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10 Best & Worst Movie Posters of 2008

10 Best & Worst Movie Posters of 2008

By
Jan 6, 2009

Movie posters have the power to make or break a films success at the box office, so it’s important to get it right.

However, designing a poster that is striking, attractive, intriguing and memorable is no easy task. As a graphic designer on the side, I know this first hand.  Therefore, I feel it’s important to commend the posters of 2008 that were able to achieve such a standard of quality. I also feel like letting off some steam and listing the posters that completely missed the mark.

 


The Best…

To see a poster full-size, click the image.


The Women

10. The Women

This poster is a classic example of how a body of text can effectively be used to create imagery. Despite the film being the very definition of a chick flick, the eye catching splash of red cunningly defines a shape nearly every adult on the planet desires to either have or to gaze upon. It’s simple, yet remarkably striking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Funny Games

9. Funny Games

Design by Crew Creative Advertising

It’s one of those posters that is inexplicably mesmerising. The beautifully photographed Naomi Watt’s, with high contrasts distinctly framing her distraught face, clearly suggests that this isn’t a laughing matter. Nothing here is coincidental; the distinct black space above her hairline is almost pushing her downwards, deeper into misery. The simplicity of the text allows the  emotive image to do all the talking, whilst still reminding us that this a film and not merely piece of stunning photography and rendering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burn After Reading

8. Burn After Reading

Design by Mojo LLC

This audacious poster sells the film entirely by naming its cast rather than picturing it. Too many films in 2008 were marketed exclusively by showing a close up of their stars, such as Seven Pounds and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Burn After Reading almost mocks these films by saying; “we’ve got so many freakin’ stars we can’t fit them onto one poster, so we’ll just name them all instead.” Throw in some quirky typography, a bold colour scheme and an intriguing little silhouette and you’ve got yourself a winner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quantum of Solace

7. Quantum of Solace

Design by Empire Design

Let’s be honest, a Bond film hardly needs any sort of marketing to garner hype. Yet this poster manages to do what I didn’t think was possible; make James Bond look cooler than he already was. Refreshingly, it doesn’t even feature the mug of infamous hero like nearly every poster before it. Instead, the minimalist image of Bond’s shadow screams ‘anger’ and ‘revenge, representative of Bond’s motives in the film. Also, the faded hues and cracked dirt background is connotative of the gritty and serious new direction of the franchise.  Not to mention that it smugly features a logo that alone could sell a used tissue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spirit

6. The Spirit

Design by Ignition Print

They say don’t judge a book – or movie for that matter – by its cover. If you did, you might have been lead to believe The Spirit would be a good film. This poster demands attention with its striking typography, clearly inspired by the works of Escher. The sepia tones, brooding shadows and ominous skyline instantly implies that this is classic film noir. Once again, a touch of red is effectively used to draw the eye to the title after the impact of the tag line subdues. The end result is a beautiful yet menacing image that is irresistible to the eye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Air I Breathe

5. The Air I Breathe

Design by Art Machine

I’m a sucker for glaring juxtapositions. Aside from being a tremendously beautiful and bold image, the radiant beauty of a butterfly sitting at the tip of  a dark, silhouetted killing machine oozes significance. The colour scheme, if you might have notice on this site, is one I dearly approve of. In fact, this poster would have topped my list had it thrown away with the faces, which work only to detract from the images impact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dark Knight

4. The Dark Knight

Design by BLT & Associates

Whilst this poster is certainly my favourite, nearly all of the posters for The Dark Knight deserves a place on this list. However, it is this menacing poster that first revealed what is quite easily the most infamous slogan of 2008. Why So Serious? Well, the blood smeared lettering and psychopathic grin isn’t exactly what you’d call jovial. It certainly gets across the “Dark” part of “The Dark Knight”. It is also happens to be an image I expect will live with me forever, which is  more than what any poster designer could ever possibly hope to achieve.

