Showing posts with label Blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blogging. Show all posts

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Last Post!

Transformers Masterpiece Sideswipe and TMNT Classics Michelangelo on the shelf | The Mos Espa Collection
I think this just about covers it...
Well, it’s been great fun.

The MEC, or Mos Espa Collection as it was known for the duration of its existence, is coming to a close. For reasons I outline below this will be the last post I make here.

It’s been a good run, just two weeks shy of five years old and four posts short of 200. Writing and running this site has put me in touch with some of the friendliest folk in the toy-blogging community, and feeling that you’re not alone when you indulge in a niche hobby like ours makes it more enjoyable by tenfold. In particular I want to give a shout out to Optimal Omega, Chris at Stunt Zombie and Bro Midnight at Green Plastic Squirt Gun. They’ve all been supportive of my ramblings over the years, and each brings a personal and unique perspective to their own collections over at their respective blogs. I heartily recommend all three.

Why am I winding up? That’s a good question. I still love blogging but I’ve ended up at a point where the MEC no longer reflects the type of collector that I am, and it’s gotten increasingly difficult to create content. In retrospect it’s essentially been a practice blog, for want of a better term, whilst I’ve figured out what toy lines I enjoy collecting, how the toy industry and fandom works, how blogging works, and how it all integrates into my life. I’ve learned quite a bit, and rather than walk away from the hobby I’m taking that knowledge and putting it into two new projects.

Firstly, Variable Thoughts is a blog about life in its entirety – which for me means a splattering of comics, films, video games and action figures. It’s an attempt to get away from having everything segmented and compartmentalised, and I think it’s also a better online profile to be able to show prospective employers.

Going in completely the opposite direction, Green Card Back is what I originally envisioned this site to be. It’s a weekly photo blog that spotlights Star Wars action figures from 1995-2000 with the affection and nostalgia that I feel that they deserve, and I’m keeping it separate because I want it to stand on its own as a complete project. How long it will last is anyone’s guess, but I’m giving it a two-year lifespan to see how it plays out.

So it is that I’m signing off here for the final time, with a ton of gratitude for the fact that we live in a world where anyone can make a soapbox for their interests and connect with like-minded people from literally anywhere. I’ll keep the blog up for posterity for the immediate term, but otherwise it’s time to look towards the future – which is something I find truly exciting.

As ever, thanks for reading. See you around!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Seriously Off-Topic: Please Help!

Hey everybody! As you may or may not know, outside of collecting figures I'm an aspiring filmmaker, with delusions a single minded goal of working on a Star Wars film in the near future. In respect of that a short film I recently wrote and directed, Beneath the Wormwood Trees, has been shortlisted for the 2014 Film Northants contest, of which the result is partly determined by audience vote.

I imagine you can see where this is going...

Please, I implore you, take a minute out of your day to vote for Beneath the Wormwood Trees right here. It'd mean so much to me to be able to repay the cast and crew with a little bit of success for their endeavours, and it'd go a long way to getting everyone involved the next step along in their careers.

For those of you with five minutes to kill, here's the film in all its glory...

Help me, readers of the MEC. You're my only hope!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Doing The Rounds

Comic Shop Leicester
Enter, ye pilgrim, and browse silently...
This week the Emcat and I took a trip out of town, and as always when we end up anywhere other than here I was spoiled by the selection of geek wares available to purchase. This amount of capitalist envy may necessitate yet another move in the near future…

To begin with we stopped in at one of my favourite stores, Leicester’s Forbidden Planet International. I’m a big fan of both FP chains, and I always try and drop into them when I can (FP Coventry served as my LCS from Civil War through to NYX, and it was somewhere I always enjoyed going). The Leicester store is no different and over the last three months they’ve sold me plenty of Transformers, TMNT and Spider-Man comics and TPBs. This was the first time I’d been out this way since May, and there were a few standout items that really caught my eye this time around:

Last Stand of the Wreckers, Gypsy Danger, Play Arts Kai Robin
Yes please!
Here we have IDW's Last Stand of the Wreckers, Play Arts Kai's Arkham City Robin, and NECA's Gypsy Danger from Pacific Rim (something I had little interest in until actually seeing it on the shelf). Unfortunately at the minute these are all consigned to the ‘one day’ list – but given that I started my new job today, that’ll hopefully be one day soon!

