General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

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General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  Guest on Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:06 am

Posted this on my LJ but I guess I can syndicate it here. Enjoy! Or don't.

Maybe it's the ten years I spent as a massage therapist for various Hollywood celebrities, but if there's one thing that irritates the absolute snot out of me, it's an intellectually dishonest argument. One such I've heard is that Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut is a superior film to the Lester cut of the same.

Guess I should clarify. I don't mind the argument itself. People are entitled to an opinion (even if it's absolutely wrong). What irks me is that the Donner Cut has the ultimate trump card to play at any time:

It is unfinished.

But before discussing the bad, it's only fitting to summarize the good. The first act plays well and ties itself more directly to the events of Superman: The Movie. For reasons of his own (which I neither agree with nor disagree with; I merely accept), Richard Lester decided to separate his cut from the events of STM. The title "Superman II" alone should tell you that this is indeed a sequel but in terms of being a follow up to STM... it just doesn't feel like it is.

But Mario Puzo conceived of a big two part film and Donner retained that structure when he and Tom Mankeywhatsis took over. That comes home loud and clear in the first five or ten minutes of the Richard Donner Cut.

That said, while the RDC opener is good, I do prefer the Paris rescue. This is a superhero film and it pays to bring Superman to the fore as quickly as possible, especially since we don't see him a ton of him in the film as it is.

But what the RDC does give us is a pretty effective method of releasing the criminals from the Phantom Zone. You must admit that it is interesting to see how Donner intended for the job to get done (which, again, owes back to the RDC's more direct ties to STM).

But, like so much with the RDC, for every cool moment that is restored, there's an accompanying complaint. Yeah, the missle Superman threw into space in STM is what freed the criminals... thereby enabling the most clumsy and stilted wire shots of either film as the villains float and bobble awkwardly through space.

Something else? Zod's exultant "FREEEEEEEEE!" is audible... in the vacuum of space. Gee, I sure hope Superman IV's myriad nay-sayers were paying attention here.

Lois figures out The Secret because she's sharp and observant. It plays into her character that she sees beyond Clark's carefully built disguise. She didn't become top dog at the Daily Planet for nothing.

But here's the gripe. As John Byrne so eloquently put it, in order for the disguise to work, either Clark Kent is the consummate actor or else Lois Lane is an idiot. In taking the tack he did, Donner undercuts Clark's skills at disguise. Not a huge thing but still worth noting.

To me, the pink elephant in the room is basically everything in the Fortress of Solitude. I'm sorry, it just doesn't work. Yeah, it's great seeing the restored Brando footage. But there's no finer example out there that I'm aware of that so effectively illustrates the difference between footage and scenes.

For starters, Christopher Reeve's performances in all of the films is top notch. While the material may at times have been beneath him (although I'd argue that; just because he struggled with believing in some of it doesn't make it unworthy of Superman), he usually was a professional and did his job to the best of his abilities...

... except in the Fortress scenes in the RDC. I'm sorry but his acting in those scenes is just weak sauce. Reeve is better than that. I have nothing to base this on but my theory here is that Reeve's lackluster performance in those scenes is due to Donner already feeling the pinch in the production schedule.

What I'll guess is that from the get-go, Donner figured he'd shoot the Superman II Reeve and Brando scenes in the Fortress as placeholders and then come back to them later when he had more time.

Either that, or else Reeve was overestimated as a performer... and I can't quite convince myself of that.

But the other aspect of the Fortress scenes is Brando himself. Much has been said, by Mankeywhatsis in particular, of the importance of the father/son dynamic in those scenes. The argument went that once we saw the restored sequences, we'd see a clearer arc that deepened both Superman and Jor-El as characters.

I, for one, don't.

Frankly, Jor-El had set up monumentally high expectations of his son and he expected his son to fulfill them. And to be sure, Jor-El and Superman do indeed butt heads over his decision to renounce his powers in the RDC. But here's the rub- that just isn't a father/son story. I don't care what anyone says, it just doesn't play very well. In literature, father/son conflicts are usually defined by philosophical or even physical struggles before a point of mutual respect is reached.

Such is impossible in the dramatic framework of the two films.

But a mother/son dynamic in literature is often predicated upon grace and forgiveness. Inserting Suzannah York into the Lester cut brings the thing across so much more smoothly. Because ultimately it's not about a parent/son struggle, it's about a parent allowing a son to make his own choices and, correspondingly, learn from his own mistakes.

