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RobertScorpio October 21 2008 04:38 PM

Superman 2-Donner cut
 
So I got this on BLURAY last night and watched it. It was good in partsan 2. I always felt the terrorist scene (Eifle tower) was hokey. But I do have some issues..especially with the end of the movie...

1.The turning back time bit was a bit gimmickry since they did it in superman one. Unless, for all we know, the turning back of time in Superman was a change in that movie as well..

2. And if he did indeed turn back SUPERMAN 2, all the way back to before zod and the others escaped the phantom zone, then why have the scene where Clark has a rematch with the truck driver at the diner? Clark's getting beat up could only have happened if most of the events in the movie happened....
So..IMO, the ending isn't right...no sense to it.

I did like the additional Jorel scenes, and his giving Kal his power. But, again, if the time line was pushed back before any of it really happened, then it cheapens the sacrafice Jorel made...


So...Donner cut is good, but has a bunch of holes in it.

Rob
Scorpio

Samurai8472 October 21 2008 04:56 PM

Re: Superman 2-Donner cut
 
yeah I don't like the random places where the audio feels out of place. Particularly with

"I'm not a coward Zod"

it doesn't sound like Reeve

the cuts can't be fixed unless you have a time machine like using the screen test with Kidder and Reeve

Norrin Radd October 21 2008 05:27 PM

Re: Superman 2-Donner cut
 
Despite the flaws in Lester's film, it's still better than Donner's cut.

There's nothing wrong, for instance, with the beginning Eiffel Tower action scene; it's a riveting, effective action opener and there's no reason why it shouldn't be in there. Donner basically uses the end of part I as a large part of the first act of II. It just feels redundant and is no way to start a movie.

There's also nothing wrong with Lester's scenes at Niagara Falls. They help build up the romantic tension a bit more and make their later love scenes seem more credible. As lame as it is, I prefer Clark tripping into the fire and subconsciously revealing himself as Superman.

The Fortress of Solitude climax was also superior in the first film, even despite the lame cellophane wrap attack and teleporting. The kissing amnesia scene, though it makes no sense, revealed Lois's anguish a lot better than the new one.

I only wish they had used the Marlon Brando footage for the original. That was a major improvement in the Donner cut.

Ethros October 21 2008 06:16 PM

Re: Superman 2-Donner cut
 
Well I like it for one as it cuts out those AWFUL moments when Zod & co are blowing wind at people, and in the original there are these "hilarious" skits of people in rollerskates and umbrellas getting swept away. Terrible


Although I also don't like the end of Superman turning back time again!
Kinda like his character it just ruins any suspense or thrill at all. Because if anything ever goes wrong he can just go back in time and change it.
He might as well just stay in bed and sit on his arse saying "oh I can't be bothered fighting Zod. Let him take over the world. I'll just go back in time later on and stop him when I can be arsed"

Smiley October 21 2008 06:28 PM

Re: Superman 2-Donner cut
 
The Donner Cut is a little strange because it uses the ideas that were present when the first two movies were going to be a two-parter. Turning back time was the original ending to the second movie, and it was not intended for the first movie. I agree with many of Norrin's criticisms of the Donner Cut. Lester's version is not perfect, but it is much more enjoyable to me.

Indysolo October 21 2008 06:34 PM

Re: Superman 2-Donner cut
 
Here's a review I wrote in 2006...



Superman II - The Richard Donner Cut should be a fan's dream come true. At long last, footage only seen in photos and scenes that only existed on the printed page would finally come to life. A director that was unable to complete his vision would have the opportunity to have his vision restored. It seems like a winning situation. And then you start watching this assembly of footage and you realize this "esoteric dream" is a very real nightmare of sloppiness and incompetence. While it's entirely possible that no movie could compete with the finished perfect version each of us has imagined over the years it really should have been a thrill to finally see this project. And it is only a very few times.

You know things are shaky when the very first bit of text on screen looks like home brew computer graphics. But then we start seeing new footage (alternates from Superman - The Movie for the trial) and that first bit of hesitation fades away. Hey, this is pretty neat! Things are alright for these few fleeting moments until we see footage from STM intermixed with new effects for this project, and it doesn't convince at all. And from this point on, it never ever lets up. It's probably not right to judge a movie because of bad visual effects, but when this is supposedly the direct follow up to a movie whose tag line was "You'll Believe A Man Can Fly" it's difficult to believe anything shown on screen here. The best effects in this are from the original productions.

