What Were the Best Movie Posters From 2007?

Well, it depends on who you ask.

The Savages Poster

Posterwire, for example, didn’t really like this year’s selection, but ended up settling on this poster for The Savages as the best of the year. In his (her?) words:

What we do like about the Chris Ware movie poster illustration for The Savages is that it is different than most key art campaigns (mainstream, indie, or otherwise) — it evokes a real feeling and direction about the characters. The trademark Chris Ware style of detached “coldness” is (literally) on display in The Savages one-sheet.

I agree with most of this, even tough I don’t think that this is the best poster of the year. In my initial reaction to the poster I was worried that the use of an illustration would be needlessly confusing, but on hindsight this seems like a silly concern when applied to this particular combination of poster and movie. And the illustration does have an emotional resonance that tends to build with multiple sightings.

Many people thought that the poster for The Savages was among the best of the year. Including Eric Lavallee over at Ioncinema, who put it in his top 10 posters of 2007 list. Topping that list are the Grindhouse posters, which Eric collected in one entry so that they wouldn’t occupy most of the positions on the list.

Grindhouse Poster

The Grindhouse posters were as close to an unanimity as you could get, appearing is almost all best posters lists. They also topped, for example Neil Miller’s list over at FilmSchoolRejects. That list also showcases this poster for 300, at second place:

300 Poster

I was surprised that the posters for 300 didn’t make more lists. Peter Sciretta over at Slashfilm compiled a list of his favorite 20 movie posters and still couldn’t find a spot for 300. But he did manage to find a spot for another favorite of many people, the teaser for 3:10 to Yuma.

3:10 to Yuma Poster

That teaser also makes, among many others, Alex Billington’s top 10, in a very respectable number two. However that list is topped by this poster fro Transformers:

Transformers Poster

And I just can’t get behind that. I know that many fans gushed over it when it first came out, but I still don’t love this poster. And I have in fact started to dislike it a bit.

IMPAwards still hasn’t anounced the winners for their annual poster awards, but they have already released the nominees in several categories, including Best Movie Poster, Worst Movie Poster, Creepiest Poster and Funniest Poster. The 5 nominees for best poster include posters for Grindhouse, Premonition, Sweeney Todd, Zodic and this psoter for Black Snake Moan:

Black Snake Moan Poster

Which is also appears in a lot of other lists.

Finally, sometimes commenter KamikazeKamel also has his list of favorite (and least favorite) posters, which include many consensus choices but which highlights in first place the posters for American Gangster:

American Gangster Poster 1American Gangster Poster 2

Those posters got quite a bit of attention when they were first released, but most people seem to have forgotten them by now.

I won’t be doing a best list myself this year. Instead, over the next couple of weeks I will post several retrospectives focusing on the most remarkable 2007 posters in different movie genres. Stay tuned.

Official 80th Oscars Poster

Official 80th Oscars Poster

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released the official poster for this year’s Oscars, which will be the 80th in the award show’s history. The design was apparently originally conceived by the amazing Drew Struzan (you remember Drew Struzan, right?), but that design was actually turned into the final product we see now by Drew’s son, Christian Struzan, with the help of his creative team at XL Laboratories, Inc.

It’s a nice story, but the poster itself is unexceptional. The Oscar statuette and a bunch of bright lights representing, I guess, the glitz and glamor associated with the ceremony. The truth is that the Oscars have a very clear and strong brand, so they were quite constrained in terms of what they could do. And I think this is a lovely poster for that brand. But it’s not original or impressive in any shape or form.

(Via ComingSoon)

Mamma Mia Movie Poster

Mamma Mia Movie Poster

The first thing I noticed when I saw this poster was the scenery. The beautiful blue ocean on the back, the architecture, the flowers. The scenery was also one of the things that most caught my attention when watching the trailer. I guess I just expected a musical using ABBA’s songs to take place somewhere different. Perhaps somewhere cold.

Going beyond the setting we have Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried looking happy as can be. Amanda seems to be wearing a wedding dress, but I probably wouldn’t have noticed that if I didn’t already know the movie involved a wedding. As a matter of fact the poster doesn’t really strive to tell you what the film’s story is. Not only is it not clear that there is a wedding, the whole storyline about Sophie (the character that Amanda plays) inviting the three men she thinks could be her dad is completely absent. Instead the poster combines the scenery and the characters’ expressions, clothes and postures in order to get across a very upbeat and breezy tone.

And that is probably not a bad choice. The story is a little too complicated to really put well in a poster, and trying to do it might have subtracted from the movie’s appeal instead of getting people more interested. In the end the most important part of the poster is the title. The musical and ABBA are huge properties and there are already plenty of people out there interested in seeing this. The poster just tries to remind people that yes, this is being turned into a movie and to reinforce that this is going to be a fun time at the theater. And I think it does that well, even if it is playing it safe.