And then forgiving him for his errors in judgment.

The only real way to get there is with a mother/son arc.

It's not just that the Lester version is better in this respect, it's that it is more honest with the material.

There are other things I could mention but, altogether, the RDC will always be (as someone from the Digital Bits put it) the "ultimate deleted scene". Richard Lester's cut is, was and will always be the cut of Superman II as far as I'm concerned.

All of this leads back to the central issue with the idea that the RDC is somehow better. Okay, whatever, I guess you're entitled to feel that way. But pointing out any of the above criticisms and shortcomings is always, universally, 100% of the time greeted with "but... but... but... the RDC is unfinished!"

Fine! It's unfinished! That means that you can't compare a completed film (Superman II) to an unfinished film (RDC). That means one cannot be better than the other. But if the RDC can be said to be better than the Lester cut, that means the above criticisms are on the table and it's open season. Trust me, the comparison doesn't favor the RDC even if we skip the stuff that sincerely isn't Donner's fault.

And please, don't argue that the RDC fits in better with Singerman than the Lester Superman II does, you'll only embarass yourself.

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  webhead2006 on Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:06 pm

Nice views on the rdc. For me I only watched it once on tv recently and I didn't really see/remember all the differences. Personally I thought each verison was fine. But I know folks do have different thoughts on that.

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  Apologist Puncher on Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:44 pm

You know, I liked the Donner Cut for what it was.

A cash grab and an attempt to "set things right" with Donner and Superman fans.

I liked the new opening better than the Original Superman II, but I think it could have used a "bang-up" action sequence sooner than we got. Going from Clark "super breathing" Lois to the ground to them at Niagara Fall,s with very little in-between, just made it drag a bit. At least Lester got Superman into the action almost right away.

Oh, and the "FREEEE!!!" ALSO bugged me. No excuse for it in 2005, even if they wanted to think "Hey, people should be used to it in the Superman films by now".

The hotel room "reveal" was better than the "Bye-bye baby" from Lester's cut. But it does go to show that Clark/Kal weren't too bright. No sound of a ricochet? No bullet hitting the wall or ceiling? Clark just says "You got me!"?

I don't think so. He's faster than a speeding bullet. He would have SEEN a bullet come out of that gun.

The Reeve/Brando scenes in the RDC were a low point for sure. Christopher Reeve was NOT on his "A-game", and it showed. Weak line delivery, zero emotional resonance, just all around not good.

I appreciated them for the simple fact that I had never seen them before, but that's it.

Zod and Co. taking down the White House was pretty similar to the original, with a few changes. I liked it.

The one area that I think the RDC was VASTLY superior to the original was the super villain fight. Superman threw a punch! Was that so hard?

I liked that they cut down on the "comedy" bits, and the added-on scene of "Superman" pushing the cigarette truck off of him was a cool little bit. Hell, that scene ALONE was far more "satisfying" than ANYTHING in Singerman Peeps. But I digress....

Turning back the time looked a lot cooler than the way it did in STM, but felt like "Been there, done that". Not better, not worse.

One MAJOR gripe I have is the use of the score though.

The score wasn't used to it's potential in my opinion. It felt like they wanted to have the sound be more "subtle", but that's NOT what you want in your action sequences. Subtlety. You want it to "get your blood pumping", and really involve you in what is happening. The RDC almost seemed to go the opposite.

Watch the original sequence where Superman crushes Zod's hand, and then watch the RDC version. Pretty much says it all.

All in all, not a bad movie by far. But being "better" than the original?

Nah.

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  Guest on Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:59 am

Apologist Puncher wrote:I liked that they cut down on the "comedy" bits, and the added-on scene of "Superman" pushing the cigarette truck off of him was a cool little bit. Hell, that scene ALONE was far more "satisfying" than ANYTHING in Singerman Peeps.
Ha, true, but if Stalkerman is your basis of comparison for anything, you're already setting the bar pretty low. Smile

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  Guest on Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:23 pm

I'm coming back to this.

Apologist Puncher wrote:A cash grab and an attempt to "set things right" with Donner and Superman fans.
I guess I appreciate the effort. What bugs me is that it feels like it was done on the cheap though. It doesn't look as good as it could with a little TLC.

Apologist Puncher wrote:I liked the new opening better than the Original Superman II, but I think it could have used a "bang-up" action sequence sooner than we got. Going from Clark "super breathing" Lois to the ground to them at Niagara Fall,s with very little in-between, just made it drag a bit.
I wasn't fond of the music in that scene. Obviously there was never going to be a new score for the movie (let's be realistic), but they should've chosen something a little more whimsical for that scene.

