What Do You Mean, No “In a World?”

When I was working on Kung Fu Theater: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, I spent quite a bit of time on YouTube going through videos, deciding which one to post.  I ended up going with one of my favorite fight scenes, but I also considered the official US trailer:

It’s fine from a visual standpoint, but there were two things I didn’t like about it.

The music.  Although a fantastic piece, it’s not a selection from the film’s score and I wish I knew what it was so I could buy it.  It’s reasonable to expect that music used in a movie trailer would be included in the official soundtrack.  If it isn’t and I bought the soundtrack based on the trailer, I’d be disappointed.

The voice.  Although I enjoy Hal Douglas voice-overs, his trademark style doesn’t quite fit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  It reminded me of this trailer from several years ago, which I hold aloft as the finest example of his work:

*     *     *

Is there a trailer, past or present, you find memorable because of the way it either succeeds or fails to get you excited for the movie?

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28 thoughts on “What Do You Mean, No “In a World?”

  1. Kayelle Allen

    The John Travolta movie trailer for “Michael” – about an angel – had the music from Spirit in the Sky. I LOVED that song, and went to see the film. I kept waiting for that song to come on, and even sat through the credits at the end. The movie was okay. But that song was what had sold me. It fit the character and would have been perfect for the scene where they hinted it would go. But zip. Very disappointed. I didn’t buy it when it came out, nor did I get the soundtrack. But I did go and find a copy of Spirit in the Sky (by Norman Greenbaum) and bought that.

    Reply
    1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

      Hi, Kayelle…thanks for stopping by 🙂

      That does sound disappointing. I’m glad you were still able to get a copy of the song from another source. There are a couple of pieces of music I’ve heard in movies or TV that I still look for every once in a while, hoping I can find them somewhere one day.

      Reply
  2. Catherine Johnson

    i love that Hal Douglas voice over. I’ve never seen that before, so funny. Now that you say it, i agree with you about the music in the first one and the voice over. They needed a younger voice with an edge to it to match the pace of the movie. I love the scene where the girl does all that blocking while holding a cup of tea, perfect! And the running across the bamboo and rooftops. Okay I’ll stop there. I’ve got to watch this again soon obviously 🙂 Cheers!

    Reply
    1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

      I’m glad you liked the Hal Douglas trailer. It amused me many times when it first came out, although I’ve never seen the movie.

      Yeah, a younger voice with more of an edge would’ve been much better. It also doesn’t help that the script for the Crouching Tiger trailer voice-over sounds like it was written by a guy who hadn’t seen the movie. But indeed the movie has a lot of memorable scenes. I should watch it again myself 🙂

      Reply
  3. Sara Walpert Foster

    I never would have noticed the quality of the voice in the trailer if you hadn’t pointed it out. I get your take on it, though, especially when you contrast it with the second trailer (which is hysterically funny). The music thing always gets on my nerves too. Don’t put it in the movie or the trailer if you aren’t going to make it available on the album. Have a great day!

    Reply
    1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

      What’s even worse is when the trailer actually shows a clip from a scene that isn’t in the movie. Pirates of the Caribbean did that and it disappointed me because the clip in question was my favorite part of the trailer. Oh well, it was still an awesome movie.

      Reply
  4. lwsapir

    I hear you about using music in trailers that is not part of the movie. Not cool. The second trailer is hysterical.

    “You’re Fired.”

    I can’t think of any specific trailers that I love/hate at the moment but one of my pet peeves is when a trailer shows you pretty much the ENTIRE MOVIE. What part of “trailer” did they not understand? (Though, I suppose this is helpful, because I don’t actually have to go see these movies, so maybe I should be more appreciative when this happens…)

    Reply
    1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

      I’m glad you liked that second trailer. I watched it a lot when it first came out and I laughed every time, although I’m often easily amused.

      Now I want to see a movie about a robot renegade cop on the edge of space.

      And yeah, those trailers that reveal too much are definitely the worst.

      Reply
      1. corajramos

        Hadn’t heard anything about Prometheus until this clip you included, Kim–looks reminiscent of Alien. Love Sci-fi.

        Mike that comedy clip you posted was very funny. Enjoyed it.

