One of the most prolific film composers of our time is John Williams. There has been a growing movement that are trying to dismiss him as overrated. Unfortunately, his career and stylistic intent cannot be dismissed out of hand. His career has spanned more than half a century and has come up with some of the most memorable film scores in modern film history. Think of many of the amusement parks you visit and their rides usually are involving his scores. That is why we decided to feature John Williams first on our new batch of shows featuring great film composers here on The Extended Play Movie Podcast.
From Jaws to Star Wars to Schindler’s List, John Williams scores are memorable and capture the original essence of film. When George Lucas tapped Williams to score Star Wars back in 1976, he choose to add orchestration music to his movie. Many directors of the time were using rock or synthesizer music for the futuristic landscape. However, Lucas wanted to bring people back to the world of 1930s movie serials that featured classical music. History was made.
In his films like Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Hook, Williams brought his classic melodies that gave the film a grand adventure. The music never seemed to get ahead of you but enhanced the storytelling. Enhanced it to a point that you can never hum the score and not think of the scene that it accompanied.
With other films like Schindler’s List, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T., Williams managed to capture the heart of the characters. Evoke an emotional connection between the audience and the characters. Cry when they are hurt. Excitement when they succeeded and mourn for their loss.
Some of his other iconic music come from Jurassic Park, Superman: The Movie, the first three Harry Potter films, Munich and the recent Star Wars trilogy.
John Williams career is vast and influential, particularly in franchises. Fans voiced their displeasure with director Zack Snyder after he announced the John Williams score would not be featured in Man of Steel. Yet, the internet did not let that go as it drew many fan-videos of the trailer featuring the iconic score. Even Star Wars movies, their standalones, draw from Williams’ iconic score when featuring it in trailers.
Some may try to dismiss his impact in films, but there are generations of movie goers that never experienced his music on the big screen. Seeing that Star Destroyer come from overhead on the big screen, Indiana Jones swinging in the river in that opening sequence from Raiders of the Lost Ark, hear that musical communication in Close Encounters. While some will try to make that argument, it is hard to dismiss his contribution to film history. In essence, John Williams is responsible for many people’s childhood. No one can take that away from us.
Doubt me? Give a listen to his melody and see what you don’t recognize. You’re welcome.