Also... did BJ make a cameo there? The figure at the window who said "Lois, what have you done?" could be either Routh or Reeve but the voice kinda sounds like Routh... and NOTHING like Reeve.

Apologist Puncher wrote:The hotel room "reveal" was better than the "Bye-bye baby" from Lester's cut. But it does go to show that Clark/Kal weren't too bright. No sound of a ricochet? No bullet hitting the wall or ceiling? Clark just says "You got me!"?
In fairness, the "bye bye baby" thing wasn't the reveal in the Lester cut. The Lester reveal (glasses in the fire) has its merits with Clark subconsciously WANTING Lois to know his true identity.

Apologist Puncher wrote:The Reeve/Brando scenes in the RDC were a low point for sure. Christopher Reeve was NOT on his "A-game", and it showed. Weak line delivery, zero emotional resonance, just all around not good.

I appreciated them for the simple fact that I had never seen them before, but that's it.
Yep. Kinda neat to think about what they would've been if they'd been reshot (which I'm convinced they would've been; Donner is too good a director to let performances like those stand).

Apologist Puncher wrote:The one area that I think the RDC was VASTLY superior to the original was the super villain fight. Superman threw a punch! Was that so hard?
I liked that too... but the punch led to that really awkward and goofy wire shot of Non flipping backwards again and again. It just looked goofy. But yeah, the punch was cool.

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  Comicbookfan-V2 on Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:36 pm

I actully got a chance to see it this past summer on AMC and I don't know about anybody else but to me it felt like it was better because qite frankly "Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut" was the sequel that was meant to be made as it were plus it actully eliminated any plot holes that the orignal film had!

Even though a film turn out the way it should or meant to be dosen't necessarily equal better (Which I understand perfectly) but when you think about it does fill in the plot holes that the original film had with scenes that were filmed but were removed, and in the process removed scenes that were added by Richard Lester that were unnecessary while keeping most of the scenes that were meant to be there just as long it proceeds with the storyline/plot aleast according to the scriptment.

Personally I think we have finally see how "Superman II" really turn out if Richard Donner had finished it. I just wish that have done this sooner than the time that they did!

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  Guest on Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:58 pm

What plot holes do you refer to? And how does the RDC fix them?

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  Apologist Puncher on Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:28 am

thec0l0rsblend wrote:I'm coming back to this.

Welcome back.

thec0l0rsblend wrote:I guess I appreciate the effort. What bugs me is that it feels like it was done on the cheap though. It doesn't look as good as it could with a little TLC.

And it WAS.

It was a cash-grab with a guaranteed audience. They knew they didn't have to put much into it at all.

thec0l0rsblend wrote:I wasn't fond of the music in that scene. Obviously there was never going to be a new score for the movie (let's be realistic), but they should've chosen something a little more whimsical for that scene.

See my post again for my thoughts on the music.

thec0l0rsblend wrote:Also... did BJ make a cameo there? The figure at the window who said "Lois, what have you done?" could be either Routh or Reeve but the voice kinda sounds like Routh... and NOTHING like Reeve.

That's what the Apologists liked to believe.

Unfortunately, it is "uncredited" on IMDB. But IF it WAS BJ, do you really think he would do it and not get credit?

I don't think so.

thec0l0rsblend wrote:In fairness, the "bye bye baby" thing wasn't the reveal in the Lester cut. The Lester reveal (glasses in the fire) has its merits with Clark subconsciously WANTING Lois to know his true identity.

Actually, it was part of the whole "reveal". No "bye bye baby", no hand in the fire.

thec0l0rsblend wrote:Yep. Kinda neat to think about what they would've been if they'd been reshot (which I'm convinced they would've been; Donner is too good a director to let performances like those stand).

Agreed.

thec0l0rsblend wrote:I liked that too... but the punch led to that really awkward and goofy wire shot of Non flipping backwards again and again. It just looked goofy. But yeah, the punch was cool.

Yet another example of the lack of budget.

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  Guest on Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:45 am

Apologist Puncher wrote:That's what the Apologists liked to believe.
*ulp* They do? Sad I don't like having anything in common with those people.

Unfortunately, it is "uncredited" on IMDB. But IF it WAS BJ, do you really think he would do it and not get credit?