A brief sojourn into the Disney Store scored me a look at the rest of the first wave of Star Wars 12” talking figures, and whilst I’m not sure about Luke, Han Solo and the Stormtroopers look as good as the Darth Vader. Given the size, great sculpting, poseability and action features on these guys, it’s actually criminal that Hasbro is selling the 6” Black Series at the same price point. Something is going to give there, and soon.

Leicester City Centre Shopping
The standard attractions...
We saw a few other cool sights as well, including a market place which was trying its hardest to entice me back to vintage video games, which reminded me that I’m interested in Titanfall and led directly to a look around Game. Verdict: I have no time for video games. This makes me feel sad on one level, but productive and ever-so-slightly ‘adult’ on another…

Of course, all these boasts of adulthood were undone with a follow up trip to Northampton’s Toys ‘R’ Us, the finest purveyor of Transformers toys that I’m aware on in the Northants area. This is in large part because other than the supermarkets there’s nowhere else to actually buy the things, of course…

Transformers 4 Age of Extinction at Toys R Us Northampton
The state of brick and mortar today...
I’ve not really been too smitten with the AOE line, but I think that Scorn looks quite nice. This trip also gave me my first glimpse of Evasion Mode Optimus Prime ‘in the plastic’, so to speak, and I have to say that it looks even better in real life than it does online. I’m still not convinced that it’s the Prime for me though, although I’ll reserve my full judgement until I see the Evolutions two-pack version up close. It’s a definite case of facemask FTW.

Transformers 4 AOE Age of Extinction Optimus Prime Evolutions 2 Pack Evasion Mode Faceplate
Double Optimus!

So there you go; in the world of ‘If I Had Money’, these are the kind of products I’d be coming home with after a Saturday afternoon out. The thing is that even with all this brick and mortar love, I know that online shops provide a much wider selection at highly competitive prices – sites like the excellent Kapow! and Star Action Figures bear me out here – but I maintain that there’s nothing like seeing an item in hand and weighing it up before committing to buy it, and that’s where TRU, with its FOC Generations Deluxes and Voyagers gathering dust, holds the slightest of advantages.

This is an area where I struggle with buying 3rd Party products (as opposed to any moral/copyright concerns). I’ll caveat that by saying that I own Fansproject’s Quadruple U and I’m really impressed with the build quality; but that was a purchase I had weighed up for a long time before going for it. Maybe it’s the case that it is worth waiting on those pre-orders until the figure is in (someone’s) hand, with the trade-off being that you just pay a slightly higher price later down the road for a figure that you know is worth the cost?

So anyway, there’s that idea… And then FP comes along and teases Classics style not-Dinobots.

FP Columpio Derpan Dinobots Sludge Snarl Swoop Slag Slug Grimlock G1 3P
Targetmaster Dinobots!

Well, there goes that resolve.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Welcome to The MEC!

So, have you noticed the rebranding?

When I first started the Mos Espa Collection, it was a simple hobby page for posting photos of my Star Wars figures as I got back into the collecting game. Whilst my interests have splintered over the years it was always my love of Star Wars that formed both the spine of this site and my collecting habits; at least up until the last year, anyway. Since then I've found myself moving away from Star Wars as a toy line. It was a good run, but - you gotta follow the river.
And so with the blog as with my collecting habits, I've determined to regroup, refocus, and pursue the robotic drift of my interests – and start reflecting a toy shelf that has been taking on an increasingly Cybertronian slant. I did consider starting a new site, but I'm proud of the history of this blog and I don't want to take a singular approach to collecting when my interests flex as much as they do. Let's just consider this the first major evolution for the site, and go from there...

