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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally ... closure
Just watched this DVD yesterday, and am still trying to get the geeky grin off my face. After 26 years, I've finally now seen the film I was hoping for as a boy, way back when the brutalized Richard Lester 'Superman II' was released - a movie that left me feeling as hollow and disappointed as if I'd been stood up by a girlfriend.

I tried not to raise my...
Published on Nov. 29 2006 by DocManhattan

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3.0 out of 5 stars A Richard Donner Cut is what I'm after
Not nearly as good as the first movie, this suffers from production problems as a result of Donner's sacking by the Salkinds.
It's plainly obvious which scenes were shot by Donner and which weren't. And sadly, they left out a hefty chunk of what Donner had filmed, giving Lester the top billing as director.
Another sad omission is John Williams rousing score,...
Published on July 16 2004 by Gordon Riley


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally ... closure, Nov. 29 2006
By 
DocManhattan (Vancouver, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Superman 2 - The Richard Donner Cut (DVD)
Just watched this DVD yesterday, and am still trying to get the geeky grin off my face. After 26 years, I've finally now seen the film I was hoping for as a boy, way back when the brutalized Richard Lester 'Superman II' was released - a movie that left me feeling as hollow and disappointed as if I'd been stood up by a girlfriend.

I tried not to raise my expectations too high for this restored cut, but in the end there is far more to love here than to complain about.

On the upside:

* Thank God for the return of Marlon Brando. The father-son relationship plays a crucial role here that was sorely missed in Lester's version.

* The restoration of Superman's lost powers is finally explained here, with a major sacrifice involved.

* There are no more finger beams; teleportation; giant, cellophane "S" symbols; amnesia kisses; or other random, pull-em-out-your-butt super powers that only showed how little Lester cared for his source material.

* Lois comes across as smarter and more likeable in this movie than she did in Lester's, and there's actually more chemistry here between her and S-man thanks to the revised scenes -- the romance is moving, rather than annoying. Her suspicions about Clark and how she deals with them are handled far better, plus she doesn't do that moronic elevator-climbing stunt that she did in Lester's Eiffel Tower terrorist sequence.

* There are more fun scenes featuring Lex and Miss Teschmacher - enjoy.

* The music is arranged properly and played at the right speed. And the opening credits look good.

On the downside:

* Yes, there are continuity flaws in the scenes that were originally shot as screen tests, but these are easily overlooked (Reeve's hair and his relative lack of bulk in some scenes, for instance). But the improved dramatic flow more than makes up for these.

* The time-travel trick at the end of the movie is overused, given that Donner's first film also featured this gimmick. Superman no longer has any second thoughts about messing with history, and this raises the issue that he now has the perfect solution to any problem he will ever face -- simply turn back the clock, change a couple of key events and you're sorted. Having said that, this scene works far better than Lester's ridiculous amnesia kiss. Especially if taken on its own merits, out of context of the first movie.

Overall, I finally feel like I have closure now after that almost-forgotten childhood let-down. Given my lifelong affection for the character of Superman I found the mess that was made of the movie series after Donner's excellent start painful to watch -- especially knowing that the whole farce seemed to be caused by the greed of certain persons involved in the production.

Basically, if you care enough to have read this far, you owe it to yourself to see this movie. It's a credit to all involved and a fitting tribute to Chris Reeve, who, even in the worst of times, wore the cape and the symbol like he was born to it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating and perplexing, but well worth it, Dec 29 2006
By 
This review is from: Superman 2 - The Richard Donner Cut (DVD)
The oddest thing watching this was seeing the opening credit for Geoffrey Unsworth, who died during the completion of Superman I. It took a second to recall that I was about to watch footage he'd photographed at that same time.

I've read bits of the unused Superman II before, and really liked them - Marlon Brando's big finish stands out particularly, of course. It's ridiculous how Lester's never explains Clark getting his powers back, and this is far superior.

It's a breath of fresh air: Donner believes in heroism and courage and sacrifice, and Lester doesn't - so he goes instead for cornball hokiness. Lester went for Superman's return to Metropolis with a shot of him floating outside the window with a big grin on his face - Donner goes for it with a wonderful angle of Superman from behind, arms hidden beneath his cape, perched neatly on the tip of an American flag waving in the breeze. It's gorgeous, and you just can't beat it - it's probably the best shot in the entire series, and why anyone would replace it with something cheesy is beyond me.