I don't think so.
Honestly? I kinda do. I could picture Blandon BJ doing it. He'd spent a good majority of his time up to that point aping Reeve. Why not go for the gusto and outright replace him, if just for a moment?

Plus, half the execs at WB apparently drank that "Routh is EXACTLY like Reeve" Kool-Aid. If they were willing to buy into that bullshit and put the skinny twerp into their multi-hundred million dollar summer tentpole, it's no stretch to think they'd be cool with Routh making an uncredited voiceover for a related movie.

As for Donner himself, I could picture him going along with it just to get something in place in that scene while simultaneously indulging his wife's business relationship with Bryan Singer and, in so doing, maybe returning the favor for Singer letting him borrow whatever prop was used in the RDC (never figured out which prop that was supposed to be but whatever).

All around, I don't think it's too huge a stretch.

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  Comicbookfan-V2 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:43 pm

thec0l0rsblend wrote:What plot holes do you refer to? And how does the RDC fix them?

Well if I recall one of the plot holes from the original film were Supes throwing an elevator with a bomb into space thus freeing the rogue Kryptonians which it shouldn't have the much impact to free them from the Phantom Zone while in the RDC the missile the Supes launch into space from the first film was the one that freed the rogue Kryptonians which actully does have enough force to free them from the Phantom Zone. Lois discovered Clark's identity through ironic circumstances while in the RDC Lois finds out in advance through making Supes think that he was shot by a bullet but it was actully a blank gun. Supes speaking to his biological mother Lara at the fortress while in the RDC his speaks to his biological father Jor-El just as it should be as he did in the first film. Lex learns about the fortress but is not told about the rogue Kryptonians while in the RDC his was told of them and were revealed in apparance through holograms. Supes regain his powers through a green crystal (Thats it) while in RDC Supes uses the green crystal to re-activate the fortress where Jor-El was the one who restore Supe's powers. Supes erase Lois's memories with a kiss (Which is really ridiculous) thus leaving no memory of who Clark really is or the events that transpired with the rogue Kryptonians and not knowing their fate right after the fortress while in the RDC Supes reverse time as he did in the first film to undo the damage that the rogue Kryptonians have done and sent them back into the Phantom Zone while everybodies memories inculding Lois's were erase along with Supes destroying the fortress so that it will not be discovered or used by anyone else again.

Also, all the slap-stick and comedic stuff were removed since thats all from Richard Lester's playbook!

Hopes this answer your question!

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  Apologist Puncher on Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:09 pm

Comicbookfan-V2 wrote:Well if I recall one of the plot holes from the original film were Supes throwing an elevator with a bomb into space thus freeing the rogue Kryptonians which it shouldn't have the much impact to free them from the Phantom Zone while in the RDC the missile the Supes launch into space from the first film was the one that freed the rogue Kryptonians which actully does have enough force to free them from the Phantom Zone.

First off, most of the things you mentioned are NOT "plot holes". But we'll tackle that later.

The bomb in the elevator was a hydrogen bomb. Do you know what the hydrogen bomb was? It was referred to as a "thermonuclear bomb", an early version of our current nuclear bomb, if you will.

So it DEFINITELY had enough force to free the Phantom Zone prisoners, as his mother told Lex.

Lois discovered Clark's identity through ironic circumstances while in the RDC Lois finds out in advance through making Supes think that he was shot by a bullet but it was actully a blank gun.

Again, not a plot hole. Just a matter of what YOU felt was better.

And I agree.

Supes speaking to his biological mother Lara at the fortress while in the RDC his speaks to his biological father Jor-El just as it should be as he did in the first film.

Again, a matter of "taste".

I actually like the original version, as Susannah York put across a mother's love to her son VERY effectively. Christopher Reeve's acting was top-notch, and you could almost feel the bond between them.

Lex learns about the fortress but is not told about the rogue Kryptonians while in the RDC his was told of them and were revealed in apparance through holograms.

Actually, he was INDEED told about them in the Fortress. Have you seen Superman II in a while? Seriously?

Supes regain his powers through a green crystal (Thats it) while in RDC Supes uses the green crystal to re-activate the fortress where Jor-El was the one who restore Supe's powers.

You preferred the RDC version, and I did too. Still not a plot hole.

