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Title Sequence EssayTitle Sequence is the method by which cinematic films or television programs present theirtitle, key p...
sequence itself is the only sequence of the four to use both animation and real-life footage.The sequence is animated at f...
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Title sequence essay


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Title sequence essay

  1. 1. Title Sequence EssayTitle Sequence is the method by which cinematic films or television programs present theirtitle, key production and cast members, or all three by utilising conceptual visuals, sound,shots and sometimes computer generated images. I will be looking at four film titlesequences from The Damned United (2009), Shrek (2001), North by Northwest (1959) andGoldfinger (1964).The Damned United is a sports drama film. The film is centred around Brian Cloughs failedtenure as Leeds United (lasting 44 days), Cloughs successes and failures at Derby Countyand his love/hate relationship with assistant Peter Taylor. The opening title sequence of TheDamned United serves as a prologue to the film detailing the short-term events which arethe cause of what is to transpire in the film. The sequence begins with a black screen andwhite lettering detailing the main production companies involved with the films productionwith the infamous chant “Glory, Glory Leeds United” signifying that the film will revolvearound Leeds United. The sequence then cuts to archival footage of Leeds UnitedsChampionship season of 73-74 particularly excellent goals and moments of physicalaggression with commentary detailing how disliked Leeds are despite their dominance.There is also archival footage of England’s failure to qualify for the 1974 World Cup beforeending with the caption “There is only one obvious choice” before an establishing shot ofElland Road (the home ground of Leeds United) with The Damned United. Despite thisbeing the most modern film I used, the title sequence is almost entirely made up of archivalfootage. Whilst the title sequence of Goldfinger also uses archival footage, The DamnedUnited does not reveal any main characters in the sequence and does not credit members ofcast and production unlike the Goldfinger title sequence. It is also the only sequence of thethree situation films which does not have raw footage e.g. whilst North by Northwest andGoldfinger contain film of actual people being filmed, the Damned United does not.Shrek is a computer animated family film. The film is loosely based on William Steigs fairytale picture book “Shrek!”. The opening title sequence of Shrek is the only one of the foursequences which is entirely animated. The sequence itself begins with a voice-over of Shrekreading from a book detailing the story behind the plot. Then Shrek exits his lavatory andgoes through his morning routine through which the four main cast members are shown tothe song “All-Star” by Smash Mouth. This song is jovial and sets a positive tone for thesequence and indicates that the feature film will be light-hearted. The computer animation isutilised by manipulating various aspects of Shreks environment to form names e.g. whenShrek pulls a fish out of the pond, the pondweed circulates to form the name Camren Diaz.The sequence also cuts from Shreks swamp to a group of poachers preparing to hunt him.This is done to show how unaffected Shrek is as when theyre are shots of poachers gettingpitchforks (an offensive weapon), Shrek is seen lifting up a spoon. The peasant like clothingsuggests that Shrek is based in a medieval era which makes it the oldest sequence in termsof period of setting despite it using modern technology.North by Northwest is an American Thriller film. The film is set in 1959 New York and is atale of mistaken identity, with an innocent man pursued across the United States by agentsof a mysterious organization who want to stop his interference in their plans to smuggle outmicrofilm containing government secrets. The title sequence for North by Northwest isrenowned for having the first title sequence to use kinetic typography (moving text). The
  2. 2. sequence itself is the only sequence of the four to use both animation and real-life footage.The sequence is animated at first. A grid is eventually formed which transitions into a shotfrom an office block on a busy New York street whilst the credits roll. The camera cuts to abust street with many people heading in different directions signifying rush hour. This isdone to signify that there will be many people who influence the plot of North byNorthwest. Whilst this is happening, the sequence is accompanied Northwest by Northwestis the oldest title sequence of the four as the film was made in 1959 however the productionvalues of the sequence are up to a modern standard in terms of quality and is more effectivethan The Damned United (the most modern sequence) in engaging the audience.James bonds Goldfinger is a British spy film. The film was made in 1964 and is based onthe novel of the same name (written by Ian Fleming). From the titles, it is indicated thatBond will be faced with a villain who goes by the name “Goldfinger”. It is also indicatedthat Bonds love interest is a Pussy Galore. The sequence begins with the iconic shot of thegun shot from James Bond and the slow descent of a red tint (similar to dripping blood).The sequence then changes to a golden hand to the song “Goldfinger”. There are many shotsof this golden woman with archival footage of the characters including Bond, Pussy Galoreand Auric Goldfinger on her body. This continues through the remainder of the sequence.The sequence features clips of all James Bond films thus far projected on Margaret Nolansbody. Its design was inspired by seeing light projecting on peoples bodies as they got upand left a cinema. This sequence is the longest of the four sequences and like North byNorthwest, details most production companies, cast and others involved in the making of thefilm. It was also seen as a pioneer sequence with regard to featuring women in a sexualmanner.To conclude, title sequences are an integral part of film when building up tension andexplaining the plot, particularly in the four films highlighted. Each film utilises differenttechniques ranging from kinetic typography, to computer animation, to use of archivalfootage. Despite the 50 year gap from North by Northwest to The Damned United,techniques used in the 50s for title sequences still apply in modern film.Joe Egan