Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bigelow's Posters [Sorry, LAMB, this post took forever]

Blue Steel: This was the first of Bigelow's "Silver and Blue Floating Heads" poster series. Take a look down the line, K-19: The Widowmaker, Strange Days, and Point Break might have all been made by the same guy. But this floating head may not have been implemented out of pure laziness. Great imagery with her NYPD pin; the handgun looks sleek, and the boxing around the antagonist and her eyeline completely works.

Poster grade: B

K-19: The Widowmaker: "Get off my submarine!" The only acceptable part of this poster is the bottom left corner. The curding (spacing) between the letters work as well star between the "K" and the "19." They've created a strong, flag-shaped box that's stronger than the other 80% of the imagery used here. If I wasn't already familiar with K-19, I would have no idea that it was about a submarine. Is that what that's supposed to be? There is one positive thing to say about this poster: it wasn't any worse than the movie.

Poster Rating: D+

Strange Days: Like I said, Silver and Blue Floating Heads. And while it should be argued that, technically, this head has been cropped off and the shoulders are visible and that does make a big difference. That being said, the framing of this poster doesn't make any sense. They've boxed him up, I'm assuming, because they couldn't figure out any other way to implement the title text. And while the font is dated, I appreciate it for being different. The tagline, however, was played out back in 1995 and hasn't gotten any better. ''you know you want it?" No thank you.

Poster Grade: C

Near Dark: The black and white works with the background lighting. The image of a setting sun doesn't beat us over the head. The subtlety strengthens the overall look of the poster while enhancing the title/concept. Look how the words "Near Dark" are placed naturally over a stark black background. This is exactly what Strange Days couldn't pull off, hence its unnatural black boxes. The protagonists don't look like your typical horror-action heroes but instead of trying to hide their differences, the designer highlighted them by making them look like badasses anyway.

Poster Rating: B-

Point Break: There's nothing like watching a sunset while you're reading a movie title. It's hard to believe this poster didn't seem dated when it first came out. That being said, I can't deny these nostalgic feelings. Look at those presidents! They're holding guns! On a beach cliff! Underneath two floating man-babe heads. Keanu's hair might be the wettest hair on record. Point Break's poster is exactly as fun as the movie itself. That being said...take away the nostalgia, take away the movie's cult-classic status, and what are you left with? On one hand, you've got floating heads and ugly typeface. One the other, you've got one badass picture of presidents packing large arms.

Poster Grade: B+

The Hurt Locker: Amidst the storming army of floating heads and clunky, poorly colored fonts, The Hurt Locker's poster is more than refreshing. Its top third is too text-heavy but I could read that typeface forever. I'm practically in love. The imagery is gorgeous and compelling, highlights a key scene from the film. Note to all poster art designers, this (along with Moon's) is 2009 poster to beat. I don't care if you're designing a poster for She's Outta My League 2, step your game up.

Poster Grade: A

The Loveless: I having quite a few problems with this "poster." First, it's not really a poster, it's DVD art. Second, even though this movie came out before Streets of Fire (one of my favorite movies), this is a blatant SoF rip-off. And while the outfit, hair style, and general Dafoe imagery might not be enough to prove my case, look at the tagline. "We're going" Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, may I submit to you: "Nowhere Fast" by Fire Inc. as lip-synced by DIANE LANE in STREETS OF FIRE! I rest my case.

Poster Grade: E for Effort. They tried to capitalize on the cult status of Streets of Fire. But they've been caught and for that they receive an "E," which is one letter before "F."

The Weight of Water: The gold seems so vibrant! It's almost blinding compared to the rest of these. Dividing a poster up into sections can be effective when done correctly. Instead of the lazy floating head technique, these squares can present themes, showcase stars, and even break up an otherwise monotonous poster. It's a shame that this poster doesn't quite pull it off. Cn I draw your attention to the center square. What about Sean Penn's chin, shirt, and wrinkly neck could make a designer think "highlight!" And it's right in the middle of the poster. If this were Hollywood Squares, his old skin would be Whoopi Goldberg. The Elizabeth Hurley square (rectangle) works. The sailing ship corner works too. Both other than those, I don't love this poster. Feels like I've been saying that a lot about Bigelow's posters.

Poster Rating: B-


Tom Clift said...

Man I love this feature. I'm not sure how you decide which poster to do for each movie - presumably it's just the most recognized, but I was wondering what you thought of this poster for The Hurt Locker

I loved it, but it might just be that I'm a sucker for clever taglines

Heather said...

These analyses of movie posters are probably my favorite thing about your blog.

Fletch said...

I know it's not the movie itself that I'm biased toward since Point Break remains my favorite Bigelow film, but The Hurt Locker is hands-down the winner here, with probably Strange Days coming in second for me, despite the silver-and-blue-headedness of it. Though Hurt Locker's poster would be about 5x better without all the friggin' text. It's not enough to ruin it, but it ain't helping.