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Creating a Climate with Titles

The other day I was watching the movie Stars Wars: the Phantom Menace with a friend who has never seen the prequel trilogy about the birth of Darth Vader. He has only seen the original trilogy because he never bothered to watch episodes one through 3. He believes they were not necessary to watch. To sum up his experience and review of the movie: he hated every minute of it, and I didn’t like the movie either. The Phantom Menace is garbage. But the only thing that the movie successfully does is its title sequence. Though the title sequence was introduced in 1977, the power and emotion that it speaks still holds today. It’s not only nostalgic, but it presents intelligent design as well.

The title starts with a sentence that states the distance of time and space, being read like the first sentence in a novel, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” Then the recognizable music plays with the movie title taking up a majority of the screen. The title fades and the synopsis rolls away from the viewer. This title sequence, to me, sets the mood the of the entire movie. The music and the space background lets the viewer know that they are about to embark in a space opera that feels massive with a story that controls the fate of an entire galaxy.

A title sequence is designed to set the mood for the entire film for the viewer who is about to experience the film. It creates anticipation and builds the viewer’s curiosity. It can make the movie feel like a grand adventure that the protagonist is about to embark on, or it can make the film feel like a mystery that won’t reveal its identity until the final few minutes of the film. As Saul Bass once said, the movie title can be used to create a climate for a story that is about to unfold. Next time you watch a movie, check out the design of a movie title and analyze what kind of mood it creates and what it reveals about the film or TV show. It might reveal more than just the name of the screenplay.

Here’s link to a video that tells the use of creative movie title:

2 Comments

  1. mvarga15 wrote:

    I wonder what my title sequence would look like as I was being introduced to the world and created by one of the premium title sequence studios out there today. Would it be in the form of a Marvel movie with the the flipping pages of a comic book to introduce my name in marquee? Or would it be someone cutting up pieces of newsprint and marking out printed letters with a black marker like the opening sequence of Se7en? I suppose I have to go and make my own then. Here’s a cool site that is cool. http://www.artofthetitle.com/

    Friday, September 30, 2016 at 2:10 pm | Permalink
  2. acheong2 wrote:

    Great post! I do find that all these small details that people overlook really connect a whole series or just one movie. The title scene really makes it feel like the whole movie is one with a good lead up and close that connects back. Next time I watch some sort of movie I want to keep a closer eye out for all the little details that might, like you said, show something new.

    Wednesday, October 5, 2016 at 8:33 am | Permalink