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Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Soundtrack

4.5 out of 5 stars 410 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Soundtrack, May 4, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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The Star Wars cycle, George Lucas's stellar pop parable cum merchandising blitzkrieg, has long since made history as an unparalleled cinematic-cultural-marketing phenomena; somewhere Billy Jack should be in one envious, ass-kickin' mood. Phantom Menace, easily the most eagerly anticipated film of the '90s, returns to the saga's roots and allows Lucas to flesh out the history of some of the fable's core characters and conjure up a dazzling new cast of cohorts, antagonists, and alien realms for them to interact with and in. Thus, all composer John Williams had to do was essentially reinvent the world's most popular wheel. The film-scoring legend has admirably risen to that daunting challenge, delivering an inventive score whose dynamics should surprise and delight even the most ardent SW fanatic. The Main Title and a few oh-so-sparing bars of a familiar Jedi theme are all that remains from the original trilogy's lexicon, Williams having evolved the saga's musical language, stylistic reach, and orchestral palette with masterful subtlety. The composer's most ambitious surprise is the welcome addition of strong choral elements, which he uses in ways both majestic ("Duel of the Fates") and menacing ("Passage Through the Planet's Core"). And though the film revolves around a young boy (Anakin Skywalker, who will grow to be both corrupted and redeemed as Darth Vader), the only flirtation with cloying sentimentality comes with the innocently loping "Jar Jar's Introduction." In the tradition of the Cantina and Max Rebo's Band of the previous trilogy, Williams and Lucas close out this musical installment with "Augie's Municipal Band," a Carnivale-esque romp that segues grandly into the composer's swelling title music. Williams may be the master of a grand scoring tradition, but Phantom Menace is gratifying evidence that he seldom plays it safe--even when the Force is with him. --Jerry McCulley
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Product Details

  • Composer: John Williams, John Williams
  • Audio CD (May 4, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Sony
  • Run Time: 136 minutes
  • ASIN: B00000IQMT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (410 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,588 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I am a huge admirer of John Williams' work. I think he isundoubtedly one of the greatest score composers of all time. Many ofthe beloved movies of our time, especially by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, would be incomplete without Williams' magic. Since the music for the "Star Wars" films are among his most impressive achievements, I was really curious about his score for "Episode I". Let's start with the good news. Williams has once again managed to elevate the movie. There may be less recognizeable themes in this score, but when you watch the movie, you can understand why. The film is more of a setup, without many quiet or lyrical moments. The real drama will happen in the next films and the score also reflects that. Still, there are many nice and effective little motives in the score. I especially liked the one for the battle-droids (I liked them in the movie, too. They just look and sound so great). "Anakins Theme" wonderfully foreshadows the "Imperial March" and "Duel of the Fates" gives the lightsaber duel the pathos that it needs. My problem with the soundtrack CD is not what it does contain but what it does not. The soundtrack is 74 minutes long, but in the film, there are over 105 minutes of music. Why, for example, is the part where Qui-Gon fights with Darth Maul on Tatooine, not on the soundtrack, or the music when the two Jedi arrive at Theed. John Williams made the same mistake with the soundtracks for "Indiana Jones 2 and 3", which are also far too short. If one CD is not sufficient for all tracks, why don't they produce a double-CD. I'm sure there are enough fans out there to make it worthwile. I do also not understand why the cues aren't in chronological order. It would be less confusing.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
I tell you: within 5 seconds! As soon as I heard the opening chords of Duel Of The Fates, I knew I was going to love this Soundtrack.

First, and above all, I'd like to point out that this score doesn't sound at all like the original ones from 30 years ago. Obviously not only because of the recording quality, but simply because Williams evolved since then, pretty much as any other composer.

Unfortunately, this is the biggest flaw of Episode I; it doesn't recapture the sound of the originals, but neither does it establish a new Star Wars sound.

Of course that doesn't diminish the quality of the soundtrack, but it is the reason why Phantom Menace ranks behind the first three scores. It is a great John Williams score, but it's not identifiably Star Wars, except for a few bright spots.

The theme for the trade federation is as Star Wars- like as you can get, and I firmly believe that it will be remembered as a classic, just like Anakin's Theme.

How the music for young Darth Vader interwines an own motif and the Imperial March is simply pure genius.

There are other highlights on this soundtrack: the reappearance of the noble Force theme, an even more evil statement of the Emperor's theme in "The Appearance Of Darth Maul" and the funeral music for Qui- Gon. The rest is non- thematic, typical John Williams underscore, but, like I said, on a higher level than usual.

Unlike other reviewers here, I strongly recommend you to buy the single disc edition instead of the Ultimate Edition. The original release provides you with comprehensive suites, unlike the 2 disc edition, which only offers the bad cut and paste jobs from the film edit. Plus, it lacks some material of the original release!
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By A Customer on January 12, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This CD is a horrific example of what happens when great music meets bad record label. No tracks on this CD are intact, are are fragments carelessly strewn around. This is due to the carelessness and arrogance of Sony Classical. After a 5 million dollar buy on Sony's part, Williams and Lucas decided to sell out their classical work. It contains no portions of Qui-Gons theme or the briefly stated (new for episode 1) Obi-Wan's theme. This album should have gotten the 2 CD RCA victor treatment like the Special editions soundtracks did. I was shocked. I DEMAND, ALONG WITH MANY OTHER FANS- A TWO CD SET!
1 Comment 22 of 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
The music is the best thing about the "Star Wars" prequels because John Williams succeeds where George Lucas has failed abysmally. Rather than jettisoning his old work in some obsessive pursuit of innovation, Williams moves forward while reworking key elements of the original scores to create the thematic connections Lucas's plodding writing cannot possibly secure. He doesn't just duplicate his work from the original trilogy - he transposes aspects of it into an entirely new register, both musically and emotionally. "Anakin's Theme" adapts the old Imperial March into a new key, in a neat foreshadowing of Anakin's fate. While "Duel of the Fates" is not only a chilling backdrop to a lightsaber battle; its choral references to 'Carmina Burana' and other German masterworks help activate latent fears about the evils of our own time. Williams really knows what he's doing here - he seems to be the only member of the prequel crew who does. The result is music which is beautiful, intelligent and stunningly effective. If only he wrote screenplays, too...
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Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
This item: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
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