Sep/2018

Hi Bryan Here….

WOW.  This was a mighty mighty fun blu-ray set to get through.  Took a while as there are hours and hours of extras and commentaries to listen and watch.  It was great watching all of these again.  Some greater than others.  I haven’t watched all of the Superman films since that tin DVD box set came out several years ago.  Oh man do these newly remastered blu-rays look fucking beautiful in HI-DEF.  So, this particular review will be set up by film.  I will go through all eight discs of the set and outline everything you would ever want to know about them.  From the movie itself to the extras and the audio and video quality.  This is one hell of a set and Warner Bros. and DC went above and beyond the call of making one AWESOME home video release in Superman.

DISC 1 – SUPERMAN THE MOVIE (ORIGINAL 1978 THEATRICAL CUT)

The film that started it all.  This is not only a great superhero film, but a great film period.  This film introduced the world to Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder.  Not to mention director Richard Donner got Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando, Glenn Ford, and Ned Beatty to star in major roles in Superman as well. What’s so good about this film that stands out from the rest of them, is that this a pure origin story told in such a fantastic and pure way.  The first part of the film takes place on Krypton where we see an infant Superman.  His dad, Jor-El is played by Marlon Brando.  There is imminent doom on the planet Krypton due to the planet destroying itself.  There is no hope and Superman’s dad sends the infant Superman or Kal-El as you would call him on Krypton, up and away off the planet so he would survive.  This is because nobody believes Jor-El that the planet is about to end and he wants to send his only son so that the Krypton race can live on.  Come to find out he is the only survivor of his planet and he is sent to Earth where he develops great great powers under the Earth’s powerful sun and he will come to be a symbol of truth and justice.  He crash lands on Earth in Smallville, Kansas in a field.  Superman is a couple of years old by the time he crash lands and is brought in by the Kents who we all know as Ma and Pa Kent.  They give Superman a great life full of responsibility, love, knowing and doing right from wrong, and kindness.  They give him a new name.  Clark Kent.  We fast forward to high school years where Supes is testing out and sort of showing off mainly to himself his powers by racing trains, jumping very high, and lifting cars and trucks.  But always there, is Pa Kent, to bring him back down to real life and teach Clark to do good and use his powers for good.  The tragically, Pa Kent dies of a heart attack, and Ma and Clark take it pretty rough.  It is here where Clark travels to a remote cold place far far away from civilization and creates the Fortress of Solitude.  It is here where Superman can learn who he really is and even talk with his dead father who left behind all the information on who he is and what he is to become.  This is where we first see the famous Superman suit and the first time we see Superman fly and we are introduced to Christopher Reeve as Superman.  This is a good hour into the film.  Cut to Metropolis a.k.a. New York City where Superman is Clark Kent by day and the All Powerful Superman by night.  Clark has taken a job as a mild mannered reporter at the Daily Planet.  He wears glasses, runs into walls, acts clumsy, and is madly in love with his fellow reporter Lois Lane.  Meanwhile, the biggest and brightest arch criminal, Lex Luthor and his sidekick Otis are planning their latest criminal endeavor and world domination by devising the world’s largest real estate scam of all time.  In the meantime, Superman is off saving cats in a tree, a helicopter in peril, bank robberies, muggings, and his true love Lois Lane whenever she is in danger.  Some pretty great and iconic scenes are in this particular part of the film.  One of the best scenes is where Lois Lane gets into a helicopter on top of the Daily Planet and something malfunctions and the helicopter spins out of control and lands on the edge of the Daily Planet skyscraper.  This is where we first see Clark Kent transform into Superman and save the day and the girl.  He also gives his charming and iconic speech on how he hopes the experience does not hinder their decisions to fly.  PURE CINEMATIC GOLD.   So while all this is going on, the evil Lex Luthor and his clumsy sidekick Otis are developing a plan to separate the entire eastern seaboard from the USA so that Lex can own all of the property.  As Lex is planning out his world denomination, he also discovers Superman’s only weakness.  Kryptonite.  Lex devises a crafty plan to get Superman to learn about his evil plan and have Supes fly to Luthor’s lair and stop him.  This plan is executed to perfection, but not Superman’s unfortunate well being, he has come in contact with Kryptonite that Luthor has supplied.  This is the first time we see Superman and Luthor in the same room talking with one another.  Superman becomes extremely weak to the point he is almost at death.  At this moment, Luthor’s plan is realized and the entire eastern seaboard has started to  drift off.  Not only that but Lois Lane is at the eastern seaboard doing a story and gets trapped in her car below the Earth’s surface due to the massive earthquakes taking place.  While Superman is almost at certain death, one of Luthor’s hench-women has a change of heart for a moment and helps Superman by getting rid of the Kyrptonite and thus giving Superman the strength to fly up and away to the sky and regain his super powers from the sun.  He then rushes off to repair the eastern seaboard from drifting away and saving several town from certain devastation.  But as he does this, his love Lois Lane is killed in her car by the earthquakes. Superman is so angry and sad that he flies around the Earth at super super speed and makes the Earth’s rotation turn in the other direction and thus reversing time so that Lois Lane can live.  So Superman saves the world and his girl.  This is a fantastic and iconic film.  You fall in love with all the characters, and the development with these characters are something that is not seen too much today.  You really fall for Lois Lane and care about Clark Kent.  Plus it is great to finally see Superman fly on the big screen.  The whole time reversal thing does not make sense at all, but that is really my only gripe about the film.  It really does not take away from the film, and really, they can’t kill Lois off in the first film.  This theatrical Cut is almost perfection.  Iconic.  Wonderful.  Amazing.

