Wednesday, January 30, 2008

When Bad Art Happens To Great Films


Has anyone else been noticing just how truly horrendous a lot of the artwork from the big studios is getting for their home market? The tendency to not use the original, and almost always superior, theatrical posters has been going on for awhile but some of the latest photoshoppe nightmares (such as this one for the upcoming And Justice For All disc are truly disturbing.
Everything about a lot of these new discs just shows a total lack of respect to the artists and the films. Of course, this has always been a problem on the home video market but I have never seen quite so many sloppy and ill conceived cover designs as I am now. It just baffles me how so studios with millions upon millions of dollars on hand for promotion can't be bothered to care a little bit more for the looks of their products, when small companies like Severin and Blue Underground with limited funds at best can keep continually coming up with some of the most beautiful packaging on the market.
I suppose it all does come down to really caring about the films, which is something many of the large studios seem to have none for (especially their older catalogue films)...but for God's sake couldn't they have at least made Al Pacino's head look like it belongs on his body?
Oh well, I suppose the trend will continue, and apparently I am not the only one disturbed by it as a Google search for 'bad DVD artwork' brought over 200,000 hits. The new And Justice For All disc will be out in a couple of months and I will buy it for the new bonus features...but I won't be displaying this ill conceived artwork anywhere in easy view.

7 comments:

Brandon Colvin said...

One of the examples of terrible box art is the disc for A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE. It was so bad that I held off on buying the film for a couple of years, hoping they would release it with different art. It was just so damned boring. I suppose I'm slightly jaded though, what with all of the Criterions I'm used to purchasing . . . and then being astonished.

Jeremy Richey said...

Oh yea...that HISTORY OF VIOLENCE artwork is terrible. I seriously don't know what some of these companies are thinking...

Pete Emslie said...

Funny, this is a big pet peeve of mine too, especially in regard to classic older films which had such beautiful illustrated poster art that could be utilized instead of the Photoshopped crap. Even just going back to Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein", they cobbled together a photo collage to recreate the image of the original illustrated poster - just dumb!

Good call on the Al Pacino pic - that's definitely not the body that head belongs to! It seems like the guy who did the Photoshop cropping has Al's chin overlapping his collar to an unnatural degree. Sometimes though, the original poster art is just as badly done. Take a look at the badly attached heads of Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss on the poster for "What About Bob?" The necks are connected to the collars by perfectly straight lines and the bodies seem disproportionately small.

Ned Merrill said...

What about when good art happens to bad films? I could be hallucinating here, but the cover for the upcoming ZAPPED! DVD looks like original key art, which was about the last thing I was expecting on a catalog release from MGM...

Steve Langton said...

Good call! Even some of our classic horror films have crap covers. Check out Anchor Bay's DEEP RED sleeve for just one example.

Rogue Spy 007 said...

I've noticed this myself. So many of the releases coming out, especially those done by the big studios, have some awful cover art. Some of these films have some really great posters and other promo material that looked wonderful. I don't understand why they don't use some of this. Instead they look like they are copying and pasting something off the computer. I know that the big studios tend to care more about profit, than the quality of something, but this is ridiculous. They don't care about us fans.

Bob Turnbull said...

Have you seen the cover of the new DVD re-release for The Apartment? Not only terrible, but gives a totally wrong impression about the film.

But the studios who do this kind of work just care about grabbing someone's attention in a store (via big head shots of the movie stars) and putting across general genres - "it's a comedy", "it's an epic", etc.

And one of the worst of all time --> Real Genius