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BRAAAM! 10 Trailers That Use & Abuse The 'Inception' BRAAAM!

Features
by Edward Davis
April 12, 2013 12:40 PM
28 Comments
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"What's the most resilient parasite? An idea." Little did Christopher Nolan know when he wrote that line, he’d need to add an addendum: an idea that keeps getting pickpocketed over and over again until it loses meaning and ownership, and becomes simply background noise to the general cultural conversation. It's appropriate, when you think about it, and something that Cobb (and team Nolan) would likely appreciate, that the memory of this ubiquitous sound's origins are slowly fading away. The Hans Zimmer-composed ominous pitched-down “Inception” horn blast, known as “The 'Inception' BRAAAM" (number of 'r's and 'a's may vary) has been resilient indeed, an idea homaged, appropriated and straight-up nicked time and time again since its... wait for it... inception.

This week another high-minded sci-fi trailer hit our computer shores, Neill Blomkamp’s “Elysium,” starring Matt Damon. And yes, as original as it is -- it's not based on a brand, property or toy -- the “Elysium” trailer also borrows the “Inception” BRAAAM. Sure, it’s slightly different, a little bit subtler, but it’s there, despite the best efforts of trailer sound editors trying to convince themselves they’re doing something different by tweaking the original. With that farty, slowed-down noise on the brain again this week, we thought we’d look at other culprits who requisitioned the sound for themselves, and ear-BRAAAM-ed their way into our collective unconscious.

1. “Elysium, the current offender.

2. “World War Z”
“Get back in your car, right now! Remain in yo —” BRAAAM! Clearly hoping the sound effect will work as a memory wipe on the rumors of production troubles and reshoots that have dogged "World War Z," the decision to BRAAAM!...er, where were we? Holy shit is that Brad Pitt fighting off zombies that move like crazy schools of fish (or is it flocks of insane birds?) That looks AWESOME!

3 “Star Trek: Into Darkness”
While the “Star Trek: Into Darkness” trailer goes for the latest trailer trend -- an ethereal, angelic chorus of voices that disarms with its soothing, everything’s-beautiful, everything's-serene-for-now tone (recently seen in The Dark Knight Rises” trailer and then nicked for the first Man of Steel” trailer -- NOLANS!) it switches gears mid-way for a more sped-up version of the “Inception” BRAAAM! Thereby helpfully letting us know that things aren't going to be serene and beautiful all the way through the movie.

4. “Jack the Giant Slayer”
It failed at the box-office, and to be fair, the second half of the trailer is completely different in mood and tone, but even Bryan Singer had his Christopher Nolan moment. Or at least, his marketing team did. Check out the first half that has the same dancing cellos and throbbing dark underbelly sounds.

5. “G. I. Joe: Retaliation”
No one said the “G. I. Joe” series had an original thought in its head, so it’s apropos the trailer would try and stand on the shoulders of giants. Sure, it starts out plenty different, but wait til the :47 second mark and you’ll hear the very recognizable low-end drone.

6. “Prometheus”
It’s getting to the point where even the copycats are being copied, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get the 12-second ad for “Hannibal” currently running over a lot of YouTube trailers that appropriates the modified BRAAAM from “Prometheus.” Credit these guys for at least making a stellar trailer and taking the "Inception" horn fart, adding wailing screams overtop and quivering electronics beneath to create something rather haunting. It's a cover version that puts a different stamp on the original, but it's still a cover.

7. “Battleship”
The first trailer for the Peter Berg shipwreck is all about booze, chicks and rock'n’roll at first, then goes a little hip-hop, but when shit gets real (in the second trailer) you know who they turn to. Granted, they try and embed the sound into their special effects, but the recognizable “Inception” BRAAAM is still utilized as the loud throb underneath each explosion. Extra credit: How did Rihanna’s dad know the aliens were gonna eventually come?

8. “The Avengers”
Joss Whedon and co. went another way, taking Nine Inch Nails’ “We’re In This Together Now” to lead their trailer on a march against the Loki-bots they would soon face. But not for the entire trailer. Check the first half, especially around the :33 mark because the BRAAAM is used, albeit very quickly. What’s clever about its use here is that they pitched the tone of it to match the instrumental version of the NIN song. Cute.

