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Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones Soundtrack Review

By CMDR Cole Landfarer
Unit: Intrepid Battle Group
Basic Announcement, Mar 27, 2002
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Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones - Soundtrack Review

Quite simply, all I can say is WOW! It's a truly inspiring work, better than any of William's other works. Far ahead of any other Star Wars soundtrack to boot. Ahead is a review of every track on the CD - there are extremely minor spoilers for this, so if you don't want to know anything about this movie before its worldwide release on May 16, don't read any further. If you want to know more, continue on!

01. Star Wars Main Title And Ambush On Coruscant (03:46):
Naturally, the first thing on the CD is the Star Wars main title. As lively and merry as always, it hums away into the distance sounding like the beginning of the Phantom Menace. After the main theme, you hear a few moments of Phantom Menace "pan down" music, but then the new originality of this movie kicks into gear with several dark overtones. A fast, military yet awed theme appears as the track continues on. It then tapers off for a moment with more dark music, and the theme reappears, getting lower in pitch and getting quieter. A strange, almost curious theme appears in the background music barely noticible as the theme ends. An interesting track, leading into some questions about the mood of this movie.

02. Across The Stars [Love Theme] (05:33):
Now we get to the theme that is more permeable than any other song on this soundtrack; it appears in nearly every track on the CD. It's a true work of beauty, this song. It beings light with a solo horn and light orchestra in the background. It's a sad, almost dreary, yet beautiful track at the same time. Trying to express the love theme of two doomed lovers is very difficult. The song picks up with the whole orchestra, and sounds something like a waltz in pace. At 1:40 into the track, the mood becomes more upbeat and the orchestra plays out beautifully. The sad tones permeate thoroughly. The theme is incredibly "catchy," and you will likely find yourself humming it long after the song is ended. At 2:27 we hear hints of the Imperial March in the background, turning the song darker and more military. A buildup slowly ensues until the love theme breaks through the military portion of the song. It builds to a crescendo and with a flourish begins to taper off into the military/dark portion of the song. This too fades out into a harp playing the theme of our two lovers and hints yet again at the Imperial March as it fades away. A great track - there will be a music video of this on MTV later this year.

03. Zam The Assassin And The Chase Through Coruscant (11:07):
Probably my favorite action track on the CD. It starts with a deep, booming drum beat as it leads into darkness, coming to frightening, scary cues of high pitched music as it continues. The chase itself has its own theme, none of the characters in the movie have their themes in this track. The flutes play a near continual fright rendition over and over again as the music moves quickly. All music but the drums then stop, which beat on their own for nearly half a minute before the fear music kicks in again. The orchestra joins in on the flutes for a few brief moments, then the horns take over with the drums. This is continually fast paced as it continues on. An electric guitar riff is actually heard for a few seconds in the background, and the horns continue until stopped by the xylophone. The strings go with the drums for a short time, then the whole orchestra combines to play the chase theme again. The drums then go on solo for over 35 seconds as the theme song. The guitar is heard again, and the drums continue. Then the horns lead up, rising, rising continually louder in the background. Then they fall away, dropping in pitch. The drums return for about 10 seconds, and the chase theme resumes with the orchestra. A loud drop in the pitch of the orchestra goes on for several seconds, as the chase resumes in the background. A continual note is played for a bit, then the instruments almost sound mixed up in what direction to take. The drums return for 10 seconds, and the chase theme resumes quickly but dies away, and a continual note is played over everything by the horns as the music all fades away, drums stopped. Sounds of searching are heard, muted softly. After a minute or so of darker, inquisitive music, the music gets continually louder leading to something, and a sudden, quick end comes to the chase theme. Several dark notes of "evil" appear to resonate as the music sounds like it changes locations, and the sound dies away to signify the end of the track. Beatiful.

04. Yoda And The Younglings (03:55):
As you begin to listen to this track, you know it was written with Yoda in mind. After some music that sounds light and a bit like The Phantom Menace's tracks with children, you hear the Across the Stars theme, and then Yoda's as it continues. Mostly light filler music, but still quite good. It gets darker in some short moments as it continues, then a vocal choir sings a theme for the children you'll see in this scene of the movie. Very innocent and almost "heavenly" sounding. The sounds of the Force Theme appear, as the music changes from one location to the next. After a few more seconds of music, the track ends. Quite good, and a nice listen.

05. Departing Coruscant (01:44):
Quick liittle track here, certainly the shortest of all tracks. We hear some dark music played on an oboe, and then the music leads into the Coruscant theme we hear at the beginning of the movie. The Force Theme appears, and leads back into Coruscant's theme for the departure. The Coruscant theme almost sounds like something Egyptian, but is a great quick listen and brings back old familiar themes we know and love.

