music and see if I'm right.

In the mean time, I highly recommend people still unsure about the soundtrack's quality give it a few listens. It'll grow on you. It's fully available here as a playlist on Disney Music's Youtube Channel.

Last edited by Saniss (2016-02-06 16:02:46)

Sébastien Fraud
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Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

For Space Nerds, the science of Star Wars Ep7 is scrutinized....

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/74376

not long to go now...

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Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

Speaking of the soundtrack, I highly recommend listening to the Star Wars Oxygen podcast - a show all about John Williams work in all of the Star Wars movies. The past few episodes have solely been on the soundtrack for TFA and the series as a whole has been a very interesting listen.

Actually, the next episode is supposedly all based on listener feedback. With your permission, Alex, I'd love to direct them to your post and get their take on it.

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Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

avatar wrote:

For Space Nerds, the science of Star Wars Ep7 is scrutinized....

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/74376

Whelp...there went my evening (reads)

God loves you!

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Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

Really minor, but I didn't want to post it in the chat in case it could be seen as a spoiler: just noticed the "Hyperspace" motif is in the background of the opening cue of the soundtrack at 3:05. Never would have noticed it without listening with headphones, super nice touch.

Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

The DVD/Blu-ray will come out in April... with some extras only as retailer exclusives. It won't be as bad as STID, but still... Was it your idea, J.J.?

http://www.starwars.com/news/its-true-a … oming-home

We all float down here...

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Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

I hate retailer exclusives, was bad enough when it was game content, and now this. At least there's just one exclusive that actually matters, so you don't have to get multiple editions just to get all of it. Also it's digital content that's exclusive, so not sure how that's handled.

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.

Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

I just want to be able to rewatch the lightsaber duel again and again big_smile

As for retailer exclusives, it is so gimmicky to me as to be annoying. It's one of the few times that I appreciate the Internet and people taking the opportunity to share those BTS pieces. Otherwise, I really don't need four copies of TFA or any other film, for that matter.

God loves you!

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Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

It looks like Target is the way to go.

TARGET – The Target Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Combo Pack comes with exclusive packaging and an added 20 minutes of bonus content, including never-before-seen interviews with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega and a deeper look at the movie’s costumes and weaponry

WALMART – The Walmart Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Combo Pack comes with exclusive BB-8 packaging and an exclusive Star Wars Galactic Connexions trading disc

BEST BUY – The Best Buy Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Combo Pack features exclusive SteelBook Packaging

DISNEY STORE – The Disney Store Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Combo Pack comes with an exclusive lithograph set while supplies last

Last edited by Rogue 2 (2016-03-10 17:27:17)

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Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

For content, agreed. I do like me a steelbook though. *buys both, repackages BB discs in Target packaging and gives to someone else*

*looks at BB abbreviation*

And Best Buy didn't get BB-8 packaging... why? tongue

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.

Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

That added 20 mins of bonus content is digital only, not on disc. No doubt it'll all end up on Youtube on the day of release.

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Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

BEST BUY STEELBOOK HERE I COME.

something lowercase

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.

Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

The super-important question though is: will we get another FIYH podcast for TFA once it's released on Blu-ray???

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Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

Considering the guys didn't contribute anything (hardly) to this controversial thread, either a) they're saving it for the Special FIYH, or b) they don't give a damn.

I hope it's A, but I wouldn't blame them for B. I'm sure they'll announce it if they intend to do a thing.

But seriously, my opinion is TFA was very Star Warsy, but a really bad movie. I'd love to hear what they thought, because I respect their opinion as being more informed than mine.

Maybe, if they like it, they can help me like it too.

Witness me!

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Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

At this point, if there's a bright center of the Star Wars universe, I'm on the planet it's farthest from.

Can't speak for the others, of course.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: The Star Wars 7 Thread (SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY. ALL THE SPOILERS.)

Writhyn wrote:

But seriously, my opinion is TFA was very Star Warsy, but a really bad movie.

So you've gone from "TFA is just ok. It could have been great" to a "really bad movie"?

This is a pet peeve of mine, people saying good movies are actually really bad. Because then what the hell is a bad movie? Your whole scale is thrown off.

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere. - Carl Sagan

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