Friday, March 09, 2007

Movie Posters Rant

The Maltese Falcon is a great film. Sharp dialogue, incredible characters, great performances, thick atmosphere, and a fantastic story all work together to create a spectacular film that is cooler than ten Tarantino movies. Great movies don't always have great posters and the Maltese Falcon is a good example of that. While none of the images created for the film have been particularly bad, I feel it's always lacked a definitive poster that adequately captures the spirit of the film. Hopefully mine does to some extent.
I'm always irritated by bad posters or DVD covers for good movies. The original poster for Mulan is a favorite of mine. It's a very cool image that captures the spirit of what the film is truly about. Yet when it came time to release the film on DVD the marketing guys thought process must have went something like this: "We need more characters on the cover, and what about Mushu, everyone loves him. The oriental color scheme might alienate western consumers," and so on. Thus, the DVD was released with this cover.
Return of the Jedi has made $309 million in domestic box office earnings alone, but apparently that was not enough to give it a decent DVD cover (all the Star Wars DVD covers are bad, but this one really bugs me in particular for the following reasons):
My favorite part is the position and size of Luke's hands. In my modified version to the right I roughly painted in what his arms would have to look like based on the positions of his wrists and shoulders to actually attach his body to those hands. I also like the stars shooting out of the lens flare of his light sabre and the various characters and objects that all look like they came from different sources with no effort put into unifying the values, colors, saturation, etc. But the thing that really irritates me about this cover is that a lot of artists, Drew Struzan in particular, have created excellent pieces of promotional art for all the Star Wars films. There's no excuse for this poorly photoshopped junk.

Anyway, you're probably asking why I care so much, I'm not really sure actually. The poster or cover doesn't affect the content on the film or the disc. I just hate having some of these hideous things on my shelf.

10 comments:

Heather Keele said...

All I could say when I first saw this was - WOW! This is really spectacular. I think it's one of my favorite things you've done. Bogey would be proud. Awesome work, Kev!

Tim Bye said...

Really top notch image Kevin! My favourite film is Casablanca - for similar reasons. It has a certain ineffable cool, and charm that seems in no way forced. Your picture really suits the film. Fantastic stuff

Ken Chandler said...

Really amazing poster Kevin! Terrific layout, dead-on caricatures, worthy of the movie, no doubt.

I also agree with your logic on the Mulan poster and Star Wars DVD cover. It's irritating when people don't care about their work, and it goes into mass distribution anyway.

Ryan Wood said...

I really like your version of the poster, fantastic work on the faces! Very appropriate rant against bad movie posters, I'gree.

Nathan Lindsay said...

Your painting is amazing.

...and the luke skywalker arm keeps cracking me up.

S.T. Lewis said...

I love your re-draw of Luke's arms. Hilarious! You should re-do more movie posters. This Maltese Falcon one is incredible. Your style range is impressive... most impressive.

marcobucci said...

AWESOME poster man. Had to do a double take to realize it wasn't a classic movie poster.
And yeah, Disney is notorious for bad covers, aren't they! My most hated one is the latest DVD release of Aladdin. I swear, Aladdin is off model in it!!

Sam Nielson said...

This turned out great, Kevin! Especially nice composition.
You definitely keep proving your amazing versatility.

Kevin Keele said...

Thanks for the nice compliments, I may do more posters in the future, I had a lot of fun with this one.

Tim, Casablanca is a fantastic film, it has so much of the same cast as The Maltese Falcon that I often feel like they're brothers.

Marco, you're right about that Aladdin DVD cover, ugh...

Alice-in-Wonderland said...

I absolutely love this poster. I am a huge fan of the film, and was recently given a copy of the Maltese Falcon statue which proudly sits on my mantlepiece. Do you ever sell prints of your work? I would love to have this hanging in my home. Give me a shout if you're interested: agordon85(AT)gmail.com. Thanks!