Review of Michael Giacchino’s Star Wars: Rogue One Soundtrack PART 1 (Spoilers)

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Hey look, there’s snow falling down on the screen! It must be Christmas time! Okay that’s awesome. On to the post.

For the first time in the history of the world, something unusual happened.

A Star Wars movie was released to mankind with a soundtrack done by someone other than John Williams.

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story came out on December 16 with Michael Giacchino as the film score composer. During the film’s origins, Alexander Desplat was on to compose for this “standalone” Star Wars movie. But, as talked about in one of my earlier posts, some reshooting of Rogue One messed up the scoring schedule, forcing Desplat to become unavailable. So Disney hired the Star Trek composer: Giacchino.

Now that we have that history out of the way, let’s talk about Giacchino’s soundtrack for Rogue One and compare and contrast it with John Williams’s style. I can imagine how burdened Giacchino would be (as any other composer) to take John Williams’s legendary place as the film composer for a Star Wars movie. Not unlike the way J. J. Abrams must have felt when directing Force Awakens. 

Overall, I was very happy with Rogue One soundtrack. Let’s start from the beginning with the Main Theme/Opening Titles. Right, so this was probably the only disappointing thing about the soundtrack to me. As we all know, there was no opening crawl, knocking out the traditional way you always open a Star Wars movie with. This was probably done to start us off fresh with no knowledge of what happened before , which I agree is probably a good idea. The main theme, however, was very, very different from John Williams’s. I tried to find this song and switched key words around at least 10 different times with no success.

So I’ll try to explain how it sounded. The first few notes were the same, but the rest of the song seemed — and I know the word I’ll use probably isn’t the best — warped.

I was simply expecting this:

I think we were all kind of expecting this.

 

There were many familiar themes and suites used, which I was very happy about. As I’m listening to the Rogue One soundtrack, I keep pointing out so many different instruments and variations and dynamics that so obviously came from A New Hope. Which makes so much sense if you know how Rogue One ends **SPOILER**: pretty much the same A New Hope began.

The first track, “He’s Here For Us,” plays with the opening scene where **SPOILER** Galen Erso, Jyn’s father, is taken away from his family and his wife is killed, therefore … cue drumroll … He’s Not Here for Us. Anyways, story aside, the track made me shiver with utter delight. In the very beginning, the flute part sounds just like the first scene in A New Hope: After the opening crawl goes up, you’re left staring off into space, right before the Imperial Fleet cruises overhead to a percussion accompaniment. And the drums in “He’s Here for Us” even roll the same way. Doesn’t it sound so much like John Williams? I know. It made me really happy.

“He’s Here for Us”

 

 

“Wobani Leader Camp” and “Trust Goes Both Ways,” the next two tracks, feature some new melodies. In the second, around one third of the way through however, we hear a familiar tune that we first heard in A New Hope and it plays once in a while during Rogue One. 

“When Has Become Now.” Okay. I’m terribly excited about this new MARCH!!! John Williams is well known for all his marches, and there are quite a few scattered throughout Star Wars: Imperial March (Darth Vader’s theme), Flag Parade, March of the Resistance, Parade of the Ewoks, Augie’s Great Municipal Band, the Throne Room, and the Main Title itself. It looks like Giacchino decided to follow suit with the new “Imperial Suite,” and it is featured for the first time in this track. It has become my new favorite soundtrack (but that changes pretty much by the day; we’ll see how long it remains my favorite). I don’t think I’ve ever heard a march by Michael Giacchino. This may be his first for all I know, and I must say: he did an amazing job. I mean, he had Williams for his inspiration, so you can’t really go wrong with that.

“When Has Become Now:”

“THE IMPERIAL SUITE!!!” (The whole thing. Listen to the whole thing. Be amazed by the thing.)

 

We’re halfway through the Rogue One soundtrack album! Stay posted for Part 2. What are your thoughts so far? Have you seen the movie? If you haven’t, you may want to put off reading Part 2 until you see it, so: GO SEE IT!!! Merry Christmas and may the Force by with you!

 

 

 

 

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