I’m no expert on Transformers, but that’s kind of the point - and I'm looking forward to discovering a lot more about the Robots in Disguise as I chart a course through the toys, cartoons, comics and games from the last 30 years, in the many varied iterations. It's fair to say that I've missed out on a lot.

Don't let the URL confuse you. Welcome to The MEC!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Habit

CHUG Autobots Jazz Bumblebee Transformers

I’ve been fighting the urge again today.

Time and again I’ll get that uncontrollable desire to put down some money for some fine plastic crack, whatever line I’m into at the time, and much like Decepticons dogging an Autobot shuttle (which sounds kinda weird when typed out like that), the need doesn’t abate until I’m ripping plastic from cardback and welcoming a new soldier to the collection. That’s how so many of the figures I own have come into my possession, and quite tidily explains how I always veer so wildly off of any kind of focus.

It’s all good fun, don’t get me wrong – new toys can be exciting photography subjects, or companions on adventures around the house, but after a while the thrill wears off and in most cases the figures end up in a box waiting for the day they no longer fit the trim of my collection, gathering dust whilst destined for eBay. What’s more, impulse purchases never feel as good as ticking something off of ‘the list’ – finding Battle in Space Rodimus second-hand for £6 has been one of my best finds since starting collecting because a) he’s one of my favourite characters, and b) it scratched that G1 Movie itch. Beast Hunters Deluxe Smokescreen, currently on sale for £6.50 at the supermarket down the road doesn’t have the same pros going for it, however much I liked the character in the show. But still, despite these rationalisations, the temptation is there to nip out and buy it anyway. It could be in my hands in ten minutes.

CHUG Decepticons Galvatron Nightstick Cyclonus Transformers

Further propagating the insatiable urge has been the recent launch of the AOE toys, which I scouted out just this morning at another supermarket slightly further down the road. My willpower took an easy victory there though as those toys (the one-step changers and battlers) look terrible, completely and utterly devoid of the skill and invention that continues to make Transformers an evergreen line. Hasbro’s continued cheapening out will come home to roost (if it’s not already), but that’s a subject for another post…

So then, a thought suggests, maybe I should just go and buy the substantially better (and cheaper) Beast Hunters figures whilst I still can?

No. That way lies madness, and an inevitable financial loss when the toy ends up at a car boot sale one year hence. Furthermore it could also mean the difference between making all my bills this month or not, which means buying the figure would be both a serious lapse of responsibility and indicate a failure to contextualise my dilemma. They’re just toys man, just toys. 

Still got that urge though. What to do?

CHUG Autobots Rodimus Hot Rod Jazz Bumblebee Transformers

Here’s a novel suggestion, amidst the wave of purchase enabling which goes on online - how about appreciating the plastic I’ve already got?

My CHUG collection (Classics/Henkei/Universe/Generations, the standard Transformers lines of recent years) is small but pretty, and contains several of my favourite characters – the aforementioned Rodimus (Hot Rod in all but copyright-concerned name), Jazz, Galvatron, Cyclonus and Bumblebee. All G1, all Movie, all fun… Well, with the unfortunate exception of the small, fiddly and frustrating Galvatron, but I’m not here to focus on the negatives. The glorious weather we’ve had so far this week was a big motivating factor in taking them all out to photograph, and in doing so I remembered why I collect these figures in the first place.

So much of collecting is about the next big thing, the upcoming releases, the new third-party or Masterpiece pre-orders, with the result being that the current releases tend to get forgotten, celebrated wildly upon receipt but then left to stand on a shelf; at least, that’s something I’ve been guilty of anyway. What I think I’d be better off remembering is that I’ve got a great little collection of toy robots already, and in future I should perhaps try to associate my urge with appreciating what I have, rather than with spending what I don’t.

