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Superman II: Richard Donner Cut, The (DVD)
The Richard Donner cut of Superman II is an infamous legend come to life. Director Donner shot most of the sequel at the same time as his first blockbuster film, but somewhere along the line, the producers and studio lost confidence and brought in Richard Lester (The Three Musketeers) to rework the film, and receive sole credit. For years fans speculated on how different the final film was from Donner's original until an underground copy appeared showing a fully formed feature. In an unprecedented move, Warner Brothers officially embraces this alternate version. For those who have not been part of the rumor mill, know that Donner shot all the footage with Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman). You can find blow-by-blow descriptions of what is new/changed elsewhere, but most of the changes deal with Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder as the comic-book couple. Donner's cut provides alternate scenes for how Lois tests her hunch that Clark is Superman, the moment he reveals his identity, and how Lois unlearns that truth. Thing is, Lester's reshots are stronger, adding weight to the romance between the two, lifting the picture's stature. Lester also added the dandy Eiffel Tower opening. Donner's chief additions are in the Fortress of Solitude, where Marlon Brando returns to teach (Susannah York, as Superman's mom, appears in the Lester cut). The producers cut Brando's footage so they wouldn't have to pay him millions. The Brando/Reeve scenes continue the father/son dynamic of the first film. There is a great lesson in editing--Lester's less is better than Donner's more--when you compare how Kent turns back into Superman after losing his powers. The Donner cut is completely formed but does use some rehearsal footage, new effects, and some pieces shot by Lester. The history of cinema has many of these stories of movies reshot, hijacked, and changed from the original version, but here the underdog wins and Donner gets his chance to change history, even adding a note in the end credits about the use of fur and smoking as regrettable choices of the time.
Director Donner and creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz have a jolly good time revisiting their past on the commentary track. You get a clearer picture of who shot what, but the two have nothing good to say about Lester's edition. Donner doesn't go much into why he was dropped, just a difference of opinion and the need not to pay Brando. He also explains why the déjà vu ending of this edition was used in the first movie and a new ending would have been thought up for part 2. A quick featurette looks at how Michael Thau and a small crew reconstructed the film and compares several scenes from both versions. Also added are additional scenes shot by Donner but not used, most with Hackman. --Doug Thomas
Superman is back, and when he inadvertently releases three inmates from the Phantom Zone, he has to go up against three supervillains every bit as powerful as he is. Read morePublished 5 months ago by A.P. Fuchs, author of The Axiom-man Saga
This film is for the die hard fan, dont expect all the "filler" from the theatricl releasr..Published 5 months ago by Dave
Richard Donner is the only director who should handle Superman. Fantastic release with great content and special features.Published 13 months ago by Sam Crichton
The best version of this movie on Blu-ray is the only way to see it. I almost forgot how the other version went.Published 21 months ago by OMAR SIRHAN
I loved this movie. This is the original version i watched as a kid, with richard lester directing. It is filled with humour, romance, and suspense. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Shauna MacNeil
Still one of the best superhero movies of all time. Classic in every sense of the word. RIP Christopher Reeve.Published on Aug. 12 2013 by Michael Milley
liked this one a lot, in my opinion it was probably even better than the first one. One of the biggest reasons would probably be the villains. Read morePublished on March 2 2013 by Sorpse
Superman II (the Richard Donner cut) is worth Buying. There are pros and cons.
The cons are that a couple of scenes from the original movie have been dropped, and that... Read more
after watching this version of Superman II,i can honestly say,i didn't
think it was any better or worse than the Richard Lester version. Read more