EJ N. (FXANM8R) from CAMPBELL, MO Reviewed on 9/22/2009...
I always liked these movies, now I have all of them. This set is well worth it, especially if you are a Superman fanatic.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Superman and Superman II are worth the price of admission...
John M Spangler | Bryan, OH United States | 12/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was really excited when this box set came out and even with the new Superman Returns on the horizon, you should never forget how it all got started. Mind you Superman and Superman II are really the only movies worth forking out the dough for in this box set, but fans won't care and will want to have them all just for the sake.
Superman clearly got the best treatment in this box set. It's packed with extra features, featurettes, music scores, the making of, trailers, etc. The rest of the movies however received zero extra features with the exception of theatrical trailers. What the heck Warner Bros? Gettin' lazy are we? It's a major bummer because many believe part II to be a better movie than the first and deserves some extra goodies. Where is the love for fans?
Superman: The Movie - **** "You will believe a man can fly." That's what the movie posters and trailers wanted you to believe before seeing the movie in 1978. Did they pull it off? Better watch for yourself and see! A tremendous movie even by today's standards. Superman is must see for anyone who enjoys a good popcorn movie. We all must remember this was made in 1978 with nearly no computer technology in sight! But amazingly, most won't notice and it's still fun in 2006. Kids who have never seen it will enjoy it as I did in 1978 when I was a mere 6 years old. Just a little side note... Director, Richard Donner, known for his blockbuster hits "Lethal Weapon 1-4" was literally shot down by Warner Brothers 3/4 through directing part II. Shortly after finishing part 1 and nearly finishing 3/4 of part II and without provocation or notice, Donner was fired as director for Superman II. Even more sadly, when the credits roll in the beginning of part II, credit for the movie was given entirely to Richard Lester and Donner's name isn't even mentioned. Ok How wrong is that? Even crazier, the documentary on the subject is very sparse and there was not a clear cut reason why he was let go. It definitely had to do with some of the other people involved in the movie who probably just didn't get along with Donner.
And don't think Donner was canned because Superman was a stinker. On the contrary, Superman is an epic movie, way before its time and made Warner Brothers a ton of money and was the biggest box office smash at the time. The massive scope, incredible special effects and the realism factor is all intact. It's right up there with the Spiderman movies in my opinion. Don't think of the comic books when watching the original Superman. After a somewhat overblown introduction with Krypton and his life in Smallville, the fun begins the second it goes to Metropolis. Christopher Reeve received high praise for playing the 2-part role of Clark Kent and Superman and at the time was an unknown. He's the perfect man for the role and I don't think it would have been as successful without him. Margot Kidder was also a surprising choice as another unknown but the cast and crew knew the second she meshed so well with Reeve on the screen tests as offered in the special features. But although Reeve and Kidder were matches in heaven for the cast and crew, the advertising of the movie went 100% to Hackman and Brando to get the movie the attention it needed. Posterboards, moviespots, Brando and Hackman were big names and it seemed to work.
Gene Hackman along with his side kick (Otis) Ned Beaty brings the comedic elements to the story. Donner did an excellent job making the two movies funny and realistic at the same time. Jammed packed with special features, the Superman DVD has it all. An all "musical score track" director commentary, interviews with Reeve, Kidder, how they made him fly, and how Donner was dissed during the making of Superman 2. Brando, known for his big role as head mobster in The Godfather plays a crucial role as Superman's father in Superman and his voiceovers for Superman 2. Just a funny little tidbit about Brando. He would always forget his lines and they had to reshoot many of the shots nearly a dozen times to get it right. Brando, also was high dollar actor and he only gave Donner two weeks to shoot his "talents" on-screen. Talented actor yes, but if you can't remember your lines, maybe you should find another job buddy. Overall, Superman lived up to the hype and is still as fun to watch as it was in '78, have fun with it!
Superman II - **** Although the credits clearly state "Richard Lester" as the director...Fans clearly no better. Superman II is Donner all the way. ¾ of the movies is Donner and the rest of it, Directed by a very tame Richard Lester, finished the movie. Fans will notice Kidder weight fluctuating during the film as scenes both directed by Lester and Donner were intertwined together. She looks downright sick in some scenes. Donners scenes are clearly the standout part of the movie. Most of the battle sequence are clearly Donner and most of the weaker scenes are noticeably Lester. As a whole though, I really loved Superman 2. The battle of Superman taking on 3 villains with equal superpowers makes for a marvelous story. The movie is more action orientated. The battle of Zod and Superman rocks. Zod, played by Terrance Stamp is a marvelous actor and his abilities as an actor come through in part II with flying colors. Both I and II were written by Mario Puzo (The Godfather) no wonder these movies are so enticing!
