Cast, Casting, Design, Music, Editors, DP, Producers, Writer, Director

Opening credits are a relic from old Hollywood, when the credits ran before the film in their entirety. Since then, film production has become more complicated. Crews of dozens have ballooned to crews of hundreds. In interest of time, credits were moved to the end of the film, while only a few choice names remained at the beginning. I don't know why.

If you think about it, opening credits are unnecessary and redundant. All they're doing is preventing the movie from starting for two minutes. Some films don't even use them at all, and nobody cares.

But sometimes they're the stuff of legend. Maybe it's an exercise in typography, maybe it's a music video in disguise, maybe they're just trying to set a mood. Sometimes, the opening credits are just awesome.

This isn't a true Top Ten list, these are just ten examples I really like. Don't infer anything concerning rankings or omissions.

1) Enter the Void (2010)

I know nothing about Enter the Void other than the opening credits. I'm actually scared to watch this film because there's no way the actual movie can compare to this technotronic love letter to Adobe After Effects.

2) Catch Me If You Can (2002)

It's tough to categorize Catch Me If You Can into standard genres. But this animated credit sequence does what my words cannot. It exudes the 1960's vibe of the film, while sharing it's sense of whimsy, trickery, and deception. Tell me the opening to Mad Men wasn't slightly more than inspired here.

3) Juno (2007)
A major theme in Juno is music, so the design studio responsible for its opening credits drew inspiration from 1970s-era rock posters. Over 900 photos of Ellen Page were rotoscoped to create this sequence.

4) Watchmen (2009)

If Zack Snyder could make an entire movie in slow motion, he would. I like this sequence as it creates the illusion of still photographs come to life, and introduces us to the world, history and characters of Watchmen without even saying a word. Unfortunately, it's too effective; I like it better than the entire rest of the movie.

For some reason, they won't let me embed the stupid video. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14vTrFyHO94

5) Casino Royale (2006)

Arguably, any James Bond film could be on this list, but I like this one best. The familiar imagery of standard playing cards is electrifying and mixes well with the breakneck action Daniel Craig introduced to the franchise.

6) Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)

Back when I was a kid, my only copy of Honey I Shrunk the Kids was recorded off TV. In addition to being edited for time and content, it was interrupted by commercials, and started five minutes in. As such, I didn't see this credits sequence until years later. Which is a shame, because it's actually pretty neat. Too bad the animators had no clue what Nick and Amy actually looked like.

7) Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Every time I watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I forget just how insane these credits are. They start off silly and gradually progress into full-fledged lunacy. From the Python's, I'd expect nothing less.

8) Zombieland (2009)

People see zombie movies for one reason: Zombie effects. Zombieland serves us this insatiable desire on a silver platter. I also like how the credits are treated like physical objects. A nice touch.

9) Thank You For Smoking (2005)

Typography and product recognition. It's amazing how many brands I can identify, and I don't even smoke.

10) Do the Right Thing (1989)

Fight the Power is an inseparable element of Do the Right Thing, and you hear snippets of this song throughout the entire film. It only makes sense to hear the song in its entirety before the movie begins proper. Plus Rosie Perez can dance like nobody's business.

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