I'm surprised, though, how much I didn't absolutely love this movie. Not the way I loved the first one. Puzo's script isn't as well-structured, I guess. And why is there so much inane comedy? Less of Otis and bumbling hick cops and more of Zod breaking into the Fortress, and Lex being taken away by Arctic patrol (these are deleted scenes) would have made this an even stronger movie. It's confusing why these would be omitted from this new cut, while sillier bits of Valerie Perrine trying to find a bathroom are left in. Frustrating, really. Too many plotholes, but still, I like it an awful lot more than Richard Lester's, and I'd definitely recommend it to any Superman fan - it's a must-see.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rarely do sequels surpass the original, this one does!, June 17 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Superman II (Widescreen) (DVD)
I thought Superman I was a terrific movie. I hesitated to go to the sequel because rarely do sequels match up to the original. This is one where the sequel was better than the original.
From the terrific beginning where Superman rescues Lois Lane and the city of Paris from terrorists to the epic battle between Superman and the three villians in Metropolis which then continues to Supermans Fortress of Solitude, Superman II is nonstop action.
Superman giving up his powers to marry Lois Lane and the romantic scenes in the Fortress of Solitude were a nice touch. Lois Lane tempting Clark Kent to reveal his identity as Superman by jumping off Niagra Falls was hilarious as Kent acts so clumbsy, rescues Lane without revealing his identity (yet).
The prisoners whistling Mozart's tune as Superman returns his nemisis Lex Luther back to prison was equally funny. To appreciate this, you have to see the movie.
Superman I was a fantastic movie but Superman II was even better. If you are a suyperhero fan, then I highly recommend both.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Innocence and heroism makes a comeback., Oct. 25 2007
By 
Joseph Kayne (Victoria, B.C. Canada) - See all my reviews
Superman II was always confusing for me, as a fan of the Superman Mythos. It seemed too corny, and threw in powers that Superman just shouldn't have. The Richard Donner cut helps to clarify and restore what should have been. The story seems tighter and less cluttered. Changes in the angles from the Lester cut give more weight to the emotions involved. The restoration of the late Marlon Brando's scenes are a sigh of relief. This is a much more serious film, but still lightened up with touches of humor.

The transfer to HD is spot on. Depth, clarity, color. All the elements for a great home theater showcase are here. The sound is sublime, and as good as it gets. When Supe and Zod and his cronies are ripping up Metropolis during their benchmark battle, you'll feel like ducking to avoid debris. It places you in the action. Makes you feel like you can soar.

The special features do a good job of letting you understand how this version came to be. They are informative, and engaging. My only complaint is that there were just too few of them.

The movie can feel a bit jarring at times. Especially when Donner includes a shot he only filmed during rehearsals. Overall, however, this film does a great job of restoring the vision of Richard Donner, and repairing the reputation of Metropolis City's favorite son.

