Music is an incredibly important tool for films. It sets the mood for the audience watching in theaters. Distorted guitars and fast drum beats can help us feel the adrenaline pumping during an intense chase scene, while dreary sounds of violins in a horror movie creates a feeling of suspense. The sounds we hear in theaters plays a major role in building the atmosphere that a movie is trying to present to us.
Creators of fan-made trailers know this. They use music and alter scenes to create trailers that can make a film appear as an entirely different genre than what it’s supposed to be. It makes the viewer see the film from a different perspective, especially if it’s a film that has yet to hit the screens. A recent parody trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story shows us just how much of a difference a change in music can make.
It’s essentially the official trailer we were graced with not too long ago but with one major difference: the original music in the trailer is replaced with “I’m Han Solo”, a song best remembered from the notoriously awful Kinect Star Wars game. Surprisingly, the song fits really well with the trailer. So much so, that it starts to convey a much different tone than its official counterpart.
This hilariously re-edited trailer for the upcoming film, directed by Ron Howard and starring Alden Ehrenreich in the titular role, provides us with a perfect example of how important music is to building an atmosphere. Upon first viewing of this parody trailer, I was incredibly amused, letting out a good chuckle throughout. But, there is more to this video than just a few laughs. As funny and well-made this trailer is, upon multiple viewings, it starts to raise an interesting question. As a fan of Star Wars, what do we want from a prequel featuring a young Han Solo?
Let’s take a look at what the major differences are between the original and the parody.
The music from the official trailer sets a very gritty and epic tone, with its opening guitar sounds followed by a slow drum beat that builds up to a beautifully composed orchestral piece. It gives the trailer a very serious and epically action-packed feeling. It lets the viewer feel like they are going to see a movie that will be dramatic, full of incredible action sequences, and show us a serious origin of everyone’s favorite space smuggler.
Then, there’s the parody trailer.
Whereas the official version presents us with what will be an origin movie of grand proportions, this re-edited version makes the movie feel like something atmospherically different. It gives the trailer a feeling of it being a movie that will present the viewer with an entertaining, wild-ride that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The more upbeat dance music makes the trailer feel like a movie that people will have fun with when they see it in theaters. It turns the action sequences into moments where the protagonists are having a blast racing through the galaxy while being chased by the empire, monstrous new aliens, and other baddies they’ll encounter.
Yes, there are some moments in the official trailer that make the movie seem like there will be some humorous scenes peppered throughout with the occasional one-liner, but the overall tone is that of a serious, action-packed sci-fi flick. The music piece gives it a feeling of an ambitious film filled with chaos from the opening guitar riff, suspense from its building drum beat, and a wonderfully impressive world (or, in this case, worlds) from the exploding orchestral sounds.
The parody version feels like a movie that will be a fun, laid back time throughout, with maybe a few serious sequences here and there. The opening synth tune provides a feeling of quirkiness in the beginning, implying a movie with a lot of charm. Scenes of vehicular chases set to electropop music gives the impression of a movie full of action, but nothing too serious. And finally, when the weirdly catchy chorus hits at the end, it brings home that feeling of fun excitement.
It’s amazing how music can completely change the mood of a scene or trailer, and this parody trailer is a great example of that, but it also raises an interesting question: what do we want from a Han Solo movie?
To be honest, both versions presented in each trailer are enticing. A suspenseful trek through a galaxy full of danger, intrigue, and possible betrayal sounds like a recipe for a good science fiction film. However, a movie that shows us a journey to beautiful worlds, each containing their share of exciting action sequences, while characters exchange witty banter, sounds like an incredibly amusing movie. The idea of a galactic road trip movie can be very fun and entertaining, Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok have proven this, but is that the kind of film fans of the franchise want to see from a Han Solo prequel film?
The Star Wars fan-base can be very sensitive with how their precious franchise is handled. With so many fans invested with every minor detail of that famous galaxy far, far away, it can be very easy to upset a large portion of the community. Pleasing the fan-base has proven especially difficult recently, since it now seems fans aren’t sure what’s considered sacred or heresy.
The most recent film in the franchise, The Last Jedi, seemingly had the entire Star Wars community split when it hit theaters. Some saw it as an incredible addition to the franchise: providing insightful commentary on good vs evil, showing us heroes that are flawed human beings, like the rest of us, and wonderful new possibilities going ahead. Others, however, saw it as a disaster of a film that spat on the legacy of the previous installments, turned our heroes into shells of their former selves, and failed to provide us answers to questions that were set up in the previous numbered entry in the franchise, The Force Awakens.
So, coming only a few months after the very divisive Episode Eight, what will fans want from a Han Solo origin film? Will they want a film that tells us an epic and gritty story like the official trailer seemingly conveys? Or, will they want to enter the theater expecting what the parody trailer presents us with? Which would be a fun, boisterous ride throughout that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Perhaps even a little of both? Either way, I, for one, am excited to see the movie when it hits theaters on May 25, and even more so interested to see how fans will react.