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Superman – The Movie

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 21-09-2010


A new, updated version of the popular comic book hero “Superman.” The story begins with Superman’s birth on the doomed planet Krypton and follows him on his arrival to Earth, his childhood in Kansas and his career as reporter for the Daily Planet.Amazon.com essential video
Richard Donner’s 1978 epic about the Man of Steel showed how a film about a superhero could be a moving and romantic experience even for people who long ago gave up comic books. Beginning on the… More >>

Superman – The Movie

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Comments (5)

Last night a friend that works at Warner Brothers brought over a surprise: The Superman-The Movie two disc DVD! And after watching it, I’ve got some good news, and some bad news.

First the good news- This new version is even better that the original edit of the film. A lot more of Marlon Brando’s scenes. And the really cool sequence in Lex Luthor’s underground hide out where he tries to kill Superman with bullets, fire & cold. Plus more…

The picture quality is just stunning. Krypton has this insane glow to it. And the new sound rivals brand new movies. The music is bright & vibrant, swirling all around you, and the entire 5.1 mix is used very well.

Now, the bad news- There’s only the one version of the movie. I had hoped you’d be able to play the original, too.

More good news- The second disc has an enormous amount of brand new special features (almost two hours worth.) In their entirety, they seem to transport you back in time to relive the fascinating story of how the two Superman movies got made–up until director Richard Donner was stupidly fired, and not brought back to finish the second film. There’s a lot of never-been-seen before, behind-the-scenes footage. In the casting tests you can see early versions of the Superman costume as Chris Reeve plays against many actresses including Leslie Warren, Anne Archer (both who were very good,) and of course Margot Kidder.

And then there are the two exceptional documentaries with new interviews from almost everybody. They follow the history of the two films, and include very interesting business aspects. Chris Reeves’ story is very touching. Also included is a documentary on the special effects with neat(!) early flying tests.

Now more bad news- My friend took the discs with her.

To some up: this is the most complete, classy & top notch DVD package I have ever seen. Very well done ! A+
Rating: 5 / 5

This is a tough one to review. For a film made in 1978, I don’t think it could look any better. I’m willing to bet this Blu-ray disc is as good if not better than the premiere screening of Superman back in 78. Great care must have been taken to clean up and restore this picture. It is practically free of scratches and dirt. It is detailed, far above standard definition. Colors are balanced and eye catching. Contrast is natural and evenly spread. Inserted scenes are consistent with the rest of the film. Never looked better. Still, 1978. There are a few scenes with plenty of grain and most of the film gives the impression of being a little out of focus, a little blurred. Five star transfer, four star visual impact. I doubt if a 1080p display is getting much more out of this picture than a 720p display.

(PS3 – 1080p projector – 92″)

Rating: 4 / 5

At last, Superman is presented the way it was meant to be! The master print for the 1978 classic had deteriorated so badly that the film, particularly the white-on-white Krypton opening scenes, was almost unwatchable. (I had even gone so far as to write a critique on Amazon.com demanding a ‘Director’s Cut’ DVD edition, digitally transferred and remastered, be made!)

Somebody was listening! While this isn’t a ‘Director’s Cut’ (Donner has said that the version that premiered in 1978 was the version he preferred), the movie has been expanded, to include a couple of brief scenes with Brando, and the famous Superman Gauntlet sequence at Luthor’s underground lair (the remaining unused sequences can be seen in the ‘Deleted Scenes’ Chapter, on Side 2).

Technically, the DVD is fabulous; the Krypton sequences are now clean and sharp, a couple of shots where, previously, color balancing problems had turned Superman’s costume green have been corrected, and, best of all, the soundtrack has been digitally remastered and sounds even better than it did in 1978!

Three fabulous documentaries are included on Side 2 about the making of the film, and how the flying effects were achieved. This was an incredibly expensive and difficult film to make (so much so that Donner, after ‘Superman’ was released to rave reviews, was fired, and replaced by Richard Lester, for ‘Superman 2’), and through interviews with Donner, Christopher Reeve (who is honored for his work in the film, and his courage since his crippling accident), Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman, and several of the creative team, you can appreciate what a unique and wonderful film this is!

