Lucas Animation recently released an extended clip from the upcoming 3-D animated feature film, STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS. The clip runs the better part of 4 minutes and the entire sequence has music score, so it provides a keyhole into what composer KEVIN KINER has done for the new series. The earlier music clips that were used for the official site caused me more than a little concern for what sort of score lay in wait. The music in this clip is substantially better, although it makes zero use of any of John Williams compositions. In fact, if you heard this music outside of its context, you'd likely never guess that it was associated with the Star Wars universe at all. That's not to say that it's bad. Kiner seems to get the orchestra going quite well in this action piece. It has the sort of intensity needed for a battle scene and a couple of heroic moments as well. I am much more interested in hearing the totality of the score now, but I still see a very real possibility of musical-disconnect looming.
Yes the Cartoon Network's CLONE WARS animated series went a new direction musically, but it did occasionally incorporate music from Williams vast library. Perhaps because that short-lived series was so stylistically different from any other Star Wars feature that the musical differences were acceptable. With this new film and series, yet again chronicling the events between Episodes 2 and 3, the music falls much closer to the type of score Williams has provided.
Now, I'm basing this opinion off of this single clip, which I know is a dangerous thing to do, but let me continue on why this could be problem. There are some specific moments in this clip where I'd fully expect to hear something familar like "the force theme" or the Trade Federation theme, but neither was to be heard. In one moment, a completely new, heroic motif is played over Anakin Skywalker...and my attention was duly drawn to it. I should be thinking (or feeling) "Ok...here goes Anakin!" Instead, I'm thinking, "What? No Force theme?"
I suppose for the younger generations out there, the classic Star Wars motifs are not so important, but for those who grew up with the original trilogy, I can say that to a large degree Star Wars IS it's music. If this clip indicates what I think it might, then I could have a hard time watching this film or series without being painfully distracted by the music. Certain actions and situations in the Star Wars universe have been defined over 30 years. It will not be easy to displace this.
My guess would be that somewhere within, there is an occasional quote of familiar music, but if there wasn't in a scene like this...then all bets are off. I do I hope I am wrong.
Well, check out the clip for yourself. What do you think about Kevin Kiner's music?
Check out the clip here.