Star Wars The Force Awakens Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score Star Wars The Force Awakens by John Williams.
At a glance:
Geek Score: 96.5
Total Minutes Of Excellence: 69.4
Album Excellence: 90.1%
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a 2015 American epic space opera film directed by J.J. Abrams and starring Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. Three decades after the second Death Star’s destruction, Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi, has vanished. The First Order, successor to the Galactic Empire, is scouring the galaxy for Luke, as is the Resistance, an offshoot of the New Republic led by General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), the Resistance’s best pilot, is sent to retrieve a map to Luke’s location from a village on the planet Jakku, but Stormtroopers led by Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and the Dark Jedi Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) capture Poe and wipe out the village. Poe’s droid, BB–8, escapes with the map, eventually finding its way to a junkyard settlement and befriending the scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley). The score is composed by John Williams.
I, like many others thought the Star Wars film franchise was dead and buried after the largely disappointing prequel trilogy. But here we are, 10 years later and about to witness the birth of a new trilogy which will be direct sequels to the original films. Amazing! What’s also amazing of course is the return of John Williams. At first everyone thought Michael Giacchino would score it, but when Williams is able and available, there’s not really a question is it? Reviews of the film seems to be generally good to great and the music in context I’m told is extremely impressive. How about the music for album? How good is it? Well, the only references I have are the 6 other Star Wars scores and of course any science fiction score in general.
As with any Star Wars score it starts with a crawl, you know the one, and of course it starts with the Star Wars main theme which is as always some of the best music ever written for film. ‘Main Title And The Attack On The Jakku Village’ is a great opening cue, but it’s to be expected of course with that main theme. Is there anything new? Oh yes plenty. The action is terrific, adventurous and fun. It’s John Williams in top form. Kylo Ren is the big baddie apparently and his theme is an evil 5 note theme heard a couple of times in this cue. Sounds evil enough, but the theme never gets to develop properly like Rey’s theme which will come later. Speaking of Rey’s theme, it appears in the second cue ‘The Scavenger’. At first it feels like Harry Potter has invaded the Star Wars universe including the opening of Rey’s theme, but when the full theme starts, you know you’re in for something special. Rey’s theme is the big one for this score. Every Star Wars score including the prequel scores have had at least one big principal theme and this is it for The Force Awakens. Sure it’s no contest to the classic themes, but it’s at least comparable to the prequel themes. It’s really growing on me and after a third listen I’m convinced that its greatness. It can be fully heard in ‘Rey’s Theme’ and is used throughout the score. There’s also another theme called ‘March Of The Resistance’ which is very good, but I never quite got a handle on it like Rey’s theme. Another interesting “theme” is ‘Snoke’ that is reminiscent of the emperor’s theme and some darker music in Return Of The Sith. The deep male voices doesn’t manage to impress me though.
The first part of the score is filled with some zany Williams action music and personally I love that. It might be unfair, but when comparing the action music to the original trilogy it’s not quite there, but it’s certainly among the best action I’ve heard all year. I just love those little horn blasts that Williams plants in the score in such a way it makes me excited. How about the old themes? I mean you have the old characters back, some of them. It takes a while before they are used. Williams use them sparingly. You hear the rebel fanfare in ‘Follow Me’. You’ll hear it scattered about in this score. In ‘Maz’s Counsel’ the classic Force/Ben’s theme is used and it’s delight for my ears of course. I missed that theme and I always will. There’s naturally Han and Leia’s theme in ‘Han And Leia’, but I think those are the only big themes represented. I hear that the Imperial march theme is used in the film, but it’s not present on the score.
The whole finale starting with ‘The Ways Of The Force’ and ending with the brilliant ‘The Jedi Steps And Finale’ is just superb and up there with the classic trilogy score. It gives me that feeling again, the feeling I get when listening to them. There’s nothing that quite can compare to that. I’m just lucky to be alive and listening to this amazing music. I still have to pinch myself that Williams and Star Wars is back. We’re listening to a brand new Star Wars score folks! I just hope that Williams will be up for the final two scores in the main trilogy. Nothing else would make me more happier. This score is fun, and it’s easily one of the better scores this year, although not the best in my opinion. The fact is that this score is not even close to the classic trilogy and it struggles with the prequel trilogy as well. I don’t know if it’s the weakest in the saga. Time will tell. What I do know that it’s one of the best scores I’ve heard in a while and I am loving it. So, the soundtrack cover. I love the “classic” look, it looks like the original LP but then I got to see some of the custom covers people made and I like them a lot better in my music library, oh well. Minor quibble. It’s all about the music anyway, and the music truly delivers a score worthy of the Star Wars saga.
1. Main Title And The Attack On The Jakku Village *
2. The Scavenger
3. I Can Fly Anything
4. Rey Meets BB–8
5. Follow Me
6. Rey’s Theme *
7. The Falcon
9. The Rahtars!
10. Finn’s Confession
11. Maz’s Counsel
13. Kylo Ren Arrives At The Battle
14. The Abduction
15. Han And Leia
16. March Of The Resistance
19. Torn Apart
20. The Ways Of The Force
21. Scherzo For X-Wings *
22. Farewell And The Trip *
23. The Jedi Steps And Finale *