06. Anakin And Padme 03:56
The song begins light with the flute, playing this way and that. Sounding innocent and free, in musical terms. The strings play softly in the background, then the Across the Stars theme appears and it the theme go darker as it continues. It's heavy, slow and methodical. It's really unsettling after a short time; what may have started out as a love theme becomes one of despair as it sinks deeper and deeper. Short recurrings of Across the Stars appear throughout for brief moments. The flutes try to rise again to the light, innocent level, but never do. It ends dramatically and loud, but is clearly a darker track than the others. Not very memorable.

07. Jango's Escape (03:48):
Another good action number on the soundtrack. It's very fast-paced and quite dramatic, with many hard blasts of music. It's reminiscent of the Episode I soundtrack, with many twists through the music. If anything it's full of, twists is certainly the best way to describe this strange action track. It feels quite hurried in its delivery, goes silent again for a while, and then comes ahead again. There are many falls in the music, giving the feeling of a movie character falling through the air. It quietly ends with a harp at the end of the song. Fun song.

08. The Meadow Picnic (4:14):
This song starts with a flute melody, and it feels quite Arabic/Middle Eastern with the beat it puts forth for the beginning of the track. It's both a light and dark theme, as if in some indecisiveness about the relationship of our lovers. But then light resolves as the leader, and a joyous cue starts a rousing rendition of Across the Stars in what sounds like a travelling piece. It goes back to dark, then the joyous rendition continues from where it left off, in travel. Then the piece resolves to resemble the theme from Return of the Jedi, when Luke has hidden in the Emperor's Throne Room and Vader is searching him out. This appears for only a few seconds, then the song is back in Light/Dark limbo. The Dark overrides, and nightmarish high pitches of darker music shows through, but Light succeeds in the song one last time at the end of the piece to end on what sounds like our characters traveling yet again. Quite good, albeit indecisive, piece.

09. Bounty Hunters Pursuit (3:23):
Lots of Action again. Clearly a space battle scene. The theme for Jango Fett has reappeared, so it's noticible that Slave 1 is likely there. A very treacherous sounding piece, plenty of movement up and down the scale. After the initial action, however, it tapers off into low notes, sounding like a person sneaking around somewhere. No real theme music in this section, just an accompaniment to actions occurring onscreen. At the end of the song a military beat appears and rises continually until the Trade Federation March's theme song begins, and then the song dies. The reappearance is naturally, quite ominous, almost like a suprise to be hearing. Great short track.

10. Return To Tatooine (6:56):
Just when we thought it was over, more Middle Eastern type music. This feels like we're in Arabia. Light, skipping, reminiscent of the tunes played around young Anakin in Episode I. A theme from Episode I reappears regarding a certain CG creature appears almost a minute into the track. Then, lower notes appear, sounding like a troubling issue occurring with our main characters. A continuous, ominous theme appears as we follow our characters. Then, the sounds of the twin-sunset theme from A New Hope appear, but just after the song ends, Duel of the Fates, interjects itself as we go racing across Tatooine. It's a slight variation of the original Duel of the Fates, just long enough for the chorus to sign all of the words in the song. Then, the dark, ominous music begins again. Very quiet, like someone sneaking around in a place they shouldn't be. The low music permeates all the rest of the track. A great track, the sunset theme slamming into Duel of the Fates is a great piece of work.

11. The Tusken Camp And The Homestead - (5:54):
It sounds again like someone's sneaking around somewhere that they don't belong. Quick drum hits occur every few seconds to resolve the music into this almost "spy-like" atmosphere. We then find music that sounds somewhat like that of the beginning of the cave sequence in Empire Strikes Back, just as Luke enters the cave but before the nightmare. A light flute plays after this, in soft, emotional tones. Then the music goes into a complete frenzy as action cues of almost a nightmare occur. A light hint of the Vader theme occurs in the backdrop of this frenzy music, but it disappears quickly into a fast paced but non action movement. Then the Imperial March is heard, but off-beat from normal; it's a little strange to hear, but easily recognizable. The music of the spying continues begins to build again, but cuts off before topping, and a single note, rising every few seconds is played for a bit, rising in pitch. Once again before a conflict, it stops. Then, the crescendo is finally reached by the horns, and the music tapers off into stopping. Interesting track, definitely not standard John Williams style, like many other tracks are also not much in the style of John Williams. But the music is still great.

