Posted by: Jeff | May 10, 2010

Trailer Music: There Oughta Be a Law

My previous post reminded me to pop back onto Mendelson’s Memos to catch back up on movie news, only to discover that, lo and behold, my hopes have been dashed, and that brilliant music accompanying the trailers for Inception will not be in the actual film. Apparently, it was composed by a guy named Mike Zarin, specifically for the trailer.* the music for the teaser was composed by a guy named Mike Zarin for that specific purpose. (Presumably, he composed the music for the second trailer as well, as it builds on the teaser’s original motif.) The third trailer features an entirely new score, equally as cool, also composed just for the trailer by one Zach Hemsey. At this rate, Inception’s marketing campaign will set a record for teasing audiences with great music they won’t find in the finished film.

Frankly, it’s a dangerous thing when you have such powerful music in your marketing materials that does not appear in the film itself. Whether it’s Where the Wild Things Are, Star Trek, or the trailer to the upcoming Legend of the Guardians (cut to the lovely Kings and Queens cut by 30 Seconds To Mars), you never want a situation where audiences associate the movie with music that will not actually appear in the film.

I second the motion, and off the top of my head would add films like Saving Private Ryan (used the score from The American President in the trailer), A.I. (used music composed specifically for the trailer), Judge Dredd (used music previously composed by Jerry Goldsmith) and Pineapple Express (used M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes”) to the list of offending films as well.

Back to the new Inception trailer, I managed to miss it yesterday at Iron Man 2. (My understanding is that it was attached to that film.) Apparently it reveals a good deal more of the plot. So while I said earlier that I would only avoid articles and reviews, I may try to stay away from this latest trailer as well. Though I imagine I’ll fail. Anyway…

*CORRECTION – I originally thought Zarin had composed the music for all three trailers. See comments.



  1. I would add “Burn After Reading” to that list with it’s lack of Elbow’s “Grounds for Divorce” which made for a pretty awesome trailer. The film, not so much.

  2. Yeesh, go figure. You sing my praises and quote an essay of mine, and I end up with egg on my face. Mike Zarin did music for the earlier Inception trailer and was wrongly listed as the composer for the third spot. But the current spot, with the music in question, is composed by a man named Zack Hemsey. His official website is here – Sorry for the mix-up, and it’s been corrected in the original post.

  3. Scott, thanks for the correction. I hope this isn’t evidence that my links to your blog come complete with jinxes.

    I did notice that Hemsey’s piece employed a toned-down version of that repeating low brass blast that featured in Zarin’s work. Maybe the continuity was inspired by stuff in Zimmer’s actual score?

    At any rate, based on these trailers, I’d say someone needs to find both men work composing for feature films as quickly as possible.

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