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.
Said that, let's move:
sudo apt-get install grub-splashimages startupmanager
Ok, now let's open SUM:
…now, from the "Aspect" tab, let's choose a splashimage that fits and let's close the program. After that, reboot the system and see if it worked.
If everything is OK, the next boot 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 wish more, you should try the better multicolor grub-gfxboot, but this will have to wait for another post ;)