I think the consensus is that movie trailers and movie title sequences used to be better - just look at the back catalogue of Alfred Hitchcock for numerous sterling examples of each, all from the oeuvre of just one director. Lately, it might be argued that title sequences have had something of a renaissance, with the work of Kyle Cooper and Imaginary Forces, but much of the great stuff has been pushed to the end of the film, as the credits roll. Witness the Pixar films, such as The Incredibles and Ratatouille and their atmospheric and engrossing final scrolls.
Of Pixar films, in fact, I recall only Monsters Inc. really having a really solid title sequence up front - but it isn’t a sequence I’m going to forget in a hurry. In fact, some of my most vivid sense memories of that film, and of how exciting, charming and awe inspiring I found it, are all tied up in my recollection of the title sequence.
Trailers, however - though not without exception - still tend to be rather formulaic affairs.
Now, I don’t know if Coraline is going to come with a wonderful opening sequence or not, but it has definitely been ratcheting up the trailers and the latest is something really wonderful. It features Neil Gaiman, author of the original Coraline novel, and he talks to us, directly, about Koumpounophobia, the fear of buttons.
Already this is a classic trailer, comparable to Hitchcock giving us a tour of the Bates motel. Much of what makes it work is the writing, and Gaiman’s brilliant delivery (well practiced on promotional reading tours of bookstores worldwide, audio books and endless interviews). Seemingly simple stuff, but dynamite too, and it really does give us a megaton blast of atmosphere most promo clips can’t get near.
The clip ends with some quick glimpses of the film, and having been primed by Gaiman’s address, I found them to really hit home.
Coraline doesn’t make it to the UK until May but the US has to wait only a couple more weeks, until February 6th.