12. Love Pledge And The Arena -(8:29):
Begins dark, a light drum beat for about five seconds, then a light, sad rendition of Across the Stars returns. It's traded off between flutes, strings, horns, each at a different time, none at the same time. Then we go back to the flutes again. Finally, the beat rises into a full orchestrated version once again. Across the Stars is the true heart of this soundtrack. As Across the Stars ends, we get the impression of more sneaking around, with the first note of Duel of the Fates appearing for a moment. Then we get a light military beat with the sneaking melody, and the Force theme appears for a brief moment. Then we go fully into the military music with a new variation of the Trade Federation likeness. The tension slowly builds through the track as the theme gets continually louder. Loud burts of horns indicate arrival inside the "Arena." I can't say any more without too many spoilers from the movies. The drums from the Chase theme reappear with a faster military march, then we hear only bursts of noise from the entire orchestra. It's quite reminiscent of maybe a slower, simpler version of the Rancor theme from Return of the Jedi. It gets louder and louder, and fades up and down through the course of the track. Then one note gets blasted continually by the horns, and an incredibly fast version of Across the Stars appears, and then complete action from the horns and the strings to indicate plenty of tension in the scene. Then just the drums, and the action begins in full around 7 minutes, and Across the Stars hums away to itself in the background, then the foreground. Soft action cues permeate the last minute of the track. Then the Force theme kicks in full, but falters near the end as the soft action cues return. Wild noises up and down the scale resonate for a few moments, and then the track dies away quickly. Very long track, as many on the CD are, but definitely one of the best songs on the CD. A great addition to our new Star Wars library.

13. Confrontation With Count Dooku And Finale - (10:48):
The best music in the entire disc is on this track, which will be the last song in the movie. This is the end of the big action scenes, the wrapup, and the credits rolled into one ball. To start, we hear the familiar chase theme tune, then go into the Force Theme, but it dies right at the climax, and the music turns immediately dark. Count Dooku's dark music is heard herein, moving up and down the scale, and fades into a single, solo singer. It's the odd, dreamish kind of voice one expects to hear if unconscious, almost heavenly. A harp chord for a brief moment brings back normal music, and a high pitched piece with the flutes begins, slow and steady. Reminiscent of the moments with Darth Sidious in The Phantom Menace. The music gets louder, and the orchestra joins in, building louder and louder, and finally the full Imperial March is heard. A new variation in the middle, but it is clearly the march in every way, shape and form. Great, loud, and triumphant Imperial music. It fades into Across the Stars, flowing and grand with lound crashes of the percussion quite often. This is the music just before the credits. It builds to one last "verse" of Across the Stars, and finally goes into the orchestra playing as one. The credits start with the standard action cues of the Star Wars theme, and right into Luke's theme for a few brief moments, like in The Phantom Menace's credits. It then fades into Across the Stars for the credits. Softer than before, but equal; no part quiter than the other. Very evenly paced, like a waltz once again. Truly a beautiful, mature love theme worthy of Star Wars; better than Han & Leia's love theme and suited for action as well. The song sinks into the tones of Darth Vader for a few brief moments, dark bars of Coruscant's theme are heard briefly, then Across appears once again with a full flourish of all the instruments after solos through each instrumental section. The full flourish is the loudest thing in the credits track here, and then Darth Vader appears briefly one more time. A harpsichord is used to lightly play Across the Stars for the last time on the soundtrack, then Anakin's Theme from The Phantom Menace is heard sweeping the entire flute section, and Darth Vader's theme permeates through the last few notes into darkness, ending the movie. Stunning, the greatest track on the CD.

14. On The Conveyor Belt [bonus track] (03:07):
The bonus track on the CD, it's a simple track that actually belongs between tracks 12 and 13. Don't know why it was put at the end. It's got a whole lot of percussion as with much of the CD, with a plenty of tension filled cues through the track. One part sounds distinctly like it comes right out of the whiny Psycho scene. It's alot like the Chase theme, but a seperate theme in its own right. Feels very familiar, but quite good. Glad it was put on the CD.

My final Word:
A Great CD! Amazing music, with an all new feel that dosen't at first seem like a Star Wars movie, but you learn think of it as a Star Wars soundtrack after just a few tracks. The soundtrack is definitely John Williams' style above all else, and much of the percussion sounds like it came straight out of The Lost World soundtrack. Best action cue by far has to be Track 3, and probably the best all around tracks are 2 and 13. It's truly the best Star Wars soundtrack I've ever listened to, and even though I've got this preview copy, I'll still buy it when it comes out on April 23 to give John Williams some money for this great job he's accomplished. I recommend it to all of you, and as one who has the script of Episode II, ya'll better go see Attack of the Clones - it's gonna be a great movie.

-Commander Cole 'HotShot' Landfarer


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