This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"That's my secret, Cap. I'm always angry."
11973 members | you are not logged in | 03 August 2020


November 01 2005

Cover art for the Serenity DVD. Quite possibly the worst Whedonverse DVD artwork ever.

Whilst there is a thread several posts below which was updated with the artwork, it really deserves a thread of its own.

Serenity is not a standard sci-fi movie. Nothing about it is standard.

This cover? It's about as textbook standard sci-fi DVD as you could ever get.

Sigh. Why not make something really simple which stands out?.
It's cheesy and cheap looking. Why not go with the movie poster for the cover at least?
I do like the menus, though.
What did they do to Rivers' eyes? Shame. This doesn't stand out at all. If I was browsing I wouldn't be tempted by this cover - I might well be put off.
Yeah, Summer Glau has apparently changed eye cover.

Also, see all the people at the bottom? Where the heck are they from? I think it's another movie.
Also, see all the people at the bottom? Where the heck are they from? I think it's another movie.

Yeah that's the thing that freaks me out the most. There isn't a single mass crowd scene in the entire movie.
I *THINK* it might be from Land of the Dead, or something similar. I'm pretty sure it's stock artwork layered on, anyway.
Maybe I shouldn't buy the region 1 DVD after all, cause god dammit, that was awful...
I'm pretty sure it's stock artwork layered on, anyway.

Which doesn't exactly do much to dissuade me from the notion that the Powers That Be really have just walked away from this.
Guess who has 'Try to get region 2 artwork changed' on his TODO list now?

theonetruebix - nah. If you look at Chronicals of Riddick, the cover is very very similar. No offense to the staff at Universal Home Entertainment but.. Uhm. Maybe this sells well and I'm just stupid?

[ edited by gossi on 2005-11-02 01:48 ]
Aren't those the ubervamps swarming for attack, or maybe the freaky mantis demon worshipers of Jasmine? Like the right Whedonverse pew, but the wrong church.
That mob of people, with Gina in front reminded me of the Matrix sequals, and I nearly cried. That's *so* not Serenity.
I think that's suppose to be the Serenity Valley at the bottom which is not part of the movie. They could have included the other cast or at least the Operative.
It's funny. The international artwork everyone apparently loved so much always made me think the film was some sort of Mad Maxine Beyond Thunderdome. This one looks like some bad SciFi Channel Original or straight-to-DVD release. I guess I'm one of the only ones who actually prefers the US artwork (which, frankly, should have been used for reasons of consistency if nothing else).

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2005-11-02 01:56 ]
It's truly dreadful. I plan to make my own cover and slap it over this picture.
Unbelievably dreadful. I think they do focus group research to determine the most hideous possible artwork and go with it.

I like Gossi's idea a lot better.
All the things that I hate about this cover....

1 - Top right corner, not only is the Firefly shown at a annoying side angle, but it also seems to be blowing up another ship.... I get it, that space bit is a set piece, still... to have the film's namesake displayed both inaccurately with the explosions and from such a boring angle sucks.

2 - The army, what is up with all those people. There is no crowd scenes in the film, Serenity Valley might work as an explanation. I think they are going for Mal and Zoe protecting the common people or something... it's dumb. Plus, the people look weird, there is a raised arm in there which looks like some weird alien animal to me... strange.

3 - Instead of intergrating Mal and Zoe into the design, they seem to be blasting from inside of some town, probably the one from the heist early on (or heck even Book's planet.) They are linked by lame sparks. I guess none of the rest of the cast are worthy of being on the cover, and hey Zoe has a big gun so let's include her... still... lame.

4 - River, she just plain doesn't look like River.

to conclude, not a good cover lol. I do like the sparking Serenity logo though.
English and French only? Who thought that up?
How am I going to explain that to my Spanish class that has watched most of the episodes of "Firefly" in class in Spanish?
They can put, what, up to 8 different language soundtracks, and 32 subtitle tracks on this format and what would it cost them per disc? Just about nothing, they already have it dubbed for the foreign markets. Do they think that no one in region 1 speaks Spanish? Or German, Or Japanese, or Bostonian, or Whatever? Why does the "Industry" want to exude that much control over what language we can watch it in?
I just hate that! Why withhold the technology from us.
I just spent like another (circa)$60 bucks plus overseas shipping (not to mention $$ for special DVD player) to Get "Firefly" in Germa-... Oh... NOW I get it.
Petition to have the artwork changed here. If you feel like it, sign and pass around. If an admin here wants to edit it into the title that's their call.
Wee... we've got 2 signs on the petition... Yeah... this should get it's own topic.
Looks cheap, really cheap. What on Earth is that behind Mal and Zoe. There's a salvagable box art there though I think, use a different picture of River, keep the top right and the logo and it's background, but change the bottom of the box completely, maybe the ship, or the rest of the crew, or even a still from the "Fruity Oaty Bars" commercial would be better.

As I said, cheap, wouldn't look out of place in a bargain bin, any of the posters would have been better than this, I reckon the plain black with the logo would have looked great (though some would find it dull).

But, it's Serenity, and it's an awesome film, so it will be proudly displayed in my collection.
I don't hate it.
Am I the only one that sees a llama in the crowd of people?
I agree. The artwork is an eyesore. Is this final? Not too long ago changes were made to the original US poster (ie. the floating heads one) with enough negative feedback. Any chance of it happening again this time around?
Er... that's pretty ugly. Maybe not as ugly as the international poster, but still...

(But I think gossi's suggestions is kinda spoilery.)

Personally, I'd have liked something like the promo books - the logo on a black background. If it works for Aliens...
As I'm looking at this artwork I keep thinking of the scene in Spinal Tap where the band see the black cover. This is just a rough mock up of the cover, isn't it?

Though having said that, plain black with just the Serenity logo would be better.

Other than that, what simple image can sum up Serenity? River with weapons? The space battle? Mal and The Operative facing off?

