As people herd en masse to check out Zack Snyder‘s take on the most acclaimed graphic novel of all time, I think most will agree whether or not the film floats your boat, the opening credits sequences stands to be one of the best 5 minutes of film in 2009. Condensing a massive amount of back-story, exposition, mood and aesthetics to capture the spirit of America diverging from the history we know, to the alternate 1984 of Alan Moore‘s imagination. The national spirit is held up to the mirror in interesting tableaux that the rest of the film, when we get down to having to build characters rather than images, the film simply cannot sustain. On one had, the use of Bob Dylan seems almost cliche, but upon consideration of how this film is aiming at iconic American imagery and key scenes in the national memory, it is well, quite simply, perfect.
Couple this with the magnificent (perhaps my favourite one of all time, even) opening credits sequence in Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake, and it is clear that the directors strength is building image and sound together rather than traditional narrative storytelling. Dawn of the Dead the film certainly does not live up to its opening credit sequence either. Perhaps the complete indifference I had to 300 stemmed from moving that films opening credit sequence (also good) to the back. (Well, probably not, but you see where I am coming from, c’est non?)
It seems that the sequence went online this weekend, and for those who have no interest in bothering with the film (you should, even if the film is far from perfect, it has a lot of stuff worth taking in and is a well above par comic book film), you can litmus test with this below scene. If these credits don’t get your mind and your eyes buzzing pleasantly, then well, you are really going to be baffled by the film.