Review: Star Wars - Episode 3: Revenge Of The Sith (2005)

Composer: John Williams

Label: Bootleg (expanded - PC Game rip / DVD rip)

Catalogue Nr.: Bootleg

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George Lucas not only created the stories from a galaxy far far away. He is also known as the inventor of merchandising which earned him billions of dollars. Merchandising simply means to market everything related to a film and make a good profit out of it, so it does not come as a surprise that the original recordings of John William's music for the new trilogy are used very economically for other purposes in Luca's merchandising empire like in the computer games from LucasArts. Star Wars - Galactic Battlefront and Star Wars - Obi-Wan contain a wealth of unreleased cues from the original Revenge of the Sith score. The marketing strategy is obvious: Re-use the original recordings of the London Symphony Orchestra (no re-use fees) as much as possible to make people wanting more music before tossing official releases of the complete scores into the market (which is definitely going to happen sooner or later). A simple plan which now backfired at the marketing specialists because bootleggers were faster.

The score:

The cover of this bootleg might be a little bit misleading because it actually does not contain the complete score but a nice bunch of previously unreleased material. The official soundtrack release of this last Star Wars score contained a lot of rather dull action cues and left out thematic variations and important musical plot points. Some of these are included on this expanded bootleg of the darkest score of the saga though there is still some interesting material missing like Yoda's departure from Kashyyk or the instrumental "Duel Of The Fates" for the Yoda vs. Palpatine fight, so this bootleg does not make a official release of the entire score obsolete but can be seen as a nice teaser for it.

"Battle Over Coruscant" is the film version of the battle music from the beginning of the film. Unlike on the official album, this lengthy action segment is now a single cue separated from the "Main Title" and contains additional action music at 2:05 to 2:51 and at 4:34 to the end. The last part is a highlight with the first real statement of the rebel fanfare as R-2 is kicking some Droids off Anakin's starfighter. "The Elevator Scene" is now a single cue and contains a slightly extended introduction of Grevious theme before the dramatic string performance which was mostly unused in the film takes over. "Count Dooku's Entrance" is a short, dark cue with subtle but menacing percussion and slight sfx. One of the few bright spots from the dark and tragic score appears in "Another Happy Landing" with lush strings and a noble fanfare. "Anakin's Dream" contains a segment of unreleased music with minor sfx at 1:50 to 2:54 which is an extension of the unsettling musical foreshadowing of Anakin's future. Another unreleased cue is "Anakin And Obi-Wan Confer" which contains some nice, mysterious string writing, a barely noticeable hint of the 'conspiration theme' from Attack Of The Clones (which would later become a part of "Battle Of The Heroes") as well as a clever integration of Vader's theme.

Broad and adventurous tones appear in "Good-Bye Old Friend" with an uplifting statement of the force/skywalker theme. "Anakin's Promise To Padme" is an unsettling and very dark brooding cue before adventurous tones appear again in the first half of "Going To Utapau / Riding The Lizard" which is one of my favourites among the unreleased material because some of the string writing is somewhat reminiscent of William's adventurous writing from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). "Obi-Wan Fares Droids" is a dark fanfare with some percussion which goes right into "Duelling With Grievous". This cue contains a variation of the string line from Grievous theme with its slight Arabian sound and a short return of the opening of "Battle Over Coruscant". A hint of the mother's theme shines through a lot of dark brooding music in "Palpatine's Seduction" which also carries a statement of the emperor's theme for horns at the end. Percussive action music and dark tones with a hint of Vader's theme appear in "Rolling With Grievous / Anakin's News". The string are rising dramatically at the end of the cue which leads right to the dark new age sound with the voice of a mourning woman in "Padme's Ruminations".

Dramatic action tones return in the crucial cue "I Am The Senate" as Palpatine is revealing himself to the Jedi which leads to a thrilling lightsaber fight in the film and some nice action fanfares ala Williams in the score. "Palpatine Instructs Anakin" offers another statement of the emperor's theme before the incredibly sad "Lament" is unleashing an emotional attack on the listener with choir and strings and some unreleased music at 2:50 with the subtle choral passage being slightly extended. "Bail's Escape / Obi-Wan's Swim" offers some action music at the beginning and some suspense music with militaristic percussion and a subtle statement of Vader's theme at the end. "News Of The Attack" continues with the militaristic percussion of the previous cue but adds some mystery to the music. "It Can't Be" begins with subtle underscoring which swells to the dramatic conclusion known from "Anakin's Dark Deeds" on the official album.

