R&P: Task 1 & 2 - Title annotations and Essay

26/01/2012 I wrote my essay on the four title sequences. I found it quite difficult to write because, I chose title sequences that were very similar and didn't have many differences. I felt that to be able to write a proper essay comparing and analyzing different title sequences, I needed title sequences from different genres of movies. Grease was swapped with Easy A so that not all my title sequences were animation, Easy A shows a different type of title sequence to the others and allowed me to compare title sequences from a wider range.

James Bond Casino Royale

Catch Me If You Can

Easy A (song from title sequence)


Title Sequence Annotations:

James Bond Casino Royale, 2009

This is the iconic shot of blood dripping down the gun barrel, when someone see this shot they automatically link it to James Bond. The blood is the only thing that is in colour in the shot and so it attracts the audiences attention straight away, it also foreshadows death and murder, which is bound to happen in a James Bond film.

This shot shows that shows a man in read getting shot by a spade. The spade is a symbol seen on playing cards, this relates to the title Casino Royale. Spades are seen as the top symbol on cards, so the fact that Jmaes Bond is shooting them out shows that he has power and is very important. The man being shot has no face this shows that he is of little importance. The names of producers are displayed around the image.

This again links to the casino theme, with the spades all around. The brightly coloured patterns look like the back of playing cards and catch the audiences eye. they also put emphasis on the single male character on the screen, James Bond, because they are in colour whilst he is in black and white. The animation of James looks more life like than that of the man in the previous shot, this again shows that he is the most important. The shading on his face makes look hidden and mysterious, which fits in with his character being a spy.

Catch Me If You Can, 2002

The title shows that planes and flying will have something to do with the film because of the little plane beneath the me. The me then disappears as though it were a cloud, this foreshadows the character disappearing in the film whilst someone tries to hunt him down. The bright colour of blue does two things. It links to the plane theme as it is the same colour as the sky and it also shows that the film is going to cheery and funny rather than dark and gloomy. The elongated letters link in with the theme of Lowreyesque characters later in the title sequence.

This shot helps to establish setting as you can see an airport in the bottom right hand corner. The elongated letters again keep in with the theme. The stars could have been used to represent the dream in Dreamworks Pictures, because they create a feel of fantasy and serenity. They could also foreshadow for the main characters dreams of being a pilot.

This shot also establishes the setting of an airport with the plane in the background. Tom Hanks character is clearly shown here with the yellow arrow pointing towards him, he is dressed as a stereotypical detective would dress, much like how he dresses in the movie, this helps to present his character. This shot also gives a hint to the plot because he is quite obviously looking for the main character, who is casually strolling through the airport. The Lowreyesque figures help to establish time as they are very 60's. The fact that all the air hostess look identical and appear stuck up and pretty could be a parody of the air hostess stereotype. 

This shot is clear to understand because of characters being clarified in previous shots with the yellow arrows. Again, it is foreshadowing the story. The slightly spherical shape of the ground implies that they are running on a globe. The metaphor from this shot shows Tom Hanks character is chasing the main character around the world to try and catch him. The font used is bold and fun, it shows that this will not be a scary film.

Easy A, 2010

This shot shows that title of the movie and is towards the end of the title sequence. The 'A' is red and in a different font to the rest of the text this shows that it has a lot of relevance to the story. The fact that it is red makes it stand out to the audience. The shoes thrown over the branch show that the main characters in this movie will be teenagers because it is a stereotypical thing for them to do. It also shows that this is not a serious movie, perhaps a comedy?, because it is fun jokey thing for someone to do. 

 This shot helps to establish setting, it is very clear that the film is set in California, America because of the flags. The American flag against the blue skies represents the american dream, that everything is sunny and happy in America. The blue skies also show that the film will be a comedy/romance because it is happy and cheery.

 The teenagers walking around with backpacks and the lockers in the background show that will be set in a school. It appears that the school has cliques, you can see the 'Skater Dudes' in the foreground of the shot, with their hoodies and skateboards. In the background of the shot you can see what seems to be the 'Popular Girls', this image is implied by the fact that you can see one girl looking at her nails and the other staring off into space, conforming to the stereotype that they are stupid. Their wardrobe also suggest this clique. From this shot it looks like a typical American high school. 

Superbad, 2007

This shot shows the title of the film. It is in simple block capitals that have a slight childish feel to them because they are slightly rounded. The colour of the font is green, this could be because dark green is normally associated to evil and although the characters themselves aren't evil, it does tie in with the name of the film. The silhouette of one of the main characters is very simple but shows a lot about the character. You can see that his trousers are too short for him, he has ankle swingers. These are typically linked to geeks and nerds, it shows that he isn't very cool. He also appears quite lanky which conforms to the geek stereotype. 