For reasons unknown, Superman 2 did not get any special treatment by Warner Brothers. Mind you, it's the best I've seen it look since the VHS days and they cleaned up the film nicely. But where is my 5.1 Dolby Digital and some special features. With the exception of the movie and a lousy trailer, you get nothing extra. I would have been happy with some interviews and even a spot by Richard Lester explaining how he came to become the director of Superman III. Nevertheless, the movie itself is worth your time and money. Thanks to Donner (yes he should be credited as the director) Superman 2 is a fantastic movie and lives up to being as good as the original if not better.
Superman III - ** 1/2 Man, this is why I miss Donner and screenplay writer Puzo. Richard Lester, selfishly credited for directing Donner's Superman 2, was offered the job to continue the spot with another Superman movie. Here we have Superman 3. Or should I call it Superman VS Richard Pryor - Computer Genius. Superman 3 is a weak entry in the series in my opinion. It's what Donner tried to steer away from in the original and part II. Superman 3 is more of a comedic farce rather than a full blown Superman epic. Luckily, Christopher Reeve saved this movie from being a total disappointment. When he's on-screen, it's good fun, but when Reeve is not on-screen, which is far too often, it's terrible. Superman is actually only in the movie for about 50% of the movie and the role of Clark Kent plays even a smaller part. The story seems to focus more on Richard Pryor's life as a computer guru rather than Superman. Not surprisingly, Warner Brothers didn't offer any special features for this movie with the exception of a theatrical trailer.
Superman IV - ** When you're down and out, you're down and out. Superman 4 is a bad movie and is the weakest entry in the series. I almost would have been happier with Richard Lester as the director, because Sidnie Furie obviously needs some training in the directing department. The story involves the disarmament of Nuclear Weapons and it's up to Superman to save the day! Superman 4 tries to entertain, but it's just a boring film and I have no intentions of watching this again anytime soon. The special effects are actually worse than the 1st three movies put together. Pee Poor pacing, bad directing, bad sound, bad everything and a story that will make some vomit. It's nice to see some of the characters again and heck, even Gene Hackman came back to make a paycheck, but the movie is bland and is a terrible way to end the series. There are some decent moments with Reeve and Kidder and Hackman is funny at times, but overall, you'll be looking at the wall instead of the movie. Extras: Superman got the only extras on the DVD's and part IV has nothing but the trailer. What a surprise.
As a package and definitely directed toward fans, you should enjoy this collection. If only III and IV were better."
Only for die hard Superman fans
B. Mah | Edmonton, AB, Canada | 07/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this four pack DVD box set since I'm a die hard Superman fan. Yes, it saddens me that the last two films in the series aren't as good as the first two movies. The original film, though, was of course the one given the DVD Special Edition treatment. There's a lot of extra stuff on the Superman: The Movie Expanded Edition. Here they are: audio commentary by director Richard Donner and creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz, soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1, music-only audio track, three behind-the-scenes documentaries with the cast & crew, deleted scenes, screen tests for Lois Lane, Ursa, and Superman, audio outtakes, two theatrical trailers, TV spotThis is really one of the best DVDs that I have ever seen released. Truly stuff that movie fans want to see. I'm truly thrilled that one of the best films ever made got the DVD magic. For that alone, given the extra treatment that Superman: The Movie got, I rate this box set 5 stars!Also, get a copy of the 2 disc Superman: The Movie remastered soundtrack released by Rhino Records. This soundtrack includes previously unreleased material by composer John Williams, and who can't say that Williams' Superman theme is one of the best themes ever composed? As for the three Superman sequels, they all got their trailers as the bonus, and widescreen treatment. Sure, it's great to see them all in widescreen to see the maximum view of footage, but still I wish they got some extra bonuses of some kind. Superman II is a great sequel, but I wish something was done to see more of Richard Donner's footage as an extra bonus. Superman III is an awful film to watch (too much Richard Pryor and the silly campiness). Superman IV is actually more watchable in my opinion than part III, although it too is not great of a film, but I did like the nuclear disarmament theme used as the film's story plot (and it was great to see it in widescreen since I saw this film in the theaters back then). Of all the sequels I wished got some extra DVD treatment, I think the last film in the series, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace should have gotten it. The film has been available for all its existence as a 90 minute confusion, when actually there was an original 134 minute cut of the film shown in a test screening in early 1987. This version would have revealed there was an earlier Nuclear Man that Lex Luthor created, and more would have been revealed with Mariel Hemingway's character, and other loose plots that the 90 minute version failed to hide away. Superman IV may be the shortest film in the series, but I think Warner Bros. should have given it the Special Edition treatment on DVD as a true bonus for the general public to know, and for Superman fans to finally see. Rumors are that Superman IV's 134 minute cut has been destroyed, but I hope that isn't true. Maybe one day we will get to see it."
