Roll Credits – History Lesson And A Movie

In the 2007 film The Kingdom by Peter Berg, one of the best uses of motion graphics and stock footage is seen in the opening credits. These credits deliver the background knowledge needed to make the movie that follows more understandable and the message it carries a bit clearer to the average viewer.

We first notice the sepia-filtered sequences for Universal Pictures and Relativity Media as the music begins, fading through sepia before the first credits appear. The credits are in a green/olive color while the background is a sand color, which is appropriate because what at first appears to just be text over a flat background is slowly revealed as desert that you’re skimming above the surface of, peering out across the shallow dunes into the infinite horizon beyond. The horizon then serves as the line of which a timeline appears marking the year 1932. This cleverly sits behind a few of the dunes passing in the foreground to show depth. This trick is used again shortly after as a still of archive footage of Arabian horseback riders galloping through the sand emerges from behind the edge of the desert before the camera zooms to fit the footage to the full frame and begins playing.

The narration details the importance of this footage and year in which Saudia Arabia is founded. This is cleverly used to transitioned to the main titles as the narrator speaks “…establishes the Kingdom.. of Saudi Arabia” where the image of the king is revealed to be incorporated into the titles “The Kingdom.”

This continues to be the trend throughout the next few segments of the credits, fading from footage to the digital desert where the motion graphics are used to show oil derricks mixed into the text. Anotherexample is the font being rotated along the x-axis to show their third dimension are shaped as homes before transitioning to the narration describing the development of housing for the American and Western work forces employed by ARAMCO.

The use of motion graphics in these titles is best seen towards the end of the credits where a 3D column graph showing the US as the top consumer of oil in the world, shaped in the outline of the country is rotate to transform it to the profile of a tower just before a plane zooms in from behind the camera into the tower as it is reveal they are the World Trade Center towers, marking the September 11th terrorist attacks on the timeline.

Overall, the credits are expertly edited using archive and stock footage overlaid with perfect accompanying narration and motion graphics to stitch it all together as history being told while the credits roll. The clever and powerful use of these medias to create the opening sequence to The Kingdom benefits the movie greatly through useful and necessary information being delivered in a creative way that doesn’t interrupt or become a part of the movie. It’s a very good use of the time where opening credits are played. The movie is just as interesting a watch in this designers opinion.

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