When we sit down in our cinema seats, after re-mortgaging our homes to be able to afford a large popcorn and a drink, we expect to be entertained and enthralled in an engaging story. Recently I have become more and more infuriated by the aggravating preamble to movies at the cinema. I have been making a routine of scrolling through Instagram immediately upon arriving at my seat in order to offset the mental anguish of having to experience the never-ending and laborious advertisements and mediocre trailers, which seem to be more prolonged every year. Hot take; I will never, EVER, go to Kildare village, as a matter of principle, having been force-fed their sickly-sweet materialistic advertising for months. And if you think Death On The Nile looks like a good movie; YA BASIC!
After the torturous prelude to the film has finished, the lights dip, the curtain opens that little bit wider, the title card appears, and the excited hush spreads through the theatre. But then we are presented with more nonsense; 6 different strange logo animations of film companies, bronze statues shooting arrows through hollow axes, lightning hitting trees, a tiger coming out of long grass, a small boy sitting on a crescent moon fishing in the sky, giant bronze gears turning inside the lock of a massive heavenly door, and so on. I appreciate that filmmaking is a collaborative effort and it takes an army of various production companies to make major motion pictures nowadays, but the 3-minute, LSD-trip-inspired logo cacophony at the top of every film needs to stop. The names of these companies are also overlaid on the opening images of the film straight after their logo animations appear; why are these companies getting two shout-outs? I’m trying to watch Julia Roberts shove three bratty kids inside a Volvo hatchback without damaging their science projects; I don’t need to see A24 presents written in large font obscuring the screen. Especially since I just had to sit through your psychedelic logo dancing on the screen 30 seconds ago.
There are a few iconic logo animations that are synonymous with the movie-going experience; the 20th Century Fox fanfare at the beginning of the original Star Wars, or the MGM lion roaring before James Bond’s silhouette appears on screen for example. Filmmakers are a nostalgic breed and hold these moments of cinematic history in reverence, so when they create film production companies of their own, they want to be a part of this pantheon of famous film logos. For some reason, however, most of these companies can’t get these logos right, as some of them are either bizarre or visually uninteresting. I would argue that some of these logos are in fact taking away from the movie-watching experience. Case in point; Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast.
While sitting through the acid trip of logo animations prior to the film Belfast, I noticed one particularly poor animation for Kenneth Branagh’s own film company, TKBC. It’s a black and white stick figure animation of a cinema, theatre, and television that is tedious and completely bland. While sitting in my uncomfortably sticky cinema seat, I began to think; “a director is responsible for every image of a film, so the director of this film approved that animation as being visually interesting and put his name next to it?” I started to worry that Branagh was about to drop the ball and this movie was going to be a turkey.
Branagh’s film eventually won me over somewhat, and it is very likely to win the Best Picture Oscar this year, even though there are more deserving films nominated, like Power of the Dog or Nightmare Alley, but there’s no justice in the world. I will die on this very, very VERY small hill and argue that Branagh’s film should be overlooked for Best Picture, on the basis of his dismal production company logo animation as well as the fact that white men have enough awards.