Every big film has at least one song that is not related in any way to the film it appeared in. Now the VGU Staff will talk about our favorite films that had a licensed song in it one way or another.

Allan Muir – Site Admin/Co-EiC

“Sabotage” (Star Trek: Beyond)

Credit: Paramount Pictures

The Star Trek films have been a highlight to fans of the Original Series. While there is a bit of dissension between those who like and don’t like Star Trek: The Motion Picture we can all agree that the films that followed from Wrath of Khan to Search for Spock and to The Voyage Home were fantastic science-fiction stories on the big screen. The Voyage Home in particular, had a major affect on the franchise as it led to the resurrection of Star Trek on the small screen.

Twenty years ago, the genius of one man brought to television a program that has transcended the medium. We are enormously proud that that man, Gene Roddenberry, is going to do it again. Just as public demand kept The Original Series on the air, this new series is also a result of grassroots support for Roddenberry and his vision.” – Mel Harris announcing The Next Generation

Fast forward thirty years later to the most recent Star Trek film “Beyond”. While the two prior Kelvin-timeline films were blockbusters full of action, fighting, and nonsensical ideas that did not fit Star Trek. This includes the failed deception towards the fans when it came to Benedict Cumberbatch’s character in Into Darkness, the Uhura/Spock romance, and the big crater on the prime timeline right where Romulus was. However, with a new director in Justin Lin came a new script penned by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung came a worthy Star Trek film that paid tribute to the characters of Leonard Nimoy’s Spock Prime, and Anton Yelchin’s Chekov. The scene in the beginning between Kirk and Bones felt like an alternate version of the scene we first saw in 1982’s The Wrath of Khan. As my submission to the Roundtable says, I will now get to “Sabotage”.

Despite first appearing in Star Trek 2009, the Beastie Boys hit song reappears in Beyond during a very pivotal sequence which is visually stunning. The core characters are aboard the previously abandoned U.S.S Franklin and must get back to Yorktown before Idris Elba’s Krall and the Swarm ships destroy it. Upon learning that the Swarm ships are vulnerable to radio frequencies, Jaylah along with Bones and Spock play “Sabotage” on the Swarm’s frequency and in turn they are destroyed. Add in Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk remarking with “That’s a good Choice” along with the magnificent visual effects of the Franklin going through a tunnel of exploding ships and you have my favorite moment of the Kelvin films.

Josh Miller – The Family Man

“Holding Out for a Hero” (Shrek 2)

Let me be perfectly clear…I know Shrek is a meme at this point. I’ve seen all of them more times than I can count, including the musical, because my youngest son had a fascination with those films. Truth be told, it gets trashed more than it deserves. They aren’t the greatest films, but I do find them enjoyable. Though my favorite moment throughout all the movies features Jennifer Saunders singing the Bonnie Tyler hit, “Holding Out for a Hero” in Shrek 2.

I’m not going to lie either, this song can damn near make anything be cooler whether it in Short Circuit 2 or Saints Row 3. Part of me wants to make an animated Dragon Ball Z music video with this song using footage of the Saiyan Saga and Goku rushing back to Earth. It’s a song that gets the blood pumping and your vocals belting out the lyrics as invested as you can be. So of course it works as human Shrek storms the castle atop a giant ginger bread man to save Fiona from Prince Charming. Even moreso because Jennifer Saunders does such an amazing job covering the song.

It really is fantastic when licensed music raises the scene up to greater heights. A song written not with that scene in mind, but just so perfect in general to work in different scenarios. “Holding Out for a Hero” is one of those songs and has proven it many times over the years. It’s inclusion in Shrek 2 is a perfect example, even in a movie that many claim to dislike, to make a scene unforgettable.

Graydon Webb – The Contrarian American

“Hocus Pocus” (Baby Driver)

Credit: Mr. Productions, Sony Pictures Releasing

This one took some thinking. Initially, I told the guys to count me out of this roundtable, as I couldn’t think of anything to write about. But after finding a few excellent articles, a dozen choices came to mind – most notably in Shaun of the Dead and Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. However, I didn’t really want to copy those ideas, so after some more deliberation, I thought of the most perfect usage of music in a movie scene: “Hocus Pocus” in Baby Driver.

If you haven’t seen this film, well, you’re seriously missing out. The story follows a mute young man who works as a getaway driver for criminals. He’s one of the best in the business, as he’s fueled by the music in his headphones. The film is an artistic masterpiece, from acting to camerawork to thrilling surprises (remember that death with the pole? Yeah, you know the one). But Baby Driver’s main focus, no pun intended, is on music as a storytelling device.

In the film’s final act, our protagonist finds himself in a sticky situation; on the run from the cops. As he’s chased through the city’s various subway stations and storefronts, the frantic sounds of “Hocus Pocus” by Focus can be heard in the background. This rather repetitive tune is full of heavy guitar riffs, flute solos, and yodeling, all set to the high-intensity action onscreen. Bullets fire and zip by to the beat, and Baby’s footsteps fall in line with the song’s fast-paced rhythm. The song itself was a favorite of mine before Baby Driver, and seeing it used expertly in the film just adds to the fun and the craziness of this brilliant art piece.

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Gotta ac-CENTU-Ate the positives.

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