3.12.2010

My Movie Introduction Five

Some movies start of good, but then disappoint. Others get better before the end credits roll. It's a rare few that go down in history as classics, movies that you know from the very introduction will be great. These are My Five favorite movie intros, the scenes that promised I was in for a great ride, and the films which delivered:

1) Batman:
Remember the doubts? Remember when we first heard Tim Burton was going to try a serious, dark and proper gothic take on the character? Remember our fear and incredulity when we heard Michael Keaton got the role? Say what you will about the sequels, especially after Burton left, but I'll always remember THIS SCENE which established the tone of the movie and removed our doubts about who was Batman.

2) Ghost Busters:
The opening scene of Ghost Busters is somewhat subdued. I think I picked the movie, but at the very least I agreed to it if it was my parents' choice. In any case, as a fidgety 10-year-old watched an old librarian push a cart through a library, I wondered how this was any different from any Friday afternoon when my mom would take me to our local library. I was, dare I say it, bored until the first ghost appeared. More impressive, upon later viewings, I recalled that we never actually see ghost in this scene, just some flying index cards and some lights off camera. It's all in that lady's reaction, and the sudden tone shift as the logo appears and the now classic theme song first blares. From that moment on, I wasn't bored, and I was glued to my seat as I soaked in the sheer awesomeness of what remains one of my favorite films:


3) The Naked Gun:
Not only do they not make comedies like this anymore, I don't think they can. The political and world climate has changed so much that, as absurd and over-the-top as it was for Leslie Nielsen to single-handedly battle all the leaders from the “evil” countries, no writer or director would even dare attempt it today. But, there's no need, since Nielsen did it so perfectly, and it's a big enough sequence to show that the theatrical continuation of the shortlived Police Squad was going to be tackling threats on a much larger scale. “And don't ever let me catch you guys in AMERICA!”


4) Raiders of the Lost Ark:
When we first meet Indiana Jones, he's deep in the jungle on a dangerous expedition for some rare relic, surrounded by guys he can't really trust. Harrison Ford dispenses with a threat before he even steps in to the light to fully reveal himself, and we realize this is a larger-than-life action hero. Then he goes into dangerous ruins with Doc Ock, trades an idol for a bag of sand so as not to trigger a pressure sensitive trap, and ends up triggering it anyway, resulting in the now infamous boulder sequence we all know and love:


5) Desperado:
Robert Rodriguez leads with a great bit of storytelling, introducing us to the legend Antonio Banderas would portray not firsthand, but through a classic barroom narrative by the one and only Steve Buscemi. The bartender, Cheech Marin, and the other patrons take it as a joke at first, but Buscemi weaves the tale masterfully. We know that it's hyperbole, that he's a herald meant to build up the reputation of el Mariachi and strike fear into the hearts of the men Banderas will soon battle. It also establishes that anything we see going forward might be viewed as a legend, as an exaggerated retelling of events that happened. Buscemi represents Rodriguez on a smaller scale of storytelling within the larger story. Every beat in this scene is perfect, from the soundtrack to Buscemi's timing to how the reactions of his audience change as the body count in the tale increases. He works the room, and he works it well, and it all sets the tone of the balance of action and comedy that would soon unfold:


Those are some of my favorites; what are yours?

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2 Comments:

Blogger Kev said...

Fun topic! Great picks too (of the ones I remember seeing).

3/12/2010 1:17 PM  
Blogger Lorna said...

Michael Keaton is my second favourite Batman, and I can remember that scene equally well.

I loved the beginning of Memento too

3/12/2010 1:51 PM  

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