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Superman - The Movie/Superman II
Superman - The Movie/Superman II
Actor: Christopher Reeve
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama
NR     2005     4hr 41min


Movie Details

Actor: Christopher Reeve
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama
Sub-Genres: Superheroes, Drama
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 01/18/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 4hr 41min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, French

Movie Reviews

The Two Essential Superman Films!
Monty Moonlight | TX | 10/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Superman: The Movie

After discovering the tragic fate soon to befall his own planet, Kryptonian scientist Jor-El and his wife Lara send their only son, the infant Kal-El, to the distant planet Earth in a small spaceship, knowing that its atmosphere and the rays of its yellow son will bestow upon him powers and abilities far greater than those of its inhabitants. With his vastly superior knowledge and gifts, Kal-El will have a great advantage over the people of Earth, veritably insuring his future, but with great power comes great responsibility, to borrow from a later comic book icon. It will be Kal-El's lifelong duty to help and guide the people of Earth, to be a savior to them in times of crisis and a role model for them as they go about their daily lives.

Whether prearranged by his father, Jor-El, or completely by a stroke of terrific luck, most likely the former, baby Kal-El's ship crash lands in a field in the Rockwellian town of Smallville, Kansas, just as a kind, salt-of-the-earth, regretfully childless farming couple is driving down the nearby road. Jonathan Kent and his wife, Martha, at first don't know what to make of the strange discovery, but the toddler seems to be the answer to their countless prayers for a youngster of their very own. The couple raise the boy, instilling in him their strong values of goodness, courage, faith, humility, love, loyalty, truth, justice, and the American way. Everything seems picture perfect for the Kents and their adopted son, who they have renamed Clark, until Jonathan Kent passes away of a heart-attack and a strange glowing object calls to Clark from the barn. It is this event from which the now 18 year-old Clark Kent, also known as Kal-El of Krypton, learns that he must finally leave his gray-haired old mother and travel north to find his destiny, and so he does.

In the isolation of the cold, bitter north, the green, glowing crystal Kal-El found that night on his Smallville farm helps him to create a new home. Not a home for his mild-mannered Earthling identity, Clark Kent, but a home for his new persona, the mighty hero known as Superman! After twelve years of learning from the crystals that contain all his parents' knowledge of mankind and the universe, Superman emerges as a god among men, with skills even greater than he ever knew he had before: Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Right away, Superman makes his presence known to the world, even as he is just settling into his new home in the fantastic city of Metropolis, and his new job as a reporter with The Daily Planet, a beacon of truth and hope across the globe. All seems to be going well with Kal-El's new existence in the hustling, bustling Metropolis, with new friends and coworkers Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane in Clark Kent's life, not to mention the stern but fatherly Perry White, the Daily Planet's editor, and Superman making a name for himself as the city's own high-flying guardian angel. Things are about to get more complicated, though, as a maniacal criminal mastermind named Lex Luthor plots to wreak havoc from his secret underground lair. While Superman shuffles his heroics and reporting schedules to fit in time for courting Miss Lane too, Luthor is busy laying out a plan to sink Los Angeles into the ocean, making his recent desert land purchases immensely more valuable as the NEW west coast! Realizing Superman is the only thing that can stand in the way of his devious scheme, Lex and his bumbling cohorts research and discover the only way to kill the Kryptonian man-of-steel, green Kryptonite! With this deadly weapon now in their evil arsenal, even Superman may not be able to save the day!

In 1978, producers Ilya and Alexander Salkind set forth to make a movie like no one had ever seen before: A big-budget comic-book film called "Superman." Their idea was a tour-de-force of camp, but the director they hired to do the job, "The Omen's" Richard Donner, had a different sort of film in mind. Richard, who was hired to shoot both Superman and Superman 2 simultaneously, knew that if the film was to work, it had to be a completely believable and engrossing story of one man's struggle to make a difference with the talents giving solely to him, not a feature-length joke about the comic book hero genre. Locking in big names in the roles of Superman's father, Kal-El (Marlon Brando), and arch-nemesis Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman), Richard set the groundwork for a film that could be taken seriously, rather than just shrugged off as a kiddie flick. While an incredible team tackled the problem of inventing groundbreaking effects for a film that was abundant in the fantastic, and completely without the aid of CGI, Donner went on to the difficult task of casting his leading man and lady. He found perfection in the forms of a young Christopher Reeve and a feisty Margot Kidder. With Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Glenn Ford, and even more high-profile names rounding out the stellar cast, made to glow by the stunning lighting and camera work of Geoffrey Unsworth and the incomparable music of John Williams, the final package was nothing short of a masterpiece! "Superman: the Movie" was a fantastic success, spawning three sequels, the sister-film "Supergirl," and securing the last son of Krypton's place as a pop-culture icon from now to the end of time!

On DVD, "Superman: the Movie" looks fantastic, and the double-sided disc is loaded with extras! With deleted scenes, trailers and TV spots, three 30-minute documentaries on the making of the film, a music only track and additional, alternate music tracks, a readable legacy of Superman, cast and director filmographies, and some highly entertaining screen tests featuring a variety of Lois Lanes (Anne Archer made quite an appetizing Lois), this truly is a special edition! The disc is capped off with a great feature commentary by director Richard Donner and creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz, who give a passing mention to everything from the film's clear parallels to the life of Jesus Christ (a theme continued through Superman 2, which puts its own spin on the New Testament's Book of Revelations), to personal differences between the cast and crew! It's quite an interesting listen! Whether or not an even MORE special "Special Edition" of "Superman: The Movie" will be released soon to hail the coming of the new Warner Brothers film "Superman Returns" is unknown at the time of this review, though it is quite likely. After all, this is the only one of the Superman feature DVDs with any extras worth talking about, and the definitive Batman film "Batman Begins'" DVD release next month will be accompanied by an all new set of Special Editions of the four previous Batman films. It would only seem natural that the Superman films would follow suit, and, make no mistake, "Superman: The Movie" will always be the definitive Superman film!

