Musical Score By: Zacarias M. de la Riva

Distributed by: MovieScore Media

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            In the year 2044, robots do a great deal of the heavy work, helping to rebuild civilization after solar flares wiped out 99% of the world's population in the late 2030s.  These new humanoid robots have two protocols - they cannot harm a human life and they cannot modify any robot.  Jacq Vaucan (Antonio Banderas), an insurance agent who investigates robotic manipulation, discovers that someone has been overriding the second protocol...and that could have a profound effect on the future of humanity.

            The musical score of Automata was created by Spanish composer Zacarías M. de la Riva, a former student of telecommunications before enrolling in the Berklee College of Music to study film music.  de la Riva has felt drawn to film scoring since he was a kid watching movies like Superman, Star Wars, Close Encounters and more.  He was especially taken with musical scores for science fiction films, especially those by John Williams.  He has created a number of musical scores for shorts and full length features including El Cid: The Legend, Imago Mortis, Tad, The Lost Explorer, La Estrella and more.

            Featuring The Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra and the Swedish choir Johannebergs Vokalensemble, the score of Automata is mainly orchestral in nature and not futuristic as one would expect from a score for a science fiction movie.  Instead, Zacarías M. de la Riva sought to combine two specific worlds from the film - the science fiction universe and the spiritual realm: "The movie moves constantly between two different worlds. The world of the sci-fi thriller and the world of the philosophical and metaphysical. The first one deals with Jacq Vaucan’s investigation of malfunctioning robots, the second one deals with the essence of the being and his reality, human or robotic. Music had to resolute this dichotomy, make the coexistence of this two different worlds possible."

            Thus, we hear a score that has some thriller quality to it - fast-paced and adrenaline pumping, but which also features a haunting choral track.  The choir represents that ethereal plane - the philosophical/metaphysical realm.  The ominous undertones represent the thriller aspect and the enemies who are trying to destroy what they don't understand.  The string solos are melancholy, suggesting a great sadness.  Possibly representing the robots in this film, these tracks suggest that the robots can feel...quite an intriguing concept.

            I found the Automata Soundtrack to be quite an intriguing listen and found the tracks featuring Johannebergs Vokalensemble particularly haunting in nature.  The music was so interesting, I had to check out the trailer for the film and now have every intention of seeing it in the future.  The Automata Soundtrack is definitely worth the listen whether you plan to see the film or not - the music is just that good. 


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