How the “Inception” Soundtrack Conquered the World

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This weekend, I saw Iron Man 3 plus about a dozen trailers. OK, not really. It was only half a dozen. It just seemed like more. But the soundtracks for at least two of them included the deep, throbbing duhhhhn that I associate with the movie Inception. This made me wonder: Does every action movie trailer in the world now sport an Inception-style ripoff soundtrack? Today, I discovered that Ian Crouch answered my question last week. Apparently, the answer is yes:

For the unfamiliar, a quick tour of recent trailers promoting big-budget fare gives a fuller sense of this abominable sonic trend: spots for “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Prometheus,” “Iron Man 3,” “Olympus Has Fallen,” “World War Z,” “Oblivion”—the list goes thudding on and on. Sometimes the hum is delivered by deep horns, other times by strings—often these are expertly timed to the sound of drums and/or something exploding onscreen—and recently it has taken on a digitized, layered character.

If you’re curious, Crouch has more details at the link, along with a little history of this particular bass note. Plus a mini-history of the evolution of the trailer. Unlike him, however, I don’t think his recut trailer for Ghostbusters sounds incongruous. Kinda cool, actually.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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