"Padme's Departue" is a sad cue which barely hints the love theme and goes into the powerful orchestral cue "Padme's Visit". More music from the battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan is featured in "Heroes Collide / Yoda Falls" which also contains an edit of "Duel Of The Fates" at the end (with choir though the film version is just instrumental). "The Boys Continue" is the music for the platform duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan which contains variations on the "Battle Of The Heroes" composition. The last important cue with unreleased music is "Plans For The Twins / Padme's Funeral" which has the funeral theme going right into a statement of Vader's theme to conclude Anakin's transformation into the dark Sith Lord musically before "A New Hope / End Credits" starts with a slightly extended beginning.

Review by Andreas Creutzburg

 

RATING:

Score as heard in the film: 80%

Score as heard on CD: 88%

TOTAL: 84%

 

The presentation:

The score is spread over two CDs with 95 minutes of music from the film. Some cues contain very minor SFX which is barely noticeable. Only some rather harsh and quick cuts at the end of some cues are nerving because they really interrupt the flow of the music. The sound quality is surprisingly good for such a fan-made bootleg and the fact that some cues are ripped from the DVD with close to zero SFX marks a new quality in private bootlegging which hopefully puts some necessary pressure on the music executives to release proper official CDs of the complete score as soon as possible.

Presentation by the Label: Bootleg

 

Summary:

This extended version of John William's last score for the Star Wars Saga throws a whole new light on the score. The musical development is much clearer if the score is experienced in its near entirety since it follows the story of Anakin so closely. There are not so much odds and ends in the score as it appeared to be though the musical connection to A New Hope and the original trilogy still does not convince me very much. But Star Wars - Episode 3: Revenge Of The Sith is clearly the best and most complex score of the prequel trilogy and easily beats Star Wars - Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (1999). Fans of John Williams and his work for the Star Wars Saga might want to give this bootleg a chance to overcome the (hopefully not so) long wait for the official complete score releases.

 

                        Tracklisting:

                             Disc One

01.  20th Century Fox Fanfare (00:21)
02.  Star Wars Main Title (01:31)
03.  Battle Over Coruscant (06:06)
04.  The Elevator Scene (02:54)
05.  Count Dooku's Entrance (00:49)
06.  Grievous And The Droids (03:27)
07.  Another Happy Landing (00:41)
08.  Grievous Speaks To Lord Sidious (01:51)
09.  Anakin's Dream (02:03)
10.  Council Meeting (00:46)
11.  Anakin And Obi-Wan Confer (02:41)
12.  Palpatine's Big Pitch (02:29)

13.  Good-Bye Old Friend (01:04)

14.  Anakin's Promise To Padme (01:15)

15.  Going To Utapau / Riding The Lizard (03:38)

16.  Obi-Wan Fares Droids (00:19)

17.  Duelling With Grievous (02:31)

18.  Palpatine's Seduction (02:28)

19.  Rolling With Grievous / Anakin's News (03:41)

20.  Padme's Ruminations (01:37)

Disc Two

01.  I Am The Senate (01:39)
02.  Palpatine Instructs Anakin (01:54)
03.  Lament (04:24)
04.  Bail's Escape / Obi-Wan's Swim (01:03)
05.  News Of The Attack (01:24)
06.  Enter Lord Vader (04:17)
07.  Anakin's Dark Deeds (02:14)
08.  It Can't Be (04:04)
09.  Padme's Departure (00:56)
10.  Padme's Visit (00:27)
11.  Heroes Collide / Yoda Falls (06:17)
12.  The Boys Continue (02:16)

13.  Battle Of The Heroes (02:39)

14.  Anakin's Crawling (00:39)

15.  Birth Of The Twins (01:25)

16.  Death Of Padme (02:12)

17.  Plans For The Twins / Padme's Funeral (02:55)

18.  A New Hope / End Credits (08:53)

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