Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Musical Score By: John Williams
Distributed By: Walt Disney Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
On December 15, 2017, the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, a sequel to The Force Awakens, hit the theaters. As the last film closed, Rey (Daisy Ridley) had traveled to find Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in hopes that he would help develop her new-found abilities. Finn (John Boyega) was still recovering from injuries incurred in his battle with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Now, Rey must persuade a very reluctant Luke Skywalker to train her in the ways of the Jedi. Meanwhile, Finn and the rest of the Rebellion must prepare for battle with the First Order.
The musical score of the last seven Star Wars films (not including the one-shots) were composed by Oscar-winning composer John Williams. A composer, conductor and pianist, John Williams’ career spans over six decades. The artist has brought us some of the most recognizable film scores in history. In addition to the Star Wars scores, Williams has composed the scores of such notable films as Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Home Alone, Indiana Jones, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Schindler’s List, Memoirs of a Geisha, War Horse, The Book Thief, Angela’s Ashes, Munich, Sleepers, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Adventures of Tintin and more.
Anyone who is a fan of Star Wars and has listened to the soundtracks as often as I have will note that the Star Wars: The Last Jedi contains major themes from the past seven films. Who could blame John Williams for recycling? After all, the film still contains some of the major characters like Leia, Luke, Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren. Their themes are going to be represented in this film as well. Per the composer, “Rey has a theme, Kylo Ren has a theme, Finn has one, Rose has one… These thematic elements infuse the whole score and are part of what moves the film along, giving its sonic outline. In the Star Wars films, the orchestra can be as extrovert as it wants to be at given times, so it really becomes a big part of the fun and imagination of it all.”
Being a fan of the past Star Wars soundtracks, I didn’t mind listening to the old themes and found it interesting how John Williams mixed them together to create new and exciting music tracks. For those who may not recognize it right away, you will find Luke's theme in AHCH To Island; Leia's theme in tracks like The Supremacy and The Rebellion is Reborn; the Death Star trench theme in tracks like The Battle of Crait; the Sith theme in dark tracks like Revisiting Snoke and A New Alliance. I couldn’t help but laugh at the bits of the Mos Eisley Cantina and Jabba's Palace music in Canto Bight, which also contains a nod towards swing music. The Finale is actually rather different than most of the music on the soundtrack – I venture to say most Star Wars fans would find it quite interesting, with it’s quieter tones and lack of fanfare until the end.
Just as the other Star Wars scores that John Williams has created, the score of Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a great deal of fun to listen to. I have yet to see the movie and the score I have listened to makes me want to see it that much more, if only to match up the music with the visuals. Much thanks to the folks at Walt Disney Records for sending me yet another Star Wars soundtrack I can love.