Whatever your opinion of Lucas' films' cash-hoovering marketing tactics, there's little doubt that this "Ultimate Edition" of John Wiliams' fourth foray into that galaxy far, far away will be of certain interest to both rapacious Star Wars fans and aficionados of Williams' exquisite styling. A formidable two-disc set, with 68 tracks in chronological order over two hours, this score, like the film itself, lacks the iconic freshness of A New Hope (the first Star Wars film) and is hindered by forgivable self-plagiarism. However, it's undoubtedly an accomplished, enjoyable work, with Williams showcasing his strengths with impressive ease, and therefore, easily worthy of the Star Wars brand. This is especially true with this meatier version, where Williams' new themes mingle comfortably and effectively with the first trilogy's classic motifs such as the Main Title fanfare and the Force theme. His renowned technique for leitmotif gets a wonderfully subtle example with the string-driven "Anakin's Theme" (End Credits) in which the sweepingly innocent chorus is given a forbidding coda with the briefest snatch of the "Imperial Theme" from The Empire Strikes Back. With its Wagnerian chorus, courtesy of a 180-strong choir chanting Sanskrit, "Duel of the Fates" remains the score's high-point, giving the film's climactic lightsabre duels the apocalyptic urgency they deserve. Elsewhere, Williams imbues "The Flag Parade" with some Ben Hur bombast, while "Escape From Naboo" is thrilling, adrenalised fare. Ending with a fun, dialogue version of "Duel of The Fates", this is an impressive and exhaustive collection, confirming that Williams' lush, vivid themes define Lucas' universe as much as the special effects. --Danny Graydon
Let no Star Wars fan go home disappointed-this 2-CD soundtrack set brings you every note John Williams composed for one of the most anticipated films in recent history, from the opening fanfare to the last end credit! All 68 tracks are in order as heard in the film, two bonus tracks (with sound effects and dialogue) are included and more than 60 photos grace the pages of the 60-page booklet. A collector's dream!