Last issue we saw the fine art of theatrical trailers given due respect at Trailers From Hell. We now turn our browsers to another unsung craft-within-the-craft: the opening credit sequence. ArtoftheTitle.com has been reclaiming the grandeur of the textual overture since 2008. Diligently maintained and eclectically curated, the site contains preludes from 400-plus films. Ignoring 50 years of dissolving prologue cards and orchestral swells, the website instead focuses on stylistically integrated and graphically adventurous overtures that have evolved during more recent film history (let’s call it the Kubrick-Fincher Age of Opening Credits). Sequences are evaluated as freestanding works of art irrespective of the merits of whatever particular film they may herald.
Though title sequences are sometimes simply presented in their entirety or reconstituted as stills, the site has cultivated a house style of analysis that melds cavalier lyricism and heady over-seriousness in endearingly lopsided prose. For example, see Alien: Resurrection: “The womb-like viscera of human and alien-crossed monstrosities connotes a bastardization.” Or the theme entry that features seven pavement-swallowing road sequences spanning from Fallen Angel to Mulholland Drive: “Between driver and destination burrows transmutation.” (Be it loving insight or smirking overreach, it’s fun either way, and they’re the experts so we’ll take their word for it.) A praiseworthy and priceless compendium, Art of the Title’s greatest achievement has been to single out and champion the journeymen designers who painstakingly sculpt opening ephemera—offering over 50 entries with lengthy and compelling interviews with the creators of such wonderous credit rolls as WALL*E’s journey through the history of visual representation, or the sly cascade of pop-proganda in Captain America: The First Avenger. What more does one need to say than that the site offers a chance to revisit the molecular majesty of Joe Dante’s Innerspace intro? Finally.
Go to ArtoftheTitle.com
© 2011 by The Film Society of Lincoln Center