Supes erase Lois's memories with a kiss (Which is really ridiculous) thus leaving no memory of who Clark really is or the events that transpired with the rogue Kryptonians and not knowing their fate right after the fortress while in the RDC Supes reverse time as he did in the first film to undo the damage that the rogue Kryptonians have done and sent them back into the Phantom Zone while everybodies memories inculding Lois's were erase along with Supes destroying the fortress so that it will not be discovered or used by anyone else again.

Again and again and again, this is a matter of preference.

Want to know what a REAL plot hole is? It was in the RDC.

Superman erased EVERYONE'S memories of the events that happened and even went so far as to make sure they never happened in the first place, correct? So then WHY did he go and teach that bully a lesson, if he never did anything to Clark in the first place?

PLOT HOLE.

Also, all the slap-stick and comedic stuff were removed since thats all from Richard Lester's playbook!

Hopes this answer your question!

Hope you learned what a plot hole really is now.

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  Guest on Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:03 am

Wikipedia wrote:A plot hole, or plothole, is a gap or inconsistency in a storyline that goes against the flow of logic established by the story's plot, or constitutes a blatant omission of relevant information regarding the plot. These include such things as unlikely behaviour or actions of characters, illogical or impossible events, events happening for no apparent reason, or statements/events that contradict earlier events in the storyline.
-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plothole

A plothole is an event happening or a character making a decision that follows from no explicable chain of logic, serving only to advance the plot but without any rational cause.

Case in point- in TDK, Bruce knocks Harvey Dent out. Well, um, why? I mean, we the audience know why. The Joker is closing in. The commissioner and the judge have been murdered, and Dent is next.

But... how does Bruce know that? We never see him learn about the murders that took place in a completely different part of town. He knocked Harvey out for really no reason. But it served to advance the plot and so it works.

TDK is full of idiotic bullshit like that. Those are plotholes.

As to your post...

Comicbookfan-V2 wrote:Well if I recall one of the plot holes from the original film were Supes throwing an elevator with a bomb into space thus freeing the rogue Kryptonians which it shouldn't have the much impact to free them from the Phantom Zone
As AP alluded to...

Perry- "A buncha terrorists have planted a hydrogen bomb..."
Lois- "HYDROGEN BOMB?! Are you SURE?!"

Wikipedia wrote:The Teller–Ulam design is the nuclear weapon design concept used in most of the world's nuclear weapons.[1] It is colloquially referred to as "the secret of the hydrogen bomb" because it employs hydrogen fusion to generate neutrons. However, in most applications the bulk of its destructive energy comes from uranium fission, not hydrogen fusion. It is named for its two chief contributors, Edward Teller and Stanisław Ulam, who developed it in 1951 for the United States. It was first used in multi-megaton-range thermonuclear weapons. As it is also the most efficient design concept for small nuclear weapons, today virtually all the nuclear weapons deployed by the five major nuclear-armed nations use the Teller–Ulam design.
-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_bomb

All Superman did in the Lester cut was, in some sense, toss a more compact version of a nuclear missile into outer space (yes yes, an oversimplification, I realize), the resulting detonation of which is what cracked the Phantom Zone portal. It was a nuke Superman tossed out there, just not a missile.

Supes speaking to his biological mother Lara at the fortress while in the RDC his speaks to his biological father Jor-El just as it should be as he did in the first film.
Nothing in the first film directly says that there's no AI interface for Lara. It's not seen, to be sure, but it's not specifically ruled out.

This isn't a plothole.

Supes regain his powers through a green crystal (Thats it)
What makes you say that? There's a cut immediately after see Clark cradle the crystal in the Lester cut. We don't know what happened after that. Sure, you could argue the crystal somehow re-energized him... but you could also argue that it reactivated the Fortress and the Lara and/or Jor-El AI, which in turn restored Clark.

Frankly, I'd sooner accept the crystal somehow re-energized his powers than it somehow raised Jor-El from the dead just long enough for Jor-El to somehow magically restore Clark's powers.

No matter what, the Lester cut doesn't show us what happens after Clark rediscovers the crystal.

Supes erase Lois's memories with a kiss (Which is really ridiculous)
Is it a ridiculous superpower for him to have? Eh, he's had more absurd ones in the comics. Even so, go with me here. Superman didn't wipe her memory the minute he dropped Lois off at her apartment after the battle in the FOS. No, he waited until it became clear that she wasn't going to ever get over losing him. Not ever. There would never be someone that would be able to fill the hole in her heart or in any way ease her pain.

Superman, for his part, would always struggle with the same thing. He couldn't do anything about his own pain... but he could do something about hers. In the Lester cut, Superman wiped her memory to ease her pain.

