Like millions of others, I sat down with my boys to watch the end of the first half of Monday Night Football this week so the we could enjoy the new trailer for the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. It was the highest rated last moments of a 2nd quarter and MNF halftime show in quite a while. Why so much excitement? It’s because the bulk of people my age are looking longingly to J.J. Abrams for the latest attempt to have a continuation of our childhood.
It’s true. I saw the original Star Wars in the theater when I was not quite 6 years old. I managed to see it 10 times in theaters, which was quite an accomplishment, not just for a 6 year old, but at a time when there weren’t many theaters around anyway. Our town, Palmdale, California, had one lousy theater – The Palace Theater. The Palace was known for having a huge Coke stain in the middle of the right side of the screen, and also for having a lumpy floor as management simply painted over dropped Milk Duds rather than scoop them up. It was a jem, I miss it.
This kid-like feeling we Generation X people now have about the Episode VII release was briefly ignited in 1999 when the first Star Wars prequel, The Phantom Menace, hit the theaters. I waited in line outside for hours for the first midnight show, along with my new girlfriend at the time. She stood there with me in the cold and rain surrounded by the nerd elite. Naturally, I married her. That night, we bonded emotionally as we experienced together the absolute horror of what was Episode I. The audience’s bad feeling about this began with the scrolling of the words “Trade Federation” and culminated in the opening scenes with the emergence of the dastardly Jar Jar Binks. At that moment, just 10 minutes into the movie, we felt a great disturbance in the theater, as if millions of childhood voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.
But today, we are expecting to finally be able to put that behind us, to find closure and a new hope, in a new Star Wars film that reminds us why we went to experience it so many times in the 1970’s and 80’s. So we watch the trailers repeatedly, record our reactions, and post them for others to see. I can’t imagine it can get more nerdy. Well, I don’t know, I can imagine quite a bit.
There is something else I was looking for, rather, listening for in the trailer. The music. Would we get a feel for the new score by John Williams? The music itself was arranged by composers who do music for trailers, but supposedly, it was inspired by Williams and then adapted from the previous movies. For me, the music of this new Star Wars flick will be just as important as the story.
What is the last film score that we have heard that has left a lasting impression and universally recognizable tune in elevators or at symphony concerts? I remember walking out of the most recent Indiana Jones movie, disappointed, but nostalgic, humming the familiar theme song in the parking lot. It occurred to me that it had been quite a while since there was any comparable and memorable theme music to a movie. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great scores today, however, we don’t hum them or remember them for very long after the film. But nearly 40 years later, we still hear and immediately recognize themes from Superman, Indiana Jones, Chariots of Fire, Jaws, Rocky, and of course the music of the Star Wars saga. If you are older or younger, I bet you know all of those too.
Well, I was not disappointed. The trailer’s music was wonderful. Some brilliant person thought this too and created a version of the trailer without the voices and narration and just the score. That’s really the reason I wrote all this, so that you can listen with me.
Below is the most recent trailer with the voices and narration removed and the music remastered. Close your eyes if you are trying to avoid spoilers (there really aren’t any here), but turn your speakers up or put on you best headphones and listen…
The music is it’s own dialogue. The trailer might even be better this way,
For comparison, you can watch the original here:
PS: Han shot first.