Scored by composer Mark Hadley (part of Modern Family’s music department) and featuring the vocals of Keeley Bumford (perhaps best known as the vocalist for the main theme for the video game Bayonetta 2), the just-released teaser trailer for Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time leverages the well-known tune “Sweet Dreams,” originally written by Annie Lennox and originally performed by 80s group the Eurythmics.
It’s not until 0:20 into the trailer that we hear Bumford sing “sweet dreams are made of these,” and immediately the song is identifiable, just with that combination of lyrics and that classic minor third and minor second melody. Bumford’s solo lines act like a Greek chorus of sorts, commenting between the characters’ lines, which are in diegesis. At 0:44 we hear just a snippet of the original, classic synth line from the Eurythmics’ version of the song (a wrinkle in time, indeed). At the same time and in between we recognize the mellifluous voice of Oprah Winfrey (Mrs. Which) narrating the story of the missing Alex Murry to his daughter.
At 0:55 we finally hear the song in full force, a version of “Sweet Dreams” not too dissimilar from the original, with added epic percussion and other effects to underscore the promise of the film’s grandiosity and scale. At 1:14 we hear a clever bit of sound design as the basketballs doubly act as a keeper of the beat, transitioning seamlessly from the previous music.
At 1:24 we get the actors’ title cards and the last third of the trailer, with an epic coda forestalling the resolution of the tune. With the arrival of the main title card and release date, we hear a ticking of a clock, which obviously plays into the theme of a film about time travel. That the trailer lets the “Sweet Dreams” vocal theme echo out at the end is a departure for the preview genre that prefers to close with a spectacular orchestral resonance (Harry Potter trailers) or a prominent sound effect (LOTR trailers).
The song has been covered several times in the past, including a now-classic version by Marilyn Manson, as well as by Emily Browning on the soundtrack of 2011 film Sucker Punch, a film that features its own brand of surrealism. As such, it was perhaps only a matter of, well, time before this song would appear again. This version by Mark Hadley veers between the gentle and the epic, assiduously conveying the fantasy world illustrated in this teaser trailer. The song none-too-subtly alludes to the notion that we are witnessing a dreamworld of sorts, which commentators on the teaser have picked up on when they refer to the “haunting” cover.
In all, Sweet Dreams is an appropriate choice that balances the familiar and the fantastic to help introduce audiences to the world of A Wrinkle in Time.
- Curtis Perry