Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
Empire Blogs
Empire States

Back to all blogs Comment Now

The Art Of Movie Title Punning

Posted on Tuesday November 8, 2011, 17:40 by Ali Plumb in Empire States
The Art Of Movie Title Punning

Arthur Christmas is a pun, right? Because when you say it out loud, “Arthur Christmas” sounds like “Father Christmas”, doesn’t it? Kind of? Sorta? Maybe?

It’s got to be a pun. After all, they could have picked any other boy’s name, but instead they go for the most assonant one to “Father” they could find. It must be a pun. A very subtle, very weird pun.

With Arthur Christmas’s name hurtling about London on the side of buses recently, I only twigged that “Arthur Christmas” was a play on words a long time after I first heard about Aardman’s CGI Christmas film. About half a year, thinking about it.

It reminded me of the time when I realised that “Beatles” was also a play on words. I was too young, growing up, to realise that the “Beat” in “Beatles” was actually a gag – I just thought that was the way things were – the way “Beatles” was spelt by “The Beatles”.

Reading this totally frivolous little blog, by this point you’re probably thinking one of a couple of things. Either you’re thinking I’m a total moron for not realising The Beatles’s name was a gag, or you’re thinking I’m a moron because I think Arthur Christmas is a play on words, or maybe, just maybe, you can’t think because you’re mind has just been blown by my revelatory information about seminal pop groups’ names and Nick Park’s love of subtle punnery.

Of course, puns and movie titles have been closely intertwined since time began, from the basic (K-9) to the extremely forced (Austin Powers in Goldmember).

But other movie titles have also taken me a while to get. At first, Legally Blonde just seemed like a terrible title for an actually-kind-of-okay movie, but it turns out it’s a play on “Legally blind” and “Legally bound”, except she’s, you know, blonde.

Then there’s Toy Story, which I did genuinely feel dumb about not getting straight off the bat – I just thought it was piece of direct marketing for once – and Grosse Pointe Blank, a play on words involving a town I don’t know, the fact that he’s called Martin Q. Blank, the fact it’s an assassin movie, and the phrase “point blank”. I just thought it sounded cool.

Your Highness also took me a while – he’s a stoner, geddit? And a prince! HA HA HA HA! – and Blades Of Glory, too. Blaze, you see. BLAZE. OF GLORY.

So my question for you revolves around whether you’ve had the same thing happen to you. Ever read a movie pun, be it in the title or the tagline, and only got it days afterwards? Failing that, what’s the worst movie pun you’ve ever seen?

To get you into the mood, here’s a YouTube video compiling every last one of Arnie’s puns in Batman & Robin. Worth every cent of that $25 million paycheque, that performance. Plus, what a Bane! It makes you wonder, can Tom Hardy top that… Hmm. Perhaps a discussion for another blog.

Login or register to comment.

Comments

1 KingofallSamurai
Posted on Tuesday November 8, 2011, 20:33
How is Toy Story a play on words? I'm lost!

2 lloydiec
Posted on Wednesday November 9, 2011, 10:49
This is terrible as well as pointless

3 darkershadeofme
Posted on Wednesday November 9, 2011, 11:24
i'm confused about toy story too.. maybe it's because it sounds like "toy store"

4 Mikey.l
Posted on Wednesday November 9, 2011, 12:42
You're an idiot...

5 pendlebum
Posted on Wednesday November 9, 2011, 12:42
Oh God, how embarrassing. I didn't know any of this. I've gone back to that point when I was small when everybody in the class seemed to know about something and I had no idea and fearing everyone would see through my "of course I know that" act...
Thanks Ali.

6 omgitsgray
Posted on Wednesday November 9, 2011, 12:43
Maybe 'Toy Story' sounds like Tolstoy ? ...Or maybe darkershade is right with 'Toy Store' ? ...

7 organometallic
Posted on Wednesday November 9, 2011, 12:49
I am so glad it's lost on others as well.

Yeah it's exactly like Schindler's list, how the hell did I not get that one..

8 onlyjonesy
Posted on Wednesday November 9, 2011, 14:30
The Santa Clause. Only got this last christmas reading through the Radio Times!

9 djimi42
Posted on Wednesday November 9, 2011, 15:07
Tall Story.

I agree, a pointless blog.

10 djimi42
Posted on Wednesday November 9, 2011, 15:08
Although love the Mr Freeze montage.

11 Mikeduncan11
Posted on Wednesday November 9, 2011, 15:10
Con Air
Air Con(ditioning)

12 DarbyDaresYou
Posted on Wednesday November 9, 2011, 15:25
Why put this on here? SURELY if you've only just figured it out, everyone else would click on. I have just wasted a minute of my life on this waste.
GAAA!

13 C.C.C.P.
Posted on Wednesday November 9, 2011, 16:53
Live Free or Die Hard?

14 nucleargibbon
Posted on Wednesday November 9, 2011, 17:58
Toy Story? Nope sorry, you've lost me there.

