Movie Title Sequence Spotlight: Rocknrolla

TGIF and Happy last-day-of-the-month, everyone!

Instead of the usual scene spotlight, I thought I’d highlight a movie-related art form that often goes unnoticed: the title sequence. For me, watching a movie title sequence is almost as fun as seeing a movie trailer. Many of them simply list the credit, but the great ones not only help set the mood, but they also entertain and delight us with the their distinctive visual style, powerful music, or a clever combination of both.

Strong + Butler in Rocknrolla

I’ll have my top ten favorite list in a later post, but here’s one that really stuck out to me: Rocknrolla. I happen to enjoy the movie, it’s got a terrific ensemble cast: Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, young Brit rising stars Toby Kebbell and Tom Hardy, and the luminous Thandie Newton. But the one that really shone in this is the give-this-guy-a-leading-role-soon Mark Strong, as Wilkinson’s right hand man. The film might be too fast and too frantic for its own good, but there are funny moments and great dialog here, and looks like everyone had tons of fun making it. Guy Ritchie’s quintessentially British gangster flick won the Jameson Awards Best British Film 2009 given out by Empire Magazine. Now, many might argue it merits such an award, but I bet few would disagree that the opening title is downright awesome!

Designed Danny Yount, a self-taught graphic designer whose work include Iron Man, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and the latest Ritchie flick Sherlock Holmes (which is definitely on my top ten). The eye-grabbing visual and the music are frenetic, hip and fun! Love the use of vintage-y colors and the creative mix of comic-book drawing with real photos. The entire marketing campaign for the movie is awesomely creative, too, the quad posters (here and here) and official movie site all have the same gritty, gangster look. Say what you will about Guy Ritchie, but I think that guy is pretty artistic. Not to mention great ears for cool music, the soundtrack is full of catchy rockin’ tunes that complement the movie perfectly.

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16 thoughts on “Movie Title Sequence Spotlight: Rocknrolla

  1. Samantha

    Now, my love for Mark Strong is becoming quite well-documented, but I don’t think anyone’s ever going to give him a leading role. He’s gone and gotten himself pretty well type-cast as the menacing bad guy/sometimes neutral guy. Plus being the new Andy Garcia.

    And really, does he need one? He’s played opposite some of the biggest names out there right now: RDJ, Russell Crowe, Leo DiCaprio (he walked away w/Body of Lies, if you ask me) … and he’s going to be the main baddie in Ryan Reynold’s Green Lantern, whenever that’s due out. I think he’s got a pretty awesome niche going, personally.

    But hey. I will cheer, and most likely watch if/when he does get his day in the sun. 😀

    1. Yes and rightly so, girl! Mark’s career kinda reminds me of Irish actor Ciaran Hinds, who’s done a whole bunch of strong supporting characters but only recently got a leading role in The Eclipse. I know Mark probably won’t get a big Hollywood leading role, which is totally fine by me, but it’d be lovely to see him be the main character in an indie flick where he’s on the screen 90+% of the time y’know. Btw, did you check your email yet? 🙂

  2. PrairieGirl

    Opening credits aren’t something I usually pay much attention to, but really do love the one for RocknRolla now that I see it singled out. Just saw Up in the Air (loved it!) and the opening for it was unique and memorable (but maybe also because it was highlighted in a Special Feature on the DVD?) :-).

    Some classics I still remember well, long after seeing the movies: The Pink Panther, for one, is unforgettable. And the Bond one featuring the illustration of gun barrel throughout. (Don’t even remember this movie title, but the opening sequence, yes!) Looking forward to your Top Ten list.

    1. Yeah, I think most people tune those out, but I’m always fascinated by how cool a lot of them are. YES, Up in the Air is in fact one of my favorites, no wonder it’s featured on the dvd. And James Bond movies are known to have sensational opening sequences, most of them are quite risque… in fact, the one for For Your Eyes Only had to be censored in Indo because y’know, the girls had no top on floating around underwater! 🙂

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  4. I don’t usually watch for the credits either movies I like often don’t have any (The Hours, The Aviator) but twp opening credits scene I recall easily are Down With Love and especially An Education. Both are just loads of fun.

    1. Hi Andrew, yes now I remember Down with Love, I love the retro look of the movie and I’ve always been fond of animated title sequence! Haven’t seen An Education yet, but I’m sure that’s great as well.

  5. My Mark Strong list is forthcoming – word on the street is he’s either Alan Rickman 2.0 or Peter O’Toole 2.0.

    I totally love Rocknrolla – an awesome film. And a great title sequence for sure, up there with Snatch. I also dig Catch Me if You Can’s titles, the opening titles of Panic Room are about the only good thing about the film, Zombieland’s were pretty good, and the titles for the classic Pink Panther films (Sellers, not Martin) are beyond compare.

    1. Looking forward to it, Steve. Wow, Alan Rickman 2.0 eh? I like the sound of that.

      Glad you like Rocknrolla, I quite enjoy Ritchie’s frenetic style, though he sometimes go overboard with the plot that it gets confusing. ‘Catch me’ is in my top ten list coming up soon, and yes the original Pink Panther ones are indeed a lot of fun.

  6. Marc

    Wow Ruth, I thought I was the only one who liked this movie:) Sure it’s no Snatch but I think this is what helped Guy get back to form and what made Sherlock Holmes so successful if you ask me.

    Also the opening sequence is just awesome and so much fun (maybe a little better than the entire film actually). But the graphics and the song by Black Strobe all just work! Great idea for a post:)

    1. He..he.. apparently we share similar taste in movies eh Marc? Rocketeer, The Saint, The Game… awesome! I haven’t seen Snatch but I did like Lock, Stock a lot.

      Yes, the music is one of the best things about Rocknrolla, it just fits the theme of the movie and the visual style so perfectly. Check out my top ten list, as Sherlock Holmes end credits is one of my faves so far!

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  8. Pingback: Off the Shelf…’RocknRolla’ « Go,See,Talk!

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