Mplayer comes with different video drivers each providing fine tuned adjustments from choosing graphics accelerators to viewing images. "$ mplayer -vo help" will give you a list.
My favorite of course is the ascii art driver AAlib. Here's how to view videos in ascii and replace aa with caca to see color.
$ mplayer -vo aa video.avi
If a picture is worth 1000 words or not, see for yourself. Try to guess what movie this is...