Welcome to another monthly installment of Fandor’s favorite movie posters. Here we take a look at the poster designs that dropped over the last month and wax professorial about design decisions that are way over our pay grade. This month we take another pass at a movie that’s already been featured on this hallowed list, compare romantic portraiture to the king of monsters, and get just a little critical about an upcoming crime thriller.
Did we just feature a different poster for Glass last month? You bet we did. Do we love the artwork of legendary painter Alex Ross? Heck yeah, we do, which is why this San Diego Comic Con-debuting poster lands a spot on this, the most prestigious awards event on the internet, the known universe, and beyond. Ross is best known for the Norman Rockwell-like artwork that has graced the covers of many a superhero comic—a fact that’s alluded to with the overt comic book artwork decorating this poster’s many glass shards. Ross’ interpretations of superheroes are deeply human, and he renders mythical figures with a down-to-earth, tactile quality— you can almost feel the fabric of Batman’s cape, or the cold metal of Captain America’s shield. Such qualities translate to the marketing for Glass particularly well, since M. Night Shyamalan’s take on the superhero genre combines a lived-in realness with bluntly sincere renderings of superpowers. Even beyond Ross’ style, this poster is just well executed in both concept and design. Here, Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) is literally at the center of it all, as a scheming supervillain, which suggests that he will draw together the Beast (James McAvoy) and David Dunn (Bruce Willis) in an epic showdown. If you can’t tell, Glass will probably be our problematic fave of 2019 (Its predecessor Split’s depiction of mental health is…well, tricky).
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
In the words of Fandor’s Social Media Manager Levi Hill, this poster deserves “all the Oscars…Long live the king.” And while I’m sure he’s been blinded by his life-long love of all things Godzilla, it’s hard to deny that this isn’t a startling beautiful cover. Painted in a romantic style often reserved for religious paintings or idyllic pastorals, its subject is instead the (comparatively small) Godzilla facing off against King Ghidorah. The movie’s tagline, “Long live the king,” is perhaps not quite as inspired as the painting itself, but it does extra work by referencing both Godzilla’s nickname, “King of the Monsters,” and King Ghidorah. It leaves us to wonder who will come out on top in this clash of classic kaiju. In design terms, notice how the artist chooses brighter colors to frame Godzilla— it’s the same effect religious artists have used for centuries to paint the corona around figures like Jesus. The colors darken as your eye travels to the edges of the painting, and that, along with the sans serif title treatment (which honestly, doesn’t do much work here) guarantees that your focus will keep returning to the center of the painting and the heavenly glow around Godzilla.
I Think We’re Alone Now
The poster for I Think We’re Alone Now is a story about “halves.” First, we have the giant floating heads of stars Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning, rendered in what appears to be watercolor. The color scheme for each character is pretty telling. Here we have Dinklage painted in dark colors, with the cyan obviously reflective of his character’s personality. Opposite him is Fanning, hair painted bright yellow and wearing an ecstatic expression. Around both of them, bright fireworks blaze, perhaps speaking to the coming explosion between their two opposing personalities. The image is bifurcated by a distinct, ruler-straight horizon line, below which fresh graves are dotted, spanning into the distance. This image, which speaks to death and mortality, stands in opposition to the ecstasy and whimsy of the two main characters above it, and we can’t wait to see how these opposing forces — life and death; ecstasy and stoicism — play out in the movie.
The poster for Searching eschews a hand-painted aesthetic in favor of a simple photograph. But that simplicity draws the eye immediately to the cracked phone in the top center of the poster. The phone’s broken screen communicates struggle, but it also represents the shattered lives of the people involved in the crime. The designers also smartly took advantage of the story the phone can tell through the timeline of missed calls and text messages. The viewer sees the time on the phone and instinctively compares it with the line of messages from the sender. The gray title treatment, accompanied by the cursor bar, speaks to the film’s hook of playing out completely on computer screens. All in all, this poster, though simple, is very well designed.
A Simple Favor
A few posters for A Simple Favor have been floating around, including an obvious-Saul Bass-inspired one, which would be pretty okay if it weren’t also totally on the nose. In this version, the designers opted to tell the story of their movie with stars Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively posed in a pretty telling tableau. That Lively towers over Kendrick reveal much about the dynamics of their relationship, while the martini speaks to the character’s cosmopolitan personality. It’s interesting to note how they are dressed, though: Lively wears a patterned, mid-century-style housedress, while Kendrick is in a black, knee-length number. This could speak to a role reversal over the course of the film— or a sly wink suggesting that Kendrick might not just be along for the ride, but in on the truth from jump street. A transparent blue design divides the image into four triangular quadrants, which creates a nice symmetry (then ruined by the bland title treatment) for the tableau. It’s a bit of a mixed bag, but Lively and Kendrick do have a lot of presence, and that makes up for some of the design’s shortcomings.