THE AUDIO/VIDEO

The video is presented in stunning 1080p and looks amazing.  For being a film that is over 30 years old, they did an amazing job restoring the film.  There are some hints of grain and spots here and there, but overall the picture is clear.  The blacks are vibrant and the red cape and blue suit look magnificent in its rich color.  Top notch.  The audio is out of this world.  Your entire speaker system will get the full on use.  Everything is crystal clear and easy to hear.  The dialogue is beautiful and robust.  The explosions and action scenes are powerful and dramatic.  And John Williams’ score with the DTS-HD 5.1  sound will give you goosebumps.  Truly remarkable.  High marks all around for the audio and video mastering and presentation.

EXTRAS

Commentary by Producer Pierre Spengler and Executive Producer Ilya Salkind – This full length commentary is mostly boring and drab.  It was funny to hear both Pierre and Ilya bicker about Richard Donner throughout.  But not a whole lot of fun and up beat liveliness to this commentary.  There are a few good anecdotes here and there, but I would rather listen to he Donner commentary.

Vintage TV Special: The Making of Superman The Movie – The original 1978 made for tv special of the making of Superman hosted by Christopher Reeve.  This is classic.  This has Reeve talking about most of the production of the movie. You’ll see how he flew, and general behind the scenes type stuff. One cool moment was when you see Andy Warhol have Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder over and talk about the cosutmes.  Pretty sweet.

1951 Theatrical Feature: Superman and the Mole-Men Starring George Reeves – This is a cool extras of an old Superman movie with some sort of alien people who live underground on Earth.  It is presented in B/W.  It is so amazing to see how far movies have come since then.  None the less, it was a fun treat to see the old Superman save the day and stand for truth and justice.  Very cool feature.

Classic Cartoons including Super-Rabbit, Snafuperman, and Stupor Duck – Some excellent Looney Toons cartoons with Superman of the theme.  My personal favorite is Stupor Duck which starred Daffy Duck as a Superman type character.  Hilarious.  Definitely fun to have these.

Theatrical Trailer and TV Spot – It is great to see what trailers used to be like.  It definitely pumps you up.  Good to see these trailers again.


DISC 2 – SUPERMAN THE MOVIE (THE EXPANDED EDITION 2000)

So in the year 2000, Warner Bros. put out the expanded edition of the first Superman film.  It is only eight minutes longer than the original, so not much of a big expansion.  There are only two additional scenes really that were added, and they could have been left out honestly.  However, there were several scenes left out due to various reasons that have been added to the extras part of the disc.  The scenes in question are as follows:

