Monday, June 3, 2013

Question for the Week of Jun 3-9: Simultaneously Bad and Good

Someone recently asked me if I saw anything lately that struck me as equal parts bad and good. In a pure d--k move on my part, I didn't talk about a film - I talked about the poster for the movie Dreamscape.

For one thing, I described how the top and side borders of the image create a doorframe made of little scenes and images from Dreamscape itself: well-dressed men holding guns, two lovers leaning in close, dogs, a motorcycle, a guy with nunchucks... And I really love the snake motif going down the right side, then up the left, capping off with a monster-snake's head at top - the whole thing creates a mirror in the lower right corner with a man and a boy descending some stairs.

It's beautifully-drawn, an intelligent use of the space that (a) gives you a sense of what's in the picture and (b) gives you a reason to be interested in it. Lovely.

Yet even a casual glance at the image makes me think, "why does this look like a poster for Temple of Doom?"

If you don't believe me, here's several side-by-side thumbnails of various versions of the Dreamscape poster. Just pass your eye across a couple. If you couldn't read the title so easily, what movie would you think this poster advertised?

What's bad here is an instinctual feeling that this similarity may be by purpose, as Quaid's raised arm is similar to Ford's in Raiders, but Dennis' body is at an angle close to Harrison's in the Temple poster.

Note that the design for the 1981 movie's poster uses images from the film to adorn the sides of the poster, and its 1984 sequel has the doorway imagery and firey background; Dreamscape came out 3 months after ToD, but my ongoing confusion sure wasn't helped by the fact that Kate Capshaw was in both of them...

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