Dramatic Vocalise Database




Elfman, Danny (b. 1953)


Mars Attacks! (1996)



Unlike the fantasy world of Edward Scissorhands (1990) and Sleepy Hollow (1999), Danny Elfman used dramatic vocalization only at key moments—for special purpose and signification—in two science-fiction films, Mars Attacks! (1996) and Men in Black (1997). In Mars Attacks!, dramatic vocalization accompanies the arrival of the Martian spacecraft and the first appearance of the Martians themselves, and is used to underscore the otherworldliness of the alien visitors. Dramatic vocalization similarly occurs when the Martian fleet invades Earth. In the “redemption” scene at the end of the movie, after the Martians have been defeated, heavenly voices sing their non-diegetic, disembodied, wordless refrain.

(Nauman 2009, 255–56)


Examples

Comments




Opening Credits

[0:02:00–0:04:10] Many other films use wordless vocalization in their opening credits to foreshadow the "surprise" yet to come. See The Wizard of Oz (1939), The Ox-Bow Incident (1942), The Robe (1953), The Abyss (1989), and Twister (1996).


First Contact

[0:35:48–0:38:22] Wordless vocalization accompanies the arrival of the Martian spacecraft and the first appearance of the Martians themselves. Vocalization used to underscore the otherworldliness of the alien visitors.


Alien Invasion

[1:07:45–1:08:09] The Martian fleet invades.


Redemption

[1:36:23–1:37:00] Following the demise of the Martians, the world is returned to order. Tom Jones petting a deer is not to be missed.