The Story Sucked but I Loved the DP Credit:
Animated Credits Sequences vs. The Films that Follow
The Story Sucked but I Loved the DP Credit Animated Credits Sequences vs. The Films that Follow By Mike Sullivan. Quick! Name five live-action movies with animated credits sequences that are actually good. Can’t do it can you? That’s because most live action movies with animated credits sequences are innately terrible...
Quick! Name five live-action movies with animated credits sequences that are actually good. Can’t do it can you? That’s because most live action movies with animated credits sequences are innately terrible. But why is that? An animated credits sequence gets your hopes up. It serves as an implicit promise that the movie you’re about to see will be fast- paced, crazy and unpredictable. But it’s a promise that the filmmakers always break. At no point in the movie will you see anything as entertaining as that part in the opening credits where the dinosaur shat out the name of Jerry O’Connell as it was being stabbed to death by a broken whiskey bottle in the shape of Tara Reid’s name.
As a public service, I’d like to raise awareness of the dangers waiting beyond the animated credits sequence and let everyone know that the zany romp they’re about to see couldn’t be less zany or unromp-like.
Moon Zero Two
What the Sequence Promises: A raucous cold war buddy comedy with psychedelic flourishes. After landing on the moon, a cosmonaut and an astronaut briefly put aside their differences to explore a brightly colored urban hell-scape that gradually developed around them as they were beating each other with flags. Their misadventure causes them to run afoul of cosmic bank-robbers, lunar plutocrats and space protestors (not people protesting space but protestors in space).
What the Film Actually Delivers: Unbelievably dull "space western" that is not a comedy (buddy or otherwise). The story involves a millionaire who hires a satellite salvager to capture a 6000 ton sapphire that is orbiting the moon. Moon Zero Two is so steadfastly terrible the crew of The Satellite of Love couldn’t wring laughs out of its stultifying premise.
Troop Beverly Hills
What the Sequence Promises: A fish out of water comedy involving America’s 1%. Directed by John Kricfalusi shortly before he became that guy every animation fan has mixed feelings about, the opening credits sequence revolves around a significantly more attractive version of Shelly Long as she leads a faux Girl Scout troop through the wilds of Beverly Hills. Of course, this isn’t a typical camping trip. The den mother carries a Swiss army knife that contains a credit card, Perrier is poured into a canteen and topped off with a twist of lemon, a girl scout fishes for a can of caviar in a pond and howling wolves are revealed to be nothing more than poodles.
What the Film Actually Delivers: To be fair, Troop Beverly Hills does not pull a bait and switch on its audience. What you see in the opening credits is what you get. The only difference is that the sight of girl scouts roasting marshmallows in the lobby of The Four Seasons loses something when it isn’t animated by Kricfalusi. However, it should be noted that Troop Beverly Hills is a lot like a fish out of water in the sense that it flops around before it dies a quick, unmourned death.
What the Sequence Promises: Surreal, stream of consciousness in the mold of Buñuel and Dali’s Un Chien Andalou. Through disconnected imagery, we watch as a giant cat crushes a suitcase filled with sneering anthropomorphic animals, a house cruelly taunts an alligator woman, a toilet runs away from a charging elephant and a drunken mouse throws a beer can through a television screen as a giant cat nods in approval.
What the Film Actually Delivers: An unasked for rip-off of The Money Pit that not only feels like an overlong and unsold sitcom pilot but is basically just 90 minutes of Kirstie Alley and John Laroquette screaming into the mouths of other vaguely remembered celebrities of the early ’90s.
What the Sequence Promises: Mad magazine’s Spy vs. Spy adapted into a sex comedy. A dog and a cat engage in a senseless war of cock-blocking. The cock-blocking seems harmless at first as they playfully use the opening credits against each other (the dog is shown pushing the cat down the David Ogden "Steirs." Get it?). However, the horseplay escalates into something far more dangerous as camera flashes and boob bombs are used for nefarious purposes. Also, it’s heavily implied that the dog and the cat are fucking or, at the very least, have fucked eerily willing human women.
