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review added: 5/5/05



Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - 2005 (2005) - John Williams (Sony Classical)

CD/DVD review by Adam Jones of The Digital Bits

Compact DiscDVD-VideoEnhanced for 16x9 TVs

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Buy this DVD now at Amazon!

Soundtrack Rating: A

Bonus DVD Program Rating: B

DVD Disc Ratings (Video/Audio): B/A


As if you really needed to whet your appetite for Episode III. With the marketing gamut spreading to virtually every possible niche of your life, it's very easy to get sick of the new film before you even see it. Feeling forced instead of feeling The Force? Well, if you can control yourself enough to not buy the Cheez-Its with Darth Vader on the box, the Rice Krispi Treats demanding that you collect all three cookie jars, the series of lotto cards from the liquor store, the promos from your favorite fast food joint, etc., you might be able to find items worthy of your attention (not to mention your money) to hold you over until Darth takes his first signature breath on May 19th. One of those items is the new soundtrack to Revenge of the Sith. If you haven't done so already, you can now purchase the final musical score of George Lucas's magnum opus, a staggering achievement in itself when you consider the scope of work John Williams has covered.


For all the bitching from Star Wars fans over the last two films, it's safe to say George Lucas has avoided the pitfall that made The Matrix implode on itself. While the first film of that series was pretty great, the other two got progressively worse (and progressively pretentious) which left many people disappointed. The opposite appears to be happening here, with each new Star Wars film getting better, and this delightfully dark, brooding and aggressive score from Williams is proof of that. While it certainly sounds familiar, Williams is once again more than up to the task of creating new themes to blend seamlessly with his signature ones. From the opening track Main Titles & Revenge of the Sith, it's all action, action and more action. I've managed to avoid knowing too much about the film, so the imagination works overtime to compensate connecting visuals to the music. The main new theme, Battle of the Heroes, with its wailing choir and thundering orchestra, is clearly the best of the tracks and resurfaces many times throughout the score. Other choice tracks (among the 15 offered here) contain familiar themes (Vader's March, the Force Theme, even the return of Leia's theme) intertwined with the new music. Unlike the last soundtrack, which had many slow movements, Revenge of the Sith moves along at a breakneck pace. I can only imagine Williams, conducting in front of the London Symphony Orchestra in the sound studio, furiously waving his arms about as if he were engaged in his own lightsaber duel. All you need to do is hear the fury behind the track General Grievous, and you know this is the film Star Wars fans have been waiting for. The final track, A New Hope & End Credits, is a thirteen-minute suite that seems dedicated to the fans of the series. All the familiar themes return for one last time, connecting Sith to the three original films that follow. Williams knows this is the last score he will ever write for Star Wars, and he finishes off with a finale that appropriately closes the book. It's bombastic in spots, but who cares? The Star Wars music has never been known for being subtle.

The bonus DVD disc that accompanies the film's score is another compilation of Williams' music that covers all six films. Entitled Star Wars: A Musical Journey, it runs about 70 minutes and features optional introductions for each of the 16 segments by actor Ian McDiarmid (Chancellor Palpatine from the prequel films). For the most part, you've seen everything before, but there's a nice 4-minute segment (A Hero Falls) that features only scenes from Episode III. Better still, the program is presented in good quality anamorphic widescreen video, with your choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM 2.0 stereo audio options. There's just one word that applies here: Awesome. The bonus disc seems to serve as a thank you to John Williams from George Lucas, and a nod to the fans of the series as well.

For the sale price of roughly 15 bucks, this soundtrack is a bargain. Aside from the fantastic score, the bonus DVD serves as a testament to John Williams' brilliance and George Lucas's imagination. I haven't seen the film yet, but if this music is any indication of what we can expect, my hat's off to Lucas with much admiration. And you just might feel you got your money's worth with this 2-disc package, as you listen while munching all those Star Wars collectible Doritos, remote in hand, happy as a clam. Even though Star Wars takes place in a galaxy far, far away... that galaxy doesn't seem so far after all, thanks to John Williams. What would Star Wars be without the man?

Adam Jones
adamjones@thedigitalbits.com
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