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Superman 2 - The Richard Donner Cut

3.7 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Superman 2 - The Richard Donner Cut
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  • Superman: The Movie (4-Disc Special Edition)
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  • Superman III (Deluxe Edition) (Sous-titres français) [Import]
Total price: CDN$ 27.65
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Product Details

  • Actors: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Director's Cut, Dolby, DVD-Video, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Canadian Home Video Rating : General Audience (G)
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Warner Bros. Home Video
  • Release Date: Nov. 28 2006
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000IJ79WU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #28,231 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

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

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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Format: 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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Format: HD DVD
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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