  • Some added dialogue when Jor-el is talking with the council.
  • The council calls a “stormtrooper” guy to prevent launching of Jor-el rocket.
  • Noel Neill and Kirk Alyn cameos on the train.
  • Little girl sees Clark running faster than train, parents call her Lois Lane.
  • After the funeral a long scan of the countryside.
  • In the kitchen Clark eats Cheerios.
  • After rescuing Air Force One Superman returns to fortress of solitude and has a conversation with his father.
  • In Metropolis when the news of Superman comes out, Clark is a spectator. A stranger comments “he can’t believe a man can fly”; Clark grins.
  • A longer scene with Otis in the tunnel.
  • While trying to get Luthor’s lair Superman goes through machine guns, flame throwers, ice machines with Luthor taunting on loudspeaker.
  • So with that added, it is the same story line thru and thru.  So the above is repeated.  The film that started it all.  This is not only a great superhero film, but a great film period.  This film introduced the world to Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder.  Not to mention director Richard Donner got Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando, Glenn Ford, and Ned Beatty to star in major roles in Superman as well. What’s so good about this film that stands out from the rest of them, is that this a pure origin story told in such a fantastic and pure way.  The first part of the film takes place on Krypton where we see an infant Superman.  His dad, Jor-El is played by Marlon Brando.  There is imminent doom on the planet Krypton due to the planet destroying itself.  There is no hope and Superman’s dad sends the infant Superman or Kal-El as you would call him on Krypton, up and away off the planet so he would survive.  This is because nobody believes Jor-El that the planet is about to end and he wants to send his only son so that the Krypton race can live on.  Come to find out he is the only survivor of his planet and he is sent to Earth where he develops great great powers under the Earth’s powerful sun and he will come to be a symbol of truth and justice.  He crash lands on Earth in Smallville, Kansas in a field.  Superman is a couple of years old by the time he crash lands and is brought in by the Kents who we all know as Ma and Pa Kent.  They give Superman a great life full of responsibility, love, knowing and doing right from wrong, and kindness.  They give him a new name.  Clark Kent.  We fast forward to high school years where Supes is testing out and sort of showing off mainly to himself his powers by racing trains, jumping very high, and lifting cars and trucks.  But always there, is Pa Kent, to bring him back down to real life and teach Clark to do good and use his powers for good.  The tragically, Pa Kent dies of a heart attack, and Ma and Clark take it pretty rough.  It is here where Clark travels to a remote cold place far far away from civilization and creates the Fortress of Solitude.  It is here where Superman can learn who he really is and even talk with his dead father who left behind all the information on who he is and what he is to become.  This is where we first see the famous Superman suit and the first time we see Superman fly and we are introduced to Christopher Reeve as Superman.  This is a good hour into the film.  Cut to Metropolis a.k.a. New York City where Superman is Clark Kent by day and the All Powerful Superman by night.  Clark has taken a job as a mild mannered reporter at the Daily Planet.  He wears glasses, runs into walls, acts clumsy, and is madly in love with his fellow reporter Lois Lane.  Meanwhile, the biggest and brightest arch criminal, Lex Luthor and his sidekick Otis are planning their latest criminal endeavor and world domination by devising the world’s largest real estate scam of all time.  In the meantime, Superman is off saving cats in a tree, a helicopter in peril, bank robberies, muggings, and his true love Lois Lane whenever she is in danger.  Some pretty great and iconic scenes are in this particular part of the film.  One of the best scenes is where Lois Lane gets into a helicopter on top of the Daily Planet and something malfunctions and the helicopter spins out of control and lands on the edge of the Daily Planet skyscraper.  This is where we first see Clark Kent transform into Superman and save the day and the girl.  He also gives his charming and iconic speech on how he hopes the experience does not hinder their decisions to fly.  PURE CINEMATIC GOLD.   So while all this is going on, the evil Lex Luthor and his clumsy sidekick Otis are developing a plan to separate the entire eastern seaboard from the USA so that Lex can own all of the property.  As Lex is planning out his world denomination, he also discovers Superman’s only weakness.  Kryptonite.  Lex devises a crafty plan to get Superman to learn about his evil plan and have Supes fly to Luthor’s lair and stop him.  This plan is executed to perfection, but not Superman’s unfortunate well being, he has come in contact with Kryptonite that Luthor has supplied.  This is the first time we see Superman and Luthor in the same room talking with one another.  Superman becomes extremely weak to the point he is almost at death.  At this moment, Luthor’s plan is realized and the entire eastern seaboard has started to  drift off.  Not only that but Lois Lane is at the eastern seaboard doing a story and gets trapped in her car below the Earth’s surface due to the massive earthquakes taking place.  While Superman is almost at certain death, one of Luthor’s hench-women has a change of heart for a moment and helps Superman by getting rid of the Kyrptonite and thus giving Superman the strength to fly up and away to the sky and regain his super powers from the sun.  He then rushes off to repair the eastern seaboard from drifting away and saving several town from certain devastation.  But as he does this, his love Lois Lane is killed in her car by the earthquakes. Superman is so angry and sad that he flies around the Earth at super super speed and makes the Earth’s rotation turn in the other direction and thus reversing time so that Lois Lane can live.  So Superman saves the world and his girl.  This is a fantastic and iconic film.  You fall in love with all the characters, and the development with these characters are something that is not seen too much today.  You really fall for Lois Lane and care about Clark Kent.  Plus it is great to finally see Superman fly on the big screen.  The whole time reversal thing does not make sense at all, but that is really my only gripe about the film.  It really does not take away from the film, and really, they can’t kill Lois off in the first film.  This theatrical Cut is almost perfection.  Iconic.  Wonderful.  Amazing.

    THE AUDIO/VIDEO

    Fairly much the same as the first disc.  The newly restored scenes look great though.  Here and there it is a little rough, but overall really really great transfer.  The video is presented in stunning 1080p and looks amazing.  For being a film that is over 30 years old, they did an amazing job restoring the film.  There are some hints of grain and spots here and there, but overall the picture is clear.  The blacks are vibrant and the red cape and blue suit look magnificent in its rich color.  Top notch.  The audio is out of this world.  Your entire speaker system will get the full on use.  Everything is crystal clear and easy to hear.  The dialogue is beautiful and robust.  The explosions and action scenes are powerful and dramatic.  And John Williams’ score with the DTS-HD 5.1  sound will give you goosebumps.  Truly remarkable.  High marks all around for the audio and video mastering and presentation.