Edited to add, great minds think alike Craig. Plain black.

[ edited by zz9 on 2005-11-02 02:30 ]
Am I the only one that sees a llama in the crowd of people?

No, I saw it too!
OK wrong, oh so wrong!
Serenity has frickin laser beams man!!!
(altho I speak in my Dr Evil voice, I'm pretty shitted off about that)
The valley scene looks like something from RotK only I think it's supposed to be reavers, what with the reaver ships over head.
OK, I say let's line up the artists who made this up and, (I would say shoot them but not pc in this day and age)
Tickle them to death with a very hard feather!

Or maybe a gunmetal background, as the logo's on the side of the ship... Or sepia...
It's a joke. Right? Right? [hysterical] Right?

Why? Oh, it's gonna look awful next to my Firefly DVDs.

It's a joke. A Halloween Fool's Day joke, right?
nixy - you badass! I wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of you!
And I can't see a llama but I can see a Brontosaurus.
Yeah. Plain black -- like this. Would that not make you go over and see WTF it is moreso than this hideous thing they're using?
Here is the llama, all circle-tized and cropped.
I absolutely hate it. Hideous, derivative, horrible. And after the Firefly DVDs being so pretty! Someone should be fired - stat.
He heh yes Lone Fashion Wolf, I can be pretty damn nasty when I want to be!

I'd tend to disagree about the plain black. I think something attention grabbing is the go, but it should contain scenes from this particular movie in the very least!
Also is it just me...or does Mals gun look weird?
No! No! NO! NONONO! Is this for real? Did anyone at Universal see this? Did someone actually okay this? Serenity shooting beams? Some field of charging armies that don't appear in the movie?? Who airbrushed the shiznit out of River? I barely recognise her! Anyone notice that straw puppet at the bottom? Is that supposed to be Mal??? And really, splitting the cover in half by using a straight line in the middle of it is NEVER A GOOD IDEA! It screams cheap-ass B-movie!

Okay, look, the posters all had their problems. (some big ones)Yes. The blue one was the best I think, but still nowhere near a good representation of the movie. But this makes all of them look like frikkin' art! Who do they have doing this?? Look I'm a graphic designer and while I don't claim to be any kind of genius I could whip up something better than this in an hour! Seriously! And that's not a bold claim in any way! Who does this?? Some pay-less intern in the basement who fiddles with photoshop? Seriously! That's what I'm seeing! One of those guys that can't even *spell* 'composition'!

Come on now, these people are supposed to be doing this for a living!
Here are two different views of the cover I'm working on. Now that we have an official list of features, I can get to work on the back cover.

Flat View

3D View

[ edited by The Dark Shape on 2005-11-02 03:14 ]
Yeah ok, I want a nice high-gloss, heavy-stock copy of The Dark Shape's design to wrap my eventual crappy-design DVD in.
That's really wonderful The Dark Shape!
Now that The Dark Shape, is a box art.

I suppose Universal's thinking is that the poster didn't work to get people into the theaters, and so try something different.

[ edited by Ghost Spike on 2005-11-02 03:21 ]
I think the people at the very front of the Fantasy Mob are the creqw of "Serenity". I think I can make out Real River, Simon, Book, and I think the Llama is Wash.

ETA: Ooh, very nice The Dark Shape. I think that would make for a very nice digipak-style box.
I would be embarrassed to show this to friends who haven't seen the movie. They would be embarrassed to rent/buy it! And I wouldn't blame them. It's really sad if they mess up the art on the DVD on top of everything else. DVD money should be easy money, and BTW The Dark Shape's cover is much better (though I never cared much for the poster, at least it is not over the top cheesy).

[ edited by Cygnet on 2005-11-02 03:31 ]


If they are going to put an image in the center, under the title, then it should be the ship, not some blue ball planet. River looks ridiculous in her cocktail party makeup and hair. Show Zoe with her gun, but a pensive and glowering Mal would be better. I don't need to see Mal firing a damn gun, too! AND, hello? He's the Captain. Put his image in PLACE of River's, thank you.

The other complaints you all mentioned were spot on. The stupid yellow throng? SERENITY FIRING LASERS? **head in hands**

Ed, one of my first thoughts upon seeing this was of you. "Uh-oh. Ed's gonna hate it." And your composition remark? So right on. Where's the flow?

Also with you guys on the anti-all black idea. Boo. Serenity has incredibly beautiful imagery. USE IT, please!

To quote Otto in A Fish Called Wanda: "Disappointed!!"
Huh, they went with the color design from The Mummy flicks. Interesting choice. Interesting, inappropriate, icky choice :-p
There's no way it would fit on a DVD cover (though, you never quite know with these guys...) but my favourite image from "Serenity" is River framed in the fiery swing. So great.
Put his image in PLACE of River's, thank you.

Exactly! Mal is the frikkin' lead!! The PLOT is about River but Mal is basically the main guy! Joss even shot that extra scene to make that a little clearer in the beginning.

It's no wonder people think this movie is about a girl called "Serenity".

Ed, one of my first thoughts upon seeing this was of you. "Uh-oh. Ed's gonna hate it." And your composition remark? So right on. Where's the flow?

Sigh....probably lost somewhere in the two separate desert horizons that are floating right on top of each other.....*shiver*

[ edited by EdDantes on 2005-11-02 03:43 ]
I wasn't pro-all-black, FWIW, and I don't think anyone else was either. I think the point was that even logo-on-black would be better than this monstrosity.

And anyway, clearly The Dark Shape's box art is the clear winner.
Craig, thats exactly what they should've done. The serenity logo on the side of the ship. Very simple but attractive and actually is 'in' the movie.
Ed, if you've got a spare hour, do you think you might favor us with an alternate design? Just for grins, I'll bet good money that you could whip out an awesome version!

The Dark Shape, yours is nice work, but it's really just the poster, yes? I'd like to see another original idea.
"There's no way it would fit on a DVD cover (though, you never quite know with these guys...) but my favourite image from "Serenity" is River framed in the fiery swing. So great."

