Time to call cut on long film titles

 

Have some sympathy for cinemagoers who make the mistake of booking their tickets over the phone in the next few weeks. Quite apart from the purgatory that is the multiplexes' booking systems, they'll also have to contend with titles that will leave them breathless.

Movies out today include Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance in 3D. Later this month come Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island in 3D.

There was a time when titles were altogether tidier but Hollywood's obsession with sequels has paved the way for a tidal wave of punctuation and syllable-stretching subtitles, while the growth of 3D and IMAX has led many studios to garnish their boilerplates with unnecessary adornments.

Where audiences were once trusted to count, the strategy with today's sequels seems to be to forgo figures altogether and instead give movies a subtitle that ties a film to a franchise while still painting the picture as a stand-alone cinema experience. Just look at last year's four biggest blockbusters – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1. All sequels, all subtitled and all with the dreaded colon that's become as much a part of the cinema experience as popcorn, price rises and poor service from pubescent ushers.

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