Explosions. Lens Flares. A fluid collage of the entire cast in costume, or a gritty, high contrast profile shot of the main character's face. Film posters today seem to follow a general formula.
But last week something crazy happened. I saw a poster for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes that was so mind-blowing I had to do a double take to make sure I wasn't hallucinating.
In case you haven't seen it, the image features a machine gun-wielding ape rallying his primate army on horseback.
Let that sink in for a moment. Ape. Machine gun. Animal-on-animal transportation.
This poster -- which, by the way, would double as a great Molly Hatchet album cover -- left me in a state of awe as I drove past it. I wasn't sure what the subplot of the story was, who the characters were, or when it took place, but I really didn't care. My curiosity was piqued.
And that wasn't even considering the symbolism of the burning Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
Okay, I'll be totally honest -- this poster is ridiculous. However, it's this ridiculousness that's compelling me to check out the movie this weekend. Odds are a heavily armed, militant ape will never patrol my street on horseback (which is probably a good thing, because for the most part I'm terrified of animals). But now that I've seen this poster, I don't think I can die peacefully before watching this scenario come to life, even if it's from the safety of a butter-and-salt stained theater chair.
Maybe this over-the-top approach should be used more often in Hollywood. For example, would you find a poster of an arms crossed, cigar-puffing Arnold Schwarzenegger interesting? Probably not. But what if Arnold was playing a violin in a cheetah print Snuggie, soaring through the clouds on the back of a majestic Griffin? You'd undoubtedly soil yourself.