Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Name that Tune

As I have said before, I have a particular fondness for movie soundtracks, and instrumental scores in particular. My personal music collection is laden with the works of Williams, Zimmer, Edelman and Shore, and this pleases me. Unfortunately, my intimate familiarity with movie music can lead to some interesting brain farts from time to time.

One such moment of mental flatulence occurred recently when I saw the teaser for the new Superman movie that is currently in the works. Being an early teaser, rather than a later trailer, the clip does something many teasers do: it uses already existing music from another movie. This makes sense given that the actual score for the film likely isn't written yet.

Usually, however, when filmmakers borrow previously used music, they take it from something relatively obscure. For instance, when AMC Theaters created a trailer based on AFI's 100 Years 100 Movies, they used the music from Dragonheart. It's a fantastic piece from a movie nobody saw! That's the key... If someone released a teaser for an adventure movie that used the theme from Indiana Jones, it just wouldn't sit right because Indy's theme is iconic. It has a clear association with those movies, and using it otherwise would create confusion and other unintended reactions on the part of people who saw it.

This brings me back to the new Superman teaser. It makes the mistake of using a piece that many people in the film's target demographic (nerds) already associate with another movie. The music under the teaser was originally used in Fellowship of the Rings just after Gandalf fell battling the Balrog. The emotional intensity of the scene, enhanced by the fact that it was just music and no dialogue, created an inseparable association between that piece and that moment in that film. It does not belong in or near Superman! Superman has his own music, and it too is awesome! Don't take Gandalf's!

Unfortunately, someone did just that. They took Gandalf's music, and thus caused my brain to do weird things when I beheld the mashup. I have composed a work of parody illustrating the way my brain perceived this trailer and I share it with you now.


  1. I'll have you know I've seen Dragonheart. Maybe not the best thing to admit to in public, but still...

  2. Confession: So have I. That's how I learned about its awesome music!


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