The Richard Donner Cut

This was an interesting cinematic experiment Alex and I performed last week. My original intention was to wait for our Superman I to be delivered, watch it, then rent the original cut of Superman II, and then watch the Richard Donner cut of Superman II.

What actually happened, was:
  1. Our Superman I is one of our free rebate Blu-Ray discs, so we probably won't get it or the other four until Kingdom Come (which I'm anticipating in the middle of this century at some point...)
  2. I haven't seen the original cut of II released on Blu-Ray, and... um... yeah, it's starting to feel pointless renting DVDs. Don't hate me for being a snob; it's just when you know how gorgeous they can look... yeah.
  3. We were in the mood for something fun last Wednesday, and we had already narrowed our options down to Superman or Casino Royale. Now, I'm a Bond gal through and through, but... I just wasn't up to the action or the drama that night. I wanted something cozy and fun to watch, and short of a rom-com, Superman was it.
So, the downside was that the last time either Alex or I saw Superman I or II was probably the early 90's. Heck, possibly the late 80's--I'm not really sure at this point. So there wasn't a good basis of comparison.

This led me to believe, before we started the movie, that it would probably seem less impressive, than if we had just watched the original two. We wouldn't 1) have seen the "worse" of the two SII options to compare it against, nor 2) would we already be in the 1980's vein of effects/drama. I was a little leery because of these points.

However. Wow.

I've come up with a few thoughts on how/why this movie was so awesome, and here they are, in some random order:
  1. The Superman movies (at least the first one and possibly the original cut of the second) must have been a lot better than I remembered. This is possibly due to the next point.
  2. Hi-def (whether Blu-ray or HD-DVD) really, really makes movies better (at least, if your screen is large enough that the difference is noticeable). Wow. I am guessing that half the reason 1980s movies instantly look "cheesy" to me when watched on TV is their spectacularly crummy resolution. This movie wasn't as deliciously crisp as, say, Transformers (duh), but it's gorgeous, and it's easier to take actors seriously when they don't look they're in a made-for-TV movie.
  3. I thought that Lois annoyed me a lot and was stupid. But she figures out Clark is Superman at the beginning of the movie! And later shoots him to prove her point! Dang, I like this gutsy gal.
  4. Superman letting Lois actually fall out the window, without catching her, was gutsy and hilarious and awesome and pretty shocking, to me. I mean yeah, he made sure she wasn't hurt--but man, this Superman's got some cahones. And a mischievious streak (something totally lacking in the fairly personality-less Superman of Superman Returns, although I have to say I don't hate that movie like many do).
  5. We watched a teeny bit of original footage in the Fortress of Solitude--man, Jor-El/Brando was waaaaay better than having Laura in that scene. And the effects were far less cheesy in the revised version, but not so fancy as to seem in-authenic in the 80's context.
  6. Superman got beat up!
  7. Superman kicked some butt!
  8. I was actually really emotionally invested in the movie, much to my surprise. Reeve was amazing in that film.
Now I really, really want to see Superman I (because now I'm anticipating it will be truly awesome), and I totally have to see the original cut of SII just to know how it changed.

And let me say that I'm happy to live in an Internet age where enough of us, across the world, can clamor that this revised cut was made and Serenity was filmed. It's the age of the cult fan!

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