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Is trailer music to blame for non-memorable themes?

Desire Inspires

To the stars through desire....
Lively, but irrelevant. I should probably have worded the title better.
So to get back on topic, no. I wouldn't solely blame trailer music. It's just that the direction of film has changed. The films themselves are forgettable. The music isn't going to help out too much.
 

NoamL

Winter <3
I think there's another reason why the Avengers theme is not as easy to remember as some other music... The first step in the theme is not a change in the tune but a change in the harmony (i - bVI) while holding the same note. That's hard to hum!
 

NoamL

Winter <3
I would say Star Wars has made JW and his music more famous than the other way around.
JW went on to do Indiana Jones, E.T., Harry Potter, Schindler's List, Home Alone, JFK, Jurassic Park, four different Olympic Games, and Superman.

George Lucas went on to do Howard The Duck, Red Tails, and Attack Of The Clones.

George Lucas was lucky to have John (and Ralph McQuarrie and Harrison Ford and Ben Burtt, the other major talents who made SW a hit) not the other way around

Also before John Williams ever met George Lucas he was already an Academy Award winner (Fiddler On The Roof) with a 20 year career in film and TV and multiple hit films (The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno) including the top grossing film ever before Star Wars (Jaws).
 
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AdamAlake

Music Person
I really don't get the people who want a "memorable theme" in every movie. Film scores should serve the thematic and emotional content of the picture: a cold and distant Kubrick-esque film is better supplemented with disorienting textures than some kitchen sink jingle. I've noticed that Zimmer detractors often cite his use of ambience over melody but in most cases that's just what works best.

I do agree that "epic" trailer music is egregiously corny and bad.
Nobody is saying every movie should have one, but I welcome you to name one movie from the past decade that did.
 

will_m

Active Member
Wonderful hommage to Williams' themes, modern orchestration yet respectful of the classic SW scores… I still remember the chills down my spine at the climax of TFA trailer 2, just before Han's final clip.

I'd love to know what composer/company made those pieces.
I believe they are from trailer composer Ursine Vulpine on the Pusher label.
 

Jeffrey Peterson

Active Member
Dunkirk had an incredible theme.
Even though Dunkirk didn't have a theme like your talking about, I loved the score...it was fresh and new. Interstellar had a theme and that theme rocked socks... as good as the theme from "The Rock".

You can't say 1:18 doesn't get you right in the feels...
 
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Breaker

Member
More people can hum the theme than there are people that have actually watched the movies. So yeah, it did.
A lot of people who haven't watched the movie can also name the main characters (and recognise them) as well as tell what the movie is generally about.
Is this because of the music? Because George Lucas' character and dialogue writing is so spectacular? Or combination of myriad things including luck?
 

AlexanderSchiborr

Senior Member
Ok, lets go and talk some real examples here. And lets take this one:

While I think that this belongs still to the category of music I ask myself what producers / filmcompanies were thinking to put this sorry musical garbage for an official trailer track? This is mutilating everything what star wars music is all about. It may be a matter of standpoint, but imo you shouldn´t put such a legacy of starwars music in the stinky hands of an amateur who has no idea how to write in that idiom. So why they are doing that? There are people out there who could do a so much better job with that imo. Why everything has to sound like that epic with dull orchestrations and that horrible godzilla drums around? Sure that this is just my opinion and everybody is entitled to have their own opinion which is fine, but let me recapitulate my last comment: This is also the reason why we don´t have any diversity anymore in music regardless trailer or film because everything is trying to be totally unified.
But to clarify: The composer of this trailer is not to blame at all, he just does his job. When there is someone to blame then this stupid producers and companies out there.
 
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Breaker

Member
JW went on to do Indiana Jones, E.T., Harry Potter, Schindler's List, Home Alone, JFK, Jurassic Park, four different Olympic Games, and Superman.
Having Star Wars in his CV probably didn't hurt at getting those gigs.

George Lucas went on to do Howard The Duck, Red Tails, and Attack Of The Clones.

George Lucas was lucky to have John (and Ralph McQuarrie and Harrison Ford and Ben Burtt, the other major talents who made SW a hit) not the other way around
At least 40 years ago he did still have some vision and he was smart (or lucky) enough to surround himself with talented people (Carrie Fisher re-writing the dialogue on-site etc.)

Also before John Williams ever met George Lucas he was already an Academy Award winner (Fiddler On The Roof) with a 20 year career in film and TV and multiple hit films (The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno) including the top grossing film ever before Star Wars (Jaws).
Yes, JW was already a established name before Star Wars and would have probably gone on to be one of the most profilic film composers ever.

BUT, Star Wars also gave him the chance to bring back the golden era style romantic orchestrations and break out from the jazzy tone row idiom. Film music today might be quite different without Star Wars. Maybe 80's would have seen more Vangelis-style synth driven scores as traditionally film music has mimicked pop music trends.
 

Breaker

Member
Nobody is saying every movie should have one, but I welcome you to name one movie from the past decade that did.
Has there been a movie franchise during the last decade that could be mentioned in the same sentence with Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Ghost Busters, Back to the Future etc.? I mean having the same cultural influence?
I guess Lord of the Rings was the last one (and that didn't really have a memorable theme for casual viewer, but a collection of great themes that really enhance the movie).
 

will_m

Active Member
Ok, lets go and talk some real examples here. And lets take this one:

This is mutilating everything what star wars music is all about. It may be a matter of standpoint, but imo you shouldn´t put such a legacy of starwars music in the stinky hands of an amateur who has no idea how to write in that idiom. So why they are doing that?
I guess because he has a record of creating trailer tracks that people have enjoyed and have helped gain attention for the films they are promoting.

