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Top 10 Best Opening Title Sequences of the Last Decade
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Opening title sequences have never received their proper credit. (Sorry for the pun) They're almost mini-films designed to grab the viewer in a stylistically and all-encompassing manner while pushing the overall themes of the movie without giving too much away. In other words: they aren't exactly easy to create ... just ask Saul Bass. We've gone through the last 10 years worth of movies and picked out the 10 best opening titles. See if you agree after the jump.

10. Superbad
The retro-70s feel, the hilarious dancing, and the great song made this simple opening sequence the perfect way to open a deceptively un-simple buddy/high school comedy.

9. Amelie
(Apologies for the re-scored version) The movie is unabashedly fun, and the title sequence fits the quirky feel perfectly. Jean-Pierre Jeunet's choice to include small vignettes that wink at which credit is displayed on screen sets the tone for the breaking of the fourth wall that occurs throughout the film.

8. Thank You For Smoking
They're cigarette boxes, and the film is about smoking. Get it?

7. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
The first (though not only) Saul Bass-inspired credit sequence on the list. It's a clever and stylish beginning to a film that never got its proper due.

6. Casino Royale
James Bond movies have always had amazing opening title sequences, and this re-start of the franchise was literally shot out of a gun. The playing card motif is inspired, and the song by Chris Cornell is a modern indication that this isn't your father's Bond.

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5. Lord of War
(Embedding of the video is disabled. You can view the sequence here.) This sequence, known as the "life of a bullet," gives a quick and painful lesson on those who make (and profit) from the manufacturing of arms and those who suffer for it.

4. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory
This selection is almost interchangeable with Burton's Sweeney Todd. (Substitute blood for chocolate) Perhaps it's Danny Elfman's industrial inspired score, or the subtle nod to the Lord of War's "life of a bullet" sequence, but this fantastically automated candy bar manufacturing process had me craving chocolate like my girlfriend in the third week of each month.

3. The Fall
Despite my obvious love affair with this movie and Scaramouch's public scorning of said love, I had to include this sequence. Set to Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92, II. Allegretto and shot in black in white, it's among one of the best-looking opening sequences ever filmed.

2. Catch Me If You Can
The Saul Bass inspired opening matched perfectly with John Williams' score dropped the viewer into the 1950's cat and mouse game superbly well. Stylistically, it combined the best of Bass' techniques and pushed them forward with the help of computer technology.

1. Panic Room
Juxtaposing the cramped and claustrophobic action sequences throughout the film, these opening titles gave the perfect example of how expansive and lonely New York City can be. The sequence earned rave reviews from critics when the film came out, and eight years later they're still amazing. (It also earns points for showing an old apartment of mine during Forest Whitaker's name)

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7 Comments

The title sequence from 'The Watchmen' deserves a mention... cinematographic art.

said Buford on December 15, 2009 10:56 AM.

Good calls Echo. I remember seeing #1 and #2 and thinking, 'Wow, that's cool', at the time.

said E on December 15, 2009 12:35 PM.

I saw the opening credits to "Be Cool," then I walked out.

said Baierman on December 15, 2009 1:06 PM.

Amen to that, Buford.

said w1deawak3 on December 15, 2009 3:28 PM.

I thought "Juno" had a cute opening...

said chessfinesse on December 17, 2009 1:45 AM.

Raging Bull, simple but good

said Joseph on December 17, 2009 1:52 AM.

Unerringly, the Incredibles pretitle/title warmly set the flick up in nothing flat. Described the world's status quo, the types of people the supers are, the psyche of the characters, the later irony when they commit to the opposite of original interests, the ungratefulness of their society and the general era and locale. One superb all around flick.

said G on December 19, 2009 1:01 AM.
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