Not neccessarily. YOu know the spot on the R1 cover where you see the dusty town? It could fit on a cover right there.
VERY slick and nice The Dark Shape, I really like that.
JustNick, I can totally see the llama now. Wow. I must have been out getting popcorn during that part of the movie.

I really don't like this cover art. What is up with all those people on the bottom?

The Dark Shape, I'll definitely be printing a copy of your cover and replacing the original box art.
Did anyone scroll to the bottom and see all the glorious DVD extras?

ETA: NO ONE will rent this. I would be embarrassed to give this as a gift. It screams cheap for days.

[ edited by April on 2005-11-02 04:27 ]
<self-promotion>Speaking of DVD extras (in a sense): Now that we're all salivating for the DVD release, I trust you are all getting ready to submit an audio commentary, right?</self-promotion>
theonetruebix - I had no idea about that site! I'll certainly do a Serenity commentary (I'm reasonably serious about this). 23% of it will be about Joss Whedon's dancing (which actually features in this months Empire UK magazine). I'm not so serious about the last part, though.
I had no idea about that site!

Well, I only just put it up, slowly, over the past week. And, of course, I've been sitting around waiting to find a relevant moment to mention it here, heh. (And look, I even managed to wait until this thread was reasonably long before my self-promotion!)
I did April!
The Menus don't look to bad either.
Why they seemed to do OK in that area and completely screw up on the cover I will never know!

The Dark Shape, that looks way more like what we should have, Altho I would be very very intrigued by what Ed could make for us??
*hint* (just incase you missed the obviousness of it!)

ETA: Onetruebix...will definately be doing one of those for you. I'm hopefully getting together to record a new Josscentricality podcast this week. I'll see if I can organise a commentary also!

[ edited by nixygirl on 2005-11-02 04:41 ]
Well I like the electric Serenity logo and the space battle. But the picture of River has to be changed and the whole bottom need to be completely redone. What the hell are all the people there for anyway.
SpikeBad, Serenity doesn't have laser guns (re: your 'space battle' reference.).
But it looks cool.
o god its hideous!
Maybe the upcoming 2-disc special edition we all know will come out (come on, they ALWAYS come out with special editions later on) will have better artwork?

You all are right.. it is horrific. I would prefer just the Serenity logo on black background to this.

[ edited by AnotherFireflyfan on 2005-11-02 05:00 ]
OK Spikebad, I will have to agree to disagree with you on this one.
Cause Serenity having lasers is annoying the hell out of me. Especially as there's so many great scenes of with explosions and stuff. Of course your entitled to your own oppinion, so long as it doesn't disagree with mine! ;)
If it does, well...that's when I get really nasty.
*go-go gadget slap*
ewwww, just ewwww.
The images they put out for this movie just get worse and worse and worse.

Gee I wish they had done something combining the serenity logo and some of the other images they obviously loved so much. The juxtaposition of the warm, tattered logo with the cold blue futuristic psycho horror chick stuff might have given it the right irony and dissonance to actually give the feel of the movie and be eye catching. That, however, would have meant taking a chance that people actually might be interested in something interesting and different. (sigh)
newcj, great post. I agree completely, especially with the *sigh*.

Why oh why can't our man's work ever get the respect it SO, and has always, deserved? Why do his series and movies get tossed around like so many minor chess pieces on the entertainment grid? Why do our loud and passionate voices continue to go unheard? It's fucked up, I tell you.

In the beginning, the promotion of this movie was great. They got us fans all amped with the pre-screenings, they did the River sessions, they got Sci-Fi to re-run the series. Then it all just went away. Buh-bye Serenity, we just don't care any more, let's cut our losses and move on to Doom. 'Dropping the ball' has never meant more to me than in regards to this movie. They really just said to hell with it, and abandoned all pretense of support.

But what are you gonna do? Unless you are someone in a position to make a difference at the source, there really isn't much hope. We can rally and shake our fists while bellowing from the treetops... but then what?

C'mon, please. Is it too much to ask to have decent, even cool, dvd art? No. It. Isn't. Damn, guys, just get it together and do it up right. Serenity deserves that much at least. So do all the viewers that have yet to see it.

And so do we.
TheDarkShape, that's a DVD cover I can live with, despite the fact I don't like the NorthAm poster. Good job, (wo)man.

I also really like theonetruebix's simple Serenity logo on black. Very classy. And I think even knuckledraggers can appreciate classy and would want to own that DVD.

ETA: Right on, newcj and Willowy! It would be nice to know your pleas were heard and weighed.

[ edited by Drifter on 2005-11-02 06:37 ]
Willowy, I think if Universal had shown those "River Sessions" along with the trailers people would have been very intrigued to see what it was all about. Heck, The Blair Witch Trial showed someone running through the woods crying and with a shaky camera and the scare factor was enough to line them up at the theaters.
I think you're right, bl. Imagine the interest if they showed those with no explanation. They should have been broadcast on tv, not just the internet.
My theory for why the DVD cover art looks so bad, is that the web company that put together the cool Serenity website ended up with the contract for the artwork. Only problem is that web design is not the same as print design and often web designers make awful print designers and vise versa. The thing is that you often get companies who are really good in one area but not that great in the other area, but they still try to get the contract for both sides. This comes from experience from being a web developer for many years and working for a variety of web and print companies. Often when I see bad design that's a part of a big expensive ad compagin, I end up finding out that it's print designer doing web work or web designer doing print work. Now the Serenity website is so amazing that I'm guessing Universal went with a really great web company, only to have them do a lousy job on the print side like the DVD artwork.

At least that seems to be the only logical explanation to me why such a bad cover design was ever made public.
Matt_Fabb, good theory, very plausible and likely not too far off the mark. In my narrow mind, I'd always preferred a simple logo-on-black cover design (much like the 8 1/2" x 11" mini posters handed out at the advance preview screenings, just without the row of headshots along the bottom) but Willowy is absolutely correct in that Serenity does have incredibly beautiful imagery that should be displayed on the DVD cover; it really can't be very difficult to do it right (or at least better).