I might have preferred an even darker vision, with a more serious tone, but the innocence of this franchise is to be revered. The heroic nature of this film is preserved and enhanced. I rate it a must own, must watch experience for the whole family, and kids of all ages.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Richard Donner Cut is what I'm after, July 16 2004
By 
Gordon Riley (Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Superman II (Widescreen) (DVD)
Not nearly as good as the first movie, this suffers from production problems as a result of Donner's sacking by the Salkinds.
It's plainly obvious which scenes were shot by Donner and which weren't. And sadly, they left out a hefty chunk of what Donner had filmed, giving Lester the top billing as director.
Another sad omission is John Williams rousing score, which has been poorly duplicated. Not nearly as uplifting and powerful as John William's efforts in one.
Although the primary focus is on Lois and Superman's relationship, it doesn't save this picture from stinking. Even Gene Hackman's wonderful performance(which was all directed by Donner, with the exception of scenes where Lester used a body double and an impersonator for Hackman's voice) can't salvage this.
So why do I give this three stars? Because it does have it's moments, though scattered, and I live in the hope that a Richard Donner cut, using primarily all his footage, which would bring back all the scenes with Marlon Brando, will eventually pop up and finally put to bed the question of what could have been.
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2.0 out of 5 stars How The Mighty Have Fallen..., July 3 2004
By 
T. Lobascio (New Jersey United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Superman II (Widescreen) (DVD)
I was 10 years old, the first time I saw Superman The Movie, and believe it or not, the experience changed the way I look at movies to this day. The film made such an impact on me, that it set me on a (struggling) career path. There was a tme when I thought the sequel, Superman II, was as good as the first installment...And then, something happened...my opinion about the film changed. It went from being one of my favorite sequels, to being a major disappointment.
The original plan was to have Richard Donner direct Superman and Superman II at the same time. Indeed, he had completed about 80% of Superman II, then producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind, decided to replace Donner with Richard Lester. Cast and were called back for reshoots. In a seperate dispute with the Salkind's, actor Marlon Brando as Jor-El, was excised from the story completely. Although Brando shot scenes for the sequel, with Donner calling the shots, a lawsuit prevented them from being used. Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, was called back for the last of his pick-up shots, he refused, out of respect for Donner and a stand in was used. When you wath the film, anytime Hackman on screen, that's footage that Donner shot. Lester's task was to complete, not only the the remaining 20%, but in order to recieve credit from the director's guild, he had to replace much of the non Hackman stuff as well---essentially only 25% of Donner's footage remains in the film, as it is currently relesed on DVD.
The story of Superman II is still quite good, even in spite of all the backstage turmoil, thae went on. Superman (Christopher Reeve) saves Paris and Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) from being blown to bits by a terrorist planted nutron bomb. There is a consequence to this heroic deed, the Man Of Steel, unwittingly releases the three Kryptonian criminals, imprisioned to the Phantom Zone by his father. Now, Zod, (Terrance Stamp) Ursa (Sarah Douglas), and Non (Jack O'Halleran) also have the powers of Superman. When the trio teams up with Luthor, their plans are nothing short of conquering the planet Earth. All of this happens as our hero contemplates giving up his powers to be with the woman he loves.
I can not give the film a higher rating, knowing that Donner was replaced for no valid reason, other than the double dealing by the Salkinds. The first Superman film set the standard for all others in the genre to follow. I call on the studio to release Donner's version of the movie. It's long overdue...I hope they find a way to make it happen soon...The only extra on the current DVD is the theatrical trailer.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Film, But, Oh, What Could Have Been...., June 22 2004
By 
M. Painter (Pennsylvania, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Superman II (Widescreen) (DVD)
"Superman II" is more a continuation than a sequel of Richard Donner's 1978 "Superman the Movie." If you liked the first firlm, there's no real argument: you must see the second.
Unfortunately, no discussion of the film is possible without also reviewing its checkered production history. The project was originally conceived as one long story in two films, which Donner shot at the same time, much as Peter Jackson would do twenty-odd years later with the Lord of the Rings films.
After "Superman the Movie" was released and proved a critical and commercial success, and "Superman II" was well along toward completion, the producers inexplicably fired Donner and replaced him with Richard Lester, an English director best known for his quirky Beatles comedies. Stranger still, although the then-unheard of sum of $100 million had already been spent on the project, Lester reassembled most of the cast and reshot a large portion of the second film.
The end product is an oil-and-water mixture of two styles. Lester's direction is light and deft, but he approached the subject with a jaded irreverence that offends purists. It matters because purism was an important part of the success of the first film.
On the plus side, the film finishes the story begun in the first outing. Superman's and Lois Lane's romance runs to its inevitable, heart-wrenching conclusion ("I'm jealous of the whole world!") as the three Kryptonian super-villians are released from the Phantom Zone to wreak havoc on a defenseless Earth. Gene Hackman's fiendishly charismatic Lex Luthor returns, and in no time has the supposedly more powerful Kryptonians eating out of his hand. Terence Stamp and Sarah Douglas give gripping performances as the renegade Kryptonians Zod and Ursa, and Christopher Reeve again plays Superman and Clark Kent to perfection.
Some special effects show evidence of cost cutting, but the climactic final confrontations are stunning, when the villians bust up the Daily Planet and then square off against Superman using Manhattan's Forty-Second Street as their boxing ring. Superman's nick-of-time arrival ("General...would you care to step outside?") makes you want to stand up and cheer.
The film is a must-see for anyone with any interest in the subject, but I take one star off the review for the featureless DVD release. If there was ever a film that demanded the full range of extras, it's this one. How about showing us some of Donner's lost scenes? How about breaking the long silence on the production history?
For that matter, how about releasing Richard Donner's version of the film?
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4.0 out of 5 stars The best of the superman movies, Feb. 20 2004
