The art of the movie poster has seen highs and lows over recent years: for every collection of stars’ headshots that offers nothing more tantalizing than “this person is in the movie, and they still remember how to pose for a camera,” there’s a masterpiece like the posters for Kill Bill or Skyfall, which use negative space to capture the cinematic essence of the film they’re designed to promote.
But, as an Imgur user with the absurdly long name of “Rindfleischetikettierungsuberwachungsaufgabenubertragungsgesetz” has proved, you actually can improve, in subtle ways, on perfection. That’s the result of several of the minimally animated posters uploaded to the photo-hosting service this week. In the poster for Kill Bill, a sword-wielding Uma Thurman and her masked opponents still dominate the frame–but by panning out to demonstrate the detail of what The Bride is up against, the tension is framed in a way that allows a brief glimpse at the poster to better capture the essence of Tarantino’s filmmaking style. This comes across as well in the animated version of the poster for Pulp Fiction, where Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta’s mean-mugging and gun-raising are the most essential part of the film, or in the moving-image of Back To The Future, which in a brief second more effectively explains exactly what the movie is about.
Of course, not every film requires this treatment, which is almost as interesting as finding out which ones do: the iconic poster for Vertigo, for example, already has such active movement built into it that spinning the figures and background busy-up something that was already effective. But while the Hitchcock doesn’t always effectively translate to the animated form, you might expect to see this sort of marketing more and more in coming years: Tumblr-ready posters for movies seems like a no-brainer, even if they can’t move as effectively on the cinema walls.