15 dazzydee
Posted on Wednesday November 9, 2011, 19:05
what a lame blog post

16 andy333
Posted on Thursday November 10, 2011, 00:45
Toy Story is a good title because it is exactly what it says on the tin. Toy Story, none of this Tall Story, Toy Store. Its just a story about toys. I think you are over thinking it.

17 SuperShell
Posted on Thursday November 10, 2011, 10:04
Yeah Toy Story stumped me too but i think andy333 is right and its just a story about toys, because its for kids it works.

it does sound like toy store though

18 Invader_Ace
Posted on Thursday November 10, 2011, 12:37
In DOOM. The Rock gets the BFGun, the first time he fires it, he blows a huge whole in the wall of the bathroom taking a few toilets with it.
"Holy Sh*T!" he exclaims.

Half an hour later, I start chuckling.

19 Lewismarcus
Posted on Thursday December 15, 2011, 09:03
Toy Story just Toy story Nothing Else

20 florianbell
Posted on Friday February 10, 2012, 19:20
The Beatles has nothing to do with beats . It came to Paul in a dream. There was a man on a flying pie and he said Beetles with an 'a'.

21 lizziekate
Posted on Tuesday May 1, 2012, 03:54
The title 'Toy Story' is, indeed, a word play. It is mirroring the title of Japan's 'Tokyo Story'.

And '(500) Days of Summer' is also a film title pun. Upon first reading the title you think of the season, but Summer is actually the name of the lead female.

Log in below, or register to post comments
Username:
Password:
Remember Me:

CATEGORIES

Empire States (440)

Under The Radar (335)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (57)

Words From The Wise (36)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


RECENT POSTS

i, Robot Goes 3D On Blu-Ray
By James White

DreamWorks Touts New 'Toon Footage
By James White

Golden Globes 2012
By James White

James Cameron Talks Titanic 3D
By James White

The 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony: What Can We Expect?
By Helen O'Hara

The Sorcerer's Apprentice Edit Bay Visit
By James White

Shutter Island: A Thriller Out Of Time?
By Damon Wise

What Chris Nolan Could Bring To Superman
By James White

The Oscar Back-And-Forth
By Helen O'Hara

The Oscar Race: What Upsets Would You Like To See?
By Damon Wise


RECENT COMMENTS

Little Favour, Big Impact
"A really good short film. Gripping from the outset, a noir-ish action thriller with an interesting s"  Jaks
Read comment

i, Robot Goes 3D On Blu-Ray
"I received this yesterday with high expectations Now I am an advocate for 3D and a massive "  BigNickUK
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Someone at E! needs to get fired! Their coverage was shocking! Thanks god for Empire showing me the "  guysalisbury
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
""Harvey Weinstein’s nickname apparently being The Punisher. Write your own Thomas Jane jo"  loafroaster
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Have to agree with the previous comments about the coverage by E! Truly inept. Other than that, high"  wgfuzzydunlop1
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Sadly boredbluekoala is spot on with the description of E!'s shockingly incompetent handling of the "  spacemonkey95
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Great, so let's get the Oscars back on the BBC then."  Cameron1975Williams
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"I don't know which broadcast everyone else was watching, but the one shown by 'E' in the UK was shoc"  boredbluekoala
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Either Gervais was told to tone it down this year or he just couldn't come up with anything funny (m"  BenTramer
Read comment

James Cameron Talks Titanic 3D
"As a younger generation movie lover, i am thrilled by the fact that Titanic is coming back to the bi"  AusteV
Read comment


POPULAR POSTS

You Wouldn't Steal A Car...
140 comments

Should Spider-Man Have Gone 3D?
27 comments

Spielberg's Harvey: Why It's A Good Idea
26 comments

What Chris Nolan Could Bring To Superman
21 comments

The Oscar Back-And-Forth
18 comments

James Cameron Talks Titanic 3D
16 comments

The Oscar Race: What Upsets Would You Like To See?
11 comments

Golden Globes 2012
7 comments

The Sorcerer's Apprentice Edit Bay Visit
3 comments

The 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony: What Can We Expect?
2 comments


BLOGGERS
Damon Wise (298)
Helen O'Hara (181)
James Dyer (86)
Amar Vijay (71)
Ali Plumb (56)
James White (29)
Phil de Semlyen (21)
Owen Williams (21)
Simon Braund (6)
Nev Pierce (5)
Ally Wybrew (2)
Ben Kirby (1)
David Parkinson (1)
Dan Jolin (1)
Ian Nathan (1)

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 69% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Empire's Three Favourite Scenes Of 2014
A hat-trick of moneyshots from the last 12 months

The 32 Funniest Movie Moments Of The Year
2014's side-splittingest scenes

The 10 Best Games Of The Year
2014's top pixel-pushers duke it out for the number one slot

Dan Stevens: The Breakout Star Of 2014
We congratulate The Guest star on his year to remember

The 15 Most Memorable Character Deaths Of The Year
2014’s RIP honour roll

Watch: Night At The Museum's Cast Share Their Favourite Robin Williams Performance
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Ben Kingsley pay tribute to the actor

Watch: Jack O'Connell And Luke Treadaway Talk Unbroken
On POWs, panto and how to name your bomber

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)