Making a Study of Film Titles
The opening titles of a film can say a lot about what’s to follow. When I saw Napoleon Dynamite, I recall watching the opening credits – featuring names scrolled out across bland cafeteria lunches and school supplies – and thinking that the movie was going to be rather odd. Which it was:
In the case of Zombieland, the opening sequence sets up the rules by which the characters live for the rest of the movie. For instance, Rule #1 stresses the importance of Cardio - which is especially useful when a zombie is chasing you:
When it comes to Dirty Harry, the opening titles leave little doubt about the demeanor of its titular character – as Clint emerges for the first time looking calm and in control:
These are just a few of the many opening credit sequences compiled on Art of the Title. The site describes itself like this:
A compendium and leading web resource of film and television title design from around the world. We honor the artists who design excellent title sequences. We discuss and display their work with a desire to foster more of it, via stills and video links, interviews, creator notes, and user comments.
Art of the Title will certainly open your eyes to the creative ingenuity of motion picture title designers.
And, if you’re anything like me, it will also make you realize that sometimes the title that best serves the final product is also the most scaled-down one – as is the case with the hauntingly-simplistic title to LOST: