Thursday, September 10, 2009
Kill the colon
Before I leave behind G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra for good, I did want to mention one more thing about it. It's a perfect example of something I find silly.
Namely, the over-complication of titles for the first movie in a series.
Wouldn't it be better to name the first G.I. Joe movie just, simply, G.I. Joe? I guess this would rule out the possibility of there ever being a Rise of Cobra, because Cobra would have to rise in the first movie.
But it seems to make sense that having a subtitle, for want of a better word (what do they call it in the industry, DGB?), is best suited to the second and third movies of the series.
G.I. Joe need only look to its fellow blockbuster franchise based on Hasbro toys, the Transformers movies. The title philosophy makes perfect sense. Name the first film Transformers, then the second film Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Then the third film, in 2011, can be Transformers: Bigger, Longer and Mercilessly Uncut.
But G.I. Joe is not the only film guilty of a premature colon in its title. Another good example is Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. What would have been so hard about calling the first movie just Pirates of the Caribbean? The way they did it, it just makes for a longer and more unwieldy title.
Now, long and unwieldy titles do have their place. I don't think anyone would have wanted to deny Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan by making it just Borat. (Maybe Bruno would have been more successful if it had been Bruno: In-Your-Face Gay Jokes for Reveal Prejudice of American Public).
Movies based on previously produced material get a pass as well. One of the most unwieldy titles of recent years was The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. But everyone knew that book, so no one demanded the title to be shortened. Besides, they were setting up a naming system to keep the whole thing under the Narnia brand. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian was a lot fewer characters, but as the titles in this series get more obscure, they seem a lot less marketable -- nay, downright clunky. Take the next movie in the series: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, due out next year. Who the hell knows what a Dawn Treader is? Walden Media is sure hoping you do.
So colons have their time and their place. Let's review: First movie in the series? Bad. Second and on movie in the series? Good. First movie in the series if the source material is famous? Yes, okay.
And that's all I have to say about that.