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Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Track List:
  1. 20TH Century Fox Fanfare
  2. Main Title/Approaching the Death Star/Tatooine Rendezvous
  3. The Droids are Captured
  4. Bounty For a Wookie
  5. Han Solo Returns
  6. Luke Confronts Jabba/Den of the Rancor/Sarlacc Sentence
  7. The Pit of Carkoon/Sail Barge Assault
  8. The Emperor Arrives/The Death of Yoda/Obi-Wan's Revelation
  9. Alliance Assembly
  10. Shuttle Tydirium Approaches Endor
  11. Speeder Bike Chase/Land of the Ewoks
  12. The Levitation/Threepio's Bedtime Story
  13. Jabba's Baroque Recital
  14. Jedi Rocks (Alternate title: "Kill Me Now")
  15. Sail Barge Assault (Alternate)

  1. Parade of the Ewoks
  2. Luke and Leia
  3. Brother and Sister/Father and Son/The Fleet Enters Hyperspace/Heroic Ewok
  4. Emperor's Throne Room
  5. The Battle of Endor I
  6. The Lightsabre/The Ewok Battle
  7. The Battle of Endor II
  8. The Battle of Endor III
  9. Leia's News/Light of the Force
  10. Victory Celebration/End Title
  11. Ewok Feast/Part of the Tribe
  12. The Forest Battle (Concert Suite)
Composed by:
John Williams

Orchestrated by:
Herbert W. Spencer

Conducted by:
John Williams

Performed by:
The London Symphony Orchestra

While the original Star Wars represents the most powerful bombast of the series and The Empire Strikes Back represents most powerful quality, the conclusive Return of the Jedi represents the intricate workings of the built up leitmotifs of the movie trilogy as a whole. It was and still is probably the longest and most complex work of Mr. Williams' distinguished career. Containing almost all of the themes from the previous movies and of course plenty of new ones, this score is the epitome of Williams' nods to Wagner's romantic style of composition.

Jedi's new themes include the dark choral emperor's theme, and a "Brother and Sister" theme for Luke and Leia. Other various new motifs appear in (semi)isolated cues like "Into the Trap," which is certainly one of the highlights of any Star Wars opus (I have a friend who insists that it's the best cue in the series). As many have mentioned, the Ewok theme, much like the furry creatures themselves, is a bit on the out-of place side, plus it's a little too zany for its own good. All of the main themes are used in moderation in a way that is similar to Empire, and done quite well, the only real complain that I have about the reused themes is the underuse of Han and Leia's theme. Being my favorite Star Wars theme, it is a bit disappointing that it appears in such tiny amounts.

The original music contained on this re-release is split directly down the center. While the "Victory Celebration" does well replacing the Ewok "Yub-Nubs", the definitive weak link in the soundtrack is the new song "Jedi Rocks," which replaces the original "Lapti Nek." While I certainly found the original song horrid, the new song itself may not be quite as embarrassing on album, but in the context of the "Special Edition" film, it is far more pretentious and irritating. An entire scene was wholly dedicated to "Rocks" (thankfully, Jerry Hey, and not Williams is to be blamed for the song). "Victory celebration" itself hit me as sounding quite odd when I first heard it in the film since I had been so accustomed to the original's Ewok-based version, but having listened to it several times at this point, I am quite content. It is indeed a fine new addition to Mr. Williams' vast repetoir.

Apart from the embarassing song, one complaint is the fact that many of the cues are lumped together into large tracks, which unfortunately may make different peoples' favorite little sections or favorite bars a bit less accessible on CD, which was also done, to a certain extent, on the ESTB re-release. Also, Star Wars completists may not be completely satisfied with this soundtrack, as the "Lapti Nek" and "Ewok Celebration" cues are nowhere to be found. While I can see no point in listening to them, if you wish to simply own all of the series' music, you must purchase the soundtrack box set which contains two takes of the "Ewok Celebration," one that was used in the film, and also the concert version. I picked up the box a couple of years ago for just thirty dollars.

I've read reviews claiming that this soundtrack has the best sound quality of all the re-releases. This statement baffles me as it seems quite clear to me that this has the *weakest* sound quality of all, especially on the second disc, which appears to be quite muffled in spots that sound even worse than some on the box set CDs. Still, the quality isn't all that bad and is quite acceptable considering how incredible the score itself is, so this is a minor complaint (is it just me, or is that a common line amongst soundtrack reviewers?).

As with any Star Wars score, fans of film music simply *must* purchase this. Those who enjoy the music from the series and only want one sampler soundtrack to represent the entire series had better pick either this or the box set up (personally I'd recommend this). Speaking strictly Star Wars, this score has a little bit of everything, some quiet, some somber, some loud, some romantic, some exciting, some dramatic, some silly, yet completely incredible music.

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi is Copyright 1983/1997 RCA/Victor. This review is written by and is the property of Isaac Engelhorn and does not reflect the opinions of Tripod.