Updated: Nov 12, 2019
Great opening scenes which give us all a complete picture about what the movie is about, roughly what to expect, and who the important characters are serve their purpose well and set the stage perfectly.
Yet these kinds of prologues aren’t the only ones which get the movie off to a great start. In some
movies, the filmmakers choose to capture the theme and mood of the entire film in an opening scene which presents many questions, keeps audiences guessing, and sometimes are just too obscure to make any sense of.
But that’s the whole idea. Create mystery, anticipation; and say only as much as is needed
to get the audience hooked.
Here are a few which begin with really intriguing sequences:
Avatar is one of those movies which catches us off guard with its strange beginning. It starts with the protagonist’s voiceover as he talks about his state of affairs, his challenges and his goals and motives as we see snippets of life and current context; he struggles to get through his daily life finding even normal things so hard to do because of his immobile legs… making the most of what he can with his capable
limbs… and defending those in need of it. He comes across as an honourable character, if slightly
pessimistic and depressing. With futuristic, urban settings, and an in-your-face style, the scene leaves us
asking many questions - why is he in a wheelchair, why is he helping people, and what could this all have
to do with a fantasy science - fiction movie?
This film begins with a highly charged sequence showing us the death of the Comedian.
Who is this Comedian, who sits in his robe, switching channels, smoking his cigar and wearing a smiley-face pendant?
There’s not enough time to find out because he is suddenly attacked by a mysterious
assailant. While the Comedian reaches for his gun, it’s a futile attempt at defence as the intruder knocks it out of his hands and continues his savage attack. The intruder eventually beats the Comedian’s head
on a table and tosses him out through the glass window. The Comedian falls to his death; his smiley-face
pendant slowly falling after him. This rather strange opening scene not only captures the mood, flavour
and style of the movie very effectively, but also leaves us wondering what the heck is really going on,
and what stranger events will unfold next!
Children of Men (2006)
The news of an 18-year-old boy being stabbed to death is broadcast on the Television channel and
watched intently buy a crowd of curious people in a small café. The setting is in a crowded street in London and in the year 2027.
As the crowd watches the news, we learn that the boy killed was the youngest on earth! We are at once draw into a plot and setting which is intriguing and exciting. A man quickly makes his way through the crowd to grab a small coffee and leaves as abruptly as he came. The
camera moves away from the crowd to follow him, and just as we’re wondering who this character is,
the café explodes in a devastating blast and many more urgent questions emerge in the baffled minds of
By saying very little, presenting ideas from unique perspectives, introducing intriguing characters, or
crunching dramatic unexpected events into a short timeframe, many movies have given us memorable
opening scenes filled with mystery and setting the movie off to a great start!