I believe it was all those Terminator Trailers I was watching a while back that got me thinking of this. Sometimes there's a film on the Release Horizon which has some potential to be pretty awesome but there's a lot of doubt until the trailer comes through. These could be a tricky adaptation, an unnecessary sequel or even a wholly new idea that's yet untested. In any event we require some solid trailers in order for filmmakers to sell us on their product.
Every once in a while then, one of these potentially shitty films delivers a trailer that knocks the shit out audiences. What sparked my interest here are four recent trailers that are particularly tied to certain songs, musical cues that pushed them over that edge of doubt. More often than not, the films did turn out to be really shitty. But these trailers and the songs attached are awesome:
Terminator Salvation (2009): "The Day The Whole World Went Away," by Nine Inch Nails
Full Song Here, check out its use in the trailer below:
Wow. This trailer is still awesome. This is one of the most lopsided trailer-to-film ratios I can come up with. Watching this right now actually makes me want to waste my change again to see T4. But I know it's shit now.
This trailer is awesome in a few ways - it introduces a new facet of SkyNet's arsenal against mankind (an unknowing-cyborg Sam Worthington), new huge powerful machines, plausible Human Uprising ("A strength that cannot be measured..."), and lots of explosions and Bale Yelling. There's a sense of danger, a sense of mystery, man vs. technology, John Connor finally becoming the man he was foretold to be, and Nine Inch Nails really fills in the punctuation - melodious humming for the quiet moments, added gripping Ax Riffs in all the right places, wow. It's awesome. Then the Terminator Drums kick in at the end! Holy shit!
McG needs to be burned and then eaten alive for his atrocities against Man and God.
Where the Wild Things Are (2009): "Wake Up," by Arcade Fire
Full Track here, here's its use in the trailer:
Doesn't that look like such a fun movie to go see? It's got this great mixture of adventure, playfulness and innocence with an equal measure of fear and darkness. You get the feeling that it should be this film that really captures the essence of childhood, discovering the world and conquering fears. Instead it's a parable for divorce.
Ahem. I suppose in part it turns out to be a child conquering his fear of pain and divorce, creating monsters and a fantasy world as a subconscious coping method to put the situation of his broken home into more palatable terms. In fact, the film does an excellent job of making the audience feel like they are caught in a conflict that isn't quite understandable. What happened to the wild rumpus though?
Arcade Fire's ups and downs, childlike choir notes and melody that stretches from epic to juvenile all while remaining in the realm of the fantastic make it the perfect track for this movie. It works really well as a counter-balance to everything shown on screen for those two minutes. The film itself, while not meeting expectations for many film-goers, is a beast all its own. If you get what it's trying to do to you and are cool with it, it's pretty enjoyable. If not, sucks.
Watchmen (2009): "The Beginning is the End is the Beginning," by Smashing Pumpkins
Listen to the full song here, then take a gander at the trailer below:
Yep. The Watchmen trailer was a true thing of beauty. I believe it was sidled with showings of The Dark Knight (2008), which really fulfilled any Fanboy's fantasies. The song perfectly lines up with the action on screen, even providing pauses for money quotes ("God help us all...," "The world will look up and shout 'save us' and I'll whisper...no.") and money shots (Manhattan's Mars Creation; Dong). It even matches up to an unfurling flag on the grave of The Comedian. It does its job by introducing interesting aspects and relationships of every character as well as providing a pretty real sense of danger and intensity. That shot of Nite Owl screaming in the snow is still haunting.
What's a real shame then is the utterly uninspired selection of songs in the actual film and soundtrack. I mean, one after another. Holy fuck. Clichéd and out of place constantly. Whatever your opinion of this film, it's fair to say generally it sucked a pretty hard dick with far too much teeth for anyone to enjoy. This trailer still pumps me up though.
Pineapple Express (2008): "Paper Planes," by M.I.A.
This incredible song featured here, it's trailer companion below:
Legendary shit. I ranked Pineapple Express as one of my favourite films of the past decade and its status gets bumped up every time I see it. It's a great movie and "Paper Planes" really captures its double-hit of fun, goofiness and some hard action. It's a balance between sincere reality and stoner comedy that makes the film work and the "Some, Some, Some I, Some I murder/Some I, Some I let go" mood of M.I.A. fits in this hazy area really well.
It also paces the trailer really well, the obvious cuts along with the glock clicks and gunshots are key, but as is the redemptive naked fire-carryout along the tune of "Pirate skulls and bones/Stick and stones and weed and bongs" that makes this soothing, take-pot-and-violence-for-granted tone that makes it such a perfect match for this flick.
It's also important to note here that after she was featured in this trailer, M.I.A. blew up huge everywhere. "Paper Planes" became an international hit, she was featured in a ton of other Hip-Hop tracks and then went and got herself preggers. The trailer did it baby, and that's the whole point of his post.
I'm sure there are many other Song/Film/Trailer combos that really worked (or didn't) out there but these are the four that most catch my eye. Willing to here more ideas below: