First impressions count, so when it comes to a memorable film going experience, an effective opening goes a long way. The key to a great title sequence is constructing something that channels the spirit of the film whilst being its own beast entirely. And when a filmmaker spends that extra bit of time crafting a memorable sequence, it can make a world of difference to the audience.
More often than not the most memorable opening titles are the ones that push the boundaries of graphic design at that particular time in filmmaking, and whilst its true that extended opening titles are becoming increasingly rare nowadays, it always brings back fond memories when you sit down and watch a film from the 80s and 90s and are greeted with a nostalgia inducing two or three minute teaser before the main attraction.
Now on to the countdown!
We’re kicking things of with a somewhat lo-fi entry that most 90s kids should immediately remember. This rough animation is the perfect primer for the off kilter comedy of Rik Myall’s cult classic Drop Dead Fred.
No countdown of opening titles would be complete without a entry from graphic design pioneer Saul Bass. You could do an entire countdown on his work alone, but when it comes to picking a favourite, it has to be his iconic work on Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Its an expressionistic piece that interweaves images from the film with trippy visuals of Bass’s own making. The end result is a work of art in it’s own right, but most importantly still feels like it and the film are one in the same.
This is the kind of title sequence we saw a lot of in kids films of the 80s, and whilst the animation has dated in the intervening years, nothing beats the nostalgia hit you get from re-watching openers like this.
David Fincher is one of the few modern filmmakers who appreciates a great title sequence, and he’s got a quite a few to his name, from the ultra sleek visuals of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, to the cityscape typography of Panic Room, but his opener for Se7en is still his most memorable. This was the shot in the arm that movie titles needed in the 90s, and has influenced everything from the Saw series to modern television shows like True Detective and The Walking Dead. But nothing will ever quite beat the feeling of watching this for the first time, while Nine Inch Nails’ pulsating track creeps the hell out of you.
Created by a duo of French visual artists, and channeling the work of Saul Bass and films of an eras past, this gorgeous piece of animation essentially plays out the entire film before our very eyes, with carefully sketched characters and a clear narrative. Other films like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang have mimicked the sequence, but nothing quite matches the cool look, playful tone, and pitch perfect John Williams score. If this were eligible for the Short Animated Film category at the Oscars, it would win in any year it was nominated.
Thats all folks! So aside from James Bond openers, what other awesome title sequences did we forget? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.