But hey, what are we getting upset about? Perhaps this is targeted to some heretofore untapped market of enthusiasts fun trips out to the zoo (complete with llamas and Brachiosaurs from the 'Jurassic Park' exhibit), with Angelina Jolie's trashy teenage cousin (all dolled up for a fun night out at the docks waiting for the sailors to come in), a surging idiot mob and a floating, frozen testicle? Sounds to me like a Yahoo! or Meetup group just waiting to happen!

I think that Universal has forgotten about the people that are going to buy this DVD and the next DVD. If people don't like this cover then they are likely to hold of for inevitable special edition DVD. Also, I can see that there is going to be a market for alternative Serenity DVD covers.
Holy mother of crap!

Um... er...

Holy mother of crap!!!

[ edited by Simon on 2005-11-02 11:15 ]
I really like the cover, actually.

No point asking for it to be changed, though - it would take way too much money and time to change it now.
Hey, why are there italics on the last 2 posters?
There names are in Italics?

Huh? Mine are too?

ETA: And now it looks normal. Must have been a ripple in the Llamatrix

[ edited by nixygirl on 2005-11-04 10:31 ]
I have no idea on the timeframe for such things, but haven't other DVDs gotten their box art changed? Someone tonight told me that the Veronica Mars box set was changed after initial crappy response.
Sweet jehoozelah. Are we positive there isn't some kind of covert conspiracy to sink sales of this DVD by deliberately ignoring the film's actual visual appeal?

'Cause in the movie I saw, River wasn't some plastic-looking boobular chick with too much product in her hair, and there wasn't any fancy lasar battle involving a Firefly class vessel, and what the merry hell is with wasting vast areas of primo packaging real estate on, um ... the Children of the Corn, or somefreakingthing? (Though I reckon having a couple of folks with guns a'blazin' makes it A-OK, even though they're all shortly to die from the blue hell about to crash down from above onto their apparently unsuspecting heads...)

And why only one measly quote from a favorable review? Weren't there, like, godzillion to choose from -- or am I just hallucinating that Serenity got reams of press, most of which was among the best I'd ever seen for a SF/F movie?

Please -- somebody, somewhere out there. Do something about this. Serenity so deserves better.
Some visual comparisons of the original and then doctored shots of the battle.
I thought they were interesting.
Shouldn't there be a spoiler tag for the link to the art? We see the menu of the DVD, which gives info on the movie.

SNT had talked about early december as the date where spoiler tags for Serenity will no longer be necessary...

Other than that, what simple image can sum up Serenity? River with weapons? The space battle? Mal and The Operative facing off?

As I suggested in the other thread, zz9, a plain logo of Serenity would be really meaningful to me. And strange enough to non-fans so that maybe they would like to pick up the DVD and see what it is about.

Yeah. Plain black -- like this. Would that not make you go over and see WTF it is moreso than this hideous thing they're using?

Argh, you stole my idea, theonetruebix (actually, you had that idea before me, but I'd rather say you stole it from me-having-it-in-the-future... this makes me look more clever, you see? ;) ).
Anna Von Ovonov, the reason you won't find eight audio tracks on a DVD is not that studios want to divide markets and shell in on import, but that a DVD has a limited storage capacity. True, the video occupies more space than the individual audio tracks, but if you want to squeeze a two-hour movie with stereo, surround, commentary and foreign language tracks onto a single-side disc, and on top of that include bonus materials, you have to cut some features loose. A Spanish track would most likely result in the loss of the commentary or some extra features.
YIKES, but that's horrible box-art. It screams B-movie. If I didn't know about Serenity already, I'd be walking around this one in a wiiiide circle if I saw it at a video rental store. Hell, I'd almost be ashamed to be seen with something so horrible looking.

Absolute crap work.

Here's hoping it still gets changed *crosses fingers*
It looks like a double feature cover. You know, the kind where you have the Eric Roberts movie on top and the Louis Gossett Jr. one at the bottom.
This is bad, real bad. If Universal expected the DVD to appeal to rental fans, then this design ensures that this will NOT happen. It really does look like some cheap B, made for TV, movie.

If I was browsing the rental shelves I certainly wouldn’t pick it up, let alone rent it (luckily for me I already know how great the show/movie is – although I'll probably order it online as it’s just so embarrassing).

Please tell me the UK version will look much better.
That's not a llama! That's Jar-Jar Binks!

Run away! Run away!
Absolutely horrendous. Please, please let this not be the region 2 version (prays fervently to non-existent deity). I am seriously re-thinking importing the reg 1 version now. I didn’t want to hang around and wait, but this is just too awful. Deep breath. Deep breath.

I was planning to buy lots of copies to give to people for any and all (un)suitable occasions, but I couldn’t possibly do that with a DVD that looks like this. My friends/relatives are not 15 year old boys. They will just laugh at me and not watch this. It looks cheap and nasty.

Serenity is a classy movie – make a classy cover. WTF is wrong with these people?
My cover has a giant llama and river is made of chocolate tagline, and quotes from bert and ernie.
And still is better than this one.

Actually, the top I think is very good. Maybe I'll make a decent one...
I don't know what to think. Firstly I think people should calm down a bit, I think they're basically trying different things.

I mean the international poster was very minimalist, and people complained about it, so this time they've went for more pictures on the cover.

Personally I think having Mal and Zoe on the cover looks cool, and the space ships aren't too bad. The whole landscape at the bottom is very generic, though, it looks like something from Lord of the Rings and certainly not like the Reavers in Serenity.

I just think no matter what they do people will complain. Ideally I would have liked a nice cover with the nine Big Damn Heroes on it, but not just a typical group promotional shot, maybe seperate pictures of each of them put together or something. Or maybe Serenity herself.

