By: Jim Weekes
In the excitement of a movie, sometimes people don’t stop to notice the opening title sequences of a film. They are crucial in setting up the mood of the film but when do people usually talk about them around that nonexistent water cooler? Well I’m about to count down what I, Jim, believe to be the ten best opening titles sequences in film.
Exception: NO BOND FILMS. Stop crying.
10. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
First up on our list is the recent “comic” to film adaptation Scott Pilgrim Vs. the world. The film and graphic novels both have a very in your face, kick butt attitude and the opening titles to this film throw you into the mood perfectly, with flashy graphics, and the rock hard music of sex bob-omb. If this opening title sequence doesn’t slap you awake for this exciting flick, nothing will.
9. Monster’s Inc.
It’s unfortunate that most Pixar films don’t really have opening title sequences. But Monster’s inc. does have one, and it rocks. The film may not be amongst pixar’s elite but it sets up the hip, comedic and downright silly atmosphere of the film, especially with Randy Newman’s laid back jazz score in the background.
8. The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
Not only does this filmstand the test of time, but the title sequence does just the same. It’s certainly experimental for the time period, and it’s still awesome by today’s standards. Add the recognizably iconic theme in the background and this rightfully lands its spot on this list.
7. Batman Returns
Even though it has nothing to do with the source material, Batman Returns is still an awesome Tim Burton film. Most of his opening credits sequences can be chalked up to the camera closely following something through something else. In the case of Batman Returns, we follow the penguin in his baby carriage going through the sewers to what will become is lair. Even though this may not be accurate to the real story, it works for the film, and effectively explains an entire origin story in the opening credits. Talk about killing two penguins with one stone. *rim shot*
6. Dawn of the Dead (2003)
Before Zak Snyder sucked, he made a very solid remake of Dawn of the dead. Even more solid was the awesome opening title sequence with Johny Cash’s “When the Man Comes Around” playing in the background of complete catastrophe.
5. The Social Network
The opening credits to this Oscar contender may seem like nothing to some, but the shots of Mark Zuckerburg running through a Harvard Campus on a crisp fall night is eerily accurate. To anyone who goes to college and has traversed their campus at night will feel the familiarity here and it’s 30% of the reason I loved this movie as much as I did.
4. Catch Me If You Can
The Steven Spielberg film, Catch me if you can isn’t necessarily remembered in the director’s cannon of work, but at the very least, the opening credits should be. It features a hip, art deco style animation with the catchy hipster soundtrack by John Williams sneakily playing in the background which sets the entire film’s mood and personality up perfectly.
So if we learn anything from this list, it’s Zak Snyder may not be a great director but his opening credits sure do rock. The much anticipated film adaptation to the groundbreaking graphic novel was received with mixed reactions. As a Watchmen graphic novel fan, I can say that the film was solid, but not great. It was not the perfect incarnation of Alan Moore’s baby but if there’s one thing Zak snyder got right, it was everything in the opening credits. This sequence embodies so many subplots and themes in the graphic novel that would have been too much for the film to handle and it explains it all perfectly without words and some Bob Dylan. The film overall isn’t great, but the opening 10 minutes are phenomenal.
When I was sifting through credit sequences, one thing that I noticed was that most zombie films have awesome credits. The one that stands out here is from Zombieland. The odd thing about this movie is was that from previews it just looked dumb, but turned out not only to be a really funny movie but a genuinely great zombie flick. The opening credits in slow motion that show off the catastrophe caused by the zombie apocalypse is gross, hilarious, and beautiful.
I could have easily put every Fincher movie on this list, cause all his opening credits are great. But no opening credit sequence sets a mood like that of the hit 1995 thriller, Se7en. It’s a gritty music video-esque look into the methods and psyche of a psychotic serial killer, throw in a creepy and catchy remix of Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” and you have perhaps the most mesmerizing credit sequence ever made.