Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Big in Japan

I never understood Asian movie posters, and I do not only mean not being able to read them but to understand the reasoning behind the motive. As a kid I did feel oddly fascinated by the artworks for the Godzilla Movies and the numerous Kung-Fu movies bought by movie retailers in that time, with barely a week that passed without a new movie of either genre.

But Asians seem to look at art in a completely different way than we do, their posters are oddly vibrant, graciously filled with random looking, to a westerners eye, put on pieces of text. Posters that seldom seem to do much justice to the movie they advertise.
Actually the style is point on correct for the Godzilla movies and here it is rather our western versions that do not fit the movies quirky style. The Godzilla vs. Kong poster which is not that far removed in its imagery from modern WWF show-fighting brings out the core of what these movies are about: A clash of titans, modern myths of gods and monsters told with a wink of the eye. And in that context the comic style text cluttering up the poster makes some sense.

Still, is it that Asians are so used to the cramped environment they live in which urges them to equally cramp in the images they use?
There sure is no direct need that leads them to obliterate images, bury them under text up to a point where it becomes a secondary asset. Certainly they must have more text economic ways available to them, ways to prevent such abundant use of text blocks as seen on Man from Agaki Mountains for example. What works for Godzilla, even enhances the imagery there, looks as disservice here, with the exception of some of the more harebrained Kung-Fu movies.

And why would I open this with a image of the Japanese version of the poster for Bridget Jones’s Diary?
Because it illustrates another interesting point, as often as Asian mentality may clash with our western perception of how something should look (Supermarket Fighter? *gasp*), there are instances when even the western eye has to acknowledge the superior fittingness of the Asian bubble gum coloured pop-culture.
I wonder, does this motive for Bridget Jones look as comical to Asian eyes as it does to mine?

A movie poster should achieve two things, in my humble opinion:
It has to catch the viewers eye and create a positive interest in him (or her)
It should ideally set the right mood for the movie we are about to watch.
The Japanese Bridget Jones artwork matched both of them, the Supermarket Fighter meets one at best and that barely makes me want to see the movie.

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