As a longtime Star Wars geek and ardent fan of legendary composer John Williams, I was already planning to purchase the Revenge of the Sith soundtrack CD. But when I learned that the CD would come packaged with a 70-minute DVD ... well, I just considered that some well-deserved icing on the fanboy cake.
A Musical Journey is comprised of 16 separate chapters, each of which are accessible individually or through a Play All feature. All of the chapters are preceded by an introduction by Ian McDiarmid (Palpatine himself!), although you can also switch the intros off should you just want a solid hour of Star Wars musical goodness. The tracks are, with one exception, presented in a chronological order, which means that we start with music from The Phantom Menace and move forward from there. The visual accompaniment to Williams' various cues is, more often than not, movie footage cut together in music video style, but there are also some pieces of production artwork and behind-the-scenes material as well.
I was about halfway through the DVD when I realized how many great tracks Mr. Williams has composed for this series of movies. Sure, we all know and love the Main Theme and The Imperial March, but let's not forget the rousingly victorious final fanfare from Star Wars, the dry and creepy Tatooine tunes, the frankly fantastic "Duel of the Fates," and
that wonderfully weird Cantina Band!
The tracks are as follows:
Chapter 1: A Long Time Ago - "20th Century Fox Fanfare" & "Star Wars Main Title Theme"
Chapter 2: Dark Forces Conspire - "Duel of the Fates" from The Phantom Menace
Chapter 3: A Hero Rises - "Anakin's Theme" from The Phantom Menace
Chapter 4: A Fateful Love - "Across the Stars" from Attack of the Clones
Chapter 5: A Hero Falls - "Battle of the Heroes" from Revenge of the Sith (You can access this clip online right here.)
Chapter 6: An Empire is Forged - "The Imperial March" from The Empire Strikes Back
Chapter 7: A Planet That is Farthest From - "The Dune Sea of Tatooine" & "Jawa Sandcrawler" from Star Wars (Sorry, but I refuse to refer to the original Star Wars as A New Hope.)
Chapter 8: An Unlikely Alliance - "Binary Sunset" & "Cantina Band" from Star Wars
Chapter 9: A Defender Emerges - "Princess Leia's Theme" from Star Wars
Chapter 10: A Daring Rescue - "Ben's Death" & "Tie Fighter Attack" from Star Wars
Chapter 11: A Jedi is Trained - "Yoda's Theme" from The Empire Strikes Back
Chapter 12: A Narrow Escape - "The Asteroid Field" from The Empire Strikes Back
Chapter 13: A Bond Unbroken - "Luke and Leia" from Return of the Jedi
Chapter 14: A Sanctuary Moon - "The Forest Battle (Concert Suite)" from Return of the Jedi
Chapter 15: A Life Redeemed - "Light of the Force" from Return of the Jedi
Chapter 16: A New Day Dawns - "Throne Room / Finale" from Star Wars
Score purists should take heed: many of the chapters mix some movie dialogue in amongst Williams' music. So if the pure undiluted tunes are what you're after, you might want to get the individual soundtracks. (Like you don't own 'em already.)
As should be expected, the A/V is top-notch. The chapters are presented in a handsome Widescreen Anamorphic, while the audio options include Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and PCM 2.0 Stereo. As you'd logically expect from a DVD created to highlight John William's majestic Star Wars scores, the audio quality is pretty freakin' fantastic.
The menu screens "wipe" back and forth between numerous Star Wars characters and landscapes, which is a pretty nice touch. Extras-wise you'll be offered a trailer for the Revenge of the Sith video game, and the option to flip Mr. McDiarmid's introductions off and on.
If you were already planning to pick up the Revenge of the Sith CD, then this fantastic DVD will prove to be a true treat. And the DVD itself is worth the 14-dollar expenditure even if you couldn't give a hoot about the Revenge of the Sith score. This DVD might be just a flashy marketing ploy created to sell a lot more CDs, but Lucas could also have opted to bump the CD up to 25 bucks, too. I say it's a great little gift to the Star Wars fans out there, so remember that next time you call Uncle George a shamelessly greedy old grinch.