Catch Me if You Can

Opening title sequences are one of the most important parts of a movie or television show because it hooks the watcher in and makes sure you continue to watch. If a television show or movie doesn’t have an entertaining or nice to look at title sequence not many individuals are going to want to keep watching. The movie that I chose to analyze the title sequence for is Catch Me if You Can (2002) produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, based on a true story about a man named Frank Abagnale, Jr. (Leonardo Dicaprio) who is a master of deception who became a doctor, lawyer, and a co-pilot for a major airline all before his 18th birthday. Frank became one of the most successful bank robbers in history. A FBI agent named Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) makes it his mission to capture Frank and bring him away from the world of crime. Throughout the use of design elements being the use of movement, the use of typography, and the use of sound, and more, the title sequence showcases all three of these and makes it a more interesting story because of it. The title sequence for Catch Me if You Can utilizes fundamental design elements that capture the audience’s attention.

Title sequences play a huge role in starting the movies or television shows we watch nowadays. Although not many people pay attention to them, there are some who do and this sets the expectations for the movie/show and also shows a little bit of the movie without giving it all away. While watching the title sequence for Catch Me if You Can, I believe this is showcased throughout it. Although the title sequence for this movie is very simple and relaxed, there are elements in it that showcase more about the movie than people actually can see. Also the minimalistic design of this title sequence shows a nod to Saul Bass (who is a very famous designer for minimalistic design) and shows a clear understanding about what is going on in the title sequence.

With the use of movement throughout the title sequence, Catch Me if You Can uses movement to showcase Leonardo Dicaprio’s character running away from Tom Hank’s character.  The movement starts out slow, but slowly starts to pick up speed with the song playing in the background. Although the characters are more 2D in a sense, you can still see the quickness in the character’s steps. Also with the use of sound in the title sequence with the music, it showcases an urgency between the man in the beginning and the man in the FBI uniform. Also with the use of sound, it connects to the use of typography because the words on the screen bounce in at the exact moment that the music hits. Every person’s name or any word that shows up on the screen comes in with the sound on beat. The typography also helps showcase the movement between the two characters, because they use the lines from the words as doors, elevators, and many more things. At one point the little character that is supposed to be Leonardo Dicaprio slides down one of the letters of a name which helps incorporate everything together.  Everything is incorporated in some way to make sure that the title sequence is as aesthetically pleasing to the eye as it can be. The use of all three of these design elements shows the watcher what they should prepare for. The use of sound also shows that this movie isn’t just nice and proper, but has some action in it as well. The movement of the workers on the title sequence also go with the music in it as they walk out of the “doors” or the words on the screen. This makes the title sequence more pleasing to the eye and allows the watcher to be interested in it.

Throughout the title sequence the characters in it are showcased to be dressed with sixties haircuts, clothes, and postures, and the music also brings in more of a sixties feeling since that was when Catch Me if You Can was set in. Also the use of color is important in this title sequence because at the beginning of it the background is blue which is a happy tone color, while throughout the title sequence the colors change from blue, yellow, pink, red, and ending with black which is a more negative color. This also moves with the music because it picks up speed and seems more action packed towards the end where the black shows up.

Overall, the title sequence for the movie Catch Me if You Can showcases the overall theme of the movie through different design elements. The combination of these different design elements including color, typography, sound, and movement help draw the viewer in to continue to watch the movie based off of the title sequence. I would continue to watch this movie just because of the uniqueness of the title sequence and the different design elements that are used throughout it.

Discussion — One Response

  • Emily Perry 03/31/2020 on 10:40 AM

    This is such a great film! When viewing this title sequence it is always hard for me not to analyze the use of images. I love how each scene is different from the next. I agree with your points, the continuous use of unique typography and linear shapes can easily be recognized. It’s pretty neat how the silhouettes depict the main characters of the movie. Something I always notice is the silhouettes moving through the linear shapes, which signifies DiCaprio adopting each new identity. I also agree with the points you made regarding the color scheme of the opening sequence, it definitely has a sixties flare! The use of vibrant colors enables the animations to stand out and it really captures the attention of the viewer. It was a smart idea of the filmmakers to use a different color scheme for each identity. Even though the color scheme changed, the flow of colors remained visually appealing throughout the entirety of the sequence. Great job on your analysis!

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