The dance moves of the characters show that they are uncool. It is clear that the boy in front thinks of himself as cool and superior to the boy behind, who appears to not care that he is a geek or what others think of him. Everything is in block colours, it keeps it sweet and simple. 

This shot further shows that the larger boys thinks that he better that the small one because he is patronizing and belittling him by patting him of the head. Again it appears that the skinnier boy is tacking no notice of the other boy. The simple colours are kept to keep in with the theme of the rest of the title sequence. 

Title sequence essay:

Analyse and compare the four title sequences - James Bond: Casino Royale, Superbad, Catch Me If You Can and Easy A.

Every film begins with it’s own unique title sequence which presents the film title, cast members and the key production parties. Often, a title sequence helps to establish the genre, sub-genres and main themes of the film, through the use of cinematography, sound, editing and mise-en-scene. The title sequence of a film is seen as very important because it is the audience’s first impression, and can prepare the audience for what to expect. The title sequences of Catch Me If You Can (2002), James Bond: Casino Royale (2009), Superbad (2007) and Easy A (2010) have many differences and similarities with each other.

The opening sequences of Catch Me If You Can, James Bond: Casino Royale and Superbad are all animated, however they each have very different types of animation. Superbad has a simple title sequence, showing the two main character’s silhouettes dancing in a way that appears to be ‘geeky’ or ‘nerdy’. The music is upbeat and fun creating a similar atmosphere for the movie, it is clear from this short title sequence that Superbad falls under the genre of comedy. In comparison, Catch Me If You Can animated title sequence creates a very different ambiance, its animated Lowreyesque figures create an air of glamour and class, which are all also key themes throughout the movie. The 1960‘s jazz music also adds to this atmosphere as well as time stamping the story setting.

James Bond: Casino Royale also uses animation in it’s title sequence, however it has several differences to the the former films. James Bond: Casino Royale has a slow paced title sequence, which is not a clear representation of the film itself, that focuses on the theme of casinos and cards - with spades, clubs, diamonds and hearts being a main part of the images. With James Bond movies it is important to to also brand the series of films so legacy images are used, such as the gun shot through the lens and the blood on the screen.

The casino elements, in James Bond: Casino Royale, point towards this specific film but the actual story is rarely depicted in a James Bond title sequence, it’s more about the action, the James Bond character, the environment of the story and the bond girls, although these girls are not featured so heavily in this particular title sequence. The animated characters of the two main actors in Catch Me If You Can are clearly distinguished at the beginning of the sequence by pale pink arrows, this then allows the audience to follow these characters as they travel trough the different environments that are related to the plot, as the characters are easily recognized by their wardrobe. Catch Me If You Can is a very 60’s design. The letters elongate and turn into other words or scene which also is a metaphor for the films story. The main character is constantly on the move, changing his character but leaving trails. Another metaphor in this title sequence is the ‘me’, the plane carries it away as it flies by, this creates an image of a cloud that disappears that suggests the main character will be disappearing and running from something.

Superbad is replica of a 70’s style title sequence, for example The Jackson 5ive cartoon series, where dancing is cool, but the characters dancing here have a more geeky than cool style. Easy A is very different style of title sequence compared to the other three, the first few shots are establishing shots, showing the setting of the film. For example, a shot of orange trees shows the audience that it is set somewhere where there is hot climate where they are able to grow. We are also shown the American flag and the flag of California underneath, this further establishes the setting. It is then a typical american high school, with students chatting and walking past cast members names, this means that it flows well and is not jumping cross cutting - which is usually associated with horror or thriller movies. The music playing is upbeat and the weather is bright, giving a happy atmosphere which implies the film with be a cheerful comedy with a happy ending.

Superbad, Easy A and Catch Me If You Can all come under the genre of comedy, however it is clear from the title sequences that they all have a different type comedy. Superbad’s comedy appears to be more obvious and crude whilst Catch Me If You Can seems to be for more intellect adult audiences. Whereas Easy A is presented as a typical high school comedy with one of the first shots being a cliche- the main character is on the floor picking up her papers after the popular looking girl bumps into her. Although all title sequences are unique, there are always some similarities because the title sequence defines genre. The purpose of a title sequence is to hook the audience in so that they are eager to watch the movie, all four of the title sequences i have looked at do this in different ways. 

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