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Month: March 2016

The problem with the new Ghostbusters trailer

The trailer for the new upcoming Ghostbusters was recently released, and immediately widely hated. (Check out all the disapproving thumbs-down on the video, for example. This leading, of course, to claims of sexism!)

I think the problem is the “tone” or “style” of the humor illustrated in the trailer is completely inconsistent with the dry humor of the first two original films. Compare:

with this sort of humor:

See the difference? In the first two films, the characters are serious people. They might get sarcastic (particularly Bill Murray’s character), but that sarcasm is born of trying to deal with a serious situation and keeping sane, à la Gregory House, not of just being a silly person in general. All this comic-relief is needed to accept the otherwise ridiculous premise of people trying to catch ghosts with strange science, but the conflicts themselves are serious. That is, the humor helps lampshade the far-fetched premise so that the premise can be accepted. This happens to some degree in almost every fantasy / sci-fi story (see the quibbling droids and Han Solo’s sarcasm in Star Wars, for example), and when it doesn’t, you usually get something that seems way too cheesy or pretentious. The humor allows acceptance of the far-fetched premise.

And now back to the new Ghostbusters trailer, and what do we have here? We have a “goofball” comedy. Crazy wacky characters! Silly barfing ghosts! Hyuck-hyuck! The characters and the situation are no longer serious, they’re all just part of an eccentric comedy romp. This style of humor can work well on its own; plenty of films employ it to great success. But in this case it’s just not consistent with the franchise they’re trying to continue, so the whole thing feels like an insulting parody, or a kidnapping of the beloved franchise. It feels like the filmmakers were not truly fans of the originals, or didn’t really understand them, or are just incompetent filmmakers in general.

The Storm Cometh

Composer Cloud

I recently realized EastWest libraries offer a subscription service for their (otherwise very expensive) sample libraries called Composer Cloud, so I subscribed and have been experimenting with what their libraries have to offer. Here’s a short piece I recently wrote completely with some of their libraries (mainly Hollywood Strings, Hollywood Brass, Symphonic Choirs, and StormDrum):

I still have plenty left to experiment with, but so far I really like their Hollywood Strings, Hollywood Brass, and Symphonic Choirs libraries (though I doubt I’ll have the patience to use their word builder any time soon; ooh’s and ah’s are fine with me for now). And of course StormDrum has some great film-score-ish percussion available. They’re hard to resist playing with, even though I fear they may sound a bit cliche and generic these days. Oh well, too bad, I still want my turn to play with them! I’m not so impressed with their woodwinds, though; they sound pretty bland to me. I haven’t installed Garritan Personal Orchestra on this new computer of mine yet, but I hope to. I definitely prefer GPO’s woodwinds, which sound much more lively and real to me. Same goes for GPO’s harp. I also need to put my Bela D Media Celtic Winds on this computer so I can try mixing in some Irish whistles perhaps, or uilleann pipes.

Anyway, hope to write more music soon! I’ll probably write more pieces around the two minute mark. It’ll allow me to experiment a bit more, plus two minute tracks have a greater chance of being licensed I guess.

By the way, I hope you appreciate my harmony in the above composition; it may be subtle, but I tried some techniques I’ve never tried before, like going from a G# minor chord to an E minor chord for that eerie (perhaps cliche) film score-ish sound. I also use some suspended and augmented chords somewhere in there too, albeit rather subtly. Trying to expand my harmonic palette. You should be proud of me.