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Soundtrack review: Way to the rebellion (George Shaw – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Way to the rebellion (George Shaw – 2017)



“Way to the Rebellion – A Star Wars Fan Film” is a 2016 short movie and an extension of the Star Wars original trilogy world. Produced by Wong Fu Productions, the story is set alongside the timeline of A New Hope and focuses on what events make average people follow the Rebellion instead of the Empire. By building on Star Wars lore, including the search for a crystal that could be used for creating lightsabers, Way to the Rebellion expands on the trilogy’s world. George Shaw wrote the score.

The PR blurb presents this as an ultimate ode and homage to John Williams and his “Star wars” scores and I must admit the opening cue “Battle of light and dark” delivers on that promise with a delightfully epic orchestral sound that could fit right into the original scores. Too bad it is very short because I could have done with 5 or 6 minutes of it. The following cue “Space chase” tones it down a bit but still stays true to that sound with the unmistakable string sections and the flute inserts that were almost always present in past Star Wars scores. The romantic side of this universe comes to play in “Wielding a saber” and I am enjoying the broad horn motif at the end which is once again very familiar to me. I like how subtle the original Star Wars references are as the composer integrates well know motifs with his music; I would call this a Star Wars fan score and when it’s done by a good composer it really hits the spot. I am enjoying the orchestral strides like “We are mere apprentices” where I hear a shadow of “The imperial march” and a shadow of the throne room theme just a bit reinterpreted.

The album is not all John Williams influenced since the melancholic solo piano motifs like the one in “Your favourite episode” is jazzy and completely unrelated to the Star Wars sound; it sounds more like enjoyable lounge music. Same with the theme for “Irina” which is just the most delightful romantic piano improvisation. I am sure I heard something similar to this motif before as well but I can’t say where.

“Way to the rebellion” is an enjoyable orchestral music collection written by a composer who knows and loves the Star Wars sound as well as anybody could; I could listen to this score without reading anything about it and I would know it takes place in the Star Wars before hearing “Trek Wars” which is just the classical SW theme with a twist. Even the cue titles are charmingly fan inspired, like “Trek Wars”, “Your favourite episode” or “For sure my favourite scene”. It’s all about the music though and George Shaw wrote a score that I enjoyed from start to finish.

Cue rating: 87 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 15 / 41

Album excellence: 37%

Battle of Light and Dark
Wielding a Saber
Join the Rebellion
We Are Mere Apprentices
Your Favorite Episode
Trek Wars
War Among the Stars

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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