In the RDC, he reverses time basically to avoid responsibility for his actions. You can't really argue that he did it to "undo the damage done by the Kryptonians"... because, hey, is he supposed to reverse time everytime something really horrible happens? Why not reverse time and undo the damage caused by a tsunami or tornado or, heck, just to save someone's life? Why don't we see Superman do that all the time?

In the Lester cut, Superman wipes only Lois' mind, choosing to suffer through his heartbreak in silence and alone.

In the Donner cut, he reverses time to dodge the consequences of his own choices.

You tell me which is more heroic.

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  thecolorsblend on Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:24 am

I've retitled this thing as this seems like the best place for this discussion. It seems odd to me that (as far as I know) we don't have a thread specifically for discussion about these movies. I guess we've all assumed that we all love these films and proceeded from there.

Except for me. I've been openly critical of the Reeve movies on occasions too numerous to mention. But that doesn't mean I don't like them. I think they did a lot of stuff right. I've got a pet peeve about how lauded STM and, to a lesser degree, S2 have become as they've been praised way out of proportion if you ask me.

That said, STM... man oh man. Margot Kidder/Lois Lane is the only really weak link in this chain. I don't find Kidder all that good looking and something about the portrayal of Lois in this movie doesn't ring quite true to me. But holy shit, the score, the rest of the cast, the production design, the score, the mythic tone of the Krypton scenes, the John Williams score, Reeve setting himself up as the alpha male among Superman actors to this day and the orchestral score... dude, there's so much to love about this movie.

When I was a kid watching the theatrical cut of the movie, I recognized Noel Neil as the little girl's mom/grandma on the train. I didn't know that it was Lois on the train (this was the theatrical cut, after all) but I spotted Neil a mile away. I was convinced she was Lois from the Reeves TV show but it'd be years before I could confirm that (I guess kids don't think to skip ahead to the closing credits).

When you look at the totality of Superman's mythos at the time, you kind of have to respect what Donner was going for in telling a Superman origin story. It's not that Superboy is a stupid concept, it's that, if you really think about it, Superman's Pre-Crisis origin story is borderline unfilmable. It's just not structured in a movie-friendly way (Krypton, Smallville/Superboy stuff, college years, adventures with the Legion of Super-Heroes, going to Metropolis, Superman, etc). So if you were to adapt the character into film, you either have to cut down those story elements very heavily or else you have to pretty seriously modify/reimagine things into something more movie-oriented. Even so, Donner, although he deleted the Superboy idea from the film, gave the comic fans a wink in the "almost" meeting with young Clark and Lois. It was a common thing the comics did back in those days where Superman's modern life was shown to have antecedents in his childhood (Smallville got endlessly pilloried for this by comics-illiterate "fans" as if the show invented this concept). Because of that, you'll never convince me that the Lois/Clark/train thing wasn't Donner paying tribute to that tradition as best he could. No, he couldn't throw in teenage Lex Luthor and adventures with the Legion of Super-Heroes, but by golly he can at least acknowledge some comic bookisms.

Hackman has taken a lot of shit for playing a B-movie Bond villain, used car salesman version of Lex Luthor. Admittedly, he has a lot of broad, jokey scenes in the film. But go back and watch the "gotcha" scene where Superman accidentally springs Kryptonite on himself. After that box pops open, Hackman does this really creepy slow burn from a joking, jovial mustache-twirler into a genuinely menacing killer. That moment wouldn't be as effective as I find it now if he hadn't been played a little more lightly in the earlier parts of the movie.

As if all that wasn't already good enough, this is a John Williams score from when he was in his prime. I'm not a big movie score guy in general or a Williams groupie or what have you, but his scores from the late 70's to about the mid 80's are the stuff of legend, and for good reason. Of all the scores of his I'm familiar with, STM is hands down his best... which is one hell of a compliment when you start thinking about Jaws, Star Wars (omgwtf, that Empire score...), Indiana Jones, ET, on and on and on.

I've been critical about parts of the Reeve/Donner films that I think needed criticism. But don't ever doubt my fandom for these movies.

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  Apologist Puncher on Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:17 pm

I actually should have thought of making a forum specifically for the 'Donnerverse' films, up to and including that travesty Singerman Peeps.

So now I have.

