Trailer Tunes: 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' & 'Dirty Paws'
(Looking for the new trailer with the Jose Gonzalez/St. Vincent song? It's here.)
There's always so much to unpack about a movie trailer: the stars, the plot, how much of the plot is being totally given away. But in many cases, the part of the trailer that sticks with you the longest is the music. Be it a pop song or a piece or orchestral score, it's the music that most often makes a trailer.
This Week's Trailer: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the latest directorial effort from comedic leading man Ben Stiller, and the long-awaited remake of the 1947 Danny Kaye film (itself an adaptation of the James Thurber story). Stiller plays a sad office drone (working for Life magazine, just to underline the dead-end nature of things) who engages in an active fantasy life to escape the drudgery. Kristen Wiig is the object of his affection, and his adventures take him seemingly across the globe, through all sorts of adventurous setups.
This Week's Tune: "Dirty Paws," off of the debut album from buzzy Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men.
How Literal Is It? The words to "Dirty Paws" are full of fantastical lyrics about animals traversing great expanses of territory. It all comes across as a campfire story or a children's fable, which certainly ties into the idea of Walter Mitty as a story within a story, and a fantastical one at that. But the giant metaphors at play keep thins from getting too didactic.
How Emotional Is It? As is the purview of any band from Iceland, the Of Monsters and Men sound feels expansive, dreamy but with the urgency of pounding drumbeats and the chilly cold that comes with the knowledge that Bjork is lurking around any corner dressed up like a grizzly bear. The globe-trotting nature of Mitty's tale is more than enhanced by the band's global sound. More than anything, the song/trailer combination here feels most reminiscent of the clip for Where the Wild Things Are, which put a huge stamp on Arcade Fire, and vice versa.
How Definitive Is It? Aside from their song "Lakehouse" scoring the trailer for About Time, Of Monsters and Men have yet to saturate the trailers market, so Mitty is getting aboard this train at exactly the right time.
Overall Trailer Tune Effectiveness: With an actor/director like Stiller, whose reputation is so steeped in commercial comedy, there is a perception change that needs to happen if Mitty wants to hit the marketplace as a serious, awards-ready prospect. If that's what this trailer wanted to accomplish, "Dirty Paws" gets a huge share of the credit for making it happen.