All that said though… One Kapow! sale, and I’m anybody’s…

Staying on target then, does anyone reading have any particular method for avoiding the temptation of sales and keeping focused with their collecting? Or is it just an intrinsic part of the collector mentality to move from one purchase to the next? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

In Transit

That right there is the condensed Mos Espa Collection, Star Wars division - all packed up and ready for the move. It's nice to see quite how little space it takes up in total, given how sprawling I've seen some collections get (not that that's in any way a bad thing; I just don't have the room for that). As the Emcat and I have moved to a smaller house (albeit in a much nicer town) I needed to get my collection as small as it could physically go. Truth be told it was easier than I thought...

I'd held onto various cardbacks, inserts and some complete, carefully opened blister cards, but on looking through them for the first time since packing them away I had absolutely no idea why. My POTF2 Skyhopper box was torn and bent beyond repair and definitely unfit for the purpose of protecting the vehicle, and as nice as the Original Trilogy Collection cardbacks looked, I had literally no use for them anymore. Rebelscum provides a great photo archive if I ever wanted to look at the cardbacks again (so far I haven't felt the urge), and I've freed up some box space - that's a win in my book.

This isn't a loose versus carded collector post at all, it's just my reflections on how I engage with my hobby. It's not a complete scorched earth policy with regards to collateral materials, either - one thing I have held on to is my extremely small collection of product catalogues, from POTF2 onwards. I spent hours looking through these as a kid, and that's something that still brings me joy today - and whatever you collect, that's what we're all doing this for, right?


Since there's a crossover period with the houses we've started to get settled into our new place already, and once again I'm spending most of my time here in the spare room. Whilst everything's still a little bit chaotic at the moment (as well as the move I'm trying to complete my dissertation), when things settle down I'm looking to take advantage of my condensed collection, new space and greater income to make this room into an office/man cave worthy of the name. As such I've been checking out various examples of Star Wars themed rooms from around the internet, and thought I'd take the Goldilocks approach to sharing some of the examples I've been looking at:

Above is the uber-Star Wars room. Doug Chiang, the design director for Episode One designed this home cinema room, and frankly... That's not a level of dedication I'd be able to match. Also, I'm talking about a room in a rented property here - if I were to go this far out, I don't think we'd get our deposit back...

Now this is classy. High end prop reproductions mounted in over lit glass cabinets and beautifully framed maxi-posters in a clutter-free and minimalist environment... In my dreams, this is how my collection would look. Two major issues with this for me though - firstly, my office/man cave needs to be a working environment, which this doesn't seem to be, and secondly... that is a big room. I guess I could ask the Emcat if I could take over the ground floor of the house, but I have a feeling I know what she'd say. Although that would give me an excuse to get one of those Han in Carbonite fridges made...

This setup is much more what I have in mind. Pictures hanging up in nice frames and a glass display cabinet are must-haves (especially if I end up going the high end collectible route), and the loose shelves at the end would provide an ideal display space for the more toy-like of my toys, making them easily attainable for photographs. I love the ships hanging from the ceiling, although I would definitely think twice about putting the Legacy Millennium Falcon above both my computer and my head. I think a cracked skull, broken PC and destroyed BMF all at once would be too much to bear!

My main requirement with the room is that it's functional, first and foremost. I need somewhere to keep my filming equipment, subject books and editing tools in such a way that I have 24-7 access to them, and displaying my collection, however nice it would be to do, is a secondary concern. That said though, now my collection's that little bit smaller, and increasingly more focused, finding that space shouldn't be so hard... right?

How about you - have you got any tips on space saving, or preferred display methods? My room's a blank canvas at this point, it'd be great to hear your thoughts!

Monday, 31 March 2014

Return of the Toy Photographer...

Strange Trophy
It's been a while since I last posted anything, hasn't it?

I'm pleased to report that everything is going well here at the Collection HQ, but I've been insanely busy finishing off my uni course over the last few weeks and haven't had much time to do anything beyond filming, editing and writing essays. And yes, that includes eating and sleeping! With all of my big deadlines finally out of the way however I thought I'd unwind today with a bike ride and a spot of action figure photography...