        Reply
        1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

          While Prometheus isn’t exactly a prequel to Alien, I’m pretty sure it’s something of a spiritual precursor to it. I believe it reveals more about the race that built the spaceship where the organism was found in the first Alien movie. It’s even directed by the same guy. Should be pretty cool.

          Reply
  5. Tami Clayton

    That second clip is hilarious! Thanks for sharing that. 🙂

    I’m with Laird on the whole showing-the-entire-movie-in-the-trailer thing. Why do they do that? Leave me some mystery, some intrigue so I’ll want to go see it. Though I guess it doesn’t matter so much on movies that I plan to see regardless. But still…

    Reply
  6. Karen McFarland

    Please tell me that I am not the only one that never saw the second trailer before. That was hilarious MIke! And then when I saw that Seinfeld was involved, well no wonder. Movie trailers, should we trust them? Hmm. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

      I’m glad you enjoyed the second trailer, Karen. I’m pretty sure there are plenty of people who never saw it before. I’ve never even seen the movie, even though I like documentaries, but I always thought it was terrific trailer 🙂

      Reply
  7. Lara Schiffbauer

    I don’t know about disappointed, but the new Avenger’s trailer looks great! Thinking back, a lot of the super hero movies really grab me. So far, I haven’t been disappointed by the Marvel comics bunch (Iron Man, Thor, etc…) Some people were, I know, but I think I’m easy to please!

    Reply
  8. Kirsten

    I just checked out the Wrath of the Titans trailer and that was pretty cool–lots of effects so that I could weave my own story around it without spoiling the movie.
    As for memorable trailers, I have to admit I really like the original ‘Twilight’ trailer with the panoramic shots of the amazing Pacific Northwest scenery. I liked the scenery more than the movie itself, in fact. 😉

    Reply
  9. Eden

    I love reading posts that teach me something I didn’t know about myself. So Thank You, Mike. 😀

    I don’t think I ever considered how the voice affects me (I think I always blocked it out), but now I realize it has been a huge factor in whether I continued watching a movie before. As for the music issue, I am so with you on that. What bothers me even more is when the companies involved seem to use the movie’s name/soundtrack as a way to sell music that is completely unrelated to the film.

    Thanks again.

    Reply
    1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

      Hi, Eden…thanks for visiting. I’m glad you enjoyed my post 🙂

      That’s a good point about music unrelated to the film. I wonder if that’s why some trailers nowadays use popular rock songs instead of anything that resembles a more traditional score.

      Reply
      1. Eden

        Contracts? Companies hoping to inspire new fans for popular artists because there is this misconception that certain styles of music aren’t for “listening” out of context of the visuals? Just a wild guess on my part… But it’s frustrating given how much pleasure I can derive from listening to a movie score of a film I’ve enjoyed.

        Reply
        1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

          Could be. I suppose it’s also possible that the score often isn’t finished by the time they make the movie trailer, so maybe they just use something else. But it seems like I often hear the same song in different trailers when they do that.

          Reply
          1. Eden

            It sounds like a question that would be cool to use in an interview. And it’s as likely that it will vary for the movie and the producers as much as it will for any guesses I could make. Interesting that you ‘ve heard the same song in trailers. I believe you are right, though again, I’d never “noticed” before (trailers are usually the “make sure the kid has been to the bathroom so he doesn’t need to go during the movie” time in our family). I’ll have to pay more attention next time.

            Anyway, thanks for the discussion. I love talking soundtracks.

  10. Brinda Berry (@Brinda_Berry)

    Mike,
    Movie trailers can do a lot for my interest level in a movie. For instance, I am not a die-hard Nicholas Sparks fan. His book The Lucky One has been made into a movie and the trailer has me hooked. I’ll be seeing it. I’m also a movie soundtrack fan. Some days, I listen to a Pandora station of only movie soundtracks all day!

    Reply
    1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

      Hi, Brinda 🙂 I should try that Pandora idea. I usually listen to movie soundtracks when I write, but pretty much only ones from Chinese martial arts films because they’re a big inspiration on my WIP. I wouldn’t mind branching out more into other movies.

      Reply

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