Man of Steal: Trailer for rising superhero uses ode to fallen wizard

“You… shall not… use my death music for yet another reboot of yet another superhero movie!”

We’ll talk more about “The Dark Knight Rises,” because that was an amazing movie. For one thing, it put cops in a really good light, but elaborating on that would be dancing with spoilers. Still, I wanted to call the cops during the trailers before that movie, for music theft.

It happened during the preview for “Man of Steel,” the Superman reboot coming from “Watchmen” director Zack Snyder. As you watch this trailer, listen to the music:

Sound familiar? Remind you of sad hobbits? It should:

“Man of Steel” used “The Bridge of Khazad-dûm,” an orchestral piece composed by Howard Shore for “Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring.” It plays as the fellowship escape a horde of orcs, dance across a crumbling bridge, dodge arrows and escape a balrog. Almost everyone: Gandalf clinging for his life off the side of a bridge thanks to an extremely lucky whipstroke, tells the rest of those fools to fly, then falls. Because the hobbits in the fellowship hadn’t seen “The Two Towers” yet, they didn’t know that Gandalf put a hurt on that huge hellbeast, so they were kind of depressed.

As if you couldn’t tell how sad everyone was, Shore composed arguably one of the most heartbreaking sequences of music ever composed. (Jump to about 4:42 for the good stuff.) The phrase is about 1:20 long and puts a sadness in you that two hours of Greg Edmonson couldn’t match. Director Peter Jackson brilliantly hit the mute button and kept Shore’s music running, smartly silencing the sound of sniveling, sniffling hobbits.

In a nutshell: It’s not like the “Man of Steel” trailer lifted a piece of classical music. It used a piece of music specifically made for one of literature’s most recognized scenes. Sure, the trailer makers probably had the rights. But it ain’t right.

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One thought on “Man of Steal: Trailer for rising superhero uses ode to fallen wizard

  1. Scott Meeker says:

    This happens ALL the time.

    Example: James Horner’s score for “Aliens” was used in the following trailers …

    • Alien 3 (1992) – Theatrical Trailer
    • Alien: Resurrection (1997) – Theatrical Trailer
    • Aliens (1986) – Theatrical Trailer
    • Apt Pupil (1998) – TV Trailer
    • Blown Away (1994) – Theatrical Trailer
    • Broken Arrow (1996) – Theatrical Trailer
    • Dante’s Peak (1997) – Theatrical Trailer
    • Deceived (1991) – Theatrical Trailer
    • From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) – Theatrical Trailer
    • Ghost In The Machine (1993) – Theatrical Trailer
    • Lake Placid (1999) – Theatrical Trailer
    • Man On Fire (1987) – Theatrical Trailer
    • Minority Report (2002) – Theatrical Trailer
    • Misery (1990) – Theatrical Trailer
    • Nightbreed (1990) – Theatrical Trailer
    • Shattered (1991) – Theatrical Trailer
    • The Abyss (1989) – Theatrical Trailer
    • The Good Son (1993) – Theatrical Trailer
    • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005) – Theatrical Trailer
    • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005) – Internet Trailer
    • The People Under the Stairs (1991) – Theatrical Trailer
    • The Puppet Masters (1994) – TV Trailer
    • The Vanishing (1993) – Theatrical Trailer
    • Timecop (1994) – Theatrical Trailer
    • Volcano (1997) – Theatrical Trailer

    I recognized where the music was from immediately, but it also fit the mood of the teaser, announcing a movie that’s intended to be epic and majestic in scope. No problem with it.

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