I'm actually not liking the menu design, though. It's probably functional and maybe nicer than something really bare, but it just looks a bit too sci-fi. Nice to see all the deleted scenes are in there, although I would have liked the option to integrate them into the film.

So do we know if the film will be getting an R2 release? Will it depend on the success of the R1 version? Will it have new cover art?
Fantastic work JustNick - your version is just as useable as the Universal one!

Both are unlikely to convert the masses (and some fans) :)

[ edited by ncr on 2005-11-02 16:31 ]
JustNick, that's hilarious. The Dark Shape, you rock!
JustNick - that cracked me up. I love the way you capture the very essence of Serenity.
Well that's interesting.

Define interesting...
Razor - it's getting an R2 release. I'll probably be working closely on the promo for it - here's betting the UK release goes out with actual, you know, publicity and stuff.
JustNick that's fantastic. You'd get the Serenity fans buying it, the laama fans buying it, and the people that reckon it's some completely random comedy buying it.

But why is there a laama in that crowd of what are probably supposed to be reavers.
I guess I am in the minority. I don't think the cover is bad at all. It's not great but not bad. I think people should focus more on petitioning to have another movie or series versus wasting their time on a DVD art cover.
Oh, my dear and fluffy lord. This cannot be the cover art for Serenity. This is like the cover art for The Return of the King to the Land of the Dead Hot Sexy Supermodels and Those Unimportant People with Guns at the Bottom. I MEAN, WHAT THE HELL IS UNIVERSAL SMOKING?! First, they pull it from release pretty much everywhere, and now this?! This movie could have a life on DVD! I was expecting it to be huge on DVD! And now this cheesy as hell, cheap 1980s B cult fantasy design shit?!

Needless to say, I am pissed. And mightily.

Serenity firing laser beams?! River looking like a plastic doll with scary green eyes?! The rape of the classy Chinese logo for some weird-ass electric blue shit?! The lack of earthy colors excepting the horrid Scorpion King-esque hues at the bottom?! THE FUCKING LAND OF THE DEAD CROWD?!

What is going on here?!

I completely agree with those that have been saying the logo on a black background would be absolutely perfect. It would be such a moving tribue to such an emotional, heartfelt film. And despite what the Universal execs may think, less says more, and more says less, especially in this case. I would never even remotely toy with the idea of renting this--let alone buying the thing--had I not been a tried-and-true Browncoat since the day "The Train Job" aired, and a huge Buffy/Angel-phile before that.

I think that Firefly/Serenity virgins who see this at their local Blockbuster will fall into two different categories. The first category will be those that actually appreciate film as art (well, if any of those do indeed still frequent Blockbuster), who will take one quick glance at the jacket and chuckle, "Sweet God, that looks like shit. Let's rent Garden State instead..." The second category will consist of those few but vocal SF nerds who actually dig the Sci-Fi Channel made-for-TV movies. They'll look at it and go, "Hell yeah!" But then when they get home and find that it is not all piss-poor and godawful like they had hoped, they will be extremely disappointed.

Hell, I'm a die-hard fan who's seen the film six times, and even I am embarrassed to buy this shitty-looking disc. Universal, do you know how much I've talked Serenity up to SF-resistant people who actually show signs of interest when I explain it to them? They'll see the DVD, scoff, and say to themselves, "Never listen to a sci-fi nerd..."

I don't think the hard-working fans deserve this kind of treatment, and nor does Joss, the cast of the film, and its amazing crew.

You bastards.

I myself am going to start a separate petition for The Dark Shape's overwhelmingly lovely cover design to be used for the SE that Universal is of course going to pump out just to soothe us bitter, bitter Browncoats...

[ edited by UnpluggedCrazy on 2005-11-02 18:08 ]
While I will agree that The DarkShape's cover art is preferable, the movie poster did not exactly bring people streaming into the theaters. More than anything else, this is probably Universal's reasoning in going with something else.
Gorram it, I was never able to discern why exactly Browncoats detested the poster so much. It was simple and very easy on the eyes...I have it up on my wall, even. :-)

In any case, the U.S. one-sheet is certainly better than the godawful international posters and "art."
And yet there were many a loud voice screeching that the international poster was far better than the U.S. poster. I liked the U.S. poster as well. All those that hated the U.S. poster so much might be having second thoughts now.

Can't please everyone, or in this case, anyone. So it seems.
At least the DVD cover doesn't mention 'Buffy' or 'Angel' (as it did on some international posters). On several occasions whilst promoting the film to friends, family and work colleagues I was asked "Do you need to have seen Buffy in order to get Serenity" aaahhhhh!
DarenG - the ONLY thing which will make another movie happen is MONEY from DVD sales. Seriously. Money is the motivator to make things.

And will that DVD cover get people in Blockbuster saying "Oooooh, what's this?! I must look".
This is really a shame. The thing that gets me? Why did they need to "RiverSexbot" Summer Glau? (Well, yes, there are many other things so wrong with this cover, but I'll stick to one).

And not very long ago, (overly optimistic) I thought we'd soon be getting little Reavers in our Happy Meals, and kids would be clamoring for Serenity replicas (NO lasers, mind you) for Christmas. What the hell was I smoking? I'm very sad.
One has to wonder what's going on behind the scenes right now. I can't imagine that Summer, or the llama, are very happy.

But to those who keep saying how we're hard to please, starting with mediocre and then going to god-awful repulsive is not an alternative or a's the American political system! And, just like U.S. voters, we can and should demand better or this thing can end for all time very, very soon. :)

(I've just edited this to addea smily face to try and show that I'm not coming unglued! Really, not even a little.)

[ edited by bobster on 2005-11-02 22:14 ]
I'm beginning to wonder if there is a photoshopped face running around stealing cover time from beautiful people.
See: Tru Calling season two
Aye. All I can say is this: a lot of people are wanting this to sell like hot cakes on DVD. I mean, this has to outsell Firefly by a factor of at least 5 fold for any remote hope at a sequel. And so you need broadly appealing covering for that goal. You can't sell it to everybody, but standing out would be a great idea.

