The Creature Columns: The Aesthetic Appeal of Movie Posters - Sequel Posters (Part 2) By Tom "Creature" Jeffers

Remember art is completely subjective. πŸ˜€ I also realize that there are multiple posters for many films. I am simply comparing particular versions that show artistic growth.

Read Part 1 HERE

Movie sequels: we love them or we hate them. Some have surpassed the original films as in the case of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and perhaps The Godfather 2. Many others go on to be notoriously bad pictures or box office flops. However, along the way new ideas on how to promote such films rise up and grab our attention. I wanted to showcase a few franchises that, in my opinion, did this in a spectacular fashion. Some of the changes to movie posters are very obvious, and some are more subtle. Here are a few of my favorites.

 Frozen was a runaway hit for Disney making 1.2 billion dollars. Frozen II exceeded that by making 1.4 billion. The movies resonated with the audience, and many children across the globe will remember these films with a lot of nostalgia and love. However, when one compares the posters for both films, it is easy to see a transition. The Frozen poster is an exercise in a typical Disney presentation. It is cute and reminds us that the film we should expect will be cute as well. It has a simple color scheme and looks like it will be a funny movie. With the success of Tangled, this might have been an expected approach. However, after Frozen was such a success, it is easy to see why the artists decided to take the sequel poster in a completely different direction. The poster for Frozen II is a masterpiece. The poster draws the eye in, and it feels like a much more serious film with a strong fantasy overtone. These beloved characters are surrounded by a mysterious forest. The color pallet is far more appealing. To be honest, the mist completely moves this poster past the commonplace and into the extraordinary. In my opinion, it is one of the most appealing animation posters ever made.

The next set of posters I want to examine have a far more subtle difference. The Twilight Samurai and its sequel The Hidden Blade are fine enough films that explore beloved topics in cinema. However, the sequel poster far surpasses the original. While both posters use photography as a medium, the second film uses a blue color pallet to a wonderful effect. The first film really gives us little clue about the character or the subject of the movie. Without the title and small swordsman at the bottom, this film might have taken place in any era. The second poster leaves no doubt and has a haunting beauty to it. The glowing orbs might be a sign of the spiritual or a reference to snow falling. The point is that we will not know without viewing the movie. It is a beautiful mystery that invites  unlocking.

You can also see the same transition of one style to a superior and more muted style in The Terminator movie posters. Note the blue tint that is used again. Blue is a color that draws the
eye and has been conclusively shown to cause a viewer to stop and look with more frequency and time.

The last set of posters that I want to examine is from a great film and a yet to be released film. Quiet Place is one of my favorites, and the upcoming A Quiet Place 2 should prove to be very good as well. These posters are prime examples of some of my personal favorites of all time.

The first poster is an excellent work of art. It says so much with so little. The color scheme is astounding, and the moment of terror is captured perfectly. Everything on the poster, including the placement and color of the text, is spot on. The shadow on the wall tells us just enough to terrify us. It is a beautiful work of art. However, the sequel poster simply takes the original concept up about a hundred notches. It is not a terrifying poster. It is a poster that conveys a sense of dread. Once again the placement of the text is near perfect. The silhouettes of the main characters tell us a story before we even see the film. Those that have seen the first movie will understand what I mean. The lone red color in the distance just pops and draws us into the world. The use of red color on both posters is a subtle hint as to the peril our characters will find themselves in. In my opinion, these two posters are among the best ever made. They speak volumes and tell their own story. We can see it. We can feel it. That is what I think makes great art and extremely seductive advertising. There is almost no way that I will miss seeing Quiet Place 2. The poster alone would almost guarantee it.

How many sequels manage to outpace their forerunners? Films do on occasion, but posters manage it as well. It is my hope that you will enjoy looking at this kind of art and see if you can find things that move you as well. If you do, I hope you share it with us.

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