Last night I was watching the Ben Affleck/Samuel L. Jackson film ‘Changing Lanes’ and one thing that stood out for me the way the credits sequence ran; it began during some scenic shots of the town where the film was set but for some unknown reason, continued as the actual film began for a good couple of minutes and it was quite distracting.
I know it’s hardly the greatest problems facing movies today but I’ve found this trend over the past decade of films increasingly having TV-style showing of credits unnecessary and pointless. I first noticed it with director Betty Thomas; she directed ‘The Brady Bunch Movie’ and (to imitate the TV series) the credits were displayed over the first couple of minutes of the film. That was fine but then for her next film – the Eddie Murphy ‘Doctor Dolittle’ film – the credits were dispalyed in exactly the same way.
The fact that Thomas came from TV is probably a clue as to why this trend has developed as I suspect it’s driven by increasing amounts of people crossing over from TV to making films; but that’s just a theory that may be baseless, perhaps there are other reasons. (am I right in presuming they have final say in how credits are shown btw?)
On a broader level, why do we even need to see credit sequences at all (except for the title) at the beginning of films? Why can’t it all be left to the end of the film when those, who want to stay and look through them, can see who performed which role? I think it’s because people are so used to the way credits were almost always presented in films until in 1960s (all the main credits detailed out taking a couple of minutes) that they’ve found it hard to break away from.
As I said earlier this is a minor quibble but I will say this – any film with a shortened or inventive credit sequence is one that I’ll have increased hope for as a good film.