Wednesday, 4 February 2009


By sub-titles, I mean the extra bits on movie titles, not the things you read at the bottom of the screen.

Sub-titles most often appear in sequels; TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY, UNDERWORLD EVOLUTION, FANTASTIC 4: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER etc. They say something about the film. For example...

You've seen THE MATRIX, but now comes along THE MATRIX RELOADED. You think you've seen the Matrix? You ain't seen nothin' yet. This second installment is going to be twice as hard and action-packed as the last film. Make no mistake! That's the general message the sub-title gives.

Sub-titles can also be used to manipulate the viewer; they can force the audience into a state of mind. They can trick people into viewing the film from a particular angle or assuming that the film is better than the last. For example...

UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS tells you something. It tells you that while you may have sided with the vamps before, you'll like the Lycans in this one. The audience is forced with the predisposition of siding with the Lycans in the third installment. Trickery.

The sub-title for LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING is interesting. What's LORD OF THE RINGS about? Some little hobbits trying to destroy the Ring right? No. This movie wants you to focus on Aragorn. Think about it. Who is that film about really? What are they all about really?

Of course, some sub-titles just tell you more about the movie you're going to watch.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END tells you that we're going to the ends of the earth. You know what is going to happen.

STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH tells you that snotty little Anakin is about to take revenge and such.

X-MEN 3: THE LAST STAND tells you that the X-Men are taking...a last stand. While X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE tells you that there are (probably, depending on WOLVERINE'S success) going to be several films. And that this one is going to be about Wolverine.

So sub-titles are something to think about. In my humble opinion, I'd stay away from sub-titling feature films unless they're sequels. They make the title longer and more complicated. However, they also hint at a series - possible future money. Take TENACIOUS D AND THE PICK OF DESTINY. That suggests there will be more D films. Don't think there will be, but maybe we'll see TENACIOUS D AND THE DRUMSTICK OF JUSTICE or something. You never know.

Of course some shiny sequels don't have subtitles; SPIDER-MAN 2, BLADE 2, get the idea.

Have a think people and let me know what your opinion is on the matter.


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