Dying Art

It feels like only yesterday I bought a set of Ian Fleming James Bond stamps (actually it was four years ago) .  For the 50th (yes that’s a five and a zero) cinematic anniversary of James Bond films, they are planning to release the 10 most popular original movie posters. And we all get to have a say here: http://www.007.com/vote/royalmail/

Now generally I love the Bond posters. Robert E. McGinnis did some fine work  on many of the earlier movies. But taking whether you like the film or not out of the equation (and for the record it is one of my favourites anyway), my personal favourite Bond poster has always been the amazing artwork by Brian Bysouth for The Living Daylights.

I really hope it makes the Royal Mail grade! To me this poster had it all, it was cool, it had the new Bond, the gun-barrel motif, the girl, the car, the baddies, action, locations. Sadly you only have to look to the next film (Licence to Kill) to see it all go down-hill and it’s been the same ever since.

If you still aren’t sure what I’m barking on about, it is that all of the posters up until that point were artwork, hand-drawn. There was passion, a human element, they weren’t perfect but they looked amazing! Then they succumbed to the soulless Photoshop style montages which clog up pretty much ALL movies these days. And let’s face it, they aren’t a patch on their hand-drawn predecessors. I did find one hand-drawn Licence to Kill poster by Steven Chorney seems light-years better than what was used, I’m still scratching my head as to why they never used this!

Sadly it seems that not even I am immune to all this photoshop business:

Etiquette promo

Okay, so it’s easy to see why indie film-makers can’t do this. It might not suit their story (such as the case for Etiquette), there is time and money involved which we don’t have. To be fair the above image is purely for promotion and doesn’t contain a montage (want to insert the Team America song in here), nor has it been photoshopped to within an inch of it’s life (I think Bangkok Dangerous deserves a special mention here).

Frank Darabont (director of Shawshank Redemption) also takes a pop at this culture in The Mist. To be honest I found it hard not to empathise with the main character played by Thomas Jane. He is set up as a traditional film poster artist who laments the complete lack of imagination which goes into these more photoshop-ridden times. I mean let’s be honest, how many floating heads do we really need?

It appears I am not alone in my thinking either. Tom Hodge of The Dude Designs is likely to become a hero of mine!

Admittedly every project is different – but horror, sci-fi, b-movies and spectacular blockbusters really lend themselves well to this style. To be fair not all photo montages are bad. Some of the early ones before the days of photoshop showed more creativity and there are some good ones out there. But who doesn’t appreciate the love which went into the earlier Bond posters, the Indiana Jones posters or the Star Wars posters? Ah, I remember a time when quite often the movie posters were much better than the films themselves. Happy days!


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