Monday, October 05, 2009

Good To The Last Frame

A lot of people thought the best part of The Hangover was the end credits, with its montage of photos depicting what really happened that night. For me, that montage was simply the right way to end the film...because wondering what really went down throughout was what made the movie work, but we still wanted to know the truth. Anyway, it got me thinking about cool closing credit sequences.

In the same way a cool opening title sequence can draw you in and set the tone for a film, a unique or clever closing credit sequence can be a perfect exclamation point on a movie-going experience. The Art of The Title Sequence has a great article HERE on the making of the closing credits of Pixar's WALL-E.

Jim Capobianco’s end credits to Andrew Stanton’s “WALL·E” are essential; they are the actual ending of the film, a perfect and fantastically optimistic conclusion to a grand, if imperfect idea. Humanity’s past and future evolution viewed through unspooling schools of art. Frame after frame sinks in as you smile self-consciously. It isn’t supposed to be this good but there it is. This is art in its own right. Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman’s song, “Down to Earth” indulges you with some incredibly thoughtful lyrics and, from the Stone Age to the Impressionists to the wonderful 8-bit pixel sprites, you are in the midst of something special.

Watch the sequence HERE and see for is pretty remarkable.

I'm one of those 'stick around until the end of the credits' kinda guy anyway, but some faves that made it extra pleasurable to stay until the the lights came up include Apocalypse Now (they blow stuff up!) , The Matrix (they go swoosh!), Finding Nemo (they swim around!), This Is Spinal Tap (they be funny!), Se7en (they scroll down!)...

Big Honourable Mentions have to go to High Fidelity (they're so snazzy!):

And Almost Famous (they're so sentimental!):

But for me, Pixar's A Bugs Life still wins hands down. I mean, bloopers have been an end credits staple for like, ever (see Cannonball Run)...but bloopers with animated characters....pure genius.

Mmmm...good till the last frame. Did I miss any?


Good Dog said...

I started watching the end credits for The Hangover and then realized that, since I hadn’t seen the film yet, this might not be the best idea. What an idjit! I blame it in Monday.

Thanks for flagging up the Wall-E article. I haven’t stopped by The Art of The Title Sequence site for a while. It really is a beautiful, well considered sequence. I particularly love the Seurat image with the Axiom ship in the background. Given the subject matter the usual Pixar outtakes wouldn’t have worked, and to be honest I was getting a little bored with them.

Good call on the credits for Almost Famous. The shuffle through the Polaroid photos, backed by Feel Flows, is just the icing on the cake.

Going back to animation, I much preferred James Baxter’s opening sequence and the end credits for Kung Fu Panda to all the computer-generated nonsense sandwiched between them.

Another good one to add is the end credit sequence for The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King with the Alan Lee illustrations. Before it gets to the actors, the initial sketches link in with the crew’s duties. When the card listing Harvey Weinstein as Executive Producer appears it’s accompanied by a sketch of some hulking troll monster.

When it comes to a typical text scroll with a short post credit scene waiting at the end, it’s a shame that many recent ones have been announced ahead of time, like Samuel L Jackson’s brief Nick Fury cameo at the end of Iron Man. Because I always sit through the credits, I always thought those final shots should be a special treat for those people who hadn’t made a quick dash for the exits. Known in advance, not only is the surprise gone but other folk tend to hang around, larking about and being a pest until the scene arrives.

Anyway, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest has a great end gag post-credits, which comes as a nice payoff, similar to the joke right at the end of Lethal Weapon 3. Although my favourites are the clip with Jeffrey Tambor’s character that pops up during the end credits of Hellboy and the brief scene featuring the late, great Ray McAnally at the very end of The Mission.

As for the worst, that would go to the clip at the end of the second X-Files movie. The film was bad enough and the decision to run white credits over snowy backdrops left me scratching my head. But when it came to the scene with the rowing boat... What the hell was that all about?

Anonymous said...

I can't remember the name of the movie but it was the football one McG did (I'm thinking We Are Marshal). It was based on a true story and the end credits contrasted images of the real people and the actors that played them and then them hanging out on set. I thought it was real appropriate. Many comedies I'll stay till the very end as its common to through something in like in Dodgeball or Me Myself and Irene to name a few. I am sure there are many more that I am missing.