The New Trend in Movie Trailers

BWAAAAAARRRRMMMM………..BWAAAAAAAARRRRRMMM! This is how most movie trailers have begun (and ended) over the last few years and was a trend popularised by Inception. I suppose more accurately it was brought into the mainstream thanks to Hans Zimmer, whose BWAAAAARRRRMMMM filled score for Christopher Nolan’s epic opened the doors for every action film that followed it to do the exact same thing.

Of course trends come and go, and it was only a matter of time before the sporadic horns of doom (my new, trademarked name for it) were muted. In this case it is an almost literal muting that has taken place.

The new way of doing things, it seems, is to completely minimise the music to create a sombre melancholy, as chaos reigns on the screen. Using musical motifs similar to Michael Giacchino in full ‘Lost’ mode, the instruments are stripped right back to maybe one piano and a couple of strings, or even a low humming synth to create an atmosphere of recollection and subdued emotion.

I first noticed this put to good use in the trailer for Nicholas Winding Refn’s ‘Only God Forgives’ (from 30 seconds in)


Here the music seems to fully represent Ryan Gosling’s character; a slow burn with subtle hints of absolute cool and almost total restraint – it is so effective.

But the trailer that will be seen as the initiator of the (mark my words) oncoming trend is the latest ‘Man of Steel’ trailer.


Firstly the trailer is incredible and I can only hope the finished film lives up to the mind blowing visuals and level of emotion on display here. But the music….Nary a BWAAAAARRRRMMM in sight. And the composer?


Going from one extreme to the other and again with devastating effect, Zimmer has crafted music that veers from the achingly wistful to rousingly anthemic but always hits the right emotional chords.

The first few images of Krypton under attack set against stark piano are spine tingling to say the least.

It is a return to trailers feeling like they tell a short story, rather than simply blasting moments of bombast in our faces in an attempt to take advantage of teenage ticket buying testosterone levels!

I for one like it. But let’s not overdo it this time shall we?


James is a movie obsessive with a particular love for scores and screenplays. He has written for numerous blogs, sites and cinemas and has been involved in several screenwriting projects. He can usually be found in front of a large plasma screen devouring Westerns, 80s pulp, Jimmy Stewart movies or anything by the Coens.

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