There's always so much to unpack with a movie trailer: the stars, the selected visuals, 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 an orchestral score, the music often makes a trailer.
This Week's Trailer: The new, expanded preview for Guardians of the Galaxy, the latest Marvel title to get adapted for the big screen. (It opens August 1.)
This Week's Tunes: Norman Greenbaum's 1970 classic "Spirit in the Sky," with just a touch of B.J. Thomas' "Hooked on a Feeling."
How Literal Are They? The songs have no connection to the film's story, about a group of intergalactic criminals who are still good-natured enough to defend the universe from evil. One of them's a talking raccoon (voice by Bradley Cooper), one of them's a talking tree (voiced by Vin Diesel), and one of them's a green-skinned Zoe Saldana (who, charmingly, doesn't say a single word in the entire trailer.)
But these songs aren't here to tell a story. They're here to telegraph a mood. Because Guardians of the Galaxy is a zany comedy, y'all! It's a devil-may-care twist on the whole superhero genre! And the best way to let us know you're a goofy rebel is to strut around to corny rock hits like they're the baddest jams of all time!
How Exciting Are They? It's infuriatingly LAZY to use oldies for comic effect. It's a cheap way to make us laugh at clueless characters who think they're cooler than they are. Every movie starring Will Ferrell or Melissa McCarthy has used this trick, but at least those actors have the blazing charisma to distract us. You can't say the same for the talking tree.
How Definitive Are They? Not definitive at all. You could sub in any old Neil Diamond hit and the impact would be the same. (And if there's something in the story that DOES rely on these particular songs, the trailer sure doesn't make it clear.)
Overall Trailer Tunes Effectiveness: If the desired effect was to convince me that this movie will be a hack job, then the tunes have succeeded.