One of the most important parts of the film experience is the title sequence. The website The Art of the Title recently highlighted the great work of David Fincher. Fincher has created incredible opening sequences in the modern film world that with all of his films allowing his films to to have an incredible flow that sets spark to wonderful story telling.
Fincher started with one of the boldest openings ever with Alien 3. As the names of the cast and crew entered the screen, Fincher helped create a sequence that showed the deaths of the characters from Aliens, a bold, but interesting move. The opening sequence for this film is haunting, and while fans often chastise this third film in the series, the opening sequence leaves your heart racing as you watch the aliens destroy the characters you have grown to love. In interviews Fincher has stated that the cast from Aliens was longer going to be used so Fincher helped create an opening that explained what happened, and he did in bold way!
3 years later Fincher pushed the envelope even further with opening title sequence with the film Se7en. When I was a young 11 year old budding film buff I remember sneaking to watch Se7en on television. I was not able to see it in the movies because my parents would not take me, but I heard great things about the movie. I had never seen an opening sequence quite like this film, and remember being blown away at how cool it was. Fincher’s creativity combined with Howard Shore’s score creates a haunting opening sequence filled tension that permeates throughout this film. This opening sequence opened my eyes to another world, and challenged my past perspective on film itself.
Fincher’s next brilliant masterpiece of an opening (skipping The Game) was the 199 film Fight Club. Fincher says it best in his interview with art of the title “With Fight Club, the whole thing could have started with the sound of a gun being cocked, opening on Edward Norton — which is how it began in all the preview screenings — but I had this idea to begin with the electrical impulse of information between two synapses to cue the fear or panic receptors in Edward Norton’s character’s brain. Then we literally pull back, changing in scale all the way back, and we pull out through his forehead.” There is an art to the opening sequence, and Fincher has always been willing to spend money, and take risks as he creates the feel for his films. This opening sequence defines the complexity within the film, and emotional gravity, something we should never talk about in the first place, because you know the rule.
Fincher has continued to define his stories in their opening sequence with the film The Social Network. In The Social Network he uses the films first scene to set up this isolationist tone, combined with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s score. As Mark Zuckerberg strolls through Cambridge, and Harvard’s campus Jesse Eisenberg rushes to his computer and the birth of social media, all after being dumped.
These are only four examples, but proof that this man is an incredible storyteller, and uses the most finite details to create the pulse for his films. Fincher has transformed modern film making, and is one of the foremost directors working today; he celebrates film while innovating. This article listed below is full interview with him, and proof that this man’s view of the opening title sequence has impacted those working today!