Today's shout out goes to the opening credits for Peter Berg's new film The Kingdom, thanks to John August.
Most filmmakers consider credits as an afterthought, which is a missed opportunity: opening credits set the mood, pace, and context of a story, as in The Kingdom, where the viewer is given over 70 years of Saudi history in under 4 minutes. Unlike films from the 1940s, no screen time is wasted from pimping ego—we are immediately thrown into the fray to review crucial, and visually sugar-coated, information. By the time our story has begun, the viewer already has a clear sense for what's at stake and whose interests are in play.
Design-wise, those credits remind me of What Barry Says, an animated short which turns a boring diatribe into an entertaining monologue:
And while we're talking about amazing credit design, check out my all-time favorite, from David Fincher's Se7en, done by Kyle Cooper's company, Imaginary Forces: