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At least the music's good
The music is the best thing about the "Star Wars" prequels because John Williams succeeds where George Lucas has failed abysmally. Rather than jettisoning his old work in some obsessive pursuit of innovation, Williams moves forward while reworking key elements of the original scores to create the thematic connections Lucas's plodding writing cannot possibly secure. He doesn't just duplicate his work from the original trilogy - he transposes aspects of it into an entirely new register, both musically and emotionally. "Anakin's Theme" adapts the old Imperial March into a new key, in a neat foreshadowing of Anakin's fate. While "Duel of the Fates" is not only a chilling backdrop to a lightsaber battle; its choral references to 'Carmina Burana' and other German masterworks help activate latent fears about the evils of our own time. Williams really knows what he's doing here - he seems to be the only member of the prequel crew who does. The result is music which is beautiful, intelligent and stunningly effective. If only he wrote screenplays, too...
Vintage John Williams
I bet John Williams loves doing Star Wars music. Here is a man who is one of the greatest composers alive. He's got the Oscars and the nominations to prove he's no fluke. Not to mention the record sales. When Williams is asked to do a Star Wars film the music is already basicly in place.
The music of Star Wars is fantastic. This soundtrack contains most of your favorite songs from the early films and has a couple of new ones that I think Williams and Star Wars fans will enjoy.
"Duel of Fates" is the best track on the soundtrack. Williams has really outdone himself with this song. I love the chorus in the background. They add a different demension to the song. The trumpets are absolutely fantastic. I play the trumpet and this is a trumpet players dream. The melodoy to the song is great and I have to give props to the London Symphony Orchestra.
This is a good album. I don't think it's as good as the early films or episode II, but I'm glad I own it. Fans of Star Wars will enjoy it, so will fans of John Williams. People who like classical music will also get a kick out of this one. You'll like it. Trust me.
Good for starters, but Ultimate Edition is better
This soundtrack album, first released in May of 1999 a few weeks before the release of Episode I, can best be called an appetizer for what followed. Not just to the film itself, mind you, but also to Sony's subsequent 2000 2-CD Ultimate Edition soundtrack.
While this double-dipping marketing technique is not without precedent, it does highlight this album's weaknesses, even though these, too, are not without precedent in Star Wars soundtracks' history.
Although the quality of the music is, as always, good and the London Symphony Orchestra's performance is brilliant, I found the music track names to be inaccurate and misleading. For instance, Arrival at Naboo, the music that follows the familiar Star Wars main title on Track 1 is NOT from that sequence at the start of the film. Rather, that cue is heard when Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Queen Amidala, and Anakin Skywalker arrive at Coruscant. Call me nit-picky, but I find such mislabeling to be rather annoying.
The one virtue that saves this somewhat disappointing "soundtrack" is the rendition of the two central new themes introduced in The Phantom Menace: Duel of the Fates and Anakin's Theme. It also serves as a good collector's item, but if you want the best recording from The Phantom Menace, do yourself a favor...save a few bucks and spend them on the more pricey (but more complete) Ultimate Edition.