This week on Trailaurality we are looking at the trailer campaign for Wonder Woman, opening in theatres worldwide today. With a Thursday box office opening pegged at $11 million in the U.S. alone, the film's opening gross lands it in the vicinity of 2014’s original Guardians of the Galaxy. Additionally, the Warner Bros. and DC Films box office foray into superheroine antics has been “certified fresh” by Rotten Tomatoes, standing tall at an approval rating of 93% by critics and audience alike as of this writing. In fact, this is higher than most of DC or Mavel’s superhero movies; in fact, it is the best reviewed film since Christopher Nolan’s seminal 2005 film The Dark Knight, and is only bested by the first Iron Man foray in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In light of the exceptional success Wonder Woman is currently enjoying, it’s especially worth delving into its trailer campaign to see if one can glean any hints of the praise it would come to receive.
Sitting at five and a quarter million views on YouTube, the official final trailer, released May 7th during the MTV Movie & TV Awards, starts with a seven second micro-teaser with lyrics that immediately scream “we are the warriors.” The moment, which appear later in the actual trailer, tips the listener off immediately that it uses Warriors, a track by Imagine Dragons. While an appropriate choice in itself, the fact that the track was also used to promote theLeague of Legends video game makes for a neat intertextual tie-in as well as a ploy for long-term musical brand awareness.
Having presumably captured the attention the of audioviewer, we are whisked away to the world of the film with a more gentle track and various voiceovers off screen which are revealed to take place as an on-screen conversation between Diana Prince, Princess of Themyscira (Gal Gadot) as a child with her mother. The music, Francoid-Paul Aïche’s Aria, continuously builds, ending as her mother says “be careful of mankind… they do not deserve you.”
Next, the title cards appear at 0:40 alongside an adult Diana and a frenetic, strings-driven track. We see Steve Travor (Chris Pine, best known as Captain Kirk in the most recent Star Trek films) warning Diana of the horrors of World World I underway in the film’s universe between thunderous triplet arrays of drumming courtesy of original trailer music track Catapult, by Position Music. These triplets give way to a sprightly, galloping 6/8 compound meter of lower strings and piano as we see Diana making the decision to leave the island where she grew up.
At 1:12, these elements of percussion and strings come together along with a strong male voice, tightly synced to the action of Wonder Woman, in costume, scaling a wall. At 1:25 the trailer takes a lightly comedic turn as Travor (Pine) deadpans, “the war’s that way, but we have to go this way first.” This presages a turn in musical aesthetics at 1:28 as we hear a groovy electric bass. At 1:38 we get a brillaint sequence as an older man asks Travor who Wonder Woman is. Between Travor’s consternations (e.g. “she’s my, ah”; “and er, uh”), we see and hear blasts of action by Wonder Woman set to heavy metal riffs. Those substitutions of what would normally be descriptive language after these filled pauses are both funny and dramatically effective; by implication, Wonder Woman is “beyond words” in a way that only music can attempt to describe. At 1:51 the lyrics and full track come in full, largely uninterrupted force for the last third of the trailer, incessant right to the end at 2:42.
We’re looking forward to the trailer campaign for the inevitable sequel – as there’s little, er, wonder at at this point that there will be one.
– Curtis Perry