Two other ‘pluses’; a full-length audio commentary track with Richard Donner, and a ‘music only’ option, where you can admire one of composer John Williams’ greatest scores!

This Special Edition DVD should be an essential part of any film lover’s collection!
Rating: 5 / 5

The movie:

“You’ll believe a man can fly.” That was the advertising tagline. Well, I can’t think of many instances of it, but this was one time when a movie delivered on its hype. “Superman” fires on many cylinders, but the main one, the integral one, was believability. This film is an absolute achievement in terms of tone, style, and effects. For 1978, the effects are terrific, but also the performances and the writing really gel and sell the concept to the audience.

We haven’t seen yet the actor who can top Christopher Reeve’s Superman. The solidness, the goodness radiating from his presence in costume, combined with the vulnerability and sheer hilarity of his Clark Kent are (perhaps) impossible to top. Margot Kidder turns in a feisty Lois Lane, and their chemistry is great. Gene Hackman is a credible Lex Luthor, both funny and menacing at the same time. Supporting players fill out a cast that just really inhabits the world and never feels less than real.

The run time of the movie is perhaps a bit flabby, and this edition adds about 3 minute of new material. But I for one am quick to forgive it – it just so captures a feeling of innocence, wonder, Americana, that I’m willing to just bask in it, even when the action slows down.

The Blu-Ray:

Well, this is not one of the discs you’ll pop in to show off “how great HD looks.” The film was shot almost throughout with soft focus filters which bump up the haze of lighting and obscure detail.

BUT: It looks as good as it probably ever can and ever will. In A-B comparisons with the previous DVD (which was great for its day) the upgrade is subtle but evident. Some shots show very strong detail, when it’s in focus. Check out the foliage in Lois’ rooftop apartment. Some facial shots show exceptional detail in fine lines. Whenever the soft filter is absent, you can really tell you’re watching an HD presentation. The colors are the main upgrade in the Blu-Ray – reds and blues really pop, and black levels are rock solid in most shots not involving visual effects. Film grain is present and generally not too obtrusive, except during some effects shots. But I prefer its presence to excessive digital noise reduction. In the end, how you feel about this Blu-Ray will depend on your emotions for the film itself (mine are very strongly positive), and how you feel about a home video accurately replicating the look and feel of the original presentation’s film stock (something I’m also strongly in favor of).

Audio is presented in a strong Dolby Digital 5.1 channel mix. There isn’t much of a workout for the surrounds, but John Williams’ iconic score really sings, nonetheless.

Extras include an hour’s worth of documentaries, reprises from the DVD edition. Casting tests, trailers, a commentary by Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz, and a wonderful score only track highlighting the music, round out the disc. Overall, at least average and probably slightly above average.


I grew up with this film. I’m predisposed to enjoying it. As a Blu-Ray, it is hampered by the stylistic choices of the filmmakers, but still gives us a very good presentation of the film.

It’s a five star film in my book. It’s certainly in the top 5 comic book movies ever made (and was the true pioneer in terms of big budget successes from comic book material.) I considered downgrading this disc by one star simply because it can’t overcome the flaws inherent to the source material. For the paltry sum Amazon is asking for it, you really can’t go wrong, though. Kids of all ages (ages 3 to 83?) who just want to feel good about the world will be transported to a better, simpler, more beautiful place. Fans of 1970’s cinema will find a lot to love, as well. There are many shots which really shine in detail, and almost all of the shots benefit from zippier colors. If you don’t own this film otherwise, or are just a fan of the action/comic book genre, this is a must-buy. It’s a classic.
Rating: 5 / 5

It is about time that this classic gets the full treatment–loaded with extras. However, if you are also interested in the Superman II special edition, it is more cost effective to get the “The Christopher Reeve Superman Collection – (8-Disc Deluxe Special Edition)” which is currently the same price as buying this set and II, only you get films 3 and 4 too (which is better than paying for them, right?)

Also, Amazon has the Richard Donner Cut of Superman II available for pre-order which has the extended version of the film never before available (the special edition will be the theatrical release only).
Rating: 5 / 5

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