The Art of the Title Sequence
December 3, 2008 8:11 AM   Subscribe

The Art of the Title Sequence

Passing reference on Mefi previously here.
posted by anastasiav (19 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
I was glad to see they included The Island of Dr. Moreau - which I believe holds the record for quality ratio of title sequence to actual movie.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:27 AM on December 3, 2008

I'm glad they mentioned Se7en as it stands to my mind as being one of the best opening sequences I've seen, if only because when it's after watching the film, you realize that they basically give everything away right at the outset, but because on first view, you don't know what you are seeing, you have no idea.

They didn't have Eurotrip though, which is a shame because its credits are a delight to watch.
posted by quin at 8:40 AM on December 3, 2008

Awesome site, thanks for posting. Speaking of high quality ratios, I caught the season finale of True Blood (also on this site, great title sequence) last week while staying in a hotel with HBO. As Six Feet Under is one of my favorite television shows, I was greatly disappointed. I wonder, is it one of those shows I have to see from the beginning, or is it just plain bad?
posted by ChestnutMonkey at 8:45 AM on December 3, 2008

I've think Dexter has one of the best title sequence of all time. I can think of few movies or TV shows where the title sequence so eloquently references the main themes explored, sets the mood so perfectly and introduces the protagonist. It says a lot with a little while maintaining a great sense of style.

It helps that I like the show. Not a huge fan of True Blood, but the title sequence is a good one.

Thanks for posting this. I love opening credits/title sequences.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:03 AM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

Joe Beese, I would nominate Rat Race. Great titles, stenchburger movie.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:03 AM on December 3, 2008

The opening titles of Panic Room are pretty badass.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 9:14 AM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Great post. Thanks.
posted by MarshallPoe at 9:18 AM on December 3, 2008

David Fincher just tends to put a lot of thought and care into his opening sequences (into every shot of anything he does, actually.) His Fight Club titles, shooting through the narrator's brain, are so brilliant that they were parodied in a Gnarls Barkley video.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:33 AM on December 3, 2008

I am just happy to see that I am not the only one who loves a great title sequence! It's such a great design opportunity.
posted by Xoebe at 10:06 AM on December 3, 2008

I fell in love with the Dexter title sequence the first time I saw it. The close-up photography is perfect, the way it admires and lingers on all of those tiny acts of violence-- grinding the coffee, breaking the eggs, slicing the ham, squeezing the orange, yanking the shoelaces-- that we completely overlook in our own lives, and yet we know subconsciously that all of these violent and destructive acts go together into starting off a really good day. It's absolutely brilliant.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:24 AM on December 3, 2008

this is pretty outstanding. i'll be reading this for a while. thanks.
posted by shmegegge at 11:34 AM on December 3, 2008

It's interesting, by the way, that they put the Shining on there. As much as i adore Kubrick (a lot) and that movie (also a lot), that title sequence always frustrated me. Maybe it's because I look back on it in retrospect, having been too young to see it in theaters, but the titling is so poor, and of such poor quality that it feels like it was tacked on last minute in an old video toaster without proper attention being paid to resolution and aspect ratio. What makes it more frustrating is how great the shots are underneath it. But those titles are just unbearable, especially coming from a man whose titles were ground breaking bar raisers in the past.
posted by shmegegge at 11:37 AM on December 3, 2008

One of the better posts of the year. (I was thinking that Hitchcock's "North by Northwest" opening titles would be in there to be sure, but apparently not yet.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 12:01 PM on December 3, 2008

The title sequences which made me a fan of the art form are Superman: The Movie, Dr Strangelove, The Naked Gun, and Aliens, and finally Mallrats sealed the deal. Superman had the most expensive credits sequence up to that point by far, not sure if it's been surpassed yet.

By the time Men in Black was released I was enough of a fan to see the title credits font was taken from Dr Strangelove. Most Sonnenfeld movies have artful credits. Since then favourites have included Catch me if you Can, My Best Friend's Wedding, Napoleon Dynamite, and my all-time favourite, the 2004 Dawn of the Dead.

The gaudiest titles I've ever seen were before 3000 Miles to Graceland. The credits run over cheesy, un-ironic 3D animation of robotic scorpions fighting each other.
posted by autodidact at 12:44 PM on December 3, 2008

More than a passing reference, this is a flat out double.
posted by Artw at 12:44 PM on December 3, 2008

I love the titles for The Shining. They're perfect, really. Sterile. Monotonous. It gets you into the characters' heads (rather than the plot) in a way title sequences rarely do.

Plus the scrolling Helvetica imitates television, which is the family's only link to their old life.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:55 PM on December 3, 2008

More than a passing reference, this is a flat out double.

It would be a pity to lose this FPP because this link was buried in another FPP, which was lead by a reference to RocknRolla - the reason why I didn't look for [more inside].
posted by crossoverman at 6:12 PM on December 3, 2008

It's amazing how many of today's title designers started at R/Greenberg Associates in Manhattan, and went on to start RGA/LA, Imaginary Forces, yU+Co, Prologue and others.
posted by jfrancis at 12:17 AM on December 4, 2008

Ah crap. Was just getting ready to post this. Dollar short and 26 days late! Like my credit card bill.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:53 PM on December 29, 2008

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