30 Great Opening Movie Sequences: "The Hangover"

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by Nevermind, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. The_Four_Dot_Elipsis Force Ghost

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    Mar 3, 2005
    star 5
    The fact that it's just chaos would be fine but for the fact that then we have to have the sequence with the clone pilots that we're supposed to apparently care about. It's a pretty good sample of the prequels, actually - rich ideas with some dazzling visuals, but a befuddled execution that winds up limp.
  2. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Yes you've nailed the problem of the prequels in general: too much sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    The opening sequence of ANH, even without the crawl, tells a complete story. A little ship is being chased by a big ship, over an arid planet. You actually know why from the crawl. It sets the stage for a tight, perfect little movie plot and major theme of the story: underdog vs. overpowering adversary.

    Lucas had a way in the prequels of referencing his own moments of greatness from the OT without seeming to remember why they were actually great in the first place, and RotS's opening sequence is a perfect example.
  3. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Absolutely correct.
  4. JohnWesleyDowney Force Ghost

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    I have to dsagree on this one. I don't think Lucas was really referencing ANH in the opening of ROTS. That entire opening sequence from the crawl, the fight to get to the Grievous ship, the rescue of the Chancellor and the crash landing on Coruscant was to show
    Anakin and Obi-Wan working as a team. Notice their ships flying in perfect alignment. It's their last mission together - ever. That's their last adventure, we see them joke, make mistakes, we see the perform heroically, we see Anakin insist Obi-Wan come with them when the Chancellor says "leave him." I think the reason for showing such a huge battle on an impersonal scale, and then zeroing in on these two small ships is to contrast the epic scope of the conflict with the individuals fighting. It's a completely different animal than the OT. Just my two cents.


  5. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    SCREAM

    ''Why do you want to know my name?'' ''Because I want to know who I'm looking at.'' In the first few minutes of this teen horror classic, we hear a telephone conversation that makes me never want to be home alone again. Completely terrifying."
  6. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 14, 2001
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    THE DARK KNIGHT

    "In this opening sequence, Heath Ledger's Joker robs a bank with his accomplices, and successfully tricks them into killing each other, allowing him to keep all the money. And with that, one of the greatest portrayals of this classic villain was born.'
  7. The_Four_Dot_Elipsis Force Ghost

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    Mar 3, 2005
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    The Dark Knight is my favourite film of the last 10 years, but I wouldn't call it one of the all time great opening sequences. It's rather neat, but it's hardly the highlight of the film. In fact, I think the opening of The Dark Knight Rises surpasses it, even if I've only seen that in isolation.

    Great opening shot though, especially in IMAX.
  8. corran2 Force Ghost

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    May 16, 2006
    star 4
    Disagree, I think the opening scene perfectly establishes the movie, and the reveal of the Joker is perfect. I knew immediately this was going to be a great film.
  9. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

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    Jul 8, 1998
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    I think that the opening of TDK is great, but that it actually punches a bit under par with the rest of the movie. It's well put-together, but Ledger's performance really shines through in the later scenes.

    It was inspired and enjoyable, but I felt more that it established the setting more than the Joker character, y'know? The Joker's real introduction came more at the mob meeting, IMO.
  10. Darth McClain Arena Manager Emeritus

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    Feb 5, 2000
    star 6
    I agree with Gonk. The opening scene is really cool, but the Joker's better later and makes his real introduction with "How about a magic trick?" sequence.
  11. Havac Former Moderator

