I'm going to post some really easy steps to slightly nicefy the standard ubuntu boot manager (grub for friends); please note the following steps are very easy and, most importantly, they are not disruptive of your currently working setup: you just have to add stuff to your already working system. The advantage of doing so lies on the fact that you'll not break your standard repository tree, resulting on an apt-updatable-friendly system.
That said, let's type on an Ubuntu terminal:
sudo apt-get install grub-splashimages startupmanager
Ok, now let's open SUM:
On the "Aspect" tab, choose a splashimage that fits and close startupmanager, then reboot and see if it worked.
If everything is OK, upon the next reboot, grub will sport a nice 14 colors(!) grub spashimage. Frankly, is not that great, but it's better than the ugly default black/white (or the other usable two-color combinations) curses mode.
If you'd like more variety, try the (better, multicolor) "sudo apt-get install grub-gfxboot"