You know the Point Pleasance DVD cover people here were saying "Wow! I hated the series but that cover is awesome!". How many people are saying that for this? Removing the Firefly love, what stands out about this cover?

The movie is a fantastic achievement, a stand out Sci-fi film, and deserves stand out marketing in my opinion.
I would LOVE something very simple. Maybe the chinese logo centered in middle over very faint unfocused images of the entire crew (Book included). If there is room, the operative too!

ETA: stupid grammar mistake, geez!

[ edited by Harmalicious on 2005-11-02 20:06 ]
Seems as though I’m arriving a bit late, but I agree with anyone who is shocked and even appalled by the dreadful composition of the “artwork”. When the Serenity logo was first revealed, I giggled and thought “That is going to confuse the heck out of non-fans”. Then, when I first saw the US poster without having seen the film yet, I thought “If I didn’t have some idea of what the movie was about, I would have no idea what the movie is about.” Those responses don’t seem so funny anymore. I don’t think whoever was given the task of butchering the marketing even further by turning out this cover that causes my aesthetic (and other) sensibilities pain had any idea what Serenity is about. Who knows if the artist(?) even saw it to get an idea of what mood and spirit to capture with the art? If someone tried to explain Serenity cold to someone who wasn’t familiar with it at all and then asked them to produce visuals, I can imagine them going “WTF??!” I’m not defending how god awful and ugly it is, but maybe someone just decided to stick a bunch of inappropriate images together very amateurishly because they didn’t know what else to do. It is absolutely shameful that this is going to sit on shelves as a representation of the film. It makes Serenity look like cheap sh*t and it's anything but that.
Oh my God, what the hell is "that" thing?
That has nothing to do with Serenity.
And what about Summer's eyes? Come on! ¬_¬

Joss, we really need your help!
At this point, Gossi, I'd be happy to see above average marketing.

As far as the suddenly finding the love for the US poster after deriding it when it first came out: I personally haven't found love for it, though it might seem that way because I have liked everything they have done since less and less in incremental steps. IMO they have been going down the wrong road and thinking that because they haven't gotten where they want to go, they need to push farther down the road. Problem is, this road don't go there. Serenity is not cheap, sensational shlock and marketing it that way will not bring in the bucks.

bobster, Gee, I thought I was bad about taking something and blowing it up to global consequences, but you win today. Watch out though, that way lies madness. ;-) (Of course at the same time, as I was writing above about taking the wrong road, my fingers desperately wanted to do a political analogy instead. You know, they lose the election because the party is not seen as being moderate enough but the radicals think they lost because they weren't radical enough and pull the perception of the party even farther away from center thereby compounding the problem. That kind of thing. Glad I stuck with the road analogy.)

...and I am sure that if Joss could have done anything he would have already. If we are in this much pain imagine what he must be going through.

[ edited by newcj on 2005-11-02 20:54 ]
gossi, the number of people that would look at a DVD and WOW i want to see that is minimal at best. The covers are more for the fans of the movie. I think people are taking this way to serious. All I am saying is all this time and effort for petition stuff could be better spent elswhere. For instance getting sci-fi to pony up for some TV movies or another series.

The cover art is not great but it's not bad either.

[ edited by DarenG on 2005-11-02 21:30 ]
DarenG, respectfully, I disagree - and I think it's a good use of my time. The time spent to bundle set up this petition, and get it printed and delivered (paying to have it done, it's quite cheap) is about 20 minutes in total.
Universal, you'd better make peace with your dear and fluffy lord.

I wouldnt be going to the extreme in saying I hated the cover, but I would much prefer something like the Dark Shape's DVD cover which in my opinion kicked ass. This cover is just tacky and won't attract anyone.

So I'll be signing the petition.
(Mixing and matching quotes and replies here.)

I mean the international poster was very minimalist, and people complained about it, so this time they've went for more pictures on the cover.

See, this is the problem I think the studio has: They don'tactually understand what the crticisms have been about. Those of us who criticized the international imagery didn't do so because of the minimalism (I like minimalism) but because it made the movie look like gorram Mad Maxine Beyond Thunderdome.

Lord help us if the studio looked at negative opinion of things like the international poster and assumed it was from people who wanted to see irrelevant clutter instead.

I think people should focus more on petitioning to have another movie or series versus wasting their time on a DVD art cover.

Really now, which one of these sounds like the actual waste of time here?

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2005-11-02 21:54 ]
I mocked together a quick minimalist cover:

Intent: make people pick it up to see what the back says.

[ edited by gossi on 2005-11-02 22:09 ]
That's perrty Gossi.
Gossi is on an interesting track. That's really all the box should do -- attract attention/interest so that passers by pick it up--and then be impressed by some nice images and a load of great quotes from reviews in major publications on the back.

[ edited by bobster on 2005-11-02 22:19 ]
bobster, you mean to say a DVD cover shouldn't have as many aspects of the films and characters and locations and special effects and everything possible thrown on the canvas!?!

I like this, personally.
Yeah, the Point Pleasant box is definitely arresting. Not sure I "like" it, but it sure gets attention and intrigue going and I'm sure it will help move some units.

But then I ask, where is the lama?

[ edited by bobster on 2005-11-02 22:46 ]
I've heard Wash's face and cockpit are visible on the left hand side of the DVD.. But I'm not seeing it myself.
So are we thinking there is some connection between Mal and the Llama?

Wait! Mal IS the Llama?
The Llama is who?
I knew that expression on the RiverSexbot looked familiar...

So, the Dalai Lama is somewhere on the cover because ... Ron Glass is Buddhist?

[ edited by m'cookies on 2005-11-02 23:03 ]
So we're saying that Ben knows the llama?
Heh, m'cookies.

