Monday, December 7, 2009

Cameron's Posters

Titanic: Let's start with the behemoth. The ship is portrayed in an interesting way where someone unfamilar with the movie (I'm sure they'll exist in fifty years or so) would have to really examine the imagery to get what they're looking at. For being the world's biggest romance film, the poster isn't as melodramatic than one might think (hope). No bare-chested stowaways, crashing waves, lusty embraces. Overall, the poster works and doesn't make me gag upon sight. That being said, I don't love the floating heads. The title font's pretty cool though.
Poster Rating: B


The Abyss: This movie didn't get much love from the art department. Apart from the awesome SE DVD cover art, every piece of marketing material makes The Abyss look seemingly eerie without the faintest insinuation of excitement. The glowing orb at the bottom is pretty cool and the tagline "When you get there, you will understand" is one of my favorites. Overall, there were a lot of way to take this poster, but three random stills at the top and an orb at the bottom was not the way to go.
Poster Rating: C

The Abyss: You thought that first one was bad. This is one of the worst posters I've ever witnessed. You keep trying to focus on the negative space but it doesn't amount to anything. And that tagline... "There's everything you ever knew about adventure...and then there's The Abyss." Yeah, I'll bet. Looks more like "Take everything you ever knew about adventure and be disappointed when this movie doesn't deliever any of it."
Poster Rating: F

True Lies: I'm going to argue that Arnie's movies both preceding and following True Lies had better posters. But I get it, Arnie's face and a gun, what else do you really need to sell True Lies? As much as I love his supporting cast (Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, Bill Paxton, Tia Carrere, etc.) they aren't all exactly poster material. Their floating heads wouldn't really help sell this action thriller. But maybe they could have covered up that tagline.
Poster Rating: C-


The Terminator: Now THERE'S a poster with Arnie's face and a gun that works! Plus, you've got the fingerless gloves, the open leather jacket, those glasses, and of course the sunglasses. Add those up with hair that's just had a balloon rubbed on it and random laser lines and you've got a hit poster. One thing I can't figure out, and maybe this is my Terminator ignorance speaking here but is that a big scope on top of his gun or a reflection of the gun itself?

Poster Rating: B+

Terminator 2: Judgment Day: This iconic poster would still fit on any dorm room wall right next to the Fight Club, Pulp Fiction, and Scarface posters. The special effects weren't the only thing dramatically improved from the first to the second. The lighting and coloring scream cool. The gun propped up on the motorcycle. The shirt underneath the jacket. All marked improvements. This one will still hold up twenty years from now.

Poster Rating: A+

Piranha II: The Spawning: I was lucky enough to see this on the big screen as part of Midnites for Maniacs' "Animals Attacking Humans" Five-Film Marathon. It was the last movie of the night and even after seven straight hours, we were excited to start another flick. Part of that excitement came from this poster. Tell me this doesn't have everything you'd want from a movie called "Pirhana II: The Spawning." First, it's a painting, which I always love. Second, bikini babe. Third, those grimmacing fish-faces. I would have shadowed the "Spawning" text and changed the tagline color, but other than that, it's just great.
Poster Rating: A-

Avatar: Can anyone say "Young Adult Fantasy Novel?" When this was revealed, the entire Cameron fanboy community gasped (and not in a good way). Same thing happened when the trailer was screened. Without having seen the film, it's difficult to determine how the artwork captures its essence. Separating my initial disappointment of the trailer from the actual quality of the poster, I'm still going to have to give this one a pretty low marks.
Poster Rating: B-

Aliens: Dynamic image that captures the suspense of the film. Whether or not you know what those opening pods hold, Weaver lets you know that danger is all around. Her face also says that while she's surrounded by danger, there's something even bigger to worry about right in front of her. She's worried even with that gigantic firepower. Another interesting element, while she's definitely at the forefront of the poster, she's not the biggest image on screen. Something's towering over her that makes her look as small as the child she's holding. Great composition, eye-catching font, and overall, a great poster.
Poster Rating: A

Aliens: It's simple. Excellent font. The glowing "I" completely works. The only thing I don't love is the double taglines. The top one isn't needed at all. Other than that, it's a great teaser trailer.

Poster Rating: B+


14 comments:

RC said...

Good assessment - i feel like you did a nice job being unbiased about your feelings towards to movie and instead just looked with honesty at the poster.

I'd never seen that 2nd abyss poster before ---- it is plain horrible.

I wish the Avatar poster said more than "I'm weird, give me an Oscar for make-up"

Fletch said...

It's funny; I wouldn't say that I like that 2nd Abyss poster, but it's the only one of this group that even attempts to be artistic; the rest are all just stock and/or unimaginative.

I think both Terminator ones are good, and the second more or less echoes the movies - Arnie comes off as a good(er) guy, it looks more expensive, etc. Though I still don't think it's a A+; it's icon status seems more like hindisght to me, in that the movie made it iconic, and if the movie hadn't been great, we wouldn't care all that much about the poster.

whitney said...

I love this feature. Keep it going.

Daniel Getahun said...

Yeah this is a great feature. I'll actually stick up for the first Abyss poster (for that matter I'll stick up for the movie in general), because I think it gives just enough of a tease while also making it clear this is happening underwater (unlike the second).

And the second, well it's really indefensibly bad with that tagline, but I think the negative space when seen sideways is supposed to represent the abyss. Do you see it? Pretty stupid either way.

elgringo said...

RC -- The font on the Avatar poster is ridiculously bad. It's called Papyrus and it's used on EVERYTHING that tries to seem somewhat exotic. Bleh.

Fletch -- There's something about the Terminator II poster that I just love. If I didn't know what the Terminator was, I would definitely see it as soon as possible based purely on the badass poster.

Whitney -- Thanks.

Daniel & Fletch -- Maybe I'm off on The Abyss. I didn't really care for any of the posters but with a movie like The Abyss, I can't really think of any other ways to market it. It's a rad movie but everyone will admit that it's different.

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MovieMan0283 said...

I’m soliciting bloggers’ favorites (of their own posts) for my year-end round-up at The Dancing Image. Here’s the explanation (with a bit of a mea culpa):

http://thesunsnotyellow.blogspot.com/2009/12/best-of-blogosphere.html

Feel free to leave your own selection there – links to all submissions will be posted around the 30th, but I’ll certainly be taking them after that too.

Thanks & happy new year!

JLG said...

ElGringo - I enjoy your blog, so I nominated you for an award.

Check it out on my page!
http://thegoodindoorsman.blogspot.com/2010/01/i-won-major-award.html

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Spot on about the Aliens poster. The first tagline is unnecessary.

Castor said...

Nice post. I hated the Avatar poster though. I would probably give it a C or C-

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Fletch said...

The rules say that I must leave you a comment with this news: I granted you an award!

Sorry for this otherwise out-of-context comment.

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