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  non_amos on Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:02 am

thecolorsblend wrote:

Hackman has taken a lot of shit for playing a B-movie Bond villain, used car salesman version of Lex Luthor. Admittedly, he has a lot of broad, jokey scenes in the film. But go back and watch the "gotcha" scene where Superman accidentally springs Kryptonite on himself. After that box pops open, Hackman does this really creepy slow burn from a joking, jovial mustache-twirler into a genuinely menacing killer. That moment wouldn't be as effective as I find it now if he hadn't been played a little more lightly in the earlier parts of the movie.

Believe it or not, I've actually busted out laughing at that scene before, whether I really should have or not. It must have been Hackman's delivery of the material, just like you get a kick out of the way Jack Nicholson portrayed the Joker (of which I'm sure numerous such examples could be cited). Anyway, there I was watching STM again but possibly after a long layoff from it. When they got to that scene, I cracked up! "A little souvenir from the old home town." "When it came time to cash in your chips....." Well ,here it is:


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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  Apologist Puncher on Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:07 pm

I always thought the mix of the kryptonite "theme music", and Hackman's delivery, made that scene very menacing.

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  thecolorsblend on Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:00 am

Apologist Puncher wrote:I always thought the mix of the kryptonite "theme music", and Hackman's delivery, made that scene very menacing.
Freakin THANK YOU! I've been sitting on a reply trying to figure out the best way to phrase it but I guess that's the moment where the mask slips a little bit and the jokey, whimsical Luthor is totally gone and what you're seeing is the real monster.

Incidentally, and not to stray too far off topic, but if there's one major beef I've got with Spacey's performance in Singerman, it's that the finished product is basically nothing but Hackman rasping "diseased maniac" all through the film. There's no variation, no nuance, no nothing. The reason that moment in STM is kind of chilling is because Hackman had been playing the role completely the opposite through out the movie. But Spacey's performance doesn't have ANY of that texture. It's all just one-note.

That's kind of odd too because, for as bad as I think Spacey was in Singerman, there are alternate takes out there where Spacey plays the part very hammy and silly and over the top. So when they were shooting the movie, Spacey was either a cartoon character or a cold blooded killer. You could argue that would've been even worse than what was in the finished product.

Ugh, fucking hate Singerman...

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  Apologist Puncher on Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:37 am

thecolorsblend wrote:Freakin THANK YOU!

You are very welcome.

I've been sitting on a reply trying to figure out the best way to phrase it but I guess that's the moment where the mask slips a little bit and the jokey, whimsical Luthor is totally gone and what you're seeing is the real monster.

Exactly right. He showed in those brief few minutes just HOW evil he really can be.

Incidentally, and not to stray too far off topic, but if there's one major beef I've got with Spacey's performance in Singerman, it's that the finished product is basically nothing but Hackman rasping "diseased maniac" all through the film. There's no variation, no nuance, no nothing. The reason that moment in STM is kind of chilling is because Hackman had been playing the role completely the opposite through out the movie. But Spacey's performance doesn't have ANY of that texture. It's all just one-note.

Which I think goes back to Spacey looking at it as a "funny book movie", and not much else.

That's kind of odd too because, for as bad as I think Spacey was in Singerman, there are alternate takes out there where Spacey plays the part very hammy and silly and over the top. So when they were shooting the movie, Spacey was either a cartoon character or a cold blooded killer. You could argue that would've been even worse than what was in the finished product.

Chalk that up to both Singer AND Spacey not being able to see beyond Hackman Highlights from STM.

Ugh, fucking hate Singerman...

Get in line, bro.

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  Apologist Puncher on Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:38 pm

thecolorsblend wrote:
Apologist Puncher wrote:I always thought the mix of the kryptonite "theme music", and Hackman's delivery, made that scene very menacing.
Freakin THANK YOU! I've been sitting on a reply trying to figure out the best way to phrase it but I guess that's the moment where the mask slips a little bit and the jokey, whimsical Luthor is totally gone and what you're seeing is the real monster.

You know what, maybe it's because when I watch this now, I usually skip to chapter 19 and go from there, but I forgot something VERY important that Hackman's Luthor does very early on:

He kills that detective with the train.

And not only that, it's also the way he does it. You see his finger just glide forward on the lever, as he's watching this guy struggle for his life to stay out from in front of that train. Very cold-blooded. Very e-v-i-l.

Spacey's Luthor NEVER came close to that.

