Review Summary: Quite a decline for John Williams, but at least it doesn't kill that much decency he has.
THE SAGA CONTINUES, MAY 2002
When that text showed up for the Attack of the Clones trailer, you couldn’t have imagined that this movie would actually be worse than “The Phantom Menace”, despite having so much Star Wars stuff. But once again, people make the statement that John Williams’ score gives the prequels such a great effect.
Truth be told, it’s not as bombastic this time around. Even with “The Phantom Menace”, it had the memorable “Duel of the Fates”, the beautiful “Anakin's Theme”, and even “The Flag Parade”. But this time, there’s hardly anything memorable. There's also a lack of anything epic and moving. "Duel of the Fates" pulled the epic and and moving factor off perfectly. Primarily because of the fast paced instrumentation and choir. This time around, it's really just slow paced and mediocre instrumentation. Of course, John has always been above average, but it seems that there’s been quite a bit of deterioration in his music writing when it came time to write the score to ‘Attack of the Clones’.
The cultural highlight of this album is “Across the Stars”, the Anakin and Padmė love theme. Despite all the other tracks which drop in songwriting quality, “Across the Stars” is one of the greatest compositions John has ever written. It’s romantic, it’s dark, it’s warlike, it’s BRILLIANT!
But that’s basically it. That’s really the only memorable song on the record. And the downside to that track is that we hear it a million times. It is literally put almost everywhere. We hear it so much it starts to become clear that the soundtrack to this movie is not what you would expect from John Williams. He relies on one good song in an attempt to make up for the other flaws in his music, but it doesn’t work.
So that aside, what else is there? Hmm. Well, there’s the “Main Theme”. Still gives everyone goosebumps today. There was “Love Pledge and The Arena”, but that’s just taking “Across the Stars” and making multiple variations to it. And “The Arena” segment really isn’t all that bad. But it’s not that good either.
In the end, not too much has changed. It still is a good soundtrack, whether it’s what you expect out of John Williams or not. He’s always been above average, but this soundtrack doesn’t dazzle you like it does with his earlier works. When you listen to the soundtrack of the original trilogy and even “The Phantom Menace”, you’ll notice a difference in musical styles. John, you clearly can do far better.