9. “Pacific Rim”
Guillermo del Toro’s marketing/trailer team like the BRAAAM! as well. They like it so much they added a clubby house beat to it, so now you can cancel the apocalypse and dance to it.

10. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
Twist it up y’all. Michael Bay’s sector 7G drones were listening to Daft Punk when they were getting into their “how do we change the "Inception" BRAAAM! but still steal the "Inception" BRAAAM!?” ethos when they cribbed it for this ‘Dark of the Moon’ trailer. Sure, it now sounds more like an electronic zipper on your Tron outfit, but it’s still that all-too-familiar sound.

One question: did the same three people cut all these trailers? Other culprits include "Battle: Los Angeles," "Planet Of The Apes," "Super 8," “The Dark Knight Rises” (they’re kind of allowed) and a host of video game trailers like -- “Dead Space 3,” “Star Wars 1313” and “Modern Warfare 3.” Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but we sincerely hope the universe, in all its infinite variety, throws trailer cutters something else to "flatter" sometime soon.


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28 Comments

  • yo | July 11, 2014 9:05 PMReply

    So hold up, you mean to tell me you spent all your time looking for trailers that have slightly similar sounds, then troll them on an article, what in the WORLD did you gain out of this. WTH you're offended by trailer sounds sounding the same??? YOOOOOOOOOO WHO CARES???????????????????????????????????????????? NO ONE DOES. And the only reason why i respond is to show you i saw this, read the elysium one, saw the trailer, then realized how stupid this was to even waste my time looking at, no disrespect to you man but yo do something better with your time.... unless you're getting paid for this, in that case i guess you should continue writing articles about being disappointed in trailers, how else would you have liked the elysium trailer to be??? The point is to get movie goers in the seat!!!

  • man1985 | November 30, 2013 2:31 PMReply

    Do your research moron

    "Transformers 2 Revenge of the Fallen Super Bowl Ad". Release late Jan in 2009. Features earliest use of loud trumpet like "Bramm" over and over.

    "Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Reveal trailer" released during Easter Conference Finals (late March?) of 2009. Features the exact same sound from TF2. The shorter TV version of the trailer used it longer than the full online trailer but only thr full one can still be found on YouTube.

    In fact the first full Inception trailer features a BRAMM that sounds alot like the TF2 "Bramm". It also definately sounds different from the Bramms used in the actual movie which were the ones Bramms featured in the 2nd Inception trailer.

  • man1985 | November 30, 2013 1:57 PMReply

    None of these sound remotely close to Inception's Bramms. Also the Prometheus trailer usesthe noise from the original Alien trailer. Also look up the Transfomers 2 trailer. To my knowledge thats the first time a film of wide noteriety used a BRAMM like sound, and if Im nit mistaken the trailer for Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 2 used a very similar sound later that same year (2009 i believe it was)

  • Obvious | November 26, 2013 1:05 AMReply

    Whaaaaa! Someone's reusing a sound. Whaaaaaa.

  • Drew | November 6, 2013 10:34 PMReply

    10. Transformers is more of a rip off of the Texas Chain Saw massacre intro.

  • Johnny | November 6, 2013 9:49 PMReply

    The worst offender is this French chick named Edith Piaf, whose song "Je ne regret rein" clearly begins with the Hanz Zimmer BRAAAMs sped up into an orchestral march. Total ripoff.

  • Sombodi | November 6, 2013 9:09 PMReply

    Had to laugh: Before the first clip i was forced to watch a trailer for 'the councilor' and it had exactly the same shit in it

  • Hunter | November 6, 2013 6:25 PMReply

    The Transformers song is from dubstep artist Excision - song's called execute.

  • Alex | November 6, 2013 5:57 PMReply

    It should be noted that the first trailer for ALIEN in 1979 had the familiar "BRAAAAM" this article says was ripped from Inception, which came out in 2010. ;)

  • Ben | November 6, 2013 7:02 PM

    Agreed, I came here to say this. The Prometheus trailer is using the same sound as from ALIEN. Sorry, it's not ripping off the BRAAAM from Inception Edward.

  • Glint | June 23, 2013 2:16 PMReply

    For best effect stream all the videos at once for a wonderful symphony.

