Some of the most famous songs across the world are not pop songs, or classics from the 80’s, but the film scores to some of the most popular movies around the world.  Film scores help to create a feeling for the movie and they add another level of emotion for the audience. One of the most successful film scorist is John Williams. Some of William’s most famous work is the scoring for Superman, ET, Jurassic Park, Jaws, and Star Wars.  These tunes are things that most people can recognize and hum along to after hearing just 3 or 4 seconds from the songs.

John Williams has been writing film scores for many years and in many different genres.  He knows how to evoke audience emotion with only music. Most, if not all, of his scores do not have words.  An example of the emotion that the audience can gather about a character from the scores is the Imperial March from Star Wars.  The Imperial March is what plays every time Darth Vader steps on to the screen, or is about to appear on screen. This composition is very deep, letting the audience know that the character that they are about to see is intimidating and powerful.  It also gives the audience a clue that he is a villain because the music is very dark.

Scores of movies are not only used to add another dimension to a character, but to address the overall feeling of the movie.  The scores for fun and action packed movies like to Star Wars, Superman, or Jurassic Park were designed to make the audience have fun.  The opening composition in Star Wars is an upbeat and exciting song that make the audience giddy to watch the movie and see what is in store.

John Williams also worked on the scores for very serious films like the Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, and the Book Thief.  These movies the goal of the music was to show the seriousness and intensity of the film. In the Schindler’s List, and the Book Thief, the goal is also to show the fear of the people who went through the experiences shown in the movies.  These movies were not to have a fun and light atmosphere to gear audiences for a fun couple of hours.

Lastly, the scores of movies can be used to emphasize a situation that the characters are in.  Even in a fun movie, a specific composition can be lower and darker if the situation that the characters face is intimidating.  On the other side, if the situation is fun, then the composition is bright and exciting. An example of this is the action scenes in the Indiana Jones movies.  These scenes are a little intense, but are more so fun for the audience to watch, and the composition reflects that with exciting music playing in the background to tell the audience not to worry too much about the character.

Scores of movies help to tell the story and the feeling of the movie itself.  They help the audience to know what to feel and can help to enhance their original feelings toward the movie, character, or scene.  One of the most famous and successful score writer is John Williams. Williams has done all of these things throughout his long and diverse career with films like Harry Potter, Home Alone, the BFG, and Catch Me if You Can.

Star Wars, Nostalgia, and Creativity

So, okay, let’s be real for a hot second: I loved the new Star Wars movie. Even though I will forever be mad that I didn’t see it at midnight, I loved this movie with a passion. I can prove it to you too. I saw it the weekend it came out with some friends while I was still in Ann Arbor…then I saw it a week and a half later, with my best friend back in Houston. And then when my mom wanted to go see it, I told her we should go again. I saw this movie three times. And if you asked me to go this weekend I’d just ask what time?

I know this isn’t a minority opinion. I was honestly glad that I saw it opening weekend because that meant that I didn’t have to wait until Monday, when I was back in Houston, to read/watch/listen to/breathe any spoilers. I didn’t even rewatch the trailer before going to see it – the last time I’d seen the trailer was back in November, when it first came out, and a lot of finals had happened between then and the time I’d seen it. I wanted to come in with a fresh experience.

But even though I loved it, I’m not sure if that’s what I got. When we walked out of the theatre my friend pointed out how the plot was the same as the plot for A New Hope: they blew up a big gun. This sentiment was echoed in other posts I read, including a podcast (with major spoilers) by some of my favorite YouTubers, Funhaus, where James said he was reserving judgement on the new franchise as a whole for that very reason.

Nostalgia, ironically, isn’t an abstract concept anymore, but a business, and a booming one at that. People are shelling out money for reboots and sequels of their favorite shows and movies. And they do well, too, and the public goes crazy for them. One recent example that’s been all over the entertainment news sphere is the new Full House reboot on Netflix, duly named Fuller House.

In a blog post a couple of years ago, I wrote an open letter to Pixar about how excited I was for the second The Incredibles movie because, of course, I freaking love that movie, but also a wariness – Pixar has been devoting a lot of its time and resources to sequels that I don’t think merit the work put in. I was pleasantly surprised and delighted with this summer’s Inside Out, but they still have sequels slated for release in the coming years (Finding Dory, Toy Story 4, The Incredibles 2). Let’s just hope Inside Out doesn’t turn into Inside Out 2  in 2018.

I definitely think that J.J. Abrams made the right decision when it came to the plot. The original trilogy, as well as parts of the newer trilogy, are about archetypes, time, and the endless circle. It is, of course, a family story, and Abrams kept it that way, if only because he borrowed a lot from the original trilogy. I’m so excited to see where our new characters go – especially Finn and Rey – and I think the first movie did its job in setting them up for the next two movies.

But as a writer, and one that values creativity over her own fangirl instincts, I have to ask at what cost did he do it?

Don’t take this the wrong way – I saw the movie three times for crying out loud – and every time I love discovering something new that I didn’t notice before. But I also want to be openly, honestly critical of an already fantastic movie so that it can become an even better one that will go down forever in the pages of film history.

So while we not-so-patiently wait for the next movie, may the force be with you (or does the force not really work that way?).