In This Month in Trailer Music, the team at Canada-based research project Trailaurality takes a look at the musical highlights of the past month’s film and TV trailer drops. Be sure to also check out the detailed breakdowns on their website!
No Time To Die
For Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007, the first trailer for No Time to Die leans in on the famous surf guitar riff played by Vic Flick and the heavy brass flourishes of Monty Norman, foregrounding it right out of the gate in. Later at the midway mark we hear the famous chromatic motif, and the brass fanfare enters again near the end. Throughout, more modern trailer music elements like epic percussion and rhythmic doubling balance out the proceedings in this arrangement by Jeff Pfeifer – who has scored every trailer for Craig’s films to date. Like many franchise instalments, the latest Bond is keen to honour its heritage without becoming too heavily nostalgic, and at least sonically, it succeeds.
Wonder Woman 1984
If you wanted the opposite of nuance, however (and to equally good effect, but in a different way), look no further than the first trailer for Wonder Woman 1984. Bombastic, ceiling-to-floor title cards are complemented by full-throated, full-measure synthesizers playing New Order’s “Blue Monday”—this custom arrangement by Sebastian Böhm then adds orchestral flourishes befitting the “Wonder Woman” side of the title. Each side complements and reinvigorates the other: the novelty and nostalgia of 80s music is given new life with the epic music arrangement, and the standard superhero fare is given a unique twist; arguably, nowhere is this more apparent in this trailer than in its music.
In The Heights
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s latest musical fare has Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians) directing, and the collaboration looks promising. The soundtrack combines classical and clave, with the beat coming from under to support high-register, dramatic strings and piano; multiple pauses and re-entries with additional layers in the arrangement build and build, taking one progressively deeper into the world of the musical, with more than traces of Miranda’s hit show Hamilton. Notice around 0:28 to 0:32 and 0:35 to 0:39 in particular, as a variety of actions such as shutting a gate or turning on a switch sync to the music, beyond the usual act of dance.
These are just a few of what we felt were the most interesting and / or attention-grabbing trailers released in the past month or so, especially in terms of their music and sound. Have a suggestion on what we should look at next time? Follow us @trailaurality and visit our weekly blog at trailaurality.com for even more analysis and discussion. Happy New Year and see you next month!