Somewhere along the line, Teebo from POTJ has become one of my favourite figures to photograph, and today was no exception - I wasn't even planning to go anywhere that wooded, but still bought him along just in case and was rewarded when I found a very cool spot along an abandoned railway track. 

I tried something a bit different today and left my Canon 600D at home and instead took out my old PowerShot A530, a point and shoot I was using way back when I first got into this hobby. I found I was focusing a lot more on composition of the shots than anything else, and whilst the auto focus led to a lot of blurry takes I was able to get a reasonable amount of usable pics. It was a lot of fun and a lot easier than carrying around my bigger camera, so I might be using it a little bit more in the future...

This old chestnut...

On another note, the Emcat and I are moving house! We're downsizing to start saving for the future, which means we're doing a lot of sorting and clearing out. Toys will be sold amongst the shedding, but at the end of it I'm going to have the kind of streamlined, focused collection I've been after for a while now - as well as also having the space and funds to add to that collection further down the line. Whilst all this is going on there'll probably be another absence of posts, but hopefully for nowhere near as long as this last hiatus - more than anything, I'm looking forward to finding a whole host of new locations to explore and share...

Man, it's good to be back. To those of you still out there, many thanks for reading!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Star Wars Action Figures and Articulation

Whose Line is it Anyway?

New 5POA Jedi Kanan figure from the upcoming Rebels line
Star Wars Rebels: Kanan Jarras
5POA. If you’re a fan of Star Wars action figures at present, or most current licensed toy lines for that matter, that term is likely to evoke some strong emotions one way or another. With the reveal of the 5POA Kanan figure from the upcoming Star Wars Rebels line (above), I think I’ve finally hit a moment of clarity with regards to my own stance on the articulation debate.

As a rule I try not to let the excessive negativity of online forums get to me, and sometimes find myself taking a contrarian position just to counter that aggressiveness – I can’t help it, I have a natural aversion to sharing a viewpoint with some of the more… dedicated forumers out there. It was this attitude, along with genuine curiosity and an appreciation for the fact that Hasbro were making action figures affordable again that I picked up my first Saga Legends figure, the Super Battle Droid. Despite some initial reservations this purchase was swiftly followed with Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and the Shock Trooper from Saga Legends, and the Darth Vader/Seeker Droid and 212th Clone Trooper/Battle Droid sets from the Mission Series. I’ve now essentially got a small selection of vintage style Revenge of the Sith action figures, but as cool as they all look together… I’m not really sure what to do with them.

Saga Legends Darth Vader, Shock Trooper and Anakin Skywalker
A small selection of Saga Legends
I enjoy taking photos of my toys when I can find the time, but I’ve struggled to get much mileage from the Saga Legends in that regard. Don’t get me wrong, I love Rather Childish (RIP?) as much as the next toy collecting Star Wars nerd, but there are two factors stopping me from ripping him off as much as I’d like: firstly, my photography skills are nowhere near as developed as his, and secondly the vintage figures have a certain charm that the Saga Legends toys emulate, but don’t quite match… And that’s probably as close as we’re going to get to an empirical value for nostalgia. As pilot figures I think they look great, and I would love to pick up a Class II (accurately scaled) Jedi Starfighter with which to display either Anakin or Kenobi when I have the funds. Beyond that though, I’ve really run out of interest, and that’s only confirmed that this isn’t the action figure line for me.

And the thing is, it’s really not. I called it when the Saga Legends were first announced, and after giving them a fair go I’m happy enough to say that these figures aren’t for me. They’re for my nephew, his friends, and any other kids discovering Star Wars for the first time, and I am not gonna fault Hasbro for that – after all, it was an affordable kids toy line that got us all hooked in the first place, whether it was vintage or POTF2. That’s why I’m OK with the new Rebels figures being 5POA, because it means staying affordable, and might even lead to a new group of collectors eventually joining the party - something that’s definitely required if the line is ever to reclaim the heights it once scaled.

