Hollow Man (2000)

“Hollow Man” (2000) directed by Paul Verhoeven, has a title sequence that sets the movie’s ambience beautifully through music, color, typeface and motion. The music in the title sequence is composed by Jerry Goldsmith. Goldsmith’s other work includes the soundtracks for “Alien” (1979), “Total Recall” (1990) and “First Knight” (1996). The music for “Hollow Man” is influenced heavily by past sci-fi work even from Goldsmith’s own portfolio. It uses synthesizers to create a mysterious melody much like the theme from “The X-Files” (1993). The “Hollow Man” opening music creates a dark and haunting theme and seems to give a warning to the audience- there is something dangerous here. 

There are two “segments” seen in the introduction. The first shows a grim, yellow typeface placed on a black background.

 

 

After a short while, a light expands and some sort of molecule appears on a faded yellow backdrop- we are looking through a microscope. To begin to analyze the opening credits’ typefaces would require a look at the motion seen putting the letters together. What first appeared to be microscopic particles are actually letters that swirl around before forming an accredited name. After a couple of seconds they swirl again and come back together to make a different name.

 

 

This repeats as the score grows more and more eerie. The letter style itself is more of an outline suggesting transparency which coupled with the name of this movie- “Hollow Man”- should clue a viewer in on what they are about to watch. Interestingly, the name of each cast member and worker is shown twice at the same time. It is shown once in the translucent font detailed above and a second time in black lettering placed somewhere around the clear type. This could be to aid in reading the names that appear as some letters are blurrier than others in the main font, though it actually serves a purpose when the name of a behind-the-scenes worker is shown. The stylized transparent font shows only the person’s name but the black font also shows what exactly their job was in working on the film. This helps to relegate space on the screen.

The color used in the opening sequence can be described as drab and dreary which helps to set the tone of this movie. The yellow used is faded and reminds me personally of a doctor’s office for whatever reason. In my eye, the color adds a quality of sterility. 

These elements combined- the music, the style and motion of the typefaces, and the color used all serve to set the tone of “Hollow Man” in a covert manner. The tone should not be forced. It should be built up in front of the audience. This sequence does that expertly.