 

 

 

 

 

Man on Wire

3. Man on Wire

Design by All City

Not many films can get away with taking a still from the film and simply slapping it on the poster. Man on Wire can, as it happens to be an image of the likes that will never be seen again. You just can’t help that uneasy feeling you get when you see a glimpse of the Twin Towers. Yet the most remarkable aspect of this poster is that it hardly even features the most iconic buildings of the last century. This is because, like the film it advertises, the poster is a celebration of beautiful achievement of Frenchman Philippe Petit and not a tragic tale of loss and destruction that has since plagued such imagery.

To put bluntly; this poster grabs your attention like I imagine it would if you realised your crotch was on fire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cloverfield

2. Cloverfield

Design by Art Machine

It’s been done  countless times before, but this teaser poster for Cloverfield took the whole “image of an iconic structure in ruins” thing to a  new level. Why? Because it was a completely out of the blue image of an iconic structure in ruins. With just a date to go with and nothing more, the film garnered an unprecedented amount of buzz as no one even knew the actual name of the film. The internet community went rabid with speculation, not only about the name, but about what they believed was responsible for the destruction of the Statue of Liberty.  Some even looked at the poster for so long, they became convinced that there was an outline of a monster hidden in the clouds. Don’t believe me? Well, see for yourself, it’s on youtube.  If that’s not the result of ingenious marketing, then I don’t know what is.

 

 

Blindness

1. Blindness

Design by Concept Arts

Fact: typography alone can make a brilliant poster. The title alone is so cleverly figurative and visually arresting; it doesn’t even need the added intrigue of the background image. The fact that it’s so damn simple makes it so damn good. Like any good teaser poster should, it hits you all the information needed to make you want to see the film within the blink of an eye.  The witticisms don’t end there;  I think the only way you’d be able to look past this poster is if you are, wait for it…. blind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honourable mentions:

More great posters of 2008 that didn’t quite make the list. Click poster for a full sized version.

Choke max_payne1 Forgetting Sarah marshall Punisher War Zone

Choke

Max Payne

Forgetting Sarah

Marshall

Punisher:

War Zone

The Eye Taxi to the Dark Side The Guitar The X-files: I Want To Believe

The Eye

Taxi To The

Dark Side

The Guitar

The X Files:

I want to believe

 

 

 

 

…The Worst.

Now it’s time to get nasty. Below is what I consider to be the worst posters of 2008. It could be because they are poorly composed, terribly unoriginal or because they did everything but make me want to see the film they are advertising. However, more often than not it’s because they feature an actor I severely detest.  Let the bashing begin.




Pride and Glory

 

10. Pride and Glory

If you’re going to use bold and striking typography for the name of a film, make sure the title of the film is actually worth emphasising. I mean, Pride and Glory? Sounds like an army recruitment drive…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step Up 2

9. Step Up 2

Having not seen the film, I’m still trying to work out if that’s sweat or rain. The orange glow suggests it’s too sunny to be raining, so I’m going to go with sweat. In that case, obscenely sweaty dancers in a crassly overloaded poster just don’t do it for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Drillbit Taylor

8. Drillbit Taylor

I swear if I see Owen Wilson pull that pouty-lipped face once more I’ll personally finish what he started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 27

7. Chapter 27

I didn’t realise they we’re making a sequel to Super Size Me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

untraceable1

6. Untraceable

Or more commonly known as Flightplan 2.

I’m sorry, but Dianne Lane’s listless mug alone isn’t famous enough to sell a mediocre thriller. Also, is that mouse pointer about to pick her nose?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changeling

5. Changeling

I never realised how freaking huge Angelina Jolie’s head is. I never want to realise that again, either.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mirrors

4. Mirrors

Insert scared looking face. No, scratch that; insert completely generic and totally random  scared looking face. Yawn…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fools Gold

3. Fools Gold

If you’re like me, then you have an uncontrollable urge to hit Matthew McConaughey in the face whenever you see him. Oh and they are tinted gold. Get it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Postal

2. Postal

Ok I was wrong; I’m not always a sucker for glaring juxtapositions.

It’s just so terribly composed; Photoshop has feelings too, you know.

