Animated Opening Credits

‘Member illustrated opening credits??

The popularist modern examples of what I’m talking about here can be found in the James Bond franchise.

You know how each movie’s theme song plays over the title sequence, always set to animated, almost abstract visual art evoking the vibes, themes, aesthetics, tones, and narratives of that specific installment?

Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about here.

Opening credits in the “Golden Age” were commonly overlaid onto lusciously painted backdrops, underscored by an orchestra, all of which contributed to introducing the audience to the movie’s world, acting almost like a portal. As technology advanced, these introductions became more intricately designed and animated, leading to Bond-level spectaculars.

But nowadays? Opening credits are either skipped altogether, or the textual credits are simply projected over the earliest scenes of the movie proper (for animated credits today, look to closing credits).

Why? Some ideas:

In a warp-paced era, where every second tempts the viewer’s iPhone-addled attention span, filmmakers want to start their stories ASAFP to efficiently hook us?

And now, a flimsy theory: contemporary audiences prefer to forget they’re watching a movie; they value being totally immersed in the established “reality” of the fictional world, and any unnecessarily noticeable reminder of the artifice can boot them from their idealized escapism.

But I kind of miss these fun little overtures, like short films with differentiated means of expression that prime — or juxtapose, through entering into conversation with — what’s to come.

When executed with panache, they insert an additional piece into the movie’s smorgasbord of an interpretative puzzle, right up front.

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