Promo pic of Ezra from the upcoming Rebels TV show
Star Wars Rebels: Ezra Bridger & The Ghost
The Saga Legends toy line isn’t for us, and the Rebels cartoon (a Disney channel exclusive, no less) isn’t for us either. If we enjoy it, that’s a different matter; but it’s not for us, and amidst all the pitchfork wielding about how the new Rebels characters have been designed purely for kid appeal, or that the latest figures aren't the greatest quality, that’s something entirely worth remembering.

I'll get off my soapbox now... 

Thoughts prompted and images snatched from the always awesome FLYGUY.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

MediCom and Star Wars

Saga Legends Obi-Wan and a 212th Clone on Guard
Action Figure Wars!
There's been an exciting development in the Star Wars toy world this week, with the low key announcement that MediCom Toy Inc. will be producing 6" Star Wars figures under their Mafex banner, through which they've already released Amazing Spider-Man and Dark Knight Rises Batman figures. I've seen images of their existing releases (and the upcoming ASM2 Spidey) and have to say they look very impressive, particularly the bulkier, armoured Batman. If they can bring this level of quality to the Star Wars line (imagine Boba Fett, the various types of Troopers or Vader himself with quality builds, accessories and interchangeable parts) then I think we're going to be looking at some very exciting additions to the Black Series lineup.

The reaction on message boards has been unusually positive, although there has been some understandable consternation over the price, with amounts from $40-70 being mooted. However the lower down that scale you get, the closer you come to the Wave 3 price for the Black Series figures out here in Europe anyway (which at £25 equals $41.61, as of today's rates). That's an amount I'd be willing to pay for a better quality mid-range collectable - which, just to be clear, the Black Series is not.

MediCom Mafex box announcing Star Wars line
Image from
I think another reason for the not-negative reaction (which for a Star Wars board is as good as a standing ovation) is because this is finally another company being given the means to compete with the license. Hasbro were good for so long, but it's undeniable how badly they've cocked up in recent years. Now the Mafex figures will be import only, so it's not going to harm the big H's bottom line at all, really - but it could be a very sharp reminder that they need to take care with this license, if the import figures embarrass their Black Series counterparts too much.

On top of it all though, I'm looking forward to a company making a 6" Boba Fett figure that they actually want to sell, rather than utilising not one, but two separate release strategies that allow scalpers take full advantage. Imagine being able to buy a Boba Fett at retail at a reasonable price, huh? Madness, I know...

Monday, 10 February 2014

Best of the Best: The Star Wars Soundtrack Countdown

Star Wars Episodes I-VI
VII-IX Pending.
I’ve had very little time to focus on action figure reviews or photography over the last few weeks as my university course has grown increasingly hectic (it’s the final year rush!), but one thing that’s kept me going in that time has been Spotify, and in particular the fantastic work of John Williams. Whilst I’ve been happily listening to his scores for Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and The Book Thief, it’s really the Star Wars soundtracks that made me fall in love with his music, over and above, say, the incredible themes for E.T. or Indiana Jones

The thing is that when you begin to consider the music as a separate entity to the films a very different order of preference emerges, and the prequels don’t seem quite as bad anymore… With that in mind, I proudly present:

The Star Wars Soundtrack Countdown

6. Return of the Jedi

Coming at the tail-end of the OT, the Return of the Jedi soundtrack has its moments, such as the soaring, operatic majesty of Luke and Leia or the haunting Emperor’s Throne Room. However the music rarely takes off, and never feels quite as vibrant as the earlier scores, due in large part to the production which is almost muted and flat by comparison to the earlier records. The Special Editions were the hardest on this film as well, as we were ‘treated’ to the appalling Jedi Rocks and inferior Victory Celebration tunes – celebrate the love indeed. Like the actual film, the Jedi soundtrack has some depth, but a lot of filler. Still worth a listen though!

