Thu Mar 29, 2012, 7:00 PM
For many of us, the first “art gallery” to command our attention (and constant, even daily, monitoring) in our
lives existed within the pages of the local newspaper. It was called “the movie section” and its ever-changing movie
advertisements were like little frames that rarely contained less than pure magic for young imaginations.
The Film Poster has existed since the earliest days of silent movies and the pulse-elevating excitement of the
first sight of an upcoming adventure, action, or sweeping love story that we might have only “heard good things about”
still packs a psychic punch throughout movie lovers today.
It is the first “portal” for the imagination into just what this new adventure (or continuation of an already beloved
adventure) is going to be like in a few months. It’s that sometimes simple, sometimes cluttered first collage of exotic
locales, speeding cars, blazing gun barrels, massively-muscled heroes and deeply-cleavaged damsels all projecting some sort
of explosion that tells you that no matter how badly your life may be going at the moment, just hang on because your needed
adrenaline pick-me-up is on the way.
Film Posters are a special form of art in that besides being one of the earliest experiences of art that we have, as portals
for innocent wonder, they are also purposely brutal as marketing tools that can greatly enhance or totally wreck a movie’s chance
at success. If a film poster does not immediately and effectively communicate the essence of a movie in a way the excites the desire
of its intended audience, careers can be shortened or ended. The American movie and the film poster art so important to its domestic
and international releases are at once exercises in dreaming and wonder but also coldly calculated tools for economic life and death.
Sort of both the light side and the dark side of the American Dream as yin and yang elements of commercial storytelling.
Film Poster art so totally insinuates itself into our conscience and subconscious from a young age, that our perceptions and
evaluations of all visual arts can’t help but be influenced by the leading “masters” of this special art form.
How many of us know the name of Drew Struzan?
Even though his work on film posters have influenced every one to come after him or even the posters that might be hanging on your wall?
Richard Amsel’s Indiana Jones poster is so indelibly burned into a generation's brain that other art (in comics or even fine arts) not looking similar just don’t seem right.
It’s no wonder that there’s so much film poster fan art in deviantART. Re-imagining in attempt of re-capturing the first thrill of
awareness of what would eventually become a favorite movie is the sort of aesthetic wizardry that drives so many artists – to express
that first pulse, that first rush of what has now become an integral part of one’s “inner narrative,” one’s emotional and artistic
identity. It’s like a tribute to a core source of one’s evolving aesthetic and pop culture soul.
The best film poster art is almost magical, like a once-in-a-lifetime capturing of lightning in a bottle. The urban legend is
that director Ridley Scott (or was it one of his producers?) was checking out the test audience lined up on a sidewalk at midnight awaiting a
sneak preview of “Alien.” There he overheard one science geek saying to another what would become of his movie’s perfect poster tagline: “In
space no one can hear you scream.” That is “Alien” defined: the terror of no possible rescue in utter isolation. That is, in both its creation
and execution, real film poster magic.
Questions for the Reader
- Do you think Film Poster art will decline in its quality and creativity, now that movies are being packaged as DVDs or digitally downloaded?
- What was the first movie poster that made you crazed in wanting to see a movie? What’s the best recent film poster art you’ve seen?
- What’s your favorite movie poster of all time?
- Is there a movie poster you’d like to frame and hang in your home, simply for the genius artfulness of the poster, even the movie being advertised turned out to be horrible?
- What movie poster(s) hang(s) on the walls of your current dwelling?