Sunday, 8 May 2005

Palpatine's press

National press coverage of Revenge of the Sith has reached epidemic proportions on VE Day! From CD-ROM to DVD and glossy poster pack-ins. Gotta Catch’em All!

Star Wars: A Musical Journey is the realization of George Lucas' silent movie DNA.

Chapter 1: A Long Time Ago ("20th Century Fox Fanfare" / "Star Wars Main Title" from all of the films)

An arrangement of the iconic score that tails off cryptically.

Chapter 2: Dark Forces Conspire ("Duel of the Fates" from The Phantom Menace)

The score that became synonymous with Darth Maul and his infamous double-bladed lightsabre. Repeated viewings fail to dissipate the kinetic energy of this apocryphal clash.

Chapter 3: A Hero Rises ("Anakin's Theme" from The Phantom Menace)

This leitmotif is, unquestionably, my favorite from the prequels. Fatefully I was listening to this when news reached me of the passing of a loved one in 1999.

Chapter 4: A Fateful Love ("Across The Stars" from Attack of the Clones)

A beautiful lament. Only the "Sound of Music" scenes detract. Lucas missed a beat here, what if Anakin had been injured during an apparently tranquil moment?

Chapter 5: A Hero Falls ("Battle Of The Heroes" from Revenge of the Sith)

Any lingering doubts that I may have had fell away during this dark onslaught.

Chapter 6: An Empire Is Forged ("The Imperial March" from The Empire Strikes back)

Inform the commander that Lord Vader has arrived.

Chapter 7: A Planet That Is Farthest From ("The Dune Sea Of Tatooine" / "Jawa Sandcrawler" from A New Hope)

A bland visual accompaniment.

Chapter 8: An Unlikely Alliance ("Binary Sunset" / "Cantina Footage" from A New Hope)

Anakin and Luke are counterpointed.

Chapter 9: A Defender Emerges ("Princess Leia's Theme" from A New Hope)

As a starstruck child I was smitten with Carrie Fisher. To point out that I innocently colorized a black and white drawing of Princess Leia (from the Star Wars Grandreams annual) would be too much information!

Chapter 10: A Daring Rescue ("Ben's Death / Tie Fighter Attack" from A New Hope)

The call to action is irresistible, but the visual narrative pace stutters all too quickly.

Chapter 11: A Jedi Is Trained ("Yoda's Theme" from The Empire Strikes Back)

Yoda as puppet (Muppet supreme) equates to 'real emotions' that are devoid in the painterly CGI.

Chapter 12: A Narrow Escape ("The Asteroid Field" from The Empire Strikes Back)

Asteroids collide in the unsurpassed Millenium Falcon pursuit. Less is more.

Chapter 13: A Bond Unbroken ("Luke And Leia" from Return of the Jedi)

Too touchy feely!

Chapter 14: A Sanctuary Moon ("The Forest Battle (Concert Suite)" from Return of the Jedi)

Care Bears and Howard the Duck's bastard offspring unite. Turn off the screen, turn up the sound.

Chapter 15: A Life Redeemed ("Light Of The Force" from Return of the Jedi)

A poignant reminder of the tragic Skywalker legacy. The final shot of a young Anakin is haunting.

Chapter 16: A New Day Dawns ("Throne Room / Finale" from A New Hope)

Lump in the throat time!

Signature scores are further embellished within a 5.1 Skywalker sound stage, and the only distraction is occasional dialogue and incoherent use of episode chronology. Ian McDiarmid introduces each chapter and, by the close, appears genuinely moved (as was I). Sony Classical has my admiration and thanks for including this free disc in the CD jewel case.