Also, if you’re trying to sell a movie, featuring the words “A film by Uwe Boll” is unquestionably the worst way possible to go about doing it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bangkok Dangerous

1. Bangkok Dangerous

Why is this the worst poster of 2008? It might be because I dry heave a little whenever I see Nicholas Cage in a wig, or it might be because the title is possibly the most laughable of the year. However, I do take satisfaction from the way it looks like Nic Cage is punching himself in the shoulder. Hell, it saves me the effort.











So there you have it! Think I missed a gem or forgot to mention a steamer? Let me know by leaving a comment below!


 
  • Anno

    Love how you judge the works of the poster with no design background. Your comments on the actual works are only judged on your personal opinion with no concept of what the artist was trying to illustrate in the poster.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Anders Anders Wotzke

      Hello Anonymous,
      Isn't all "top 10 lists" based on personal opinion? I think that's fairly well implied through out my post.

      Besides, I do have somewhat of a design background, as a freelance designer, and actually picked the lists using a system based on what a good poster should achieve. However, I did state that with the "worst 10" my opinions were also swayed by external factors such as the actor pictured. I opted to have a bit of fun with the bottom 10, whilst I took a far more pragmatic approach in selecting the best 10.

      Whilst I would totally agree that poster designers have multiple objectives when setting out on a project, ultimately, I would expect the overriding goal would be to make an appealing poster that would attract interest in the film. The bottom 10 posters were selected, quite simply, because they didn't achieve that at all for me.

      Would you mind giving me an example of poster that you think I didn't fairly evaluate?
      I would like to hear what you think the designer was trying to achieve and how successfully you believe they did so.

  • Anno

    Love how you judge the works of the poster with no design background. Your comments on the actual works are only judged on your personal opinion with no concept of what the artist was trying to illustrate in the poster.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Anders Anders Wotzke

      Hello Anonymous,
      Isn't all "top 10 lists" based on personal opinion? I think that's fairly well implied through out my post.

      Besides, I do have somewhat of a design background, as a freelance designer, and actually picked the lists using a system based on what a good poster should achieve. However, I did state that with the "worst 10" my opinions were also swayed by external factors such as the actor pictured. I opted to have a bit of fun with the bottom 10, whilst I took a far more pragmatic approach in selecting the best 10.

      Whilst I would totally agree that poster designers have multiple objectives when setting out on a project, ultimately, I would expect the overriding goal would be to make an appealing poster that would attract interest in the film. The bottom 10 posters were selected, quite simply, because they didn't achieve that at all for me.

      Would you mind giving me an example of poster that you think I didn't fairly evaluate?
      I would like to hear what you think the designer was trying to achieve and how successfully you believe they did so.

  • Conrad

    I have to disagree with Untraceable – #6 – I thought it was very clever the way the pointer was over her mouth in that classic "shhhhhhhhhhh" kind of way!

    ok maybe it was not quite well placed enough for you but I thought it was much more effective than, say, the Silence of the Lambs poster it was kind of riffing on (which I always hated)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Anders Anders Wotzke

      Thanks for the comment Conrad.
      I do understand what they were trying to do with pointer, and how it might be relevant to the film. Yet my response is… it quite simply doesn't look right. As feeble as that argument sounds, a good idea is worthless if it doesn't look good in practice. Design 101.

      Also I find the poster terribly bland and unoriginal. As you noted, it is noticably similar to previous films; Silence of the Lambs and Flightplan. Yet overall the imagery here is neither tense, appealing or intriguing. It ultimately feels lazy.

      Naturally, It's all subject to opinion! I'm glad the poster works for you, because in the end I realise the designer wasn't deliberately trying to make a dislikeable poster!

  • Conrad

    I have to disagree with Untraceable – #6 – I thought it was very clever the way the pointer was over her mouth in that classic "shhhhhhhhhhh" kind of way!

    ok maybe it was not quite well placed enough for you but I thought it was much more effective than, say, the Silence of the Lambs poster it was kind of riffing on (which I always hated)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Anders Anders Wotzke

      Thanks for the comment Conrad.
      I do understand what they were trying to do with pointer, and how it might be relevant to the film. Yet my response is… it quite simply doesn't look right. As feeble as that argument sounds, a good idea is worthless if it doesn't look good in practice. Design 101.

