Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Composer: John Williams

Sometimes something priceless in your possession gets broken by someone who cares less for your feelings. Sometimes you spend time gluing and sticking the object back together. It’s tarnished for life for sure, but you want to try to restore it as best you can. And then just when you do so the same person comes along and throws it at the floor again for their own amusement.

Such is the case with many people’s childhood memories and George Lucas when he delivered Star Wars Episode I in theatres over a decade ago. And now he’s come along to do it all again with the 3D re-release.

But there is one saving grace of  either release – and that is the score by John Williams. The one major saving grace that we tend to forget (opting instead to give the one favour of note to the light sabre battle or the pod race) But Williams is triumphant throughout this truly worthy work.

Episode 1 is perhaps his most subtle of the entire lot. Sure the main anthem is there, and the glorious “Duel of the Fates” is one of his masterpieces. But there are shadows and hints of themes to come (namely those reflected by the dark side) as we watch a young boy get drawn into the world of the Jedi knights. These notes get hit on the head and stared in the face much more cluntly in the prequels to come as they come to fruition, but here they are much more subtle, faintly rising and disappearing in the background.

A word of warning though – reading the titles of the tracks on the CD before watching the film for the first time might, er, spoil things a little (As it did for me back in 1999!).

Steven Hurst

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