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    Sep 29, 2005
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    I think it introduces the Joker, but in a more subtle way -- it shows us his MO and sets up his fundamental character and worldview, this sort of nihilistic anarchism, the conflict between the bank manager who believes in something and the Joker's fixation on chaos. His first line in the film really sets up his whole plan -- Joker believes in taking Gotham to the brink of death in order to make it "stranger," to foment his chaotic worldview by pushing Gotham to the edge. What it doesn't do, because the Joker is incognito and silent throughout the vast majority of the scene, is set up his mannerisms and demeanor, the style that Heath Ledger brings to the role. In that aspect, the mob meeting scene is his real introduction, and the bank heist is just a tease for what this Joker is going to be like, what Heath Ledger's performance is going to look like. But in terms of his methodology, his goals, it tells you everything you need to know, and in fact tells you more about that than the mob scene hijinks-showcase does.
  12. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    It's a well-oiled machine of an opening, but it doesn't "pop." There's nothing particularly impressive about it and it certainly doesn't stand up next to the rest of the film. It's an opening sequence which does its job: it introduces the setting, a little bit about the characters and sets up some plot details. If fulfilling the basic requirements is now enough to qualify as "great," and it may be, then it's "great." Otherwise, no.
  13. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 14, 2001
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    THE GODFATHER

    "On this, the day of his daughter's wedding, the Don cannot turn down a request. As the undertaker pleads for a favor, the camera slowly zooms out until we finally see Corleone's imposing tuxedoed figure stroking a cat on his lap. Bonasera. Bonasera."
  14. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    That opening is, in fact, so fantastic that when you read the extremely mundane way the book opens you're tempted to put it down and never look back.
  15. JohnWesleyDowney Force Ghost

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    Jan 27, 2004
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    The key line is the opening line which so brilliantly captures the essence of the movie and
    the Corleone family (despite the fact that they are criminals) and countless European immigrants.

    "I believe in America."

    A perfect opening line for one of the great American films.

    Outside, a day of celebration in the sunshine.

    Inside, in a dark office, deals are being made.

    Awesome opening for a movie about underworld gangsters.
  16. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 14, 2001
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    "I believe in America." And so does Vito Corleone; it's just different Americas.
  17. The_Four_Dot_Elipsis Force Ghost

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    Mar 3, 2005
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    Coppola had just won an Oscar for opening a film with a big, iconic speech, although in Patton, of course, Schaffner gives us a big, opulent wide shot, with Patton almost minute in the frame, with a big colourful flag as backdrop. The Godfather is almost the exact opposite. But by the time that Bonasera's speech is over, I pretty much know I'm all set to watch the remaining hours and hours of these films.
  18. severian28 Force Ghost

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    Apr 1, 2004
    star 5

    Not really dude, hes just an immigrant with ambition. The senator, or other legitamite power broker that he envisions Michael being are as criminal as the mafiosa, if not worse. Vito is very clear minded as to what America really is. Its Michael who becomes paranoid and disillusioned - ironically of course.


    EDIT - in a sense there is two Americas, if your like Bonasera.
  19. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 14, 2001
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    Talking about Bonasera here; not Michael.
  20. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

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    Not really dude, hes just an immigrant with ambition. The senator, or other legitamite power broker that he envisions Michael being are as criminal as the mafiosa, if not worse. Vito is very clear minded as to what America really is. Its Michael who becomes paranoid and disillusioned - ironically of course.

    It could be argued though, that the seeds of Michael's paranoia and disillusionment begin with Vito. I always thought that subconsciously he resented that his family made their living this way and what that implied: and so, when it became clear he had to take over his resentment demanded, emotionally, that he would punish everyone that put him in the position of being Godfather.

    Michael wanted to be something better. But the demands of his family prevented him from being that something better, prevented him from that dream. And unable to compromise, he decided -- emotionally -- that if he was going to be cursed to be in charge of a criminal crime syndicate, that he'd do away with what he subconsciously saw as a sham pretense. In his mind, that he is alone is a more honest existence than his father led.

    Mind you, for this supposed honesty that he might have a point with in regards to his father, Kate and the Children pay the price.
  21. severian28 Force Ghost

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    Apr 1, 2004
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    You wrote " and so does Vito Corleone " and im talking about we the viewer being like Bonasera. Disillusioned about white picket fences or whatever.