Calling someone a stinky handed amateur just seems petty to me, if you detest trailer music so much why engage with it? If you have a better alternative that the studios want to use then go out and create it.

This is also the reason why we don´t have any diversity anymore in music regardless trailer or film because everything is trying to be totally unified.
Not sure what you're watching to believe this but my top films of the last few years have incredibly diverse soundtracks. Even within trailers there is a an amount of diversity, sure, there is a popular style at any given time but what trailer houses ask for the most is for something unique and identifiable.
 

AlexanderSchiborr

Senior Member
I guess because he has a record of creating trailer tracks that people have enjoyed and have helped gain attention for the films they are promoting.

Calling someone a stinky handed amateur just seems petty to me, if you detest trailer music so much why engage with it? If you have a better alternative that the studios want to use then go out and create it.



Not sure what you're watching to believe this but my top films of the last few years have incredibly diverse soundtracks. Even within trailers there is a an amount of diversity, sure, there is a popular style at any given time but what trailer houses ask for the most is for something unique and identifiable.
No, not in general, I have no personal grief with trailer music. I was interested how other people feel and think. And you have a different opinion on this matter which is totally fine for me. I guess my opinion comes from where I come from and what I do and like. And sure agreed it is not the nicest thing what I said about a composer but should someone do music for such a legacy when he didn´t have any fundamentals in this field there? Nothing to blame the composer, but I don´t think that this is a good idea.

I am curious: What top movies do you have? And how they sound like? I would like to add: I don´t say that filmmusic in general is bad nowadays, but I say that filmmusic in this blockbuster / Marvel franchise is definitely very mediocre and very less diverse in its handwriting, or I can´t detect any handwriting in such music anymore because what I said: It is very simplified by its harmony and very unified by its instrumentation. And that comes both together.
 

Alex Fraser

Senior Member
Ok, lets go and talk some real examples here. And lets take this one:

While I think that this belongs still to the category of music I ask myself what producers / filmcompanies were thinking to put this sorry musical garbage for an official trailer track? This is mutilating everything what star wars music is all about. It may be a matter of standpoint, but imo you shouldn´t put such a legacy of starwars music in the stinky hands of an amateur who has no idea how to write in that idiom. So why they are doing that? There are people out there who could do a so much better job with that imo. Why everything has to sound like that epic with dull orchestrations and that horrible godzilla drums around? Sure that this is just my opinion and everybody is entitled to have their own opinion which is fine, but let me recapitulate my last comment: This is also the reason why we don´t have any diversity anymore in music regardless trailer or film because everything is trying to be totally unified.
But to clarify: The composer of this trailer is not to blame at all, he just does his job. When there is someone to blame then this stupid producers and companies out there.
Controversial! ;)
That example was one of the better pieces I think. Some of the ones for Rogue One (specifically the short international TV spots) sounded like they were pulled off the shelf. It made me angry when I heard them! I believe the very first teaser trailer for "The Force Awakens" was John Williams stuff. The rest has been trailer house.

But I understand where you're coming from. I moan about this all the time and I fear the era of John Williams theme style soundtracks will end when the great man hangs up his baton. Perhaps I'm being overly nostalgic. I'm in my late 30's and grew up with this stuff. Maybe the next generation will moan when "themes" are back in fashion.

Also - this stuff will sound incredibly dated someday... ;)
 

will_m

Active Member
. And sure agreed it is not the nicest thing what I said about a composer but should someone do music for such a legacy when he didn´t have any fundamentals in this field there? Nothing to blame the composer, but I don´t think that this is a good idea.
I disagree, the field in this context is trailer music so they hired someone with experience and a good track record in that field. I assume the brief was a trailerized version of the classic movie themes and that is what was delivered, the trailer in question seems to have been received very well by the fans.

I am curious: What top movies do you have? And how they sound like? I would like to add: I don´t say that filmmusic in general is bad nowadays, but I say that filmmusic in this blockbuster / Marvel franchise is definitely very mediocre and very less diverse in its handwriting, or I can´t detect any handwriting in such music anymore because what I said: It is very simplified by its harmony and very unified by its instrumentation. And that comes both together.
With respect that is not the wording of your previous post, you make no mention of the unifying of music being specific to blockbusters/MCU. I would agree that sometimes blockbusters play it safe musically but they also play it safe in every aspect of film making. When something costs hundreds of millions of dollars to make there is generally less risk taken.

You asked about some of favourite recent films and their soundtracks so here goes; Victoria, Arrival, Swiss Army Man, Sicario, Midnight Special, Under the Skin, Ex Machina, Filth, Her.
 
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Michael Antrum

Only the good die young....
I think one thing that is also a factor here is how we have become used to things that used to be considered a big treat. When I was a kid, a trip to the cinema was a big thing - an event. These days were are all a lot more spoilt. You would be lucky to go to the cinema more that a couple of times a year when I were young. (And we lived in a shoe box in middle of t'road)

The special effects you would see in a Hollywood movies were an a completely different league to what you would get on television. Back then the cardboard sets in Blake's 7 and Doctor Who were in full wobble.

These days, some of the lowest budget TV shows have effects that would have floored people in a cinema in the 70's. Look at the original Superman - You'll believe a man can fly - and now look at some of these effects.

We have become so used to disposable entertainment in high volumes - and it's no surprise to learn the Quality and Quantity seldom make good bedfellows.
 
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