Monday, May 19, 2014

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut

If you get the chance, I highly recommend checking out Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut. You should particularly do this if you remember the 1980 Superman II with Christopher Reeve, and what a total abortion of a movie it was.

They made 1 and 2 concurrently, and Richard Donner (the director--he also did Lethal Weapon and a bunch of other stuff) was fired before he could finish up on 2. There was a clamor on the Internet to do a director's cut of 2 because of how it was totally ruined with all the dumb slapstick shit that the studio insisted on adding after Donner was fired. (That is also why he was fired--he wouldn't do it.)

Exactly which Kryptonian superpower is responsible for giving Superman
the ability to tear off a copy of his emblem and have it grow into a
human size plastic bag for bad guys? Who thought this was a good idea?!
Donner had basically washed his hands of it and was still pissed off 20 years later. (Who could blame him?) Well, another guy by the name of Michael Thau had started to do the restoration, occasionally calling Donner to ask questions. During this process, the Internet pressure prompted Warner Brothers to pull their collective head out of their ass and release the original work print, test footage, etc. The more Donner got involved again, the more enthusiastic he became, until finally he threw his full support and time into the project. See the full story below.

What appears on the disc is an edit of original footage and screen test footage (for scenes that were never actually shot for real), mixed with existing footage of the movie as it was released. The results are stunning.

Not only were the really cheesy, slapstick scenes removed (particularly during the big fight in Metropolis between Superman and Zod,, but whole plot changes were made, making the story much more cohesive, relatable, and enjoyable. (Hint: it's really about the relationship between Kal-El and his father Jor-El.) It turns the whole movie around from "Why did they do that?" to a real, worthy sequel story.

The Richard Donner cut of Superman II can be found on Enjoy!

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