    Edit - i agree with you to a large extent Gonk. Michaels own disillusionment about the American way to an extent comes from being Vitos son, but i think ( and this is what redeems part 3 ) more specifically because in certain very important ways hes not Vito. Hes no AJ Soprano but he is the third son and spoiled rich kid who possess his fathers intelligence and the potential for his wisdom, but it takes him to the end of his life to gain it. What he also has and utilizes mainly to both great sucess and the ultimate doom and destruction of his family is his fathers ruthlessness, something thats only one tool in Vitos tool box.
  22. Django211 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 1999
    star 4
    Interesting stuff Gonk. Michael's dream is for the family to be legitimate and come hell or high water that's what he's going to get. Of course its an unrealistic dream and he finds that the legitimate world is just as corrupt as the gangster one. All his actions to protect and serve his family backfire.

    I've often felt that Michael's ruthlessness was honed in the military. His cunning and smarts were always there but once he went to fight in WWII he was able to take his "gangsterism" to another level. When he returns from fighting he seems out of place with the familiarity of it all and when he takes control no one knows what's coming. Michael is uniquely qualified to become the godfather with frightening results for everyone involved.
  23. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

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    Jul 8, 1998
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    Edit - i agree with you to a large extent Gonk. Michaels own disillusionment about the American way to an extent comes from being Vitos son, but i think ( and this is what redeems part 3 ) more specifically because in certain very important ways hes not Vito. Hes no AJ Soprano but he is the third son and spoiled rich kid who possess his fathers intelligence and the potential for his wisdom, but it takes him to the end of his life to gain it. What he also has and utilizes mainly to both great sucess and the ultimate doom and destruction of his family is his fathers ruthlessness, something thats only one tool in Vitos tool box.

    Yeah, I think there's a lot too that. Although I have to admit that the first film is the only one I've seen more or less all the way through -- that is, I've seen the beginning in one sitting and then in another sitting seen the rest of the film with some small overlap.

    Part II I've seen a sizable chunk of the ending and again, the beginning. But I've never sat down and watch the entirety. And Part 3 I'm the least familiar with.

    That said, I think the core of the issue is that Michael and Vito are understandable results of their given situations. And unfortunately they never talk about those situations. Vito, in his mind, did what he had to do to become successful. In his mind -- and this is largely true -- he emerged from a savage situation and made it less savage. He came from a world of brutal murder and destitution where he could easily have become just another casualty of poverty, but made something out of it that was better than the sum of its parts.

    But Michael, coming into that story halfway through as any child does, would have initially grown up thinking his father was just a businessman. It's too bad Coppola never wrote a flashback to Michael's childhood showing the moment where he figured out the sort of things his father did for a living, because it probably would have been a very sad thing. Michael wanted to live a life free of guilt and not feel like his upbringing was bought with blood money. And he was isolated from the beginning because he was apparently the ONLY one that felt that way. Maybe Fredo felt that way to some extent but he never said it and if anything that might have made Michael MORE angry because he was willing to do something about it and Fredo just sort of rolled over and accepted everything. But that makes Fredo's end all the more sad because if there was anyone who DID share anything close to Michael's discomfort with the family business, it was Fredo. When Michael announces he's going into the military in that near-to-final scene of Part II, Fredo's the only one to congratulate him. Tom and Sonny, in their own ways, just berate him.

    You can sort of get Michael's resentment from that point of view when you reach the end of Part II. You DO realize from Vito's point of view he's destroyed everything his father tried to create, and that no -- it wasn't worth it. But from Michael's point of view the only reason he's alone is because everyone around him just doesn't happen to like the WAY he does things. They were perfectly fine with his father's criminal history because he was NICE. He made friends, was political and warm in a business that wasn't warm.

    To Michael, that was fake. If he was going to be a merciless killer, then he was going to remind those around him that THAT'S what was going on. They weren't going to play pretend any longer. Which is so sad because it would make you think that Michael might be totally different if he and Kay had never had to deal with the family business and he had realized his dream.
  24. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 14, 2001
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    THE DEPARTED

    ''No one gives it to you. You have to take it,'' Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) tells us, setting the stage for this 2006 Boston crime film. Sure, he's a bad dude doing bad, bad things, but it's a heck of a good line."
  25. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    THE DEPARTED

    ''No one gives it to you. You have to take it,'' Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) tells us, setting the stage for this 2006 Boston crime film. Sure, he's a bad dude doing bad, bad things, but it's a heck of a good line."