DVD menus - appreciated as a lost art

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Purple Jim, Jan 11, 2023.

  1. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Senior Member Thread Starter

  2. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Good article, thanks for sharing!

    Funny, as I was one of the early DVD adopters from late '97 to early '98 and just loved how creative many of the original DVD menus are.

    Here we are, nearly 25 years later and I still buy 4K Blu-rays (two generations newer tech!) that typically have very bland, static menu screens.
    audiomixer and Purple Jim like this.
  3. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan on Sabbatical

    Central PA
    Definitely a "lost art" with me - my wife won't tolerate a moment beyond, "push Play!" :sigh: When you have to sit all alone in your basement, just to catch all the outtakes...
    audiomixer likes this.
  4. JCRW

    JCRW Forum Resident

    The bonus DVD from the "A Nightmare On Elm Street" collection was a work of art, a giant interactive experience that we will probably never see ever again.
    audiomixer likes this.
  5. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader

    ontario canada
    I liked the DVD menu for ' The Manchurian Candidate '
    The phone rang and rang and rang and rang ...until you made a selection.
    audiomixer likes this.
  6. Post-Punk Monk

    Post-Punk Monk Seeking divinity in records from '78-'85 or so…

    North Carolina
    "All of that work costs moneeeey," the studio whined.
    audiomixer likes this.
  7. unclefred

    unclefred Coastie with the Moastie

    Oregon Coast
    Easter Eggs were often interesting back then.
    skisdlimit, MYQ1 and audiomixer like this.
  8. Curveboy

    Curveboy Forum Resident

    New York City
    Austin Powers had some great menus...which changed the longer you watched.
    The Spy Who Shagged Me has a bonus Comedy Central doc on Doctor Evil if you waiting long enough.
    kouzie likes this.
  9. Matt Richardson

    Matt Richardson Forum Resident

    Suburban Chicago
    Just give me the movie please.
    AndyTaylor, schugh, Jrr and 2 others like this.
  10. Vahan

    Vahan Forum Resident

    Glendale, CA, USA
    I like how the BTTF Trilogy menus matched the Clock Tower depending on the movie.
  11. John B Good

    John B Good Forum Hall Of Fame

    NS, Canada
    Me too.

    So many menus are challenging (will the steps be clocKwise or counterclockwise, or snakes and ladders OR will colors to see highlight what button to push be hard to discern).

    And on another tack, I hate the disk forcing me to watch ads for other movies.
    Bluesman Mark likes this.
  12. John B Good

    John B Good Forum Hall Of Fame

    NS, Canada
    and just play a little solitaire while you're waiting...
  13. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles

    You're no fun.
    Matt Richardson and Curveboy like this.
  14. Daniel Plainview

    Daniel Plainview God's Lonely Man

    Yep. DVDs had a fun factor that just didnt get carried over to bluray. I miss those creative packages. My favorite was probably UHF, where Weird Al would appear and yell at you if you did something stupid.
    DISKOJOE likes this.
  15. the real pope ondine

    the real pope ondine Forum Resident

    i kind of miss them, and ofcourse directors commentary, i would buy a dvd just for that
  16. planetexpress

    planetexpress Searchin' for light in the darkness of insanity.

    I think the most frustratingly beautiful DVD menus I ever encountered were for the limited edition Momento 2DVD set. You basically had to pass a test just to get anything to play. Kinda worth it though to see the Chronological cut of the movie FWIW.
  17. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Well, that comment comes no doubt from ridiculous complicated menus. I was just watching one tonight where it prompted me to choose continue or start over, and I couldn’t tell what selection I made so it did the wrong thing. I have a Simpsons dvd that to this day I can’t figure out how to start the episode. Like anything, they can be fun or get in the way. I also don’t like the Criterion dvd menus, as much as I love everything else about them. I can’t always tell what selection I’ve made.
    Matt Richardson likes this.
  18. CraigBic

    CraigBic Forum Resident

    New Zealand
    I do miss the creativity of DVD menus, the technology was so basic but if you put you got creative you could whip up something pretty cool in photoshop or after effects. I used to make custom menus all the time, it's sort of like putting the icing on the cake. Unfortunately, Apple never updated DVD studio pro to Blu-ray, I think Steve Jobs just couldn't be bothered dealing with all of the licensing and the DRM when Apple was selling movies in iTunes and online seemed like the future of movie distribution. Adobe briefly had some software that I understood at the time to be janky and is no longer available. I think the authoring software is insanely expensive as well so it's out of reach for the independent filmmaker and the stuff you can get doesn't create anything very complex.
    Blu-ray certainly had the potential to do amazing things with menus, they were based on JAVA but I guess that made the development costs higher and I think most studios just opted to use the same basic menu on all of their discs.
    The only thing that ever really annoyed me about menus is when they have a bunch of stuff up front that you can't skip.
  19. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    I actually hate how Universal uses "generic" menus on all their DVDs and Blu-ray discs: plain, ugly, and boring.
    FourWalledWorld likes this.
  20. Keith V

    Keith V Forum Resident

    Secaucus, NJ
    I was just talking about this recently. I thought it was just me.
    Purple Jim likes this.

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    I just got the Criterion DVD version of The Velvet Underground and everything is backwards on the menu.
  22. Ignatius

    Ignatius Forum Resident

    The "Knowing Me, Knowing You" menu tried to use a clever carousel effect, it making it very tedious to navigate.
  23. Daniel Plainview

    Daniel Plainview God's Lonely Man

    I had that one. I forget what you had to do to get the film to play chronologically.

    The packaging looked like a medical file. Compare that to the boring plain old blu-ray. Meh. Same with "Se7en" and "Fight Club". I miss them fancy packages. Soon they'll be no packaging at all. *sniffle*

    One of the Terminator 2 releases gave you a unique cut of the film if you typed some numbers into the remote.

    Boy, those were the days! Great fun. Maybe I was wrong to switch to blu-ray. Or, at the very least, maybe I should put my blurays in the DVD packaging. LET'S TAKE IT BACK!
  24. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    I agree. ADV released the anime Excel Saga with a large number of Easter Eggs that added to the original video. Here are just a few you can stumble on (BTW, Menchi is a dog who is Excel's pet/emergency food supply and struggles to escape Excel throughout the 26-episode anime):

    unclefred likes this.
  25. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    Worse was the first DVD of the anime Hand Maid May. It featured an opening screen where you had to select an item from a list to access the DVD but no matter what you chose it didn't seem to work. Eventually, the voice over for the DVD menu would let you in despite not selecting the "right" item.

    I suspect it was inspired by a scene in the anime where the lead character had to type a >100 character password as the software tells him what to type. If he makes one mistake it will wipe his system.
    Ignatius and Matt Richardson like this.

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