First of all - YAY! Scrooged is on blu-ray! It's about time, too. It's one of my favorite Christmas movies, as well as one of my favorite Bill Murray movies. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's one of my favorite movies, period
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The original poster art.
And how about that poster art? Sure, it's basically the big, floating head of Bill Murray over the top of a landscape -- AKA the laziest poster design you can possibly do -- but it's still classic. It's because it doesn't sacrifice character for economy. Bill Murray isn't in a glamour headshot -- he's scared to death. And you have the skeletal hand reaching out with the match lighting the cigar, that key point framed by the pale, featureless moon. It's dark, slick, ghostly, very 80's-modern, and funny. In short, it's a perfect summation of the movie.

When they shifted it to the DVD cover art, they didn't do a whole lot of futzing about with the design, either. They moved the title to the top of the image so they could do away with the black border, and they replaced the original tagline with a blurb from People magazine. It also had that faded, washed-out look that suggests somebody really didn't care how the poster art translated to the DVD case. But it was still the same basic, clean design that anybody who remembers the poster could recognize.

So either the designers of the DVD art didn't want to do very much work, or they realized a good thing when they saw it. And the two options are not mutually exclusive. But the blu-ray artwork....

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Blu-ray cover art.
Okay, let's get the obvious out of the way, first. Yes, they stuck a blue snowflake border around the image. Then, just in case they hadn't driven home the fact that this is a Christmas movie, they took the skeletal arm's dapper suit sleeve with its prominent cufflink and replaced it with a Santa suit sleeve. 

It doesn't match the feel of the movie, it doesn't add anything to the image, and then there's the fact that he sleeve itself is a lousy, slapdash Photoshop job that doesn't seem to be responding to gravity in a manner to which cloth is accustomed.

And how about that gorgeous black background from the original poster, broken only by the city landscape with its murky, orange, city lights glow and the near-solid blue-white disc of the moon that highlights the match and the cigar? Well, we thought we'd just make the glow around the city bigger, and brighter, and bluer. And what the moon always needed was a big, blue halo, not to mention plenty of detail on the moon's surface so the match flame can almost disappear in what is quickly becoming a very cluttered image.

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Oh, and let's talk about that city skyline, too. Notice anything missing? Anything big? As a matter of fact, two anythings?

Yes, the Scrooged cover art is one of the latest to have the World Trade Center excised from the New York City skyline. Now, I understand that there are people who still get choked up every time they see a picture of New York with the twin towers still intact. It's a powerful image for Americans after 9/11. And whenever you publish something with the twin towers front and center - like, say, most images of the New York skyline published before 2001, somebody somewhere is sure to complain that you're being insensitive.

But Scrooged was released in 1988. It's very clearly set in 1988. And in 1988 the towers still stood. Are we really not permitted to depict the city as it once was?

Oh, well. It's not the first time people have felt the need to "improve" on a classic design, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

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Wait.

Oh, you rank bastards.

Bill Murray's necktie wasn't festive enough for you?

-C Glen Williams




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