Sunday, February 27, 2005

IDD 300- Super Size Me

This week I looked at the menu interface for the 2004 documentary, Super Size Me. It was an interesting movie, but I don’t think the interface was as impressive as it could have been.
There are six elements on the menu screen. There is a bloated Ronald McDonald face which pops in intermently around the corners of the screen. The top of the screen has the title; Super Size Me: A Film of Epic Proportions. In the upper left hand corner is a slideshow of illness people can develop as a result of eating high fat foods, such as those found in fast food meals. Insulin resistance, asthma, coronary heart disease, breast cancer, and colon cancer are just a few of the illnesses shown.
Below the slideshow are four rectangles with a fast food meal. These are the navigation buttons. Play, Chapters, Bonus, and Set Up are the options viewers can choose from. I was viewing this on my computer and the mouse arrow would go over the box, but it would not light up. I would have to move the mouse well outside the box for it to highlight to a maroon color and let me click it.
To the right of the menu options is a continuous loop video of the man who is making the documentary, Morgan Spurlock eating his value meal. He is sitting at a table with a large McDonald’s soda, a salad and he is eating a burger. There is a person walking around in the kitchen behind him.
Above the video there is a cartoon picture of Morgan and Ronald McDonald staring at each other with mean faces. It depicts Morgan vs. McDonalds in his fight to prove that McDonalds and fast food in general is related to obesity.
When I did click to view the bonus features, and viewed the deleated scenes, I couldn’t find my way back to the main menu. I had to restart the disc to return to the main menu so I could play the movie.
The sound while the menu is playing is a catchy little jingle “Super size super size the American way….”
Overall I wasn’t very impressed with the interface. Then again, it was a documentary and that normally means not a very large budget.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

IDD 300- Mean Girls

This weekend my roommates and I watched Mean Girls. Not only was it a pretty good movie, it had a good menu interface. The entire menu and all the subsequent pages had a color pallet of three colors; black, white and pink.
The menu begins with a shot of a pink ‘Burn Book’, a notebook of sorts that holds the gossip of the three main characters. The book opens and it reads, ‘The Plastics’ while there is a picture of the three ‘mean girls’ who are called the plastics. At this time, the menu appears at the bottom of the screen. Options include Play, Special Features, Setup, and Scene Selection. That menu stays the same, at the bottom of the page. The background is constantly changing, as pages changing in a book. The pages rotate from the Plastics, to the Burnouts, to the Asian Nerds, Cool Asians, Varsity Jocks and Art Freaks. The pages don’t just change, but also the camera pans to see different parts of the page. At times it is not just pictures but also very short video clips are played.
Clicking Special Features and a picture of the meanest girl appears. Special Features is shown at the top of the screen. Each letter is a different font and also appears to have been cut up out of a magazine. A faded pink version of a Barbie doll is on the right side. The other menus have pretty much the same lay out with the title of the screen at the top in different letters and a picture of one of the characters on the left side of the screen.
I think that this was a very well thought out menu interface that incorporates the theme of the movie into the menu very well. There is a lot of action going on with the camera pans and the page turning and the background but it never seemed to me to be too busy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

IDD 300- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

This week I looked at the interface for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The menu screen is comprised of six different elements. The title is shown prominently at the top center of the screen. There is a half of a rainbow behind the title in the center. In the upper right hand corner there is what appears to be an outhouse with a man standing in it held up and flying by a football shaped hot air balloon. Closest to the viewer, and in the lower right hand corner is the flying machine with the main characters seated in the car. Next to the car is the titles for the menu selections. Play, Play with Sing-a-Long, Scene Selection, Theatrical Trailer, and Languages are all in a bold serif font; each in a different bold color. In the background is a continuous view of the sky and moving clouds. The music playing is an instrumental “circus” sounding piece. All in all it is a very user friendly interface, even easy for children to operate. I would say that the clouds tend to become neaseating after a bit, but for many people they don’t view the menu for that long.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

IDD 300- Finding Nemo

The DVD selection I chose this week is the 2-Disc Collector’s Edition of Finding Nemo. Since this is one of my all-time favorite movies, I decided to take a closer look at the menu. Each DVD has a different menu interface.

Disc 1: Widescreen starts out at the surface of the ocean and quickly submerges into a coral reef. The point of view for the viewer could be that of a fish's view. When the view stops you are looking at a colorful coral reef. The title is in the upper left hand side of the screen with a water reflection effect on it. There are five different categories to choose from: Introduction, Play Movie (Widescreen), Bonus Features, Scene Selection, and Setup. The sound in the background is of two of the main characters, Marlin and Dory. The entire time before a selection is made they are talking back and forth and occasionally tell the viewer to make a choice. Clicking the Bonus Features option brings another menu with four options to choose from. This time the “narrator” of the scene of the Stingray speaking with Dory occasionally.

Disc 2: Full Frame is in a different location, the Dentist office’s aquarium. The view is once again from a fish point of view. You are plopped in the water and then swim around a bit until you reach the menu. The menu has the same options with three additions, Sneak Peaks, Knick Knacks, and Exploring the Reef. This disc has no narration but rather a low instrumental piece in the background.

I thought that both discs were both well done in conveying the information with an easy to use interface. They also incorporated the movie nicely using two important elements which are used in the film.