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Posterized May 2014: ‘Godzilla’, ‘The Immigrant’, ‘The Double’ and More

Written by on May 1, 2014 

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably.


Is it officially Summer yet? Blockbuster poster campaigns for Spidey, Magneto, Godzilla, and Seth MacFarlane would lean towards yes.

Buy your popcorn and candy now because we’ve got computer generated carnage onscreen and in the lobby with possibly the most animated one-sheets without a children’s film ever (sorry Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, opening May 9th, but you’re creepy looking). We’ve got Ignition trying to copy its success with The Man with the Iron Fists by using a variety of retro/vintage/graphic aesthetics for Japan’s favorite monster; BLT Communications, LLC goes electric; and some firms even go so far as using fonts other than Century Gothic. Oh, the humanity …


Superhero gallery

BLT knocked their teaser for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (opens May 2nd) out of the park, plain and simple.

It whets your appetite with Spidey, foreshadows the appearance of Electro through storm clouds and lightning, and doesn’t pander to its American audience by pretending we don’t know what it’s advertising. Spider-Man is there, the logo is there: we don’t need anything else. I could do without the over-zealous kerning on the tagline spacing those letters obnoxiously far from one another, but otherwise it’s great.

I can’t say the same for their shot of Jamie Foxx‘s Electro reflected in Spidey’s eye and not just because it’s boring. No, it’s too cartoony, there’s too much happening in such a small area, and the fact they put Green Goblin and the same image of Electro onto its large LED screens is stupid. It’s too bad too because their triptych displaying the myriad villains involved does a good job giving everyone equal weight. The screens are still present in their vomit-inducing lack of necessity, but I can accept it due to the larger scale.

The next iteration starts to go in the right direction, but still ultimately fails to reach its true potential. It focuses on Spider-Man—which I like; decides to use scene dressing to depict the bad guys (OSCORP logo at top left); and shows the kind of scale involved when a superhero flies between skyscrapers. But boy did they drop the ball flipping the image upside down. The beauty of the layout is that Spidey is suspended against gravity and yet they chose not to capitalize on it. Maybe the image in my head won’t work—and perhaps they tried it and realized it didn’t—but I’d have loved this to be turned 180 degrees.

Thankfully, BLT does come through with their next version by letting computer-generated Andrew Garfield‘s head point down. The angle may be a bit wonky in comparison to the aerial view beneath him, but it at least risks having fun. Electro is still on a screen (boo), the street below is rendered in gorgeous detail (yay), and frankly it blows the IMAX limited print out of the water. I mean, seriously, who thought using the Photoshop Cutout filter would be “cool”?


No, BLT’s work on X-Men: Days of Future Past (opens May 23) wins this month’s comic book war with the help of Gravillis Inc. and their effective propaganda posters for Trask Industries.

I’ll start with Gravillis’ as its Sentinel sheet is almost perfect in getting the low-fi pasted poster on a brick wall look down. It’s a bit too crisp and contemporary and could use the imprint of those bricks or wood or whatever it would be affixed upon showing through, but at least it sticks to a duotone palette with highly stylized graphics. Their second with the robot hand is a bit better if only because of the cartoony broken font on “mutants”. I like where their heads were, but even it is too modern to truly succeed.

So that leaves BLT and their past/future hybrids in ‘X’ that I admit liking a lot. They’re simple, two-color, and say nothing about X-Men besides the website at bottom. The eyes and mouths don’t match up perfectly for James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart, but the Michael Fassbender/Ian McKellan one is pretty spot-on. Blue and red make sense for good and evil and the film’s central conceit is put on display in a minimalistic and effective way.

As for their collage: I’ve seen worse. Kudos on the coloring (even though it’s more a result of Mystique’s blue than anything else) and for only using Wolverine and her as the totem of characters’ main outline. The chaos is contained by putting everyone inside those two bodies, allowing us to focus on “one” full figure against the fiery sky. Stewart’s hoverchair is the only thing that truly looks bad.


Double Check aka Spot the Difference

Remember that page in Highlights magazine? (Do they still publish Highlights magazine? I should go to my nephew’s pediatrician’s office to find out …)

Anyway, I wonder which one of these posters came first: KINGSHOKO and RYSK‘s French-language or the almost identical English version of The Immigrant (NY/LA May 16). Neither is good—let’s get that out of the way right now. Floating faces wrapped in fabric? Badly Photoshopped faces at that? Yeah, no.

Without any redeeming qualities, however, I can’t help but zero in on Marion Cotillard‘s headband. It isn’t covering her newly airbrushed plasticity nor is it obstructing the shadowy figures behind her, so why does the American design remove it? And not only that, but why does it give the boys a nice bronze too? I guess France likes them pasty white.

But James Gray‘s new film has nothing on Walk of Shame‘s (limited May 2) discrepancies. Now here is material for someone to write a thesis on the differences between American and French culture through pop culture movie posters. Think Jan van Eyck Renaissance symbolism for moviegoers who have no idea who Jan van Eyck is.

Before I get into those, though, I have to say that I kind of like WORKS ADV‘s sheet. It’s fake as all get out, but Elizabeth Banks‘ expression of shock as she covers the advertisement on the bench she’s sitting on is funny. It sets the tone for what will probably be a forgettable film delivering a few laughs. It serves its purpose.

The posters in question serve it too, though, doing what it can to mimic The Refinery‘s The Rum Diary. My question, however, is why we in America are afraid of clutter. Why? Gone is the slice of pizza, the chips, and the cat. The cat?! Hell, we aren’t even allowed to see scenery out the window. I mean I get the panties? bra? in the passed out dude’s hand being excised because sex is deemed risqué here, but why turn Banks around? Is it to make us guess whether the woman in yellow is actually the same woman on the TV? And if so, should I be happy that the US finally gets something not as easily spoon-fed as France? Cause two and two is such a tough equation to solve …

See the rest of this month’s Posterized >>

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