    EXTRAS

  • Commentary by Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz (Extended Version) – This is quite the fun commentary I always look for.  Richard Donner is funny, and very informative throughout the whole commentary.  He really loved working on this film and it shows.  You can also tell he is still sore about the whole Superman II debacle, because he bickers about it.  Some really cool trivia and cameos throughout the film he tells you about.  Really a great listen.
  • Taking Flight: The Development of SupermanYour standard behind the scenes making of the film and how the whole project was realized and executed.  Tons of cool stuff in this extra.
  • Making Superman: Filming the Legend – The actual filming of Superman and how the accomplished some of the cool stunts in the film.  It is always fun to see these types of featurettes and see how the magic is made on the final cut of the film.
  • The Magic Behind the Cape Another behind the scenes featurette on all the visual effects on the Superman film.  Very cool to see how they did everything back in the 70’s.  It was all real.  No CG.  Pretty spectacular.
  • Screen Tests – These are quite fun to see.  THese are basically auditions for the following roles.  For Superman, you only see Christopher auditioning, but you can tell he is just perfect for the role.  In Lois Lane’s role, there are tons of people auditioning including some big name actresses, but ultimately you see why Kidder got the part.  She is brilliant.  Also you see Lex’s girl’s role Ursa getting auditioned for.  It’s all quite funny and great to see.
    • Superman
    • Lois Lane with Optional Commentary
    • Ursa
  • A Selection of Restored Scenes – I mentioned above some of the scenes that were restored and added to the special expanded release.  Here they are again:
  • Some added dialogue when Jor-el is talking with the council.
  • The council calls a “stormtrooper” guy to prevent launching of Jor-el rocket.
  • Noel Neill and Kirk Alyn cameos on the train.
  • Little girl sees Clark running faster than train, parents call her Lois Lane.
  • After the funeral a long scan of the countryside.
  • In the kitchen Clark eats Cheerios.
  • After rescuing Air Force One Superman returns to fortress of solitude and has a conversation with his father.
  • In Metropolis when the news of Superman comes out, Clark is a spectator. A stranger comments “he can’t believe a man can fly”; Clark grins.
  • A longer scene with Otis in the tunnel.
  • While trying to get Luthor’s lair Superman goes through machine guns, flame throwers, ice machines with Luthor taunting on loudspeaker.
  • Additional Music Cues
    • Main Titles
    • Alternate Main Titles
    • The Council’s Decision
    • The Krypton Quake
    • More Mugger/Introducing Otis
    • Air Force One
    • Can You Read My Mind (Pop Version)
  • Music Only Track (Donner Cut) – Just the music and score of the film.
  • DISC 3 – SUPERMAN II (ORIGINAL 1980/81 THEATRICAL CUT)

    The sequel to Superman is very good.  Not as good as the original by a solid sequel.  Much controversy surrounded this film because, the producers did not like what director Richard Donner was doing with the film, so they basically fired him and added some things which made a not as spectacular film. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a great film, I just prefer the Donner Cut.  So the sequel to Superman is pretty much a straight continuation from the first film.  If you remember from the very beginning of the first film, General Zod and his crew were being sentenced to banishment on Krypton.  Well while Superman is ridding the world of nuclear weapons, one of the missiles comes into contact with that famous mirror like square that has held prisoner General Zod and his cronies.  The blast breaks their banishment and they fly off to Earth in order to take over the world and let evil reign.  So there is your big plot.  Butt one other thing I really liked about this film, is the big love story between Supes and Lois.  Lois becomes increasingly suspicious  that Superman is indeed Clark Kent and to to prove it she jumps out of the high window of the Daily Planet, thinking that Clark Kent will save her, believing that Kent is Superman.  Clark moves at the speed of light and saves her by blowing his super breath and she lands on the awning and into a fruit stand.  He then runs again at the speed of light up to the same window Lois jumped out of and began yelling at her on how crazy she is for doing that.  But love is too strong and Superman very much wants to be with Lois.  So in order for him to be with her he has to become human fully and thus give up his powers.  And he does this.  He sacrifices his powers to be with her.  But just as soon as he does this, General Zod and his friends invade Earth and begin wrecking havoc.  Zod even goes to the top of the chain, straight to the president of the United States and makes him bow down to him or else, there will be trouble.  Meanwhile, our old evil friend Lex Luthor has managed to escape prison, and comes in contact with Zod and they inform him of their past.  To which he informs them of Superman.  So Luthor sort of brokers a deal for Superman and them to meet.  But since Superman has no power there is not point right?  Wrong.  Supes gets his powers back and confronts Zod and his evil team after he realize humanity cannot stop Zod.    So Superman saves the day by defeating Zod and his group and returning Lex back to prison.  And at the end of the film Superman kisses Lois and by using his powers, he wipes her mind of that Superman and Kent are the same person.  Cut to having Superman carrying the top of the white house back to its original place and undoing all the destruction by Zod.  It’s a good film and I love the whole love story between Lois and Supes.  Plus General Zod is such a great villain.

