In February of 2012, Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox re-released The Phantom Menace to theaters in the 3-D format. The plan was to convert the other five films in the saga to 3-D and re-release them over the next few years. But then the re-release tanked and the remaining re-releases were postponed indefinitely, causing a million voices to cry out in terror, “Why the hell would you start with The Phantom Menace?!”
Now, following the same business model I AM SHARK has launched its vinyl release of the Star Wars soundtracks with Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace. This will mark first time that The Phantom Menace, Attack Of The Clones, and Revenge Of The Sith will be released on vinyl. (The previous releases were on CD.) The packaging is very simple, with a gatefold cover depicting Qui-Gon Jinn’s lightsaber duel with Darth Maul on the surface of Tatooine. The releases are being pressed on 180-gram colored vinyl; colors include “Hyperdrive” (black with white splatter), “Darth Maul” (black with red and gold stripes), “Qui-Gon Jinn” (green/brown marble), and “Obi-Wan Kenobi” (blue). The packaging does leave a bit to be desired—they should have gotten this guy to do the liner notes, at least—but if it were a Record Store Day release, Star Wars fanatics and record nerds would probably be shelling out for this release on eBay:
Record Store Day or not, there has to be someone out there who is clamoring for The Phantom Menace score on 180-gram-vinyl, be it a fan of the prequel trilogy (they do exist on the outer rim of Star Wars fandom) or collectors of film scores. John Williams’ score is wonderful, and his use of leitmotif and the way he creates new themes while weaving in existing music from the saga is a treat. Williams is truly a master of Wagnerian-bombast and baroque composition, and when “Duel Of The Fates” kicks in, the Star Wars faithful can just sit there, listening and wishing that the theme was from a much better movie. The vinyl mastering on the release is also very good, and retains that certain warmth that you can’t get from the digital releases.
At the moment, I AM SHARK says it has no plans to re-release the scores for Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, or Return Of The Jedi on vinyl, but has a definite interest in acquiring the rights for The Force Awakens.
The Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace original soundtrack can be purchased here.