Return Of The Jedi – music by John Williams

Return Of The Jedi soundtrackI’m still not sure what to think of this one. I’ve always suspected that I liked Return Of The Jedi – both the movie and music – more than most people do. It’s become fashionable to blast Jedi for a crime no worse than featuring the Ewoks (but hey, so long as George Lucas never again does anything with Howard The Duck, I don’t give a crap if he loads Star Wars Episode III with a malicious herd of Jedi-slaying Ewoks doing the bidding of Emperor Palpatine). Jedi also has the dubious distinction of being one of the two films from the original trilogy which received the most extensive revisions when Lucas unleashed the Special Editions in 1997 – and from a musical standpoint, Jedi was revised quite extensively indeed.

For one thing, the Sy Snootles Band number Lapti Nek (still available on the Jedi portion of the Star Wars Anthology) was replaced by a new tune, “Jedi Rocks”, executed in an even more cartoonish style. I’ll be the first to admit that I only fail to skip “Lapti Nek” on CD once a decade, but “Jedi Rocks” really gets on my nerves. I find it doubly irritating since John Williams himself didn’t even compose it.

The other major musical revision occurs at the end of the movie. New CGI scenes were grafted into the Ewok celebration showing victory/freedom shindigs taking place in other parts of the galaxy, from Tatooine to Coruscant. This then leads into a radically different outcue leading into the end credits – but truth be told, even though I prefer the original music from the movie, I like the new piece of music on its own. And I have a feeling we’re going to hear it again in the new trilogy as a theme for Anakin Skywalker.

3 out of 4 starsFor me, personally, the jury’s still out on the “tweaked” versions of the Star Wars films – as well as their soundtracks. This one would’ve gotten four stars, but “Lapti Nek” and the original version of the final cue leading into the end credits weren’t even included as archival bonus tracks. I only let Lucas off the hook so much for his revisionist filmmaking.

    Order this CD in the StoreDisc one:

  1. 20th Century Fox Fanfare (0:22)
  2. Main Title / Approaching Death Star / Tatooine Rendezvous (9:21)
  3. The Droids Are Captured (1:17)
  4. Bounty For A Wookiee (2:50)
  5. Han Solo Returns (4:01)
  6. Luke Confronts Jabba / Den Of The Rancor / Sarlacc Sentence (8:51)
  7. The Pit Of Carkoon / Sail Barge Assault (6:02)
  8. The Emperor Arrives / The Death Of Yoda / Obi-Wan’s Revelation (10:58)
  9. Alliance Assembly (2:12)
  10. Shuttle Tyderium Approaches Endor (4:09)
  11. Speeder Bike Chase / Land Of The Ewoks (9:38)
  12. The Levitation / Threepio’s Bedtime Story (2:46)
  13. Jabba’s Baroque Recital (3:09)
  14. Jedi Rocks (2:42)
  15. Sail Barge Assault – alternate (5:04)
    Return Of The Jedi soundtrack - 2004 re-releaseDisc two:

  1. Parade of the Ewoks (3:28)
  2. Luke and Leia (4:46)
  3. Brother and Sister / Father and Son / Fleet Enters Hyperspacee… (10:40)
  4. The Emperor’s Throne Room (3:26)
  5. Into The Trap / Forest Ambush / Scout Walker Scramble… (11:50)
  6. The Lightsaber / The Ewok Battle (4:31)
  7. Leia Is Wounded / The Duel Begins / Overtaking The Bunker… (10:03)
  8. Superstructure Chase / Darth Vader’s Death / Main Reactor (6:04)
  9. Leia’s News / Light Of The Force (3:24)
  10. Victory Celebration / End Title (8:34)
  11. Ewok Feast / Part Of The Tribe (4:02)
  12. The Forest Battle – concert suite (4:05)

Released by: RCA/Victor
Release date: 1997
Disc one total running time: 73:16
Disc two total running time: 74:47