    THE AUDIO/VIDEO

    The video is presented in stunning 1080p and looks amazing.  For being a film that is over 25 years old, they did an amazing job restoring the film.  There are some hints of grain and spots here and there, but overall the picture is clear.  The blacks are vibrant and the red cape and blue suit look magnificent in its rich color.  Top notch.  The audio is out of this world.  Your entire speaker system will get the full on use.  Everything is crystal clear and easy to hear.  The dialogue is beautiful and robust.  The explosions and action scenes are powerful and dramatic.  And John Williams’ score with the DTS-HD 5.1  sound will give you goosebumps.  Truly remarkable.  High marks all around for the audio and video mastering and presentation.

    EXTRAS

    Audio Commentary by Executive producer Ilya Salkind and producer Pierre Spengler – These guys are back again to talk about the film and it seems more of a personal experience since all the controversy that surrounded this picture.  It still isn’t as good as the Donner commentary, but it is fantastic non-the-less.  There is a lot of he said she said talking in the commentary which is hilarious, but there is also a good deal about the making of the film.  I just think these two guys are boring to listen to.

    Vintage TV Special: The Making of Superman II – Just like the vintage special from the Disc-1, it is a behind the scenes featurette of the time and brings tons of interviews, and cool behind the scenes information.  Always a fun look.

    Additional Scene – This scene was hilarious.  It shows Lois Lane teaching Superman cook a souffle with his powers in the Fortress of Solitude.  AWESOME.  HILARIOUS.

    Featurette First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series – A very cool little feature of an film historian and Richard Fleischer (Max Fleisher’s son) talk about the Fleisher Superman cartoon.  It is pretty cool.  They talk about how nobody did a serious cartoon back in those days and how this was the first one.  Very cool to see what all went into this.

    Fleischer Studios’ Superman – Nine Max Fleischer Superman cartoons are available in glorious Technicolor (albeit in standard definition): “Superman,” “The Mechanical Monsters,” “Billion Dollar Limited,” “The Arctic Giant,” “The Bulleteers,” “The Magnetic Telescope,” “Electric Earthquake,” “Volcano” and “Terror on the Midway.”  Awesome cartoons from back in the day.  Such a treat to see these.

    Theatrical Trailer – Good to see the trailer for Superman II.


    DISC 4 – SUPERMAN II (THE 2006 RICHARD DONNER CUT)

    So basically, this is the original cut of the film, which wasn’t really finished with tons of scenes that were rushed due to the producers wanting to axe Donner off the film.  The film that was released theatrically; DOnner filmed 70% of.  Then he was fired and the producers took over and made some new scenes fro the film.  So while watching this, sometimes here and there things won’t make sense, but I still prefer this film to the theatrical version.

    The following is a list of all major Donner footage that was retained for Superman II:

    • Lex Luthor in prison, including the escape by balloon.
    • The three super-villains attack the White House and force the President to “kneel before Zod.”
    • A powerless Clark is beaten up by Rocky, a truck driver in a fast-food diner (Donner appears as an extra in this sequence).
    • Lex Luthor visits the super-villains in the White House.
    • The villains burst into the Daily Planet and chase after Superman (some close-ups are Lester footage).
    • The villains return to the Planet and decide to go to Superman’s polar fortress (some close-ups are Lester footage).
    • The second part of the final scene at the Fortress of Solitude, beginning with Luthor’s belated arrival (some close-ups are Lester footage).
    • Clark returns to the diner and gets his revenge on the truck driver.

    The rest of the film, including the opening scenes at the Eiffel Tower, some part of the scenes at Niagara Falls, the scenes of the super-villains in Midwest America and the battle inMetropolis were all shot by Lester. Several television stations have broadcast extended cuts over the years. These have largely featured additional Donner material including footage of Superman destroying the Fortress of Solitude at the conclusion of the film, as well as extra scenes between Lois and Superman.

    THE AUDIO/VISUAL

    The video packs a powerful 1080p from the the 2006 remaster.  It looks clear and beautiful for how rushed the cut was.  There are some minor flaws throughout, but it does not take away from the viewing experience.  It still looks amazing in hi-def.  The audio has the amazing DTS-HD 5.1 sound like the previous discs and all the speakers in your system get the full attention.  It sounds great.

    EXTRAS

    Audio Commentary by Director Richard Donner and creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz – These two return and yet again their commentary is far better than the producers commentary on the theatrical version.  And it’s even better than the first commentary they did from Disc 2.  This commentary track is in full motion throughout the whole film with tons of great stories, and behind the scenes type information, and yes, some awesome bickering at the producers to make for a good time.  Definitely worth listening to.

    Introduction by Richard Donner – Donner introduces the film for a couple of minutes and talks about his emotional and happy journey during his process of making the film and how happy he was that it saw the light of day all these years later.

