Sunday, January 6, 2013

"Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut"

Just got finished watching the DVD of "Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut".

For those who don't know the background, Richard Donner was hired to direct 'Superman I & II" simultaneously from a 500 page screenplay by Mario Puzo. He filmed all of I and most of II, but then got fired by the producers who hired another director to finish II. The new director yanked a lot of Donner's scenes, re-filmed some, took Marlon Brando out of the movie, and finished II with a lot of the cheezoid humor resulting in the theatrical version that we all grew up with.

While I have always loved 'Superman II" ever since I was a kid, I have been intrigued by the more serious tone the Donner cut was supposed to have. Well after years of working on it, a dvd has come out recently with Donner's involvement. The new dvd isn't Donner's full version, because he never got to film all of his scenes. Instead the new dvd is Donner's existing never-b4-seen scenes edited into a Donner modified version of the theatrical cut of "Superman II".

The finished product is a little rough around the edges, but otherwise a fantastic viewing experience. The finished product is a lot more serious than the version we have seen. Most of the goofy crap the second director put in is removed (thank god) while the more sophisticated Lex Luthor humor remains. Lois and Clark's relationship works much better. Donner's scenes of Lois proving Clark is Superman are far superior to the theatrical release. To show Donner's original intentions for those scenes they edited in a scene from Margot Kidder's audition screen test to replace the Niagara Falls river jump scene. I was skeptical of this, but the screen-test scene really works and is so much better than Lois jumping in the river.

The big super-brawl is awesome in both versions, but feels cooler and much more intense in Donner's cut. Mainly because the villains are more evil in this version. They destroy the Washington Monument and the Statue of Liberty in this version.

The highlight of Donner's cut is Marlon Brando. As Jor-el he interacts with Hackman and Reeves and those scenes are dynamite! Donner's version feels like a much more epic film than the theatrical release. Especially in the scenes where Superman gives up his powers and then goes to get them back. Those scenes play huge in Donner's version thanks to Brando and Reeves terrific acting and the great previously unseen dialogue by Puzo.

In all, I'd recommend this to anyone who loves Superman I & II but always felt II could have been a little better if taken more seriously (as it is in Donner's Cut).

Originally posted on December 5, 2006 on Myspace.

No comments:

Post a Comment