13 Awesome Opening Scenes In Otherwise Terrible Movies
12. Snake Eyes
The Opening Scene: Brian De Palma sure loves his tracking shots, and Snake Eyes features one of his very best right at the beginning, lasting an insane 13 minutes. The scene begins with a journalist reporting outside the arena of a major boxing event, before it's revealed that this is in fact simply a camera being pointed at a monitor displaying the report, as it moves to show detective Rick Santoro (Nicolas Cage) mugging on another television set, before Santoro appears in person at the side of the monitor mere seconds later (and De Palma makes pains to demonstrate that the monitor footage appears to be recorded in real-time). Santoro spends the rest of the sequence trawling through the bowels of the arena, schmoozing with criminals and low-lives, and eventually heading out to the boxing ring, where the fight kicks off and the first blatant cut takes place. Though there are a few sneaky, visible seams where shots have evidently been stitched together, they do little to diminish the persuasive power of the scene. Shame about what follows, though.
The Rest Of The Movie: Sadly, this superb style isn't able to elevate what quickly becomes a thoroughly mundane thriller once the murder mystery narrative kicks in mere seconds after the first un-disguised cut happens. Cage gives it his all, but Snake Eyes is a jumbled mess of ideas, few of which work beyond those De Palma plotted out for his intricate tracking shots. Despite a merciful 98-minute run-time, this one feels plenty longer.
The Opening Scene: Swordfish opens with a riveting monologue from Gabriel Shear (John Travolta) about the classic movie Dog Day Afternoon, before Shear leaves the room to reveal that this is in fact the climax of the film, with a bunch of hostages hooked up to explosive vests in the bank across the street. After the SWAT team kills a terrorist and attempts to rescue a hostage, the proximity trigger on her bomb vest detonates, and in one continuous, beautifully destructive panoramic tracking shot, the full extent of the bomb's damage can be observed, blowing up cop cars, sending cops flying and destroying nearby buildings. The scene then cuts to four days earlier, and the movie really starts.
The Rest Of The Movie: Sadly, what follows pretty much sticks true to Travolta's opening words, "You know the problem with Hollywood? They make s***. Unbelievable, unremarkable s***." Swordfish makes the huge mistake of taking itself far too seriously all while being utterly ridiculous, and Travolta's performance even earned him a Razzie nomination for Worst Actor. After the impressive first eight minutes, the movie quickly abandons any sense of coherence.
10. Sucker Punch
The Opening Scene: The five-minute pre-titles sequence to Sucker Punch is a splendidly stylish introduction which the rest of the movie sadly can't live up to. Set to a cover of the classic Eurythmics tune Sweet Dreams (recorded by lead actress Emily Browning herself), Babydoll's (Browning) mother dies of unspecified causes, leaving her and her younger sister utterly distraught. After their evil stepfather finds out they're both his wife's beneficiaries, he assaults Babydoll and murders her sister, framing Babydoll for it and having her institutionalised, kicking off the rest of the movie.
The Rest Of The Movie: Whether or not you think that Sucker Punch is a sexist movie (after all, can a movie comment on misogynist fanboy culture while also featuring sexy sailor outfits?), it sadly doesn't amount to much more than a series of effects-heavy, video game-esque showdowns which don't cohere particularly well at all. Sure, it looks nice and all, but it's pretty much an empty shell underneath, regardless of how many straws some of its apologists keenly grab firm hold of.
Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes).
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