Tuesday, December 13, 2011

When Bad Posters Strike: Gloomy Superheroes, Aliens at Sea, Rom-Coms and Queen Latifah's Spirit Fingers

As I scrolled down IMP's homepage today after having forgotten to do so for a few days that I come across so many unattractive poster designs. It only seemed logical to lump them all together so that the world can gawk at them and make them feel great shame for inflicting such eye-punching visuals on us. I suspect I will be in the minority regarding two of them, so what better place to begin than with...

The Amazing Spider-Man & The Dark Knight Rises
Okay, let me just get this out of the way: I don't necessarily think these two posters for next year's big blockbusters are bad. Nevertheless, I don't think they're great, but the main reason I am featuring them is because they fill be with deep worry and suspicion. Let's take a look (although I'm sure you've already seen them dozens of times already) and then discuss.

It was inevitable that whatever design the studio behind The Dark Knight Rises threw out would be greeted with cries of "epic", "ICONIC", "awesome", "one of the best posters ever made", and so on. And that's just the comments section at IMP. Alas, the poster is perfectly servicable as a concept, but I am officially on high alert for gritty intensity! I've never been entirely on board with Nolan's vision of the Batman franchise, but if this is where it's headed to then I can't say I hold much hope for The Dark Knight Rises. The Dark Knight did such a great job at working with vivid colours amidst its more muted colour palate, but I really am concerned that this third (and presumably final) instalment will be so devoid of life and colour that it will make for too oppressive an experience.

The same goes for this poster for The Amazing Spider-Man, which at least tries to counter-balance is colour energy with an inventive central image. While Andrew Garfield's shadow transformation into a spider is a good one, sapping all the colour from what has always been such a colourful franchise made me sigh and roll my eyes. I would hope that Marc Webber (the director of 500 Days of Summer, no less) doesn't succumb to lazy grunge and grit as a way of this unnecessary franchise reboot setting itself apart. The less said about that ridiculous "The Untold Story" tagline the better, quite frankly. I'll give them credit in that it involved balls to make such a laughable statement in such a solemn and serious manner.

I guess my initial hesitance with this poster is that I still can't quite fathom why Battleship is about aliens.

Sure, make a movie about the navy going to war with aliens on the open seas, but don't label it as a "battleship" movie and toss it off as a some lame-brained maneuver to garner brand status. This poster, too, suffers from an overbearing case of grittyiness, as if the only way they figured they could lend credence and gravitas to an adaptation of a board game was to desaturate all the colour and make it look as hopelessly miserable as possible. If that is indeed the case then it's still a failure because it's such a botched job. I may have been on board with this if they'd given it a candy-coloured poster that featured Rihanna getting her breasts out in a way-too-tight-to-be-regulation navy uniform and Alexander Sarsgaard with a half-opened (or non-existed, whatever) shirt with Liam Neeson looking on with a fatherly grimace. At least that would've looked like shlocky fun. This? This looks like a third circle of hell.

American Reunion
Turns out this reunion is going to a very sad affair.

Just looking and Chris Klein's coked out face and dated hairstyle is enough to give me the heebie-jeebies. When Tara Reid looks better than you, you know something's wrong and Ms Reid looks better here then all but Alyson Hannigan. I guess that's what a successful career does for one's complexion and hair and general radiance.

The Vow
What's that you say? There's not much really wrong with this poster for Channing Tatum/Rachel McAdams (oh what has happened to her?) romancer? Well, read closer...

I love that the tagline of "inspired by true events" is somehow meant to make us go "oh! how interesting!" and yet I can't for the life of me figure what the hell The Vow is all about. Inspired by true events? Great! But what true events. Did Tatum and McAdams once hook up at some Hollywood party? Is that the true story, because if it's not I just can't read what it's all about. Did the two actors have an unfortunate run in with a Photoshop designer? Really, the tag of "inspired by true events" works when the title of your film is, for instance, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or when your poster features images of a war- torn nation or a natural disaster. It does not work when all your poster features is too pretty actors making googly eyes at one another.

Joyful Noise
So much hand pointing!

He's pointing up there! She's pointing down there! Dolly Parton's pointing over there! Not to be outdone, Queen Latifah is splaying all of her fingers in a defiant feat of spirit fingers. Let's not even get started on the clipart-esque audience mentions waving their hands around like they just don't care that they have to have an early night because they have a big day tomorrow (I suspect they're not the partying type of crowd). This overly wax-like poster for the Sister Act inspired musical Joyful Noise works better if you imagine that Keke Palmer is sending out bolts of light from her forehead at a revival of Dreamgirls (that font!) Really, it does. Still, the most curious thing to notice about this poster is that Dolly Parton's very sizable breasts have been downgraded! For shame, Joyful Noise! I mean, there are jokes in the trailer about how many surgeries Parton's character has had, so why reduce 'em? Enlarge them, I say!

Of course, saying all of that and I'll still be there with bells on.


Bradley J. Dixon said...

That 'American Reunion' poster is obviously not great, but they get a pass for replicating the original 'American Pie' poster. They can't help that Chris Klein now looks more plastic than a Ken doll. And his head is almost literally twice the size of Seann William Scott's.

the butcher said...

The worst offense for me is the use of Bank Gothic Medium on the Spidey poster.

Can we retire this overused font already?!

Pete said...

I'm loving the TDKR poster. One of my problems with these kind of films is that we always know the hero will survive. I'm all up for the 'oppressive' tone of the film. I want to see Batman crushed (or at least go through absolute hell).