Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Movie Trailer Theme That Wouldn't Die

I'd like to bring some hate about a beautiful piece of music that's been completely destroyed by overuse. I'm talking about the song Lux Aeterna by Clint Mansell, and anybody who's been to a big box movie in the last eight years has heard this song at least once, and at most... well... at most about 8,034,665,713 times.

This song, originally featured on the brilliant Requiem For A Dream soundtrack, is a music lawyer's wet dream. Talk about mechanical royalties. This one song, originally written for a single movie, has been so successfully integrated into the zeitgeist, that it has been featured in sporting television specials, remix albums, video games, Lost episodes, R&B radio hits, and of course, movie trailers.

I recognized this song the first time I saw it in a movie trailer (probably in the 2002 sequel Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers), but didn't really think much of it. Then I recognized it again in 2005 when I saw the DaVinci Code trailer, and I began to suspect that something was amiss. I started to wonder if there was a songwriter's strike that I didn't know about.

What makes me crazy is that it didn't stop there. I heard it again during the trailer for Sunshine, and again during the trailer of I Am Legend. (It was at this point that I ceased being surprised). At this point I actually re-watched Requiem For A Dream for the first time since it came out, and realized that this was the genesis of the song. (Oddly enough there are no explosions, helicopters, or cars flying off highway overpasses in Requiem.)

And of course, while out at the movies with a friend last weekend, I heard the same song yet again while sitting through the preview for Babylon A.D. Not even Vin Desiel's bulging biceps could save me from despair.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!? W
hat is the deal here? Why is this song getting beaten to death in movie previews? I even heard teenage girls snickering over their tinny one-note Lux Aeterna cell phone ring tone while perusing a Blockbuster last winter. No song deserves to be clobbered to death like this, despite the fact that the pretentious gothic sting outfit Kronos Quartet dropped the original back in '99.

Movie producers, please - please - stop using this song in trailers! We know it's great at communicating a sense of drama and urgency, but we're getting desensitized over here, already. Let's try something else on for size, hmm?

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