Four movies: one excellent, one great, one weak and one terr
Tom Benton | North Springfield, VT USA | 03/28/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The classic Superman film series is one of the most popular movie series ever made. Though it suffers from the Law of Diminishing Returns, it remains a fun series, largely responsible for the superhero film genre.
SUPERMAN (1978) was a major hit upon its release, and for good reason. Director Richard Donner crafted an epic masterpiece, working from a script by master novelist Mario Puzo and David & Leslie Newman. The movie chronicles the life of Superman (played by Christopher Reeve): sent from the planet Krypton as a baby, he arrives on Earth, where he is taken in by the Kents (Glenn Ford and Phyllis Thaxter) and re-named Clark. We follow Clark through his teenage years to his training as Superman until, finally, he arrives in Metropolis and becomes a reporter for the Daily Planet. He meets reporter Lois Lane (Margot Kidder), who is unattracted to Clark but harbors a love for Superman; also, Superman becomes the target of criminal genius Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman). SUPERMAN features a terrific score by John Williams, the highlight of which is the "Theme from 'Superman'", a wonderful composition which captures the feeling of the Superman legend perfectly. It also features moments of relaxed humor, which would be imitated in nearly all of the superhero films which followed. The cast includes the great Marlon Brando as Jor-El, Superman's biological father.
While most fans consider SUPERMAN to be the highlight of the series, critics tend to favor the stellar sequel, SUPERMAN II. In SUPERMAN II, the Man of Steel gives up his powers to be with the love of his life, Lois Lane; unfortunately, as he does so, three Kryptonian criminals (led by Terence Stamp as General Zod) escape from imprisonment and come to Earth to terrorize its people. The story behind the film is rather notorious. For no apparent reason, the producers fired Richard Donner and replaced him with Richard Lester, director of the Beatles film A HARD DAY'S NIGHT. Donner had been close to completing the film, and while some of the scenes contained in the theatrical version of the film are indeed his scenes, most were cut and re-shot by Lester. (Fans have been after the legendary "Donner Cut" of the film for years. It finally comes to DVD at the end of 2006.) Most of the cast and crew returned for SUPERMAN II, with the notable exceptions of Marlon Brando as Jor-El (his scenes were cut - look for them in SUPERMAN RETURNS and the "Donner Cut") and John Williams, who was replaced by Ken Thorne. Thankfully, Williams' theme remains in the movie.
There was a three-year hiatus before the next Superman flick - the aptly-titled SUPERMAN III. The film is divided into two parts. The first part deals with Superman's return to Smallville for his high school reunion, as well as his exposure to synthetic kryptonite, which transforms him into an evil Superman. The second part deals with Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor), a bumbling computer programmer who winds up as part of a scheme to destroy Superman. The film seems to focus more on Pryor's character than on Superman, winding up as an unfunny comedy that makes you wonder what scribes David & Leslie Newman were thinking. Still, there's great performances by Christopher Reeve and Annette O'Toole (as Clark's high school sweetheart, Lana Lang). O'Toole would later appear on The WB's SMALLVILLE as Martha Kent, Clark's adopted mother.
The series concludes with the notorious SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE. The film flopped at the box office - and it's not hard to see why. Deciding not to pull another nemesis or threat out of the comics, the producers created Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow), a ridiculous character who is largely responsible for the poor quality of the film. Based on a story by Christopher Reeve, SUPERMAN IV finds Superman questing to destroy all of Earth's nuclear weapons; unfortunately for him, Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) has recently escaped from prison, and is yet again planning Superman's demise. The film tries to (literally) copy scenes out of the original SUPERMAN, and fails miserably. The script, by series newcomers Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal, is terrible; Sidney J. Furie's directing is little better. John Williams' magnificent theme has even become hokey. By far the worst part of the film is Mark Pillow, who gives the most horrendous performance I've ever seen in my life.
Despite the decrease in quality from SUPERMAN to SUPERMAN IV, some actors were always good. Christopher Reeve was always just amazing as Superman. Gene Hackman delivered a great, lighthearted performance as Lex Luthor, particularly in SUPERMAN II. Margot Kidder was great as Lois Lane, although she appeared for a mere two minutes in SUPERMAN III and was completely misused in SUPERMAN IV.
