CD: Ready Player One - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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Ready Player One - Soundtrack


English CD Title

Ready Player One - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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Alan Silvestri
WaterTower Music
April 2018
40:35/43:43
WTM (2 discs)

Based On:

Ready Player One

CD

Review

By: Anthony Romero

Before diving into the actual review, we'll disclose that this CD is being included on the site, under the miscellaneous category, for its inclusion of Akira Ifukube's Godzilla theme that is used for Mechagodzilla in the movie. This is found as part of the "Looking for a Truck" track, although more on that in a bit.

Anyway, this two disc set contains the soundtrack to the 2018 Steven Spielberg film Ready Player One. Based on a novel of the same name, the movie is a regular orgy of cultural references, both old and new. Tasked with the challenge of bringing the nostalgia fest to life is Alan Silvestri, in a rare pairing with the influential director. Now Silvestri's work on this score harks back toward his 1980's material, like Back to the Future and even Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, as opposed to some of his more modern, brassy work like the rousing scores for Captain America: The First Avenger or The Avengers. That said, there are some hints of his more action oriented pieces here, and overall it's a good score, if not reaching the heights of his career or being overly memorable.

First off, this soundtrack is on the longer side, requiring two discs to present it. There are a number of highlights across the set too, with one of the more energizing pieces being "She Never Left". The score is light on action motifs, but this one does a great job of filling that gap. Another solid track off the set is "An Orb Meeting". Now this tracks starts off with villainous undertones, set to the meeting of I-R0k and Sorrento, until giving into a deliciously over the top delivery befitting the I-R0k character. The track then shifts into a more upbeat, march-like tone until even some choral work is thrown in for good measure. As for the "Main Title", it definitely has vibes from Silvestri's 1980's work and even sounds reminiscent of James Horner's score for The Rocketeer.

Now let's tackle what everyone probably came here for, and that's the tracks that feature earlier themes. In that regard, foremost one would like to tip their hat off to Silvestri. Just two years ago we had seen Toho be fairly lazy with their soundtrack to Godzilla Resurgence (2016), which just reused earlier recordings of themes. Here, though, Silvestri really integrates the music into original motifs, creating something that stands on its own. Surprisingly or not, the tracks that use existing themes are also among the strongest on the score. The first of these to be tackled is "Looking for a Truck", the best theme off the disc. This cue is matched to the climax, the huge battle that takes place in the movie. As one might expect, it's more of an action motif, and benefits from that. The actual Godzilla influence kicks in at exactly 2:20 into the 5 minute track. During this moment Silvestri lets loose with Ifukube's powerful theme, here set to the Godzilla (2014) looking Mechagodzilla. Next we have the wonderful "Why Can't We Go Backwards?" theme. This march-like piece is the closest the score reaches toward capturing some of the adventure the composer excelled at in his Captain America: The First Avenger score. It also weaves in Max Steiner's King Kong theme, although it's a blink and you'll miss it type of incorporation. Finally we also have "Real World Consequences", which features a motif from Back to the Future. Given that Silvestri did the original score for that film, it's not as remarkable as the others, but should get a reaction from fans when it kicks in around 1:20 into that track.

As for weak tracks, the disc is devoid of them. The closest it comes is the overly repetitive "This is Wrong", and even that has some okay moments. The actual weakness of the score, though, comes from its lack of a truly defining theme. Now I don't mean there isn't a track here as iconic as the composer's Avengers theme or the main title from Back to the Future, as those are iconic, strokes of brilliancies that most composers would be lucky to do once in their career rather than consistently. What it actually lacks is something truly memorable. The best it musters is "Looking for a Truck", and this is thanks to the use of the iconic Godzilla theme which is not something people will identify Ready Player One with.

So overall, a good score but not one that a listener is likely to remember all that well a few years from now. Regardless, a tip of the hat for the way that the Godzilla theme was used here, both being identifiable while feeling new thanks to the way it was woven into an original piece of music.

Rating: Star Rating

Tracks

    Disc 1
  1. The Oasis
  2. "Hello, I'm James Halliday"
  3. "Why Can't We Go Backwards?"
  4. An Orb Meeting
  5. Real World Consequences
  6. Sorrento Makes An Offer
  7. Welcome to the Rebellion
  8. High 5 Assembles
  9. Orb of Osuvox
  10. Sorrento Punked
  11. Wade's Broadcast

    Disc 2
  1. Arty On the Inside
  2. Looking for a Truck
  3. She Never Left
  4. Last Chance
  5. "Get Me Out of This"
  6. "Hold on to Something"
  7. "This is Wrong"
  8. "What Are You?"
  9. "There's Something I Need To Do"
  10. Main Title
  11. End Credits