This review is from: Superman II (Widescreen) (DVD)
In most ways I think this is the best of the Superman films. Gene Hackman was fine as Lex Luthor in the first film, but here he really gets to step out. His breaking out of prison and repartee with the villains and Superman are just great. (Think about his remark about using a door when the villains smash through the doors and walls of the Daily Planet.)
The villains are all suitably cartoon evil with Terence Stamp as the Evil Leader General Zod, Sarah Douglass is the alluring Ursa, and Jack O'Halloran as the comic, strong, and silent Non.
Christopher Reeve continues his embodiment of the Man of Steel - even when the plot twists because of his love for Lois Lane. The first scene at that diner is actually touching and the final scene there is a crowd pleaser. Margot Kidder does her best work here as someone moonstruck for Superman but also unstoppable as a reporter digging for facts even when it will not be in her interest after she finds them.
And the delightful Valerie Perrine does a great comic turn as Eve Teschmacher. I always enjoy her work in movies, on TV, in drama or in comic roles (as here). She should get more work - she has a lot to offer as a mature actress.
Good family fare and interesting to return to 20+ years later to remember who was in this movie and see the good performances that are actually here making this cartoon fare more than you expected.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This sequel Soars!!!, Dec 16 2003
By 
D. Ullery "D. S. Ullery" (Lake Worth, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Superman II (VHS Tape)
This is the film that proved that sequels can surpass the orignal. Both embellishing upon the magic of the original film and simultaneously moving the plot forward with a unique and brilliantly scripted story, "Superman II" deserves all of the acclaim that accompanied it. The plot: the three Kryptonian villains seen in the prolouge of the first film are released from their imprisonment in the Phantom Zone when Superman tosses a hydrogen bomb into outer space. They arrive on Earth,and their leader- General Zod (an outstanding Terrence Stamp, giving the performance that he is best remembered for today) makes it clear that he now rules the planet. Then Zod discovers that this fabled "Superman" he keeps hearing about is none other than the son of his hated nemesis Jor-El ( a bit of info given by Lex Luthor, once again played to perfection by Gene Hackman), and the battle to save humankind is underway. Along the way, we are treated to a magnificently handled subplot detailing the evolving romance between Superman and Lois Lane (In fact, I thought Margot Kidder was at her best here..usually she annoys me, but in this film she shows a sensitive side that makes it very easy to understand why the Man of Steel has fallen in love with her). Sporting top of the line visuals (the battle in Metropolis is breathtaking , even by today's standards ) , excellent writing and masterful direction by Richard Donner (yes, I know, Richard Lester is credited as director, but word is that Donner had pretty much finished most of the shooting on this picture before his dispute with Warner Bros. caused him to quit. Think I'm wrong? Compare this to "Superman III" , which was directed entirely by Lester), "Superman II" is the crown jewel in this franchise. The only other movie I've ever seen that comes close to adapting a superhero to the screen with such finesse (beyond the original "Superman", I mean) is the recent epic "Spider-Man". If you havent seen this, rent the dvd at once. If you have, then see it again. A masterwork!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Rare Jewel Among Super-Sequels, June 2 2003
By 
Alex Diaz-Granados "fardreaming writer" (Miami, FL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Superman II (Widescreen) (DVD)
Superman II
Shot simultaneously with Superman: The Movie, this first of three sequels proved to be one of those Hollywood rarities - a sequel just as good as the original.
Because Mario Puzo (author of both the Godfather novel and the screenplays) had written such a huge script for the Superman movie, producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind broke it up into two installments. When they hired director Richard (The Omen) Donner, the deal was "$1,000,000 for two pictures), and that Superman II be released a year after Superman: The Movie's release. Thus production began on both pictures back-to-back, with actors shooting scenes from I, resting, shooting a few scenes for II, then back to I again.
However, even though Superman II was halfway done, the Salkinds decided to replace Donner with British director Richard Lester, who had done The Beatles' "Help!" in the mid-1960s and also directed the swashbuckling The Three Musketeers and its sequel. The change in directors and the death of director of photography Geoffrey Unsworth caused a delay in Superman II's release date from 1979 (if you have the VHS version of Superman I you can see a credit that says "Next Year: Superman II) to 1981.
The link between the two movies is the opening of Superman I: the trial of Krypton's three arch-criminals Gen. Zod (Terence Stamp), Ursa (Sarah Douglas), and Non (Jack O'Halloran) for acts of treason and sedition. They are sentenced by the Kryptonian High Council and Jor-El, Superman's dad, to spend eternity in a flat glasslike thing out in space's The Phantom Zone.
This scene (depicted in Superman II in a different fashion) is reprised, not only to set up a flashback laden title sequence but the movie itself, which is part love story, and part full blown conflict between Superman (Christopher Reeve) and the three Kryptonian baddies.
Because Superman I's role was to provide the "origins of" Kal-el/Superman and introduce us to the characters, Superman II's pace is brisker and focused. At last we get to see the romance between Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) and Superman go from simmer to heat (in a very touching scene, Superman gives up his powers to be able to love Lois). It is, in fact, Superman's first rescue of Lois in this movie that allows the three hometown villains to escape from their imprisonment in the Phantom Zone.
Superman II reunites most of the first movie's major cast. Gene Hackman (one of my favorite character actors) returns as Lex Luthor, joined by the ever funny Ned Beatty as his hapless and clueless henchman, Otis. Rounding out this trio is Valerie Perrine's loyal-to-her-Lex moll, Miss Tessmacher. Also in the movie are Clark Kent's boss Perry White (Jackie Cooper) and photographer Jimmy Olsen (Mark McClure).
The DVD - released both singly and in a Superman boxed set - in 2001 is adequate but lacks the extra features of the first movie's DVD. There are no making-of documentaries or director's commentary, just a theatrical trailer and a cast and crew list with a filmography for only a few major cast members.
One film flub mentioned in the funny and revealing book Roman Soldiers Don't Wear Watches: In the first movie, Jor-el is the parent who places the baby Kal-el into his tiny starship. Watch carefully at the flashback title sequence...now it's Lara (Susannah York) who places the baby in the ship!
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