    Superman: Restoring the Vision – A small featurette that looks in to the making of the restoring of the Donner Cut.  This is pretty cool to watch.  Interviews with Donner and team talk about all the work and obstacles that went into restoring his version of the film for the 2006 release.

    Additional Scenes – Here are six deleted scenes that were left on the cutting room floor and for good reason too.  They are fun to watch but ultimately wouldn’t have made the film better.  They include: “Lex and Ms. Teschmacher Head North,” “Lex and Ms. Teschmacher Head South,” “The Villains Enter the Fortress,” “He’s All Yours Boys,” “Clark and Jimmy” and “Lex’s Getaway.”

    1940’s Superman Cartoons – Eight Famous Studios Superman cartoons.  These were awesome.  Just loved every bit of it.  They include: “Japoteurs,” “Showdown,” “Eleventh Hour,” “Destruction Inc,” “The Mummy Strikes,” “Jungle Drums,” “The Underground World” and “Secret Agent.”

    DISC 5 – SUPERMAN III

    Oh Superman III or shall I say Richard Pryor’s Superman III.  Now this third installment of Superman isn’t great, but it isn’t all that bad either.  There are a lot of good moment in Superman III.  They just get lost in the shuffle due to the film mostly being a Richard Pryor film and not being mostly about Superman which leads to Superman not having a lot of screen time.  I have described it to people as Pryor replacing Lois Lane on the film.  So the film centers mainly around Richard Pryor who is out of a job and looking for work and smoothes his way into a computer programmer job.  He realizes he can make a fortune at his job by creating this type of computer virus that would create a bank account and put these fractions of pennies into this account.  And it does this a bunch of times a day, so in theory he could have a bank account with tons of money in a very short time.  Well the president of the company finds out what he is doing and instead of punishing him, he embraces his intelligence and appetite for doing bad and hires Pryor to create a machine that would make tons of profit for the company.  Meanwhile Kent convinces his newspaper to send him to his hometown of Smallville for his high school reunion where he reunites with his first love Lana Lang.  Not a fan of this story line.  So while at his hometown, Supes does some saving the world type of stuff and is presented with a gift from some evil doers disguised as Army officials. The gift is kryptonite.  But this appears to have no effect on Superman.  But as we find out, it sends Supes on a fast downward spiral into a violent, mean, hateful, asshole.  He is not clean shaven, he is mean to people, and he goes on a drinking binge.  The best part of the film in my opinion, is the battle between this evil Superman and Clark Kent.  It is pretty great.    Once the evil Superman persona is beaten for good, Supes saves they day again with the help of Pryor who recently had a change of heart to be good.  Like I said, not the best film, but it has its moments.

    THE AUDIO/VISUAL

    Surprisingly this great 1080p master is amazing.  Every hair and every flaw is presented in HD.  It looks amazing.  Maybe the best video presentation of the set.  It really is stunning how good this master is.  The audio is also very good.  Everything is sharp, clear, and loud.  The dialogue sounds great on the center channel and the action scenes pack the punch on all speakers on its DTS-HD 5.1 sound.

    EXTRAS

    Audio Commentary by Executive producer Iilya Salkind and producer Pierre Spengler – These guys are back again for their third commentary track and it is even more of a disaster and boring tale than the previous two.  I wouldn’t recommend it.  Just not that much to talk about I guess.

    Vintage TV Speical: The Making of Superman III – Yet another behind the scenes featurette from 1983 that dives into the making of the third film.  This is fun to watch because it shows all the cast and crew working and having fun at the same time.  It is always great to see how they get Supes to fly without CG.

    Additional Scenes – Eleven deleted scenes come with this film and man,  it was hard to get through these and I am glad they were cut out.  WOW.  Terrible.  They include “Save My Baby,” “To the Rescue,” “Making Up,” “Going to See the Boss,” “Hatching the Plan,” “The Con,” “Rooftop Ski Resort,” “Boss Wants This to Go,” “Superman Honored,” “Gus’ Speech” and “Hanging Up on Brad”

    Theatrical Trailer – I wonder if people were really excited for this film when they saw the trailer.  I can’t imagine they were.

    DISC 6 – SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE

    A goddamn disaster on all accounts.  Even Reeves and Hackman are sub par in it.  I don’t blame them, I just think they were tired of this terrible story telling, plus the Superman IV budget was cut in half at the last minute.  Basically the story follows Superman again in his hometown of Smallville and he uncovers a message from his mother that can only be played once.  Superman returns to Metropolis to find out the Russia and the USA are angry with each other.  He decides to appear at the United Nations conference to state that he will get rid of all the nuclear devices in the world.  Meanwhile Lex Luthor’s nephew Lenny Luthor breaks Lex out of prison and the two steal some hair from Superman and connect it with a super missile to cause harm to the world.  Superman intercepts this missile and throws into the sun which when it explodes in the sun it creates this super human alien dubbed Nuclear Man.  Supes and Nuclear Man battle it out and Superman becomes weak when he is scratched by Nuclear Man and the radiation poisoning from his fingernails enter his body.  I can;t make this up.  Awful.  I could go on, but this will only be enjoyed with some friends of yours late at night with lots of beer and everyone making fun of the film.  Plus you already know how it ends. Superman sends Luthor back to prison, kills Nuclear Man, and saves the world.