What the Film Actually Delivers: American Pie remade for date rapists who frost their spiked tips and own more than one bowling shirt with silk-screened flames.
Drop Dead Fred
What the Sequence Promises: We Need to Talk about Kevin crossed with Dennis the Menace. Animated in the style of a moderately disturbed child’s refrigerator drawings, the opening sequence unflinchingly depicts a monkey’s decapitation, a pot of bubbling shit, death by smelly socks, people trapped in a flaming building, a cameraman accidentally grinding himself into his own camera and a fisherman. As all of this unfolds, warped yet upbeat circus music plays in the background.
What the Film Actually Delivers: Basically Beetlejuice if you replaced Michael Keaton with an obnoxious British man who thinks it’s inherently funny to shriek his lungs out and removed the film’s gently morbid silliness with saccharine feel-good banalities about believing in yourself.
Hold Me Back or I’ll Have an Accident (aka To Catch a Cop, aka Retenez Moi...ou - Je Fais)
What the Sequence Promises: A ZAZ-style road comedy starring a young Jerry Lewis. Forced to go through life with a grotesque rictus-like grin permanently etched into his face, cartoon Jerry Lewis hops aboard a sentient bi-plane that’s bound for Paris. Along the way, Jerry assuages his prickly bi-plane by offering it a stick of gum and becomes so distracted by the sight of a stork carrying a baby that a cloud knocks him out of his tiny plane. The stork reemerges to give the audience that Hoo-Boy-This-Guy-Is-Caraazay gesture that Bugs Bunny used to give whenever Elmer Fudd did something stupid. Also, at one point, Jerry encounters a squadron of Tie Fighters at a sky intersection and dons a poorly rendered Darth Vader helmet.
What the Film Actually Delivers: A depressing late period Jerry Lewis movie that finds the bloated, once-funnyman kidnapped by a jewel smuggling ring. In an even more depressing development, most of the physical comedy is performed by an unconvincing Lewis double in long-shot. The film is notable for the fact that it has never officially been released to American audiences and languishes in European exile to this day.
What the Sequence Promises: A crazy remake of The Bellboy. Tim Roth emerges from the Band Apart logo as Ted the Bellhop a dimwitted milquetoast who can’t even command the respect of inanimate objects. Throughout his miserable but wacky day, Ted pulls a gun on his malicious bellhop cap, fearfully navigates a series of elevators that are inexplicably designed to morph into trap doors without warning and misses out on the parade of nude women that frolic through the eerie, void-like hallways because his head is stuck inside a champagne bottle.
What the Film Actually Delivers: A sloppy, unfunny and horribly self-indulgent anthology film that nearly destroyed the career of Quentin Tarantino and completely destroyed the careers of Alison Anders and that guy nobody cared about who directed the second segment with Jennifer Beals (I refuse to waste the 15 seconds it would take to look his name up on IMDb). [Alexandre Rockwell Ed.]
What the Sequence Promises: An absurdist time travel comedy. A cat woman enters a pyramid/time machine. From there she encounters rapey, shade-tipping dinosaurs, inadvertently poses for DaVinci’s Mona Lisa, causes monks to wither and die when she exposes them to sunlight, looks on as Vikings eat televisions for some goddamned reason and eventually breaks her neck when she puts on a Marie Antoinette wig.
What the Film Actually Delivers: An aggressively mediocre romantic comedy that serves as the single greatest reminder as to why all ’80s nostalgia is bullshit.
Trail of the Pink Panther, Curse of the Pink Panther, Son of the Pink Panther
What the Sequence Promises: Desperately unfunny and completely unwanted cash-ins that are sometimes filled with piss-jokes, non-stop references to Pac-Man and gags blatantly stolen from old Tex Avery cartoons (Trail of the Pink Panther); occasionally involve elephant shit and trips to Tron-inspired 7/11s for cyber slushies (Curse of the Pink Panther) or even showcase Bobby McFerrin as he performs an a capella version of the Pink Panther theme as a cartoon Roberto Benigni performs his no longer tolerated slapstickery.What The Films Actually Deliver: Pretty much what I just described. Curse did lack a trip to a Tron-inspired 7/11, unfortunately.
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