To flip another two cents into this discussion: the reason I hate this cover is not because it doesn't represent the 'feel' of the movie? What's 'the feel' of the movie, anyway? That seems like a very personal thing and not something one could ever expect to be captured in a cover or movie poster.

I'm one of those people who thought the international poster was actually pretty good. It didn't represent what the movie was about, but it attracted attention and I think it worked better, promotion-wise, than the US poster. That having been said, I'd rather have the US poster on my wall, even though I thought it looked a bit too much 'standard sci-fi movie'-like.

Now the problem with this DVD cover is that it's hideous. It's not that it misrepresents the movie. It does, sure, but that's not what's important. It's not Serenity shooting lasers either, because no potentential renter/buyer would care. It's that this cover art screams 'bad straight-to-dvd b-movie, stay away!'. I buy lots of DVDs and rent even more, and even though I read movie magazines and surf movie websites, some movies get by me. And when I'm in the rental store, figuring out what to get, usually already having seen everything I've read about, it's always the covers I look for first. When my friends - who do not obsess about movies quite as much - browse with me, it's always the cover that gets them to pick up a DVD.

"Do not judge a book by its cover" is an expression for a reason, people. And Serenity is going to be judged by its cover, and it's going to be judged as a movie not worth watching, as a bad product not even worth the money to make a decent cover. Because, usually, movies with covers like this, are bad. And there's no reason to assume this movie will be any different, except if you already know it - in which case it doesn't matter what the cover looks like in the first place.

I would not rent or buy a movie presented this way, if I didn't know the show. So when people say that it's not a big deal, I respectfully disagree. This is going to hurt the movie financially, whichever way you put it, and that's what I care about, because we're all hoping Serenity makes a great amount of money on DVD. I was going to buy this, and buy R2 DVDs as presents later. I sincerely hope that the R2 cover'll be different, because people'll just laugh at me if I get them something that looks like this.

ETA: look at me ranting when everybody's having fun. Shame on me. So, what's this about Glory and a Llama? And should I be disturbed?

[ edited by GVH on 2005-11-02 23:47 ]
Well, I figure have fun or rant. Today was my day to have fun (all privately ranted-out already).

It's just that many of us had such high hopes for the Serenity 'Verse to continue, but that possibility seems further away with each day that's passed since September 30th.

[ edited by m'cookies on 2005-11-02 23:39 ]
So where does Glory fit in this again?

I doubt she'll be too pleased if she finds out the llama usurped her role.
I WANT gossi's cover. It gave me shivers.
Wouldn't it be nice to have something like this: 11th Hour's artwork (an unused cover design for the RPG)?
Wouldn't it be nice to have something like this: 11th Hour's artwork (an unused cover design for the RPG)?

Wow, that artwork is stunning!
I'm one of those people who thought the international poster was actually pretty good. It didn't represent what the movie was about, but it attracted attention and I think it worked better, promotion-wise, than the US poster.

My concern isn't with trying to find something that represents the movie, but with the fact that too much of this has misrepresented the movie. That's why the international Mad Maxine Beyond Thunderdome poster annoyed me -- it misrepresented the movie. The US poster may not have represented the movie, but it didn't really misrepresent it either.
Yep, I like gossi's cover as well, although it kinda makes Serenity look like a horror movie :-p

runs & hides

AnotherFireflyfan: nah, too Star Wars for me, that.

I'm feeling all critical today ;-)
I was reading back over this, and have discovered: The only letters in Llama are M, A, and L.

I think not.
People people. You are missing the significance of the llama.
Joss has admited that he is a nerd lama. What is an "l" between friends?
I think the llama is a subtle nod to Monty Python.
I saw the llama right away, but as usual I didn't say anything. I see llamas everywhere.

So, y'all saw a llama too? That will take some getting used to.
Maybe it's a subtle nod to the Sam Jaffe/Charles Boyer character in "Lost Horizon."
I think I'll just wait for the extended edition. Maybe it will have better cover art. I didn't want to have to buy two copies of the same movie anyway so this drek just makes it easier.
"I was planning to buy lots of copies to give to people for any and all (un)suitable occasions, but I couldn’t possibly do that with a DVD that looks like this."

Exactly Miranda. I wanted to give DVDs to a few folks for Christmas and now I absolutely won't. Seriously. They would see this cover and know that my Joss obsession has gone just a little too far, as I clearly CAN'T judge clearly. This artwork -- and I was fair about the movie posters in saying they were average, I liked it okay -- stinks. The more I think of Vixen River, laser beams and llamas? Crowds fleeing, well fleeing something? The color scheme is cool actually, but daaaamn. In the name of Joss Whedon... I'll wait for a better version in protest. Or download better art fans create and slap a printout on the cover. No one who bothered to watch the movie created this.

ETA: In saying the color scheme is cool I just mean blues up top and earthier down below. I should have mentioned the oranges burn my eyes a bit. And the tones that aren't evenly distributed. I read my comments above and I didn't mean to give it that much praise.
*waves to palehorse*

[ edited by April on 2005-11-03 03:08 ]
This is a travesty. The poor posters. The trailers that didn't really help bring in the uninitiated. And now this. I'm with April. I cannot imagine giving this as a gift with this cover -- and I had planned to send copies to family and friends everywhere. If nothing else, Universal should fire everybody in its art department. They have almost single-handedly sunk this film.
delted double post

[ edited by April on 2005-11-03 03:09 ]
Crowds fleeing, well fleeing something?

Upon further reflection, I think the crowd is us, fleeing from the Universal marketing decisions.
Wow, that 11th Hour artwotk literally dropped my jaw!
Now that would be amazing!!!

Oh and are funny! Hell yea, maybe Mal is really an operative?
Lovely and intriguing, gossi.

But Mal needs to be on the cover. Do a profile, or a ghosting, or whatever you like. But Mal Reynolds needs to be on the front. He's our Captain.