5. Attack of the Clones

On a similar note (hah!), the Attack of the Clones soundtrack has some beautiful moments, such as Across the Stars and Yoda and the Younglings; but it still falls a bit flat in places – Zam the Assassin and the Chase Through Coruscant is as bitty and noisy as the horrible, horrible scene it scores, for example. However, tracks like Confrontation with Count Dooku and Finale really emphasises the intended mystery of the Sith, and on the whole it’s a collection of beautiful music with a building, tragic undertone that sells the story far better than the actual film. It’s an undeservedly elegant score.

4. Revenge of the Sith

Revenge of the Sith comes the closest out of the prequels to matching the quality and tone of the OT, and as such it’s far more in harmony with its score than the previous two episodes. I’m still confused as to why Battle of the Heroes was composed and used when Duel of the Fates would have been equally (if not more) appropriate, but it’s a fine tune in and of itself. We’re also introduced to the brilliant, alert General Grievous, which is a sharp continuation of themes from The Phantom Menace album. The soundtrack is punctuated with stabs of the Imperial March, and the closing A New Hope and End Credits is the perfect way to tie the two trilogies together. It might not have a beautiful high point like the ROTJ or AOTC albums, but as a whole this soundtrack is greater than the sum of its parts.

3. The Phantom Menace

The soundtrack that started the debate. In my factual and scientifically endorsed opinion this is only the fifth best Star Wars film, but the soundtrack runs the top two extremely close. This album was pretty much all I listened to over the summer of 1999, and it’s a score of unexpected majesty, beauty, and fun – waking up the neighbours by blaring out Augie’s Great Municipal Band and End Credits every morning certainly fulfilled my bizarre, Calvin-esque rebellious streak; Anakin’s Theme is one of my favourite tracks from the whole saga, and even Jar Jar Binks gets a bone with a playful, enigmatic introductory tune. That’s even before we consider the commercial impact of the frenetic Duel of the Fates, as exciting as the fight scenes it accompanies… Regardless of your take on the success of Lucas’ decision to show a more regal and refined galaxy, John Williams delivered the goods in spades.

2. The Empire Strikes Back

I struggle with the Empire soundtrack, because it’s simply amazing – from an objective viewpoint, it can be genuinely considered for the title of the greatest film soundtrack ever. However, and I’m being subjective here, I listen to it fairly frequently and find myself skipping the ends of tracks, before the Imperial March comes crashing in and destroys the mood the previous music created. I get it, how the never-too-distant fear of the Empire is perfect for the film, but from a selfish point of view I’d really enjoy being able to listen to the soul edifying grandeur of Yoda and the Force without having to worry about turning the volume down almost immediately afterwards.

But maybe I’m being too critical; after all, this album gave us The Asteroid Field, City in the Clouds, Han Solo and the Princess, Yoda’s Theme… And of course, the Imperial March. It’s a classic.

1. Star Wars

Now, I’m not the kind to think that Star Wars is the greatest achievement of the saga (however great an achievement it is), and I love the fact that we have two complete stories, those of both Luke and Anakin Skywalker. However the score is a huge part of why Star Wars exists as it does today, and Williams nailed it at the first time of asking. The Main Title is a cultural touchstone, enough said. Beyond that there are moments of beauty and adolescent melancholy galore with The Hologram/Binary Sunset, and Tales of a Jedi Knight/Learn About the Force, weighted against the drama and tension of Burning Homestead. The beauty reaches a high point with Princess Leia’s Theme. There’s the playfulness that sets this film apart from the others in The Dune Sea of Tatooine/Jawa Sandcrawler and Cantina Band, and the glorious, rousing The Throne Room/End Title caps both the listening and the viewing experience off perfectly.

The Star Wars soundtrack established the themes and pattern for the others to follow, and however great Williams’ achievements on the other five films, or any of his countless other classics, no other soundtrack surpasses his work on this.

John Williams is The Man.
The music of Star Wars is one of the elements of the franchise that I enjoy the most, and do so on an almost daily basis. Whatever order you may put these soundtracks in, we should all be grateful that such masterful music exists for our listening pleasure. All the same if you think I've got it the wrong way around, let me know in the comments!

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