The Legacy of James Horner: No. 5 “The Machine Age”
[This article is part of a 10 part short retrospective of the career of the late film composer James Horner. Be sure to check below for a link to the introduction, and a link to the next item in the Top 10 list.]
This song is quite surprising. What I think it manages to do is something that a lot of opening themes don’t really do anymore: foreshadow the ups and downs of the entire movie.
Basically what happens here is that this opening theme expresses the emotional core of Bicentennial Man, while also representing a progression from small beginnings, towards a state of enlightenment, and then a state of increasing speed and ecstasy, before finally bringing us back to a state of readiness that practically catapults us into the story, after having fully prepared us for all of the “feels” that we will experience throughout its run-time.
This opening theme does this all so well, in fact, that for a while I could not help but cry whenever I would listen to it, because I knew and understood everything that it was alluding to within the story of the film. And the film, as far as I’m concerned, is one of the most heart-wrenching and powerful renditions of what is essentially the Pinocchio story, that I have ever seen. A robot, who learns slowly what it is to be human, and then gradually does anything and everything that he can to become human, and on his deathbed, is finally granted the legal status of “human being” by the American government. A struggle for acceptance and legitimacy that I think many people out there can relate to in one fashion or another.
I desperately want to do a review of this film, and I wish that I had done one back when Robin Williams’ death was still fresh in our minds and our hearts. But I still can’t find it in myself to gather up the mental courage to sit through it just yet. Because I don’t want to be left a weeping baby tomorrow, or the next day. So it might still be a while before I tackle this particular title.
For now, I hope this amazing opening theme will peak your interest in looking into the film for yourself, as I don’t think very many people saw it when it first came out, and many still haven’t.