Author Topic: Ben Burtt = Dick  (Read 1158 times)

Offline Scott

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Ben Burtt = Dick
« on: January 22, 2009, 12:32 AM »
I just finished reading The Making of Star Wars a few days ago and a lot of what was written in the book was taken from interviews of that era.  What struck me is what a total and complete ******bag Ben Burtt is and always has been.  He complained in the 1970's about the musical score getting more precedent and status over his beloved and glorious sound effects.  He was in no real position back in the day to do anything about it because Lucas had a lot more control and Burtt did not do the final sound mixes on the original film

Fast forward to the prequels and he is one of the remaining few bobos around LFL and is granted the keys to the kingdom.  One of the major flaws of the prequels to me is the fact that Williams scores are phenomenal and on many levels leagues beyond what he did on Empire or Jedi (ANH is the greatest IMO).  But you rarely hear them showcased at all in the movies.  Part of what worked so well in the OT was the leitmotif scoring of the characters and that rarely came through in the prequels.  Mainly because Dick was in charge of editing the final sounds and the complete final mixes.    In addition, Dick was involded in the editing of all three prequels and really did no justice in helping the situation of what was the final product

So...I was pissed and I started doing some digging and I come to find out that Dick remixed the OT for the DVD releases and totally ****** the score on that too.  So, he has held a grudge for 20+ years in the fact that his precious sound effects took a back seat to the original scores most of which are some of the best soundtracks of all time. 

I officially hate Ben Burtt.  Rant over

Offline Matt_Fury

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Re: Ben Burtt = Dick
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2009, 04:51 AM »
Wow.  That is pretty ****** up.  You would think George Lucas would've kept that from happening since he's such a fan of music.
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Offline DoctorPadawan

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Re: Ben Burtt = Dick
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2009, 11:36 AM »

So...I was pissed and I started doing some digging and I come to find out that Dick remixed the OT for the DVD releases and totally ****** the score on that too.  So, he has held a grudge for 20+ years in the fact that his precious sound effects took a back seat to the original scores most of which are some of the best soundtracks of all time. 


This is especially noticeable during the X-Wings' descent onto the surface of the Death Star on the DVDs.  Where the version we all grew up with (even if you first saw the films and/or prefer the 1997 SEs) had a beautiful trumpet fanfare as the X-Wings began their attack and the Death Star Gunners fought back, this portion of the score was completely buried on the 2004 DVD release by loud-ass engines.  Some people have also noted that Burtt reversed the sound channels (right to left and left to right) on the music for the 2004 DVD release of ANH, and his response was that it was a "deliberate creative decision."  Since Burtt had absolutely nothing to do with the actual creation of said music, I'd say it was none of his business making any decisions to do with what John Williams composed and designed, but then again, what do I know?

Just look at how hacked to hell the scores are in the prequels.  Pieces don't fit the scenes for which they're dropped into (why is there a Trade Federation march during Obi-Wan's inspection of the Clone Army on Kamino, for instance?), and large pieces of score are missing for no apparent reason other than to give Ben Burtt a chance to show off a helicopter engine.  And don't even get me started on the Battle of Geonosis in general, not to mention the editing of "Duel of the Fates" in TPM, or the endless tracked music during ROTS's opening battle.

While I don't discount Burtt's part in the creation of some of the most memorable sound effects in the history of film, when it comes to him as a person, he has a Napoleon complex because people walk around humming the scores of SW and Indy instead of making the "pew, pew" laser noises.  Now he's apparently over at Pixar (poor Gary Rydstrom had gotten away from him and Burtt followed him), so we can look forward to him overlaying Buzz Lightyear jet engines on Randy Newman's score for Toy Story 3 in a few years time.

So yeah, Scott, I'm right there with you.  **** Ben Burtt.

Offline Nicklab

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Re: Ben Burtt = Dick
« Reply #3 on: February 7, 2009, 04:41 PM »
This is disappointing but certainly not surprising.  The music was a huge component of the overall presentation of the OT.  But if you saw one of the behind the scenes documentaries from one of the PT dvd's, you got to see firsthand that there was some animosity between Ben Burtt and the guy who has worked as the music editor on all 6 films.  There was apparently a lot of back and forth between them over how the final audio mixes should be done, and whether there should be more of an emphasis on the music or the sound effects.
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