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  Apologist Puncher on Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:39 pm

Apologist Puncher wrote:
thecolorsblend wrote:I always thought the mix of the kryptonite "theme music", and Hackman's delivery, made that scene very menacing.
Freakin THANK YOU! I've been sitting on a reply trying to figure out the best way to phrase it but I guess that's the moment where the mask slips a little bit and the jokey, whimsical Luthor is totally gone and what you're seeing is the real monster.

You know what, maybe it's because when I watch this now, I usually skip to chapter 19 and go from there, but I forgot something VERY important that Hackman's Luthor does very early on:

He kills that detective with the train.

And not only that, it's also the way he does it. You see his finger just glide forward on the lever, as he's watching this guy struggle for his life to stay out from in front of that train. Very cold-blooded. Very e-v-i-l.

Spacey's Luthor NEVER came close to that.

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  thecolorsblend on Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:44 pm

Apologist Puncher wrote:You know what, maybe it's because when I watch this now, I usually skip to chapter 19 and go from there, but I forgot something VERY important that Hackman's Luthor does very early on:

He kills that detective with the train.

And not only that, it's also the way he does it. You see his finger just glide forward on the lever, as he's watching this guy struggle for his life to stay out from in front of that train. Very cold-blooded. Very e-v-i-l.

Spacey's Luthor NEVER came close to that.
Yep. I'd deleted something along those lines from some other post in this thread because I didn't want to get a tl;dr from somebody. But since we're on the subject, Luthor lures Superman to his hideout on the pretense of a poisoning half the city. When Superman confronts him about it, he admits he made it up... but adds it was just an idea he'd been tinkering with for a while.

After the police detective, the two night watchmen and his successful hijacking of two nukes... y'know, it all of a sudden doesn't seem like scene-chewing, villain monologuery anymore, does it?

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  Apologist Puncher on Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:51 pm

thecolorsblend wrote:Yep. I'd deleted something along those lines from some other post in this thread because I didn't want to get a tl;dr from somebody. But since we're on the subject, Luthor lures Superman to his hideout on the pretense of a poisoning half the city. When Superman confronts him about it, he admits he made it up... but adds it was just an idea he'd been tinkering with for a while.

The enjoyment he got out of that statement also says a lot about his Luthor.

After the police detective, the two night watchmen and his successful hijacking of two nukes... y'know, it all of a sudden doesn't seem like scene-chewing, villain monologuery anymore, does it?

A lot of people like to think back to his Luthor with blinders on.

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  thecolorsblend on Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:27 am

Facebook covers.




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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  thecolorsblend on Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:08 am

Got the 14 DVD mega set for Christmas five or so years ago. That's pretty much what it would take for me to have a copy of Singerman in my house, incidentally. I've noticed though that WB went through a serious identity crisis right around the time this set came out and so there is quite a bit of neurotic recoloring done to several of the pics in the insert booklet and DVD art.

For example, several pics of Chris Reeve, Dean Cain, TAS Superman and George Reeves have tweaked colors to kinda sorta approximate the Singerman tu-tu. I guess WB was giving it their all to convince us that the Singerman color design was spot on and our memories distorted those other adaptations into pure red, pure blue and pure gold. If you look at the Superman II SE DVD, I think that's the one that shows Reeve wearing a "modified" chest emblem that, ZOINKS, looks just like ol' BJ's!

The back cover could be the most neurotic as it has several glory shots of Reeve in The Suit, most of which look fine... except for an image from Superman II where Reeve is trying to catch the bus before it crashes into the Marlboro delivery truck, which is, again, recolored to match the Singerman color scheme. But since the other Reeve/suit pics all feature the original color design, it's a hard sell.

Before this though, WB, the sneaky monkeys, obviously tried to market the movie as something else so the Look Up In The Sky disc (which was released as a standalone long before this 14-disc behemoth hit the scene) has images of Routh and STAS Superman both with traditional coloring retouches (although obviously the STAS thing has less need of improvement).

Bad enough that these re-coloring jobs exist at all, worse still that they were done so poorly but the thing that I find most irritating is that they're done so inconsistently.

So happy that Singerman's stench is gone forever...

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

Post  James Stocks on Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:51 pm

thecolorsblend wrote:If you look at the Superman II SE DVD, I think that's the one that shows Reeve wearing a "modified" chest emblem that, ZOINKS, looks just like ol' BJ's!

I remember that. Of course WB got rid of that quickly once fans pointed it out but I think the Singer S can still be found on SUPERGIRL copies.

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Re: General Reeve/Donner franchise thread (was 'Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut')

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