Allow me to explain.
Sometimes, it seems like a whole movie can be encapsulated in a well-done sequence. And the best way to do that is usually with a song.
Sometimes, it’s a song that tells the whole back-story, and sets up the rest of the film. Sometimes, it’s the whole climactic ending for the characters. And I have one example of a music video that tells a whole movie in-and-of itself.
Yeah, you’ve maybe seen these, but let’s look at them all together here.
We talked about this one recently and it got me thinking about posting the rest that seem to go along with it. Now I couldn’t tell you which does a better job of story-telling: this opening sequence, or the entire rest of the movie. It’s a whole lifetime in a few short minutes, and tells us things we would never actually get the curmudgeonly main character to tell us. Excellent storycraft.
Given the somewhat experimental way with which the story in Sucker Punch is told, grounding it all in this incredibly concrete opening sequence gives a reality for us to fall back to. I think of Sucker Punch like Inception: deeper and deeper levels into the dreams. Was the middle level necessary? Maybe not. But it is less horrific than lobotomy, right? Anyway, this song sets up an entire plot that needed some setting up, and does a nice job of it.
But really, if we’re going to reference a Zack Snyder opening, it would have to be Watchmen. The graphic novel worked hard to give a sense of how heroes in the world changed it, just a little bit – and in the case of Dr. Manhattan, changed it a lot. This opening sequence tells us this, and gives us years of history. Otherwise, this history would potentially be missing from the film, because while the plot was kept largely in the film, a lot of the back-story and depth was not kept (something’s gotta go when making a movie, as we know). This scene nicely bridges the depth of the written form, and the length of time you have to tell a story in a movie.
Sorry about the subtitles, but this one is very hard to find online, after it got released before the film, then cut from the Internet by Warner Brothers. Because, you know, the Internet is the sort of place where things don’t stay out there forever?…
Endings (Meaning possible spoilers)
Children of Dune: Dune Messiah
Though it was not called Dune Messiah in the mini-series, it was Dune Messiah in part 1. This is the climactic ending sequence, as they “cleanse the house” and get rid of the traitors and conspirators. Lots of story-lines coming together in one, lots of people die, no need for talking.
And a surprise moment for our omnipotent Kwisatz Haderach: Twins?
Ah, Donnie Darko, where the time traveler must find a way to save everyone. Well, almost everyone. And here we get to see everyone, with a shadow of a memory of what’s happened in the movie, but leaving the audience alone as the ones who truly know what’s happened. So sad. Such a good choice for a song.
And one that stands alone:
The Ghost Inside
Ok, it’s possible you’ve flipped through this list and gone, yeah, I see what you did there David, yeah, that was good, but I’ve seen it. Well. Have you seen this one? This is the music video for The Ghost Inside by the Broken Bells. And this music video tells a whole sci-fi story in a single go.
Join actress Christina Hendricks and her journey on the Fortuna.