      Also I find the poster terribly bland and unoriginal. As you noted, it is noticably similar to previous films; Silence of the Lambs and Flightplan. Yet overall the imagery here is neither tense, appealing or intriguing. It ultimately feels lazy.

      Naturally, It's all subject to opinion! I'm glad the poster works for you, because in the end I realise the designer wasn't deliberately trying to make a dislikeable poster!

  • http://getafilm.blogspot.com Daniel

    Awesome, awesome picks on both ends!

  • http://getafilm.blogspot.com Daniel

    Awesome, awesome picks on both ends!

  • http://blogcabins.blogspot.com Fletch

    For your tenth best, I'd have put 27 Dresses in place of The Women. The framing of the text hardly did a thing on The Women one, with the bold red bustline doing most of the (ahem) heavy lifting.

    As for Pride and Glory, I don't see how the title of the film should be held against the poster (and its designer). It's not gonna win any awards, but I don't think that poster belongs on any Worst Poster lists. I rather like the novel-like look to it.

    That said, excellent job on both lists.

    • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/Anders Anders Wotzke

      Thanks for the comment Fletch.
      The Women poster takes the cake for me merely because i find it far more impacting than 27 dresses, whether the lipstick outline be the cause or not, without featuring any photography at all (if you can exclude the hand).

      Pride and Glory made the list not directly because of the title, but the choice to emphasise it so boldly. The glaring typography is terrible; eye catching for all the wrong reasons.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Anders Anders Wotzke

      Thanks for the comment Fletch.
      Te Women poster takes the cake for me merely because i find it far more impacting than 27 dresses, whether the lipstick outline be the cause or not, without featuring any photography at all (if you can exclude the hand).

      Pride and Glory made the list not directly because of the title, but the choice to emphasise it so boldly. The glaring typography is terrible; eye catching for all the wrong reasons.

  • http://blogcabins.blogspot.com Fletch

    For your tenth best, I'd have put 27 Dresses in place of The Women. The framing of the text hardly did a thing on The Women one, with the bold red bustline doing most of the (ahem) heavy lifting.

    As for Pride and Glory, I don't see how the title of the film should be held against the poster (and its designer). It's not gonna win any awards, but I don't think that poster belongs on any Worst Poster lists. I rather like the novel-like look to it.

    That said, excellent job on both lists.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Anders Anders Wotzke

      Thanks for the comment Fletch.
      Te Women poster takes the cake for me merely because i find it far more impacting than 27 dresses, whether the lipstick outline be the cause or not, without featuring any photography at all (if you can exclude the hand).

      Pride and Glory made the list not directly because of the title, but the choice to emphasise it so boldly. The glaring typography is terrible; eye catching for all the wrong reasons.

    • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/Anders Anders Wotzke

      Thanks for the comment Fletch.
      The Women poster takes the cake for me merely because i find it far more impacting than 27 dresses, whether the lipstick outline be the cause or not, without featuring any photography at all (if you can exclude the hand).

      Pride and Glory made the list not directly because of the title, but the choice to emphasise it so boldly. The glaring typography is terrible; eye catching for all the wrong reasons.

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  • http://twitter.com/siyathomas88 Siya thomas

    I am not happy with top ten worsts lists. You should have include Superman 3, Spinning Into Butter and The Day Of The Dolphin such movie posters, whose title is different than what the poster has depicted.

  • YeahJoe

    I like the list and appreciate your criticisms and critiques. However, the comment regarding Owen Wilson’s suicide attempt was tasteless and disturbing.

  • Anonymous

    Well, the existing post is extremely looking the most informative post about the the best of 2008. and the existing posters of the regarding movies are really looking just creative and rocking about it. And I am really highly impressed by the content and features of this post. Thanks for sharing some exceptional information about those.
     

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