- Review by Kaya Savas - January 9, 2019
Rupert Gregson-Williams has always been a consistently effective and talented storyteller as he truly adapts to whatever project comes his way to delivers the goods. Recently he’s been immersed in the DC world, delivering the fantastic score to Wonder Woman, and now Aquaman. While Wonder Woman came with a more serious approach, Aquaman completely lets loose. The film is a bit of a mess, with clunky dialogue and stiff characters, but Rupert’s score paired with the over the top visuals is actually what makes this movie watchable. Here is an example of a score completely saving a film from many of its painful flaws.
Strip away the score and visuals and Aquaman is a painfully cringe-worthy movie. There are several moments in the film that may induce eye rolls, and plenty of plot holes to make the script look like Swiss cheese. However, when Rupert somehow finds this synthesis with the visuals and his music, the movie becomes… a bit fun. Aquaman’s bright and vivid production design is translated right into the score. Rupert mixes grand heroism with some wonderful electronic textures. To say this is a colorful score is an understatement. There are a handful of memorable moments such as when we first see Aquaman and hear that twangy electric guitar, or when Aquaman first enters the kingdom of Atlantis to a symphony of vintage synths.
Thematically we are also given some great material. The overarching theme is infused with heroism and elegance. After all, Aquaman is the true king coming back to claim the throne. So the score carries this royal weight behind it. Rupert gives a heavy synth theme for Black Manta, but the character is so forgettable and useless that the cool theme only appears in the two scenes where Black Manta is actually featured in. The real story of the film is of course Aquaman taking back the throne from his corrupt brother, and preventing a war in the process. The way Rupert weaves themes throughout is extremely satisfying. The score also has to dodge some awkward song placements, and Rupert handles those moments well even if the film’s overall edit does not.
At the end of the day, Aquaman is a ridiculously silly film. The score has more maturity and regality than what the movie itself, but in doing so it makes this bloated undersea adventure work. There’s fun to be had if you can look past all the flaws, and Rupert’s score helps it go down. There’s plenty of score moments in the film to make it a memorable experience, and even though the album is missing a ton, the core elements are here for us to reflect back on and enjoy. Also if you want this vastly superior cover art, opt for the physical disc instead of digital.