    THE AUDIO/VISUAL

    This new HD 1080p master does not disappoint.  It looks good.  I know there are fans of this film out there, and wherever you are, you will absolutely love this transfer.  It’s clear, vibrant, and beautiful.  The audio is also quite spectacular.  Just like the previous films, Everything is sharp, clear, and loud.  The dialogue sounds great on the center channel and the action scenes pack the punch on all speakers on its DTS-HD 5.1 sound.

    EXTRAS

    Commentary by co-screenwriter Mark Rosenthal – Not a terrible commentary.  It is actually better with the commentary than watching the film without it.   Rosenthal basically defends the film, but he also knows where it fails and admits it.  Tons of cool behind the scenes information and cool anecdotes are all throughout the commentary.  Definitely worth listening.

    Vintage TV Special: Superman’s 50th Anniversary: A Celebration of the Man Of Steel – Form 1988 comes this funny and informative documentary about everything Superman.  It is hosted by SNL’s Dana Carvey, or shall I say Chief Historian  of the Jr. Supermen of America.  Hilarious.  This covers everything from the first concept of Sueprman till the fourth film and everything in between.  Tons of bad jokes are riddled throughout, but I think it adds to the fun of this whole documentary.  Definitely worth checking out.


    Additional Scenes –  There are a whopping fifteen deleted scenes for this film, and man are they terrible.  But you can’t really complain because the film was so bad to begin with.  Look out for the hilariously awful Marlon Brando deleted scene.  They include: “Clark’s Morning,” “Jeremy’s Letter,” “Superman’s Visit,” “Nuclear Man’s Prototype,” “Metropolis After Hours,” “Lex Ponders,” “Extended Flying Sequence,” “Battle in Smallville,” “Battle in the USSR,” “Nuclear Arms Race,” “Superman’s Sickness,” “Red Alert,” “By My Side,” “Clark and Lacy Say Goodbye” and “No Borders”


    Theatrical Trailer – The trailer for Superman IV.  Looked awful.  Was awful.



    DISC 7 – SUPERMAN RETURNS


    Not a remake, but rather a sequel that takes place right after the second film and pretends that the third and fourth films never happened.  And it was directed by ‘Usual Suspects’ and X-Men 1 & 2 director Bryan Singer.  The actor who took over the Superman role was Brandon Routh, was to me the completely right and perfect choice for the role.  He brought class, dignity, and love to the iconic role.  He was perfect.  So basically Superman has fled Earth for a while to see if his home planet was really destroyed.  He comes back to find his love, Lois Lane for the most part hates Superman.  She even wrote an article entitled ‘Why The World Doesn’t Need Superman’ and she won an award for it.  Meanwhile, Lex and his band of cronies are up to no good once again, and they discover the Fortress of Solitude again and he steals some crystals.  He realizes these crystals create Kryptonian land masses.  He plans to use these to finally get his land he has always wanted.  In the meantime, Superman is off stopping crime and saving people.  This is the good stuff.  The scene where Supes saves the plane from crashing is excellent and when Brandon Routh recites the “statistically your odds are better flying” speech is fucking perfect.  There are even some nods to the vintage comics here and there if you can catch them.  They are brilliant.  Lex throws the stolen crystals into the sea not too far off from the coast of Metropolis and this epic gigantic land mass erupts and cause extensive damage to the USA.  It is up to Superman to save the world and to get this landmass out of Earth.  Two problems.  The land mass is made of Kryptonite, and Lex stabs Supes with a Kryptonite shard.  All in the meanwhile Lois Lane sort of hitches a ride with Lex and his group on his yacht with her kid.  The kid turns out to be Superman’s kid and we find this out, because he displays super powers.  It all ends the same way.  Superman saves the day, and Lex is punished this time by not going to jail, but by being stranded on a very small uninhabited island.  I guess he got his land after all.  So a lot of the film works, but some does not at all.  Lois Lane played by Kate Bosworth was a terrible choice.   Just awful.  And the whole Superman kid thing was done poorly too.  But overall, this film is quite good.  The good outweighs the bad and makes for a fun and entertaining film.  Worth watching.


    THE AUDIO/VISUAL


    The film looks somewhat good,  but it has its problems.  It is presented in 1080p, but the contrast and coloring have problems and make for a very flattened image.  Most things seem lifeless and dull.  This should have had a better video presentation.  However the sound is badass.  It all work on the DTS-HD 5.1 sound master.  Everything is convincing and robust and packs the punch when needed.  Great job on the sound.