SUPERMAN is a masterpiece, and SUPERMAN II is nearly as good. These movies I'd recommend to the average moviegoer. SUPERMAN III I'd advise that you stay away from, and believe me, if you watch SUPERMAN IV, you will regret it. To sum things up, if you're a Superman fan you'll probably want to pick up this set; however, for the casual moviegoer, I'd recommend purchasing SUPERMAN and, if you enjoy that, SUPERMAN II seperately.
NOTE: A "Super" Ultimate Edition boxset is going to be released in December 2006. It will consist of 14 discs, INCLUDING the "Donner Cut" of SUPERMAN II. Loads of special features. You may want to hold out for that."
Wait until November
AH-1Z | Sacramento, CA USA | 08/01/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"On November 28 two better versions of this collection will be released. The first is entitled "The Christopher Reeve Superman Collection". This release is listed on Amazon.
This version will have 8 disks including a 4 disk special release of Superman I with both the 1978 release and 2000 expanded edition (don't know how that relates to the longer TV version only shown twice). There will be a two disk version of Richard Lester's Superman II which will only contain one version, not the longer TV version (a darker film), which has not been rebroadcast. There will also be one disk versions of III and IV with some new special features. In the case of IV it is not clear whether it will be the version released in the US or the 20 minute longer version released in the rest of the world.
I and II will also have remastered productions of the Fleischer Studios Superman cartoons, long overdue since the special edition VHS versions of those cartoons (no longer available) were of superior quality to the DVD releases.
The four Superman movies as described above supposedly will also be released individually.
Most importantly, the long hoped-for Richard Donner's version of Superman II (a noticeably different movie from Superman II heretofore available) has been completed and will also be released seperately at the same time. This is not just a modified cut, but actually a noticeably different movie as Richard Donner had a different view of the basic story. For one thing, Marlon Brando as Jor-El has a major role in Richard Donner's version, while he was totally writtten out of Lester's intrepretation. Marlon Brando's appearance in Superman Returns was made up of alternate takes of what he did in Superman I. What is in Donner's Superman II has not been seen publicly before. Donner's Superman II is not planned to be part of the collection above. Superman Returns will also be a separate release in one and two disc versions, although this is not yet shown on Amazon
On November 28 the Ultimate Superman collection will also be released. it will include all of the above along with the Richard Donner cut of Superman II, the 2 disc version of Superman Returns and a host of special features. Not yet sure if Supergirl will be in the package, although a new release of that (not yet listed on Amazon) comes out the same day). Still some speculation if 13 or 14 discs.
There is reportedly another package, also called the Ultimate Superman Collection, that will come out the same day, consisting of 19 discs. Not sure what's on the extra discs relative to the US release. That version will be released abroad, not in the US, at least not now. Maybe later, after they've sold as many US versions as they can and want to see if they can sell the collection agian with these extra discs."
Clarence Joseph | 02/15/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I GIVE A 1 STAR TO THE DVD'S NOT THE MOVIES. JUST TO LET YOU GUYS KNOW ABOUT A NEW COLLECTOR'S BOX SET COMING OUT SOON. READ BELOW. Yes... looks like it's true. We've known for a while now that Warner Home Video was working on new DVD special editions of the Superman films to tie in with the release of Bryan Singer's Superman Returns later this year (in theaters 6/30), but now we have the first actual confirmation... from Ilya Salkind, who co-produced the first three Superman films! Salkind has acknowledged that he's working with Warner on the new DVDs, and that all of the films in the series are being restored and given deluxe new special edition treatment, a-la last year's Batman Anthology collection. By far the best news in all this, is that it seems that Warner is FINALLY allowing Richard Donner to create his original director's cut of Superman II! How damn cool is that?! As many of you know, Donner directed Superman: The Movie and most of Superman II back to back, but was eventually fired from the sequel. Director Richard Lester was hired to replace him, and it's Lester's cut of the film that we've seen all these years. What's cool is that Lester's theatrical cut of the film is being given special edition treatment as well, so you'll be able to fully explore BOTH versions of Superman II on DVD this summer. Lester MAY even do an interview for the DVD - something he's been reluctant to do over the years given the controversy. This information comes from Salkind via The Superman Homepage fan site, which expects to publish a full interview with Salkind in the coming weeks. Very cool news indeed (though keep in mind that until Warner announces this set, it's all still unofficial). Thanks to Bits reader Matt K. for the heads-up on this. "