Fellow film blogger, Benjamin Wright, reached an half-baked conclusion in discussing the state of title sequences coming after the 1990s.
Most Hollywood films held the ‘main’ credits for the end, reversing a long history of studio filmmaking that announced up-front who was responsible for the film you were about to see. Some have attributed this move to audience polling during advance screenings. Studios risk losing the audience’s attention during long, cumbersome title sequences. Even Steven Spielberg has noted that he prefers the end credit system, since it enables him to start the film without disruption or pause.
While this observation is true to an extent, it stinks of a moth-ridden jeremiad towards contemporary cinema as a creative wasteland overloaded with razzle-dazzle technology, but lacking in innovative wit. Upon reading several detailed studies on film credits, including their evolution through the 60s with Saul Bass’s revolutionary minimalist design, the “endangered species” label is still more applicable to perishing wildlife than this ever resilient cockroach of the film going experience. Perhaps its duration will be shorter, less of an introductory warmer than an sudden blast of words followed by an already running treadmill of suspense and action (Think LOST). The annoying question of whether a prologue should adhere to the contents of the actual body of the film sometimes hinder the titles sequence as less foreshadowing or an extension of thematic reassurance than a mini-movie in itself…an immediate appetizer before the bloated main course of recognizable edibles. As they change, we change, and there’s an absolute rush of adventure in the air of not knowing how our viewing positions and expectations will twist and turn as the decades rushes by. Regardless of the presence or absence of “elaborate credit sequences,” films will still present the most basic of information in order to situate the viewer in its reception, generally by foregrounding itself as only fiction, part fact, part bricolage of still frames with legible typeface, and lastly, part narcissism on behalf of its ‘valued’ authors and actors. Without a doubt, the spirit of Saul Bass manages to survive among the prematurely called “dying breed” of professions at one of the industry’s most respected firms, Prologue, a Venice(CA)-based cooperative of famous motion graphic artists such as Kyle Cooper (Se7en) and Danny Yount (Spiderman, Ironman).
Just marvel at the company’s impressive resume below.
Iron Man [Favreau, 2008]
Spiderman 2 [Raimi, 2004]
Married Life [Sachs, 2007]
EuroTrip [Schaffer, 2004]
Standard Operating Procedure [Morris, 2008]
Pushing Daisies [Fuller, 2007-Current]
And what a pleasure to witness the art in its most stunning and jazzy incarnation, in Spielberg’s own Catch Me if You Can.
and again in 2005, at the beginning of a brilliant underrated crime thriller, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.