(Via IMPAwards)

International 10,000 BC Posters

International 10,000 BC Poster 2

These new posters for 10,000 BC follow the basic formula of showing primitive men’s struggle against giant animals that we saw in the previous posters, but they do a much worse job of turning these struggles into iconic images. Outside from the poster which showcases predominantly the guy that I imagine is our fearless hero, each poster is mostly filled with the the attacking animal, with the guy being attacked relegated to the corners. They are kind of like character posters for the monsters.

So, not as good as the previous efforts. I think that the most interesting poster of the bunch is the one above, which showcases a threat we hadn’t seen in the posters before: the prehistoric carnivore chicken. I’m scared.

(From WorstPreviews, Via RowThree)

International 10,000 BC Poster 1
International 10,000 BC Poster 3
International 10,000 BC Poster 4

The Bank Job Movie Poster

Bank Job Poster
(click for a large version)

This poster for The Bank Job really goes for an old fashioned 70’s look. But unlike some recent posters, like the ones for Grindhouse, which took some conventions from older posters but added a definitely modern twist, this one really seems to be interested in looking authentic. It even has some discoloring which makes the poster look a bit old and weathered.

The most obvious reason for going with this design is to hint at the fact that this is a period movie (the film takes place in 1971) but there are a couple of other interesting reasons. The first is that it should make the poster standout from it’s more contemporary looking counterparts in the theater lobby. Another possible one is that they might have wanted people to be reminded of the great 70’s thrillers and to associate this film with those classics.

It kind of worked on me. The poster makes me feel nostalgic and got me to link in my mind the movie with several other films that I really like. But I do have some misgivings about it. The main one is that I think the poster might be too authentic for it’s own good. I can’t imagine it will have quite the same nostalgic effect on younger movie goers who aren’t big film buffs. And even older folks might be a little turned off by the utter antiqueness of it.

I wonder if part of my problem isn’t the the film (and the poster) star Jason Statham. I noticed him before I even really registered the look of the poster, and the two things clashed in my mind. I just associate Jason with very modern, very loud thrillers. Even tough the poster won me over after a while there is still a lingering feeling that something isn’t quite right.

Anyway, I hope I’m wrong and that the poster does appeal to a broad audience. The movie’s premise (a spectacular bank heist based on a true story, if that wasn’t obvious) certainly is broadly appealing. Maybe a success here could lead to some more compelling earnest recreation of old movie poster styles.

(Via IMPAwards)

The Air I Breath Poster

The Air I Breath Poster

There are a few things about this poster that I like. It shows that this is an ensemble piece without filling the whole image with the actors. It conveys that this is a crime related story through the silhouette of the gun. And the combination of the sky and the butterfly vaguely points to the more philosophical and transcendental aspirations of the movie. It’s not stunning or groundbreaking, but overall it is a nice effort that makes a movie with a hard to explain storyline (check the IMDb synopsis to see what I mean) seem unique and interesting.

I found it amusing to compare this poster to the previous poster for The Air I Breath, which you can see below. The old poster had a more traditional design, showing the various actors, each one in their own stripe. It does mix things enough to make it striking tough, especially through the use of stripes of seemly randomly varied sizes, creating an effect that is quiet nice to look at. But the poster doesn’t give us almost any information about the type and tone of the movie. Now, it’s possible that the new poster is a bit misleading, but it gives a much clearer picture of what the film might be about.

The Air I Breath Poster 2

Just as an aside, this is the second movie poster featuring a butterfly prominently released recently. The other one was the one below, for Johnnie To’s Linger. I wonder if there is some especial significance to the butterfly that I don’t know about?

(Via the official site)

Linger Poster

Meet the Browns Poster

Meet the Browns Poster
(click for a larger version)

The two posters from last year’s Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married surprised me. The teaser because of it’s visual design and the main poster for what I thought was a very refreshing and effective lack of cynicism. Well, it’s another year, which apparently means another Tyler Perry movie and another surprising poster, this time because of the bold sparseness.

The poster has just two elements. The first is an overstuffed bag which also serves as the canvas for the title and credits. The bag is placed on one of the corners instead of taking the center of the image. Diagonally from it we have the tagline occupying the other corner, and in between a lot of white space.

The lack of elements and their positioning gives the poster a design that, if not unique, is at least different enough to call attention to itself. And I think there is a certain beauty to the cleanness of the whole image.

Besides that, the bag combined with the tagline do a great job of conveying succinctly the basic storyline and some of the main themes of the movie: someone traveling and the chance for growth and to leave the past behind that that trip offers.

This is just a teaser poster, which means that we should have another poster down the road that will make it more clear that this is a Tyler Perry movie and that will highlight the actors involved. This, combined with the strength of the Tyler Perry brand allows the poster designers to be bolder. But even considering that, the choices made here surprise and please me. I can only hope that Tyler Perry’s movie’s keep getting posters as good as the last few have been.