The commentary by director Richard Donner and "creative consultant" Tom Mankeiwicz lacks the focus and detail of a filmmaker really grappling with his work (it has been almost 25 years, after all), but it's full of interesting asides, casting trivia (Goldie Hawn as Miss Teschmacher?), and the good-humored byplay of two old friends.
The three documentary featurettes hosted by Marc McClure (Jimmy Olsen) are essentially chapters of a comprehensive behind-the-scenes study, full of illuminating interviews (Donner and Mankeiwicz are more revealing here), special-effects tests (including all the failed attempts to make you believe a man can fly), and the bizarre true story of the unceremonious firing of Richard Donner after he had turned Superman into a worldwide smash and shot about 70 percent of the sequel.
A separate supplement features screen tests for Christopher Reeve and five different Lois Lanes (including a giggly Leslie Ann Warren and a snappy Stockard Channing), and two legendary, delightfully demented scenes featuring Lex Luthor's snarling "babies" (also seen on TV broadcasts) are featured in the gallery of Deleted Scenes. --Sean Axmaker
Because it's the only one that actually takes full advantage of DVD's higher image quality.
For those of you who still haven't seen this film even 25 years after its original theatrical run, it's a very simple story. Superman (or Kal-El) is the last survivor of the planet Krypton, sent to Earth to help us with our problems--renegade nuclear missiles, evil geniuses and muggers.
If you have owned any copy of the film previous to this release, you will be amazed. Completely remastered for a theatrical release that never took place, it sounds and looks even better than it did in 1978.
Even more interesting is the audio commentary featuring director Richard Donner and Creative Consultant (a Salkind euphemism for screenwriter) Tom Mankiewicz, as well as two making-of featurettes which finally reveal more about the tensions between Donner and the Salkinds which resulted in his firing from "Superman II"--which took Mankiewicz, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman and composer John Williams with him, and almost scuttled the project when Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder threatened to quit as well.
In short, don't waste your money on the other three DVDs in the saga; this is the only one worth owning.
BTW, in "Superman II," most of Donner's footage was reshot, but all of his work with Gene Hackman (shot from the front; all back shots were done by Richard Lester with a double) remains.
The DVD looks and sounds wonderful. The extra's are very interesting - 3 documentaries illuminate the journey from page to screen. The battles between director Richard Donner and his producers are fascinating. However, in all fairness, one wishes the Salkinds (or someone on their side) could respond.
There are some very cool early flying effects in the bonus stuff. The screen tests are hilarious - Stockard Channing as Lois Lane would have been a hoot. Lesley Anne Warren was an interesting choice as well. However, when Margot Kidder's screen test appears it is obvious why she was chosen. In her screen test she had a bad haircut and a 70's hippy dress on. However, she simply glows with energy and the magic required to help the audience believe a man can fly.
The film has held up well. It moves from Greek-like Krypton to the Americana of Smallville to the zippy, campy feel of Metropolis. Gene Hackman is hilarious as Lex Luthor.
The re-inserted scenes are fine. They are really minor additions to this great film. They only help make it better. (I'd really like to hear/see more of the SUPERMAN II cut scenes!)
SUPERMAN is a super DVD!
This DVD version is just icing on the cake. Read more