Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Brian Schwartz sent in a personal review/letter via Twitter this morning. He's given me his permission to reprint his piece here, so please see it below. Quite a lovely and articulate piece! Big thanks to Brian both for writing and for allowing me to show off his work!


The Lord of the Rings trilogy was unlike any movie I had seen before. I had not read the books prior to viewing, but finally did so before the release of The Return of the King. In the three hours it took to watch The Fellowship of the Ring for the first time, a world I had previously known nothing about became all I thought about for years to come with repeat viewings of each trilogy, and then even more when the extended editions were released. Everything about the Lord of the Rings universe in front of and behind the camera amazed me – the story, the characters, the locations, the themes, and all the hard work that went into bringing what were thought to be un-filmable books to life.

As someone who has always been a fan of film music, going back to my childhood with all the wonderful scores John Williams created, I thoroughly enjoyed the scores to all three Lord of the Rings films. I listened to the two CD releases each film got (theatrical and complete recordings) again and again, and took in the scores’ themes for all the music highlighting the different characters, places, and themes. Whether in quieter moments of deep thought or the thrill of epic battlefields, I was captivated. The more I listened to the scores, the more I heard something new in them each time. Just when I thought I had almost gotten these scores figured out, your book showed me that I had barely scratched the surface.

You have accomplished what is arguably the most attentive and thorough analysis of a film score I have ever read. I only wish all my favorite film scores could receive the same treatment you brought to this project. I was astounded by the subtle observations regarding the placement and variations of leitmotifs and the feelings they reflect with the rest of the films. You have turned the scores into their own entity – one could listen only to the scores and know exactly what is happening in the story, as well as what feelings are associated with each part. I played the music in my head as I read through each track description, often waiting for the music to catch up before I could move on! While I do not know how to read music, nor was I familiar with some of the terminology in the book, the context you provided made everything perfectly clear to me. I am hearing these scores in a completely new light now, and I can’t wait to watch the films again soon (after practically wearing out the DVD player a few years back with so many viewings). Once I finished the book, I felt like I had been on a great and personal journey – the same way I felt after finishing the books and films. Thank you so much for all the wonderful work you’ve done on this. Bring on The Hobbit!
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