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Solo Movie Grabs John Williams for Title Theme

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Solo Movie Grabs John Williams for Title Theme

Postby Staff » Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:37 pm

John Williams, perhaps best known for his score work on Daddy-O, is going to return to help score the title theme of the upcoming Star Wars Saga movie, Solo. I'm not super excited for the movie... I would rather them to only tangentially touch the main saga, similar to what Rogue One did, but we are going to get it.

The rest of the score is being done by John Powell, who is known for a lot of "well, it's not as good as what Pixar does" movies*, as well as the composer for the Jason Bourne movies. I mean, I like those movies, but I'd be hard pressed to remember any music from them. Star Wars movies have music that draws you into the film effectively... even the prequels in all their badness had some great songs behind it. Yet it's a fairly valid complaint that a lot of the Marvel Movies, also being controlled and shaped by Disney, have music that's intentionally not memorable. I'd hate to see the Star Wars films starting to move in that direction as well.

I seriously hope I'm wrong about this movie, and the addition of John Williams means we should get one good thing in the film at minimum... but all of the changes going on do not instill me with confidence.

*To be fair, he did contribute to scoring Shrek, but none of his songs are what you probably remember from the movie. 
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Re: Solo Movie Grabs John Williams for Title Theme

Postby PurpleDave » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:58 pm

I don't know that the Marvel cues are intentionally not memorable so much as maybe they just don't have top-level composers working on them. Williams is famous for weaving themes in and out of his pieces (one of my favorites is realizing the celebration on Naboo at the end of Ep1 is just a fast, upbeat version of the Emperor's Theme from Ep6). Danny Elfman did an interview where he talks about the director-driven plagiarism that bogs down the entire industry, where a director will get so used to listening to the filler tracks used during the editing process that they'll basically demand that the composer delivers something that sounds _exactly_ like it. His policy on that is that if he signs on to craft the music for your film, he'll listen to the filler tracks exactly once and then tell you to let him try something different. But those two guys have enough massive hits behind them that they're in a much more secure position when either negotiating to sign on with a film, or even after they've committed to do it. Someone who's just starting out will be at the mercy of the director, and a lot more likely to deliver something bland (or legally indistinguishable from someone else's work), which will in fact make it that much harder for them to become the next John Williams or Danny Elfman because they just won't have a very appealing body of work to point to as a reason why the director should shut up and let them do what they do best.
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Re: Solo Movie Grabs John Williams for Title Theme

Postby dWhisper » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:44 pm

Actually, the Danny Elfman interview was featured in a documentary talking about the music in the MCU, specifically... he worked on parts of Age of Ultron (otherwise known as the worst MCU movie not named Hulk or Thor: A Dark World). There's an article that links to it on AV Club that talks about it.

Basically, the MCU music is an accent, not a central theme, and is used around scenes themselves. It's an accent and meant to be good but not memorable. It's more of a school of thought thing than it is an experience vs. up-and-comer thing. Disney can certainly afford whoever they want for the movies, and certainly have in the past. It strikes me far more as an intentional choice.

For Star Wars, I certainly saw this trend in Rogue One more than Episode VII or VIII (I thought Last Jedi's music quite frequently stood out in the movie, but always in a way that drew you back to some other part of the series... it was very effective when it hit).
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Re: Solo Movie Grabs John Williams for Title Theme

Postby Flynn » Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:02 am

PurpleDave wrote:I don't know that the Marvel cues are intentionally not memorable so much as maybe they just don't have top-level composers working on them.

Elfman, Silvestri, and Giacchino aren't "top-level"? I think the problem isn't so much the composers as much as it is the prevalence of temp tracks and how the editors incorporate the score--both lead to bland, samey scores that end up underutilized in the films themselves. It's the rare case of the tools constraining the artists, rather than the artists enlivening the tools.
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