movies matter | criticism by maryann johanson
Sun Oct 18 2015, 09:48pm | 17 comments
Unlike any previous Star Wars poster, it has a female character who appears to be doing something?
(The very first one had Leia with a blaster as well as implausibly long legs. After that, even less female agency.)
I like it a lot. It’s got a balanced composition to my eye; the staff and lightsabers form a triangle with Rey at the apex, so she’s really the focus of the piece (and a woman front and center for, I think, the first time in a Star Wars poster); two balanced color fields; and a nice mix of new and nostalgic elements. And it poses a tantalizing question:
After the first three films, it’s been the triumph of hope over experience.
It’s too busy as a poster. Something I actually thought was true of the posters for the last 5 Star Wars movies too, but in retrospect those all have more obvious focal points that tell you something about the movie.
Something I actually thought was true of the posters for the last 5 Star Wars movies too
So the only poster you liked was for the original film, then? But that’s pretty busy too, and doesn’t tell you anything about the plot details of the movie either.
But for simplicity and boldness and showing some action from the movie, I like this teaser poster for ROTJ, from before they tweaked the title. I think it’s possibly the best of the Star Wars posters.
At least Leia’s implausibly long legs were paired with Luke’s implausibly defined abs. :-)
The other poster for the original film (see image in my other comment) did have Leia in her white robes firing the blaster. So, a little more female agency there. But overall you’re right.
There is an obvious focal point, but they left him off the poster. The dead space in the middle just calls attention to the mystery. I wonder if it was intentional. If I were conspiracy-minded, I’d wonder if they’re going to release an updated version, later in the year, with Luke in the center—maybe even in an image that hints at a few more plot details.
In any case, I’m glad that we finally get to see a woman in a lightsaber battle.
I think that poster was a re-release or alternate poster. When I say the “original” poster, I’m thinking of this one:
I don’t think the others (or this new one) are terrible, but my personal preference is for something more minimalist.
I think the art of the movie poster has really suffered in general over the last couple of decades. At least it’s not a “Let’s slap together photoshopped head shots of the main characters and call it a day” poster.
There is an obvious focal point, but they left him off the poster.
Well, I think the poster clearly indicates that Daisy Ridley’s character will be the focal point of the movie, which supposedly focuses on the new characters and their adventures, with the original cast in supporting roles.
Leaving Luke off the poster IS intriguing, and is pretty clearly intentional — I don’t see how something like that could be an oversight. Maybe Luke’s outfit or appearance reveals too much about the plot? Pretty clever, to create interest and conversation by NOT showing something.
Apparently there have been female Jedi in lightsaber battles in the animated series, which I haven’t followed; and there may have been some female Jedi in group battle scenes in Attack of the Clones, which I don’t remember too much about. But yes, there hasn’t been a saber battle prominently involving a woman in the live-action films. I’m not sure if Rey gets to use one, though; in this poster she’s holding a regular staff, which just happens to align with Kylo Ren’s red saber. So she may not get to wield one, but she gets to actively fight anyway. (We’ll see if the upcoming trailer reveals more!)
I think the art of the movie poster has really suffered in general over the last couple of decades.
Agreed. There ARE creative posters out there, but they never seem to be the most heavily publicized ones. I don’t see why Mondo doesn’t just do the posters for everything.
I’d like a movie studio to hire Tomer Hanuka
Or Matthew Woodson.
And I’d like Dave McKean to design a poster for a film he didn’t direct.
But that would require the studios to publish something more adventurous than a picture of the film’s stars looking glamorous. With only one woman in it.
Surely you’re right. I’ve never seen that first poster before, and the original has been locked in my memory since I first saw it in the newspaper and wondered what it was all about.
For the record (he said after looking it up), the first poster in this thread is the “Style C” poster, which was used for the original international release. The given reason for it is that they specifically wanted to highlight the characters more:
“Style D” from the 1978 re-release is my favorite, though:
I’ve never seen the Style D one before. It’s lovely! It seems very true to the film’s pulp roots. And Vader’s Dracula cape is great.
Maybe he’s one of the guys wearing a helmet.
I love Style D too, and have a copy in my office… though it always bugs me that the landspeeder grills aren’t symmetrical (8 bars on the left one, 9 bars on the right). Wonder if that was deliberate.
That’s the poster I most often think of when I think of the original movie. And while it’s not exactly an accurate description of the actual movie, it’s certainly more iconic than any of the more recent examples posted above.
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