Tagged: James Bond

Film Cover Art is Pretty Bad. Arrow Films Show How Movie Sleeves Should Be Done

Technology moves so fast. With phones seemingly getting updated every two seconds and constant technological advancements happening all around us, it may be strange and petty to moan about DVD and Blu Ray covers. Regardless, that is what I am about to do! DVD cover art has stagnated for quite some time.

The release of DVD in 1993 seemed to be an incredible advancement from VHS, which ruled the roost since the 80’s. What the format lacked in character (VHS and its character is an article for another day perhaps?) it made up for in incredible picture quality and numerous special features. However what it failed to bring with it was great cover artwork. Gone were the good (and sometimes bad) artwork created for the clunky VHS case and in came posed photo covers, or worse yet, the dreaded photo shop. A case in point is the James Bond films. When released on VHS they had superb painted covers showing James Bond always smiling while getting shot at or blown up. When the DVD releases came out they ditched all this for very basic photo covers of the lead actor and nothing else. It was probably the cost which pushed this type of artwork back away from the mainstream as it is probably cheaper to take a photo than get an artist to create something from scratch. Also the allure of DVD extras was enough to get people to buy the new medium when back in the VHS era the artwork was one of the main hooks.

This is an art site after all and what you folk want to see is some great bits of original art. Well in the last few years a few sites have taken note of our (or most probably just my) pain and decided enough is enough. With DVD extras now common place people are looking around for something truly special to get them to pick up a movie and these sites offer that. So in part one of a two part feature I just want to focus on two companies that I have noticed recently committed to bringing not just quality movies to us, but quality art covers to.

First up is Arrow Films. They have been around since 1991 and are committed to bringing a wide, eclectic range of movies to the home video market. Below is a quote from their website telling us a little about themselves.

Arrow Films is an all rights multi-platform distributor of feature films and TV series. We specialise in releasing some of the best content from around the world to UK customers and beyond. Since 1991, through Arrow’s diverse and rich product mix, one of the most energetic and cutting edge labels in British distribution has been forged. Recent accolades include being named Label of the Year by prestigious publications as the Guardian and Home Cinema Choice and over the years having multiple finalists in Sight and Sound’s best DVDs of the year as well as winning the British Video Association’s Marketing Initiative of the Year. Arrow’s global reputation as one of the finest labels in the world has come about through consistent high quality product and a focus on fan-based products always at its core. This includes a major investment on restoring original material through modern techniques as well as pioneering packaging solutions and newly commissioned artwork for each release.

The commitment to the fans of cinema, no matter how obscure the content, is one thing to be admired. The other is their dedication to great and knock out cover art. Below is an example of some of their better covers. Though it is difficult to credit the artists who drew the piece as it does not always say who the artist is on the DVD I have done my best. If nothing else we can at the very least admire their art through this article and hopefully that will be credit in itself. So sit back and enjoy an art filled trip down memory lane as a lot of these covers encapsulate all that was great with the VHS era and most probably of lot of people’s memories of childhood. Someone has at last got it right!

dvd art arrow video jaguar lives dvd art arrow video kings of newyork

Artwork by Tom ‘The Dude Designs’ Hodge

dvd art arrow video surf nazis

Artwork by Graham Humphrie

dvd art arrow video the exterminator

Artwork by Tom ‘The Dude Designs’ Hodge

dvd art arrow video deadly spawn

Artwork by Craig Kraaken

dvd art arrow video manic cop

Artwork by Rick Melton

dvd art arrow video tcm 2

Artwork by Justin Erickson of Phantom City Creative

dvd art arrow video the stuff

Artwork by Ghoulish Gary Pullin

dvd art arrow video vamp

 Artwork by Tom Hodge & Rick Melton

dvd art arrow video demons

 Artwork by Jeff Zornow

dvd art arrow video class of nuke em high

Artwork by Graham Humphrie

dvd art arrow video day of the dead

You can look at other Arrow releases though their website, Facebook and Twitter page. Some of the covers I haven’t included because of the explicit content, checking out their sites out is the best way to see the rest of this awesome art.

In a future article, we will focus on the inventive work of Shout Factory as well as other imaginative, one-off releases from other companies. So, lovers of cover art, keep your eyes peeled for that one.