  • Glass | April 13, 2013 12:22 AMReply

    I could swear the Transformers 2 teaser started not only the BRAAAAAM thing but the whole dubstep glitch-cutting thing over 4 years ago. I know Inception pushed it over the edge and made it a self-parody, but if we're saying Inception had the idea first, I think we're wrong... And the Prometheus trailer did it best IMO

  • RUPTUR3 | November 6, 2013 4:22 PM

    I can safley tell you that Transformers 2 did not start "the whole dubstep glitch-cutting" dubstep has been around far longer than 4 years ago. If you mean the first time they used it in a trailer, perhaps but it did not invent it in anyway.

  • matt | April 12, 2013 3:02 PMReply

    What about saying Inception's trailer ripped off District 9's and Alien's?

  • Prod | April 12, 2013 3:57 PM

    Yup, I always find it weird considering d9 trailer came in 2009 and inception the next year. Yet everyone always thinks inception started it.

  • Pscott | April 12, 2013 2:31 PMReply

    Sorry to burst your bubble but the trailer music for "Inception" (titled "Mind Heist") was composed by Zach Hemsey, not Hans Zimmer.

  • 4tr | April 12, 2013 6:07 PM

    Because it -- and this is debatable -- added a new sound to the trailer repertoire? Or popularized it to the point of ubiquity? That's a marketing revolution?

  • Real | April 12, 2013 3:03 PM

    I was just about to point that out. Zack Hemsey really should get more credit for "Mind Heist" (and whoever put together the phenomenal Trailer 2 for "Inception"). It has revolutionised the way action movies are marketed now.

  • Yer | April 12, 2013 2:00 PMReply

    DAE Chris Nolan??

  • Monica | April 12, 2013 1:12 PMReply

    Don't worry, this will change when Interstellar hit theaters. So, we will have a new sound in the trailers!

  • Gabriel | April 12, 2013 12:58 PMReply

    Prometheus trailer isnt a copy of inception, is a riff on the original Alien (1979)trailer youtube.com/watch?v=bEVY_lonKf4

  • Gabriel | April 12, 2013 12:58 PMReply

    Prometheus trailer isnt a copy of inception, is a riff on the original Alien (1979)trailer youtube.com/watch?v=bEVY_lonKf4

  • alan | April 12, 2013 12:48 PMReply

    how...how did DISTRICT 9 copy INCEPTION if it came out before INCEPTION?
    youtube.com/watch?v=d6PDlMggROA
    starts at 1:20.

    to redeem your lack of marketing knowledge playlist, seek out skip chaisson for an interview on how trailers REALLY work.

  • alan | April 12, 2013 7:25 PM

    "But nice try." - Matt

  • Matt | April 12, 2013 3:56 PM

    Oh no!

    BRAAAAAAAM

    I meant Inglorious Basterds opened August 21, 2009!

    BRAAAAAAAM

    Curse you, gods of the typo!

    BRAAAAAAAM

    *death rattle*

  • Matt | April 12, 2013 3:55 PM

    Oh, mighty knower of things, master of advertising... I beseech thee to grant my feeble kid brain with such knowledge that I too may strike down the evil foes of comment sections everywhere!

    And if the Inception trailer debuted in front of Inglorious Basterds, which opened on August 21, 2010, then it did drop in the summer as August tends to fall during the summer. But it looks like I was wrong about the Inception trailer being before District 9, so looks like its suicide for me again.

    On second thought, what the fuck does spending 8 years in advertising have to do with anything? Do they teach special techniques for remembering trailer debut dates? If so, where do I sign?

  • alan | April 12, 2013 3:05 PM

    didn't say it was in the article. was making a point, matt.

    INCEPTION trailer didn't debut in the summer of '09. D9 was released in early august, keep that in mind as you read this article:
    http://collider.com/christopher-nolans-inception-trailer-to-debut-before-inglourious-basterds/

    when you spend eight years in advertising come talk to me, kid.

  • Matt | April 12, 2013 2:59 PM

    District 9 is not mentioned a single time in this article. But either way, the Inception trailer which introduced us to the "BRAAAM" sound debuted in the summer of 2009, a few months before District 9's trailer campaign kicked in. But nice try.

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