A funny sense of Gojira-vu….

Usually film trailers are all the same. Especially American trailers have honed down the art of being always completely predictable. Endless are the parodies of the portentously speaking „voice-over guy“ who is always announcing that the film you might want to see will be bigger, better and spectacularer than anything you have ever seen in your life (actually there is a voice-over guy who is doing practically all US film trailers).

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Music in trailers is equally predictable. Given the current production and marketing schedules of major movies first trailers and teasers show up at least a year before the premiere to ensure maximum hype build-up. This means that the films advertised are either not finished yet or still in post-production. This also means that the musical soundtrack will be far from finished (because audio is usually done as one of the last things when a film is produced – normally the composer has to compose on the edit to ensure the correct timing).

To solve the problem of the missing music trailer producers have resorted to certain kinds of stock music, or more often music from other films that they own the rights to. Absolute number one for many years was therefore „Requiem for a dream“, which was the score for a quite succesful arthouse feature film, but then went on to become a number one musical hit among film trailers. The use of „Requiem for a dream“ as a soundtrack at some point became so common that it could happen that you saw two trailers in a row for different films that featured exactly the same music!

The current trailer for the new version of „Godzilla“ is at start in the typical „trailer mode“….

Ominous voice-over? Check! (even though this time it is Bryan Cranston in character as an actor of the film)
Ominous repeated drones that basically were nearly all there is to the film music of „Inception“? Check!
Quick Cuts interspersed with darkness to make the scenes more….well…ominous? Check!
Lots of people running, explosions and scenes of chaos to wow the viewer? Check!

But then….at 0:57….something different. And it is like meeting an old friend: „Requiem“ by György Ligeti, pretty much the same spot Stanley Kubrick used for the monolith scene on the moon (2001).
And you know what? It completely changes the mood of the trailer. What before was standard, run-of-the-mill „ominousness“ now suddenly gains a sense of urgency and gravity. I literally felt a shiver down my spine and suddenly thought „this film is going to rule“ (and to be honest – the trailer actually is pretty good in achieving what it tries to achieve). It gives the trailer a completely different atmosphere, which is quite refreshing when one is used to the normal „Boom-boom“ music.

And all this because some trailer-guy suddenly thought „Hey, why should I use the trashy trailer-music that is always used? Why not use something different? Well, let’s look…ah, here is that old record of the „2001“ soundtrack that was pretty famous at it’s time….let’s see…wow, this sounds creepy and really arty….but very ominous! Who is the guy? Liggi or something? Better check the rights situation….“

I am not sure if trailer-guy had exactly these thoughts when editing this. But you know what? For one short minute of watching it he made me a happy person. And that can not be a bad thing at all.

Moritz Eggert

PS: „Requiem for a Dream“ is actually not a cheap soundtrack at all – featuring one of the better works of CLint Mansell, played by the Kronos quartet and arranged by no other than David Lang)

PS: And here a link to the music alone…

PPS: And, eh….Schott? Are you reading this? Has the rights situation REALLY been cleared? just curious….

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