Last night,I was watching The 4400 and both my mother and I agreed that one of best parts of the show is the opening credits. The song that's used for them is eerily evocative and the brilliant part about them is that,unlike most series,a visual montage of the show's characters is not used(which is convienant,since a good number of them have been on and off the series). Instead,a collection of abandoned moments and passage of time sequences are displayed to give you a hint of what's to come:
That got me thinking about opening sequences in movies and on Tv that I really like. Not just the credits but those pre-title sequences,with eye and ear catching sights and sounds that are able to draw you in,whether it's the first time or the 700th that you're watching. So,without further delay,here are a handful of my personal picks for pop culture openings:
Sequels usually get a bad rap(and for good reason),mainly about trying to repeat the key moments of the original film that audiences grooved on the first time out. Scream 2,in my opinion,actually tops the Drew Barrymore opening kill and gets meta with it by having a movie screening of "Stab" gleefully mock it. Jada Pinkett and Omar Epps really have great chemistry as the two unfortunate movie goers,which gives you a rooting interest in them right off the bat and rachets up the tension. Also, Jada's demise is incredibly scary:
FIRST THE WINDUP
THEN THE PITCH....!!!!
Out of all of the Tarantino films to date,this opening number is pretty well near classic. Just a bunch of guys bs-ing around a diner table,yet the whole sequence is both foreshadowing what's to come for these fellas and a revealing showcase for the true nature of most of the characters. Play close attention to the tipping debate and you'll see what I mean. Most people remember the cool walking bit,which is a sly set-up to ease you into the movie and then slams your senses with the bloody frenzy to follow:
BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES
Every B:TAS episode had this same opening,which is completely title free. It's a great use of music and plays upon light and dark to introduce the show in a rather mature way. I don't know of any other cartoon series aimed at kids that refused to water down the grown-up side of the main character like B:TAS did:
PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE
From the Rod Sterling narration to the Juicy Fruit's mock Shanana song with it's twisted yet all too true lyrics to Philbin's lament about Annette("She was more than a piece of ass to me!")and Swan discovering the perfect music for his club,this opening sequence from DePalma's cult classic truly rocks:
MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000:
One of the joys of MST3K was the title song,telling the tale of Joel's(and later on Mike's)plight abroad the Satellite of Love with Gypsy,Cambot,Tom Servo and CROOOOWW!
The villians were fun,too-Dr. Forrester and Frank were hilarious and I have much love for Pearl,Brain Guy and Dr. Bobo as well. To be fair to both Joel and Mike fans,I will show one intro for each of them,along with their riffs for the start of the film they've been sent. Let us begin with Joel and the bots as they are about to face Manos: The Hands of Fate:
And now,here's Mike and the gang as they embark on The Quest of the Delta Knights. This episode had Pearl switch places with Mike in the theater for "scientific" purposes,so there's an extra clip here to showcase her quips. Pearl was pretty good at it and she even offered the bots a mint,how sweet!:
SO,MIKE,HOW ARE YOU FEELING?
YOU GUYS WANT A MINT?
Please feel free to share some of your favorite start offs with the rest of the class and as for me,this is about a good place as any to end this post.