    EXTRAS


    Requiem for Krypton: Making Superman Returns – Holy Shit an almost three hour documentary on everything of the making of this film.  You can either watch it in documentary form or in the PiP format during the film.  This covers every aspect of the film from pre-production to post.  It is was very exciting to see how everything came together as well as how all the stunts were performed for the film.  Came together very nicely.  Segments include: “Secret Origins and First Issues: Crystallizing Superman,” “The Crystal Method: Designing Superman,” “An Affinity for Beachfront Property: Shooting Superman – Superman on the Farm,” “An Affinity for Beachfront Property: Shooting Superman – Superman in the City,” “An Affinity for Beachfront Property: Shooting Superman – Superman in Peril,” “The Joy of Lex: Menacing Superman” and “He’s Always Around: Wrapping Superman.”


    Resurrecting Jor-El: How the filmmakers re-created Superman’s father played by Marlon Brando – A very cool look on how the filmmakers and FX crew created Marlon Brando from the original film so he could be in this new movie.  Pretty badass.


    Additional Scenes – There are twelve deleted scenes all in HD that were best left on the cutting room floor.  They include: “The Date,” “Family Photos,” “Crash Landing, X-Ray Vision,” “Old Newspapers,” “Are You Two Dating,” “Martinis and Wigs,” “I’m Always Right,” “Jimmy the Lush,” “Language Barrier,” “Crystal Feet,” “New Krypton” and a “How Wrong Can You Be” outtake.


    Bryan Singer’s Video Journals – Director Bryan Singer journals his filmmaking experience with a camera crew during production of Superman Returns.  Interesting stuff.  Sort of boring, but worth a watch here and there.  Journals include: “Hello from Sydney,” “Tamworth Scout,” “Clark of the Corn,” “Up, Up and Away,” “If You Build It,” “Sure This is Safe,” “The Call,” “Extra Extra,” “Big, Scary, Lit-Up Director’s Face,” “To Fly,” “Clark Returns,” “Rattle and Roll,” “Ma Kent: The Andretti of Smallville,” “Wind Up and the Pitch,” “Storyboard,” “Santa’s Grotto,” “Untitled,” “Return Your Tray Tables,” “Through the Eyes of Newton Thomas Sigel,” “Love Previs,” “In Graphic Detail,” “20 Hours in San Diego,” “Derailed,” “Stoparazzi,” “Jimmy Meet Jack,” “See Plane,” “Bespoke,” “KR 83.80” and “Outre.”


    Theatrical Trailers –  A few of the trailers are presented here.  I remember seeing the trailers for this film and hoping and wanting it to be so great.



    DISC 8 – BONUS DISC FULL OF EXTRAS


    Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman – Almost a two hour documentary on everything Superman that is narrated by Kevin Spacey.  It covers the comics, films, and television series.  There are tons of interviews with loads of people and all kinds of cool information and behind the scenes type features that covers everything and anything Superman.  A must see.  Truly great documentary.


    You Will Believe: The Cinematic Saga of Superman – Yet another feature length documentary on Superman.  This one is an hour and a half and covers everything on just the films.  Very expansive and informative and a hell of a lot of fun to watch.  It;s not in HD though, so it;s not as pretty to watch.


    The Science of Superman – This is such a cool and fun little hourlong documentary on the science of Superman.  It was done by National Geographic and discusses the reality vs. fantasy of Superman’s powers from flight, speed, and super senses.  Pretty awesome.  This was one of my favorite extras.


    The Mythology of Superman – A short 20 minute featurette that discusses the mythology of Superman by comparing him to Greek and Roan mythology.  Also it discusses his inner conflicts and his role with his villains.  Pretty interesting and a good watch.


    The Heart of a Hero: A Tribute to Christopher Reeve –  A 20 minute featurette of tons of people paying tribute to the late and great Christopher Reeve.  He will be missed.  Kind of emotional.


    The Adventures of Superpup – This is a live action 1958 tv series pilot that has puppets, fully costumed actors and huge animal masks.  HOLY SHIT…it was like something out of a Tim Burton Horror film.  Hilarious and fun to watch.  This will scare some grown people.


    FINAL THOUGHTS


    This Superman Motion Picture Anthology Collection is BADASS.  It was so amazing seeing all these films again and their extras in HD.  Every part of this set was made with passion and love and most of all for the fans.  The price tag of $89.99 is very well spent n this set.  I highly recommend purchasing this set.  All of the films looks amazing and sound even better.  Plus all the extras make for a huge night of fun and you might also learn something.  Truly great set.  Highly recommended.

    Post to Twitter Post to Facebook





    One Response to “It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! No, It’s ‘The Superman Motion Picture Anthology’ On Bluray!!! (A Review)”

    1. Gumbercules9000 Says:

      This set was awesome.

    Leave a Reply




    Sign Up for Newsletter

    ADVERTISEMENT

    Boomstick Tags