Maybe a nice fade, less monochromatic?

I like your use of reviews on the front, too! Any way you could stick Orson's on the front also... or instead? It's just that it's the most positive, affirmative statement, and the name recog would be oh so beauty...

I know, I ask too much. It's the art director part of me rearing her head.

And praise to ya for the NO LASERS. Thenk yew.
The one two posts above isn't mine, Willowy (there's a topic on the US forum I've posted for people to post their fan art).

I'm not bothered about having Mal on the cover to be honest, personally.
And see, way back when I whinged about how there was this terrible, jarring imbalance of blue versus orange in the U.S. promotional poster -- my major complaint -- only to see that issue addressed by them within days, I somehow arrived at the impression that Universal had actually read this board and taken some of our freely offered/genuinely heartfelt/informed (as only fans of anything can be) opinions/criticisms to heart.

Oh, for a little blue/orange imbalance to be the sum of my discontent. Now what am I supposed to think? I like the theory someone floated above, or on a nearby thread, that this artwork may be the product of a contractual obligation by an art department that's poorly versed in print media. Let's hope. Otherwise there's at least one chimpanzee with a weekend Photoshop course under its belt on someone's payroll. Or Universal really and truly has given up trying to sell Serenity on its merits (which means they've stopped believing in the product, if they ever really did). Given that marketing is about selling, and that selling is what the objective of a DVD release is (probably) all about, as far as they're concerned, the apparent complete disinterest in creating a classy and visually compelling package for this critically lauded (if underseen) flick is baffling. And way irritating.

I mean, they've already lost money on the gig, by all accounts. What the hell difference would it make to pay one decent, Serenity-knowledgeable designer to generate something with a bit of iconic panache? Mish-mashed imagery that doesn't even capitalize on the logo they've already spent millions to publicize (ever heard of branding, guys? or design consistency?) isn't going to get the job done. Serenity was beautifully shot and has a huge number of incredible visuals that could be exploited. A clean, classy exterior presentation -- whether that's a black box with the logo, or something a little less ""-y -- would do worlds for speaking its virtues to the masses in the absence of its fans.

So, what's this cover got to say for itself without any of us around to interpret and explain? Well, for me, there were three questions I asked myself, and they were these: 1) Is it pretty, 2) is it memorable, and 3) does it convey the 'truth' of the movie in a way that compels me to pick it up? I have to say it fails on all counts. As I was prompted to ask a while back concerning a certain political outcome, the words "is this the best they can do?" again come to mind. Will the cover stop me from buying the DVD? Of course not. Will it inhibit my enjoyment of the experience, and give me fresh cause to wonder why it couldn't have been crafted with the care it deserved every damn time I look at it? Hell and yes.

Finally, conveying what Serenity is would be a monumental undertaking for even the most talented and skillful of designers. I do recognize that. But I would offer this in return: If you have a complex film to promote, and you have the entire film from which to draw and distill its essence, why choose these images out of everything that was crammed into that hour and 59 minutes? What's so pretty or memorable or compelling about any of them? Especially considering that two of the most prominent elements didn't even appear in the film?!

C'mon, Uni. Pinkslip the chimp and show us you understand this is a property worthy of a better effort than this. Seriously.

[Edited to applaud the "fan cover" link 3 posts up. That's more like it!]

[ edited by Wiseblood on 2005-11-04 09:22 ]
The post that says "Fan Cover" and is signed "gossi"... isn't yours?

My mistake.

And your "not bothered" by Mal on the cover? Hmm, sorry, don't really grok that remark. Do you mean you don't like him there? Or you don't care either way?

Now, that is a cover I'd love to bits, actually! Very nice!

Still, apart from the quote by OSC, I'd use different quotes. For our little Dutch flyer campaign, I went with:

"I'm not going to say it's the best science fiction movie, ever. Oh, wait. Yes I am." - Orson Scott Card

"The film is teeming with an overwhelming amount of integrity, heart, soul, and some of the best written characters to invade genre fiction in quite some time." 4.5/5 - IGN Filmforce

"Superior in almost every respect to George Lucas's aggressively more ambitious screen entertainments." - The New York Times

"The film never loses its most important strength: characterisation." 5/5 - SFX magazine

"The most fun sci-fi of the year" 4/5 - Empire magazine

I didn't use the "two thumbs up!" quote, because it wouldn't mean much to Dutch audiences, but that also needs to be on a US cover...

I have to say once more that I love that fancover to bits, though. That'd get people to notice Serenity, no doubt about it.
All posts are signed by the people who post them here... I've forgotten the name of the person who designed it, so linked it as 'fan cover'.

I don't care either way if Mal is on the cover or not - he doesn't have to be there sell the movie.
What a hideuos cover (the one by universal). All the alternative covers look better imho. I especially like Gossi's cover. Someone mentioned it looked a bit like a horror movie cover, but I don't mind as I like some horror, but moreover I think reavers are characters which would not be out of place in a horror movie.

If this cover is also used in the R2 release I will reconsider buying it immediately and perhaps try waiting for an extended edition or for the prices to drop. So a cover like this hurts even in the sales to the fanbase, which is a sad sad thing.
theonetruebix wrote
So we're saying that Ben knows the llama?

I sincerely hope you weren’t referring to ‘knowing’ as in the biblical sense. ;)
Man that last one was Shiny!
The whole ship in the Ion cloud, looking almost like it's underwater, very nicely done.
I'm off to go look at the other pretties!
Dont get me wrong Gossi. I understand where your coming from. If it's something your passionate about I won't begrudge you. However, my point is that it won't impact sales in the big picture as far as Universal is concerned. Therefore, they won't change it.
Any chance of someone setting up a correct size "alternative cover" collection somewhere for us non-photoshop-skilled people? As I reader of SF and Fantasy I really get "don't judge a book by its cover" but DVD is a whole other issue - it's a visual medium folks!

This thread has been closed for new comments.

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.

joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home