Superman II

It's a typical day for Clark Kent, 2nd banana reporter for the Daily Planet newspaper, when Editor-In-Chief Perry White sends him to Paris, France to cover a story of terrorism at the Eiffel Tower. It's a typical day for Superman too, when the hostage situation involves a hydrogen bomb and the woman of his dreams, ace reporter Lois Lane. Superman makes short work of the explosive device, hurling it into space where it can do no harm. Little does he know that the subsequent explosion has released three of the most dangerous criminals in the history of the planet Krypton from their imprisonment within the Phantom Zone (as seen in the first Superman movie). The cruel and merciless General Zod and his disciples, the hateful Ursa and the mindless Non, after destroying a team of astronauts on the moon, immediately set their power-hungry sights on the meek and conquerable planet of Earth. Meanwhile, Earth's most dangerous criminal mind, Lex Luthor, plots a successful escape from the maximum security prison in which he is being held, and, following Superman's usual flight pattern, makes his way due north to discover the hero's secret layer and the details of his alien past.

As the three Kryptonian criminals wreak havoc and revel in their new superhuman powers, Superman is preoccupied with Lois Lane, who has discovered that he and Clark are one in the same while investigating a story at Niagra Falls and posing as a honeymooning couple. It would appear that Superman is quite relieved to have someone to share his secrets with, especially since that someone is Lois. He quickly whisks her away to his Fortress of Solitude in the great, white north. While the Man of Steel completely opens up to his lady-love, Lex travels to the White House to converse with Earth's NEW leaders, and to give the three alien terrorists an offer they can't refuse! It seems like this would be the worst time ever for Superman to give up all his superpowers and become a regular, mortal man, but that's just what he does! Completely clueless as to what has transpired in the world outside his icy fortress, Superman declares to the soul of his deceased mother Lara that he loves the Earth woman, Lois. She reveals to him that he must forego all his superhuman abilities to be with her, and so he does. It would seem that no one can stop the three criminals from Krypton now! And, with all the information Lex Luthor is providing them, they decide their next conquest will be the son of the man who imprisoned them in the Phantom Zone in the first place, Kal-El of Krypton, also known as Superman!

After the world was wowed by the first Superman movie starring Christopher Reeve, the second one had a tall order to fill. With a change of directors after 2/3rds of the film had been shot, and various other powerful elements being lost that made the first film great, their was a fair possibility that the second outing would not go well. Luckily, the first film had set so much excellent groundwork, including lots of previously shot sequel footage by "Superman: the Movie" director Richard Donner, that a first Superman sequel would be hard to mess up. Yes, had Richard Donner stayed in the director's seat, the sequel would likely have been even better, but as it is, "Superman 2" is a highly enjoyable film with much of the magic and power of the original! The cast is fantastic, especially Christopher Reeve, with his outstanding skill at portraying both the powerful and confident Man of Steel and the meek and clumsy reporter, Clark Kent. Lois is played flawlessly by Margot Kidder, as are the 3 super-villains, Terence Stamp as Zod, Sarah Douglas as Ursa, and Jack O'Halloran as Non. Gene Hackman turns in another flawless and funny performance as Lex Luthor, criminal blowhard, and many other familiar faces return from "Superman: The Movie," mostly due to the fantastic (and clearly superior) Richard Donner footage shot during the making of the original. The story this time around is much more about being Superman rather than becoming Superman, which places more focus on action and romance than touching Americana and family bonds, and for some that may make this one less appealing. However, for those fans waiting to see a good superhuman battle-royale, this picture delivers! This DVD edition, on the other hand, doesn't. The only extras it offers are the theatrical trailer and a few filmographies. Nevertheless, until some Special Edition DVDs of the Superman sequels are released, this DVD is a must have! "Superman 2" is one of those sequels that is worthy of its place in a franchise beloved the world over!

As for the other two sequels, "Superman 3" is painfully underrated and not a bad film by any means, with Richard Pryor making up for the loss of Hackman, and a lovely pre-Smallville(TV series) Annette O'Toole in the role of the adult Lana Lang. It also features some great "Evil Superman" stuff! "Superman 4: The Quest For Peace," written by star Christopher Reeve, is easily the weakest of the series. It is often ridiculed for its flying effects and bleeding-heart storyline, but it is still watchable and mildly entertaining to less demanding Superman fans. As for the "Supergirl" movie, it's a shame it wasn't more successful. I can't say much for the loyalty to the comic books, my superhero fandom comes more from television and movies than anything else (my comic collection is mainly Disney and Star Wars), but I find this much razzed film to be enjoyable as a popcorn flick, and Supergirl is just hot. I own the boxed set of the Superman films and the 2-disc release of "Supergirl." While I may lean a bit toward the Dark Knight in terms of favorite superhero, I have always been a Superman fan (followed by Spidey and Hulk), and am addicted to the current WB television incarnation, "Smallville." For those of you who enjoy these films, I highly recommend that show, and don't get me started on the hotties it features. I also recommend the wonderful WB animated series, now available on DVD, and the classic Fleischer short cartoons from the 1940s! All fantastic stuff, and just a taste of what's out there! Why, even Krypto the Superdog has his own show now!