I am not much of a reader; however, Ready Player One was a book that really sucked me in. I have read this book in like a week, which is normally an impossibility for me – I loved it that much. The book was full of references from my youth, and I was ecstatic when I heard that there would be a movie coming out, directed by Steven Spielberg with music by his longtime friend and collaborator John Williams. However, Williams went on to compose music for The Post instead and the job was given to Alan Silvestri. The story goes that Silvestri, not having collaborated with Spielberg before, showcased his main theme for the movie to Spielberg and that the director was extremely happy about it. Now it is my turn to see if I am happy as well.
“Main Theme” was released before the movie came out and it really is a stunning piece. I was expecting some massive fanfare, but it is very melodic and has a simple theme instead, mostly performed by the strings and the woodwinds, with occasional support from brass. The album starts with a different piece of music though, called “The Oasis,” which begins with a beautiful chant performed by a choir. Unfortunately, this gorgeous chant is not picked up again in any other track on the album., which is a bit disappointing since it is that gorgeous. The main theme can be heard for the first time in “Hello, I am James Halliday,” after a short organ piece from Bach. “An Orb Meeting” reminds me a bit of the Pirates of the Caribbean music during the silly scenes, with a joyful march starting about halfway through. In “Real World Consequences” you can hear Silvestri’s action music, with a special touch: famous patterns from Back to the Future in this piece! The score of this movie was composed by Silvestri as well. Ready Player One also features the famous DeLorean car from that movie, although the scenes where the musical reminiscences can be heard did not include this car. These ‘Easter eggs’ made it very enjoyable for film music fans, while most people in the cinema audience had no clue. This track was not the only one that includes music from Back to the Future: it can be heard several times throughout the score. “Sorrento Makes an Offer” is a bit of a weird track: It uses some synthesizer patterns, which is a bit off-putting, in the score as well as on the screen. “Welcome to the Rebellion” starts with a beautiful tranquil piece that features variations of the theme where the melody is played by one instrument at a time. “Arty on the ‘Inside’” is an interesting track because tension is created with the use of melodies and fast musical patterns, which you do not hear that often anymore in film music. “Looking for a Truck” is a perfect example of how the action sequences are scored in this movie: very melodic with a lot of support from the brass musicians and it also examplifies what can be expected from the rest of this score. Each track is very different but kept in the same style, and as the main theme emerges from the score in various forms, and sometimes the nods to Back to the Future, you know that it is music from Ready Player One. “End Credits” sums up the music from this movie perfectly with an eight minute suite.
In general, Silvestri has written a very enjoyable score even though it does not contain many different themes and most of the music is meant to just enhance what is happening on the screen. Most of the time I am not very fond of this type of scores, but for this one I do not mind it that much. I think this is probably because I have good memories of this movie. The other way around is probably true as well: I really liked the movie because I liked the music in it a lot. I am very curious what John Williams would have written for this movie, but we will never know. Replacing Williams is not an easy task, however, I think Silvestri did a stellar job in this case.
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The highlights are in bold.
- The Oasis (1:48)
- Hello, I’m James Halliday (2:01)
- Why Can’t We Go Backwards? (4:17)
- An Orb Meeting (4:10)
- Real World Consequences (3:30)
- Sorrento Makes An Offer (3:33)
- Welcome to the Rebellion (3:13)
- High 5 Assembles (4:24)
- Orb of Osuvox (3:44)
- Sorrento Punked (3:57)
- Wade’s Broadcast (5:50)
- Arty on the Inside (2:33)
- Looking for a Truck (5:35)
- She Never Left (2:41)
- Last Chance (3:20)
- Get Me Out Of This (1:34)
- Hold On to Something (5:14)
- This is Wrong (3:48)
- What Are You? (3:28)
- There’s Something I Need To Do (5:01)
- Ready Player One (Main Title) (2:26)
- Ready Player One (End Credits) (8:03)
Total length: 1 hour 24 minutes
Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc / WaterTower Music / Universal Music Operations Limited (2018)