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Article – Don’t Fear The Theme Tune!


Posted May 4, 2016 by

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Don’t Fear The Theme Tune!

The trailer for The Magnificent Seven remake was released last week and it looks like bang-tastic western action adventure fun. Check it out below.

There is just one thing missing. Something I can’t quite put my finger on….women! That’s it! Has no one told director Antoine Fuqua that you can’t reboot a film nowadays without a female lead!? IT’S SEXIST OTHERWISE!

Wait no, that’s not what it is. There’s something else missing. Something more noticeable than the absence of petticoats and pigtails…I got it! There is a distinct lack of one of the most brilliant, iconic and memorable theme tunes of all time!

I cannot for the life of me figure out why they wouldn’t include Elmer Bernstein’s original classic score. At first I thought it was something to do with it sounding outdated, but if Sony pictures wanted to show they are down with the cool kids then why would they use The Animal’s 1964 classic House Of The Rising Sun? That song is only four years older than the original feature! Unless, of course, the remake is set in a New Orleans brothel.

If being to close in tone to the original is a problem, then why bother with a remake in the first place? The same thing can be said for the 2012 trailer for The Lone Ranger.

Instead of using The William Tell Overture, a piece of music children have been humming as they ride pretend horseback playing Cowboys and Indians for decades, Disney thought generic guitar noise was the best way to sell a ticket to the masses. The best part of that movie was the last twenty minutes when FINALLY Hans Zimmer has the decency to lay down some Rossini on us one time and after waiting for two plus hours it finally feels like you are watching a Lone Ranger film!

It is becoming something that is happening far too often in remakes/reboots/reimaginings/reworkings/sequels and prequels. It’s almost as if the filmmakers are ashamed of their heritage.

The A-Team TV show had two brilliant things going for it:

  • It’s theme tune
  • T shouting angrily

Without those two factors it would be nowhere near the pop culture piece of nostalgia ridden cheese that it is today. In the 2010 remake they decided not to use the title track until the end credits. If they used it in the opening sequence, the first time the team form, in one of the many action sequences or ALL of the aforementioned it would have put a guaranteed smile on the cinema public’s faces.

The Mission: Impossible films embraced their original TV tune and now they are planning on a sixth installment of the franchise no doubt with yet another variation of the classic “dun dun, DUN DUN” riff that we all sing to ourselves as we drunkenly try to break and enter our house of an evening were we lost the door keys on a urinal wager. That just me? OK.

I’m not saying the success of the Mission: Impossible films over The A-Team was because of the theme song alone. What I am saying is that an artist who performs with the upmost confidence in their history if far more likely to receive a standing ovation than one who moves their feet sheepishly, embarrassed about their past activities.

I understand that there are cases where it’s best to leave the greatest hits alone. Man Of Steel for example needed to distance itself from the Superman: The Movie “Donner-verse” Bryan Singer had tried to resurrect seven years previously. That’s fine and I actually accept the new Hans Zimmer theme. What I didn’t appreciate is how in the sequel, Batman V Superman, the new theme was barely used, only the first few opening bars every now and again whilst Supes moped around looking somber (which he spent far to much time doing for my liking).

I also understand holding back on a theme in order for it to gain full maximum effect. By the time you hear the famous Bill Conti Rocky fanfare in Creed you are so jacked up you feel like running up a hill and punching an apple tree.

When you are in a beautiful, loving relationship with another human being and they leave a jumper or any other piece of clothing at your house the smell of that material can bring back that giddy feeling you get in the person of your affections presence. Cinema does not have the power to convey scent yet (Thank God. Imagine the finale of Les Miserable, Russell Crowe agonizingly warbling out of tune whilst accompanied by the stench of Hugh Jackman wading through a waste height river of shit) but what films do have over real life is the ability to add colour to a black and white piece of dialogue with music. To give nostalgia with a tune. So when James Bond jumps into a sexy sports car and a horn section empowerd jazz guitar starts to pluck memorable notes, you know excitement is just round the corner. When a scraggly old Han Solo tells a couple of young pups about the legend of the Force and you hear the Jedi theme, you feel it in your very soul. This is something I hope Hollywood doesn’t forget when seven brave heroes ride again across the plain this autumn.


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Tim Buckler
Tim’s Fortress Of Solitude
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