So. The first poster for The Iron Lady, the forthcoming Thatcher biopic starring Meryl Streep as the steel-balled premier, has just been released, and it’s a fine example of someone under the impression they’re being very clever when really they’re being incredibly stupid.
Look at it. It makes no sense. It’s a confused mess of an idea, the product of a poorly-conducted brainstorming session. Somewhere, in a marketing meeting room, there’s a whiteboard with THATCHER, POLITICS, HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT, BIG BEN! scribbled furiously in a word cloud.
The problem is that while these ideas are indeed connected, the images, er, aren’t in any way. Mrs Thatcher, Meryl Streep, or indeed any human, bears no physical resemblance to a neo-Gothic government building (no, not even when you flip it the wrong way round). Unless Meryl’s suffering from a rare spire-growing skin condition, it’s inexcusably terrible.
Done properly, photoshopped object merging can often work brilliantly to achieve the kind of cleverness the Iron Lady designer thought he’d managed. Take the amazing Australian poster for Antichrist, which features Charlotte Gainsbourgh and Willem Defoe merged with the pair of scissors Gainsbourgh later uses to cheerfully hack off her own clitoris.
Or this quite smart poster for Gangs of New York, which neatly merges a tattered American flag with the New York skyline – deeply relevant to the movie. (Just ignore the silly over-the-shoulder poster poses.)
Or the probably-very-clever poster for Adaptation, which features The Cage merged with a pot plant, because…well…it’s about plants and that.
Or practically anything by poster designer extraordinaire Olly Moss, who churns out genius and affectionate designs like this lovely nod to the famous cocktail sticks scene in Rain Man.
In fact, they should have got Olly Moss to design The Iron Lady‘s poster; he almost certainly wouldn’t have cocked it up so spectacularly. Here endeth the self-righteous rant!