Let's go to the movies.
Better yet, let's not — because going to the movies these days implies that you have money to burn. Ticket prices have skyrocketed faster than the price of gas, the going rate for a bucket of popcorn is practically five bucks a kernel, and a full month's salary will only get you what amounts to a thimble full of soda. You pretty much have to be Daddy Warbucks to get any semblance of pleasure out of the event.
In such dire times, we often look for respite at our local Blockbuster — kids, ask your parents what that is — scouring the deserted aisles for a decent Friday night flick only to find crappy big-name movies whose knockoff cover art is some overtly generic stock photo that doesn't even match the original poster art. But with the recent rise of Netflix and Hulu, even video rental is being redefined as a foregone pastime akin to buying compact discs at a record store.
Movie magic has been relegated to the dim light flickering from an iPad screen; old DVDs sold at yard sales for the price of a cup of lemonade; impressive movie collections on real shelves becoming impressive movie collections on digital shelves. Where's a film enthusiast to turn?
Enter the Criterion Collection, a company whose primary mission is to reproduce some of the greatest films from around the world in the highest technical quality possible. They choose movies that are often unheard of by mainstream audiences and give them the Criterion makeover, usually consisting of supplements to the film like interviews or commentary, updated packaging, digital restoration and most importantly, a new cover design. Below are some examples of Criterion covers (right) paired next to their Blockbuster-esque counterparts.
The Criterion Collection may not be for everyone due to their eclectic movie selections and somewhat pricey packaging, but I for one am thrilled they exist because if for no other reason, they reveal how design can breath new life into something old and unknown. They aren't just restoring old films, they're restoring the magic of movies.