I get the feeling that when Richard Lester was brought in to complete this movie, he viewed this same footage with his team and realized it wasn't working. The opening Daily Planet scene isn't exciting or interesting. It doesn't even make sense. This is the next day following the missile caper? Luthor is sentenced that quickly? Miss Teschmacher's dialogue later on indicates he's been away for some time so it doesn't work in any logical manner. Neither does Clark using his super powers in broad daylight with pedestrians walking past! It makes me wonder if Donner even intended for the heat vision to be visible, since the "destruction of the Fortress" scene has been shown on television with "incomplete" effects. Perhaps he had something else in mind. We'll never know. In both scenes, animated red beams have been added. That being said, I'm not even sure why Superman destroys the fortress here, but then I've never understood that. I guess Donner never got to shoot the scene explaining that.

That's another issue with this re-cut. A lot of it just doesn't make sense. The only reason any of it really works is because we've all seen the theatrical version of Superman II, a movie that does make sense. Lester's Superman II fills in the holes of this assembly. Part of this could be because Donner didn't get to complete shooting, the other part could be because the makers of this project were intent on using as little Lester material as possible. What we end up with is an assembly of footage that makes Superman IV look airtight and coherent.

After viewing this, one gets the sense that while Lester was faithful and comfortable using Donner material, Michael Thau and his team were extremely disrespectful towards anything filmed by Lester. The best scenes in The Donner Cut are the ones lifted relatively intact from the released version of Superman II. That includes the moon sequence and the diner sequence, not ironically, both were filmed by Donner. But anything else from that movie filmed by Lester is re-edited in such a hasty fashion, that it now makes Lester seem like a ham fisted know nothing. While Lester honored the Donner material, Lester here is thrown under the bus.

So is there anything good in this release? Well Marlon Brando is in it, and that's neat to see. In fact watching any of the material shot by Donner is neat since it was all filmed at the same time as Superman - The Movie. But that only highlights the problems of this release. Any of the major scenes (really just Lois jumping and scenes with Marlon Brando) would have been better served as completed scenes in a deleted scenes section. Instead they are shoe horned into a nonsensical narrative with inferior performances (many alternate takes from familiar scenes are used) sloppy edits and bad decisions.

Watch the opening scene at the Daily Planet. Why are we looking at Jackie Cooper's back as he calls for Lois and Clark? At the end why do we have Lois walking into her dark apartment only to have that followed by Jackie Cooper walking into a dark bathroom turning the lights on? I was initially confused by this, because I expected to see Lois. The entire assembly is filled with questionable choices like this.

Battle scenes are a mess too, with no geography between cuts. It's just random action. Of course, the major action scenes were shot by Lester and his material is only used as a bridge to the next set of Donner outtakes or alternates. They should have used more of Lester's footage, but probably had too much pride to admit that.

Many other reviews have talked about the music editing, so I'll just chime in here and repeat what others have noted: it's terrible. It's as unmusical as you can get. The main titles are a mess and the end titles aren't any better. You'd think they would be great sequences to let the music play out, but no, they are hacked all over with no rhyme or reason. And the feature proper is just a disgrace. The moon scene is essentially the same as the Lester version (there is only one minor trim that I could detect) but the music has been entirely replaced, and what's there now no longer works. The scene is more effective in the Lester version. I should also note that when General Zod kicks the Russian astronaut, no sound effect is present. Oops! Did I say this was sloppy?

The sloppiness extends to the military missile as well. As noted elsewhere, the missile shown in The Donner Cut bears the designation "XK 10" while we all know it's the "XK 101"! A blind man in STM knows that! The producers of this assembly, who tried so hard to honor the original film, dropped the ball less than five minutes in and that mistake is indicative of the quality of the entire production. For all the supposed care that was put into this, the final product has an air of shoddiness to it that is inescapable.

Other reviews have already detailed the turning back the world ending. I know, it was in the script and it was planned and the team responsible for this assembly probably had no choice but to use it. That doesn't change the fact that it's entirely unmotivated and stupid. It was stupid when Donner was filming it and it's stupid almost 30 years later. Moving it to STM has caused nothing but problems for this script, but it did wonders for that film.

The entire affair would probably be easier to digest if Warner's didn't make this a separate release here in the states. As it is, we're expected to pay for what is essentially a bonus disc of deleted scenes with a "Play All" option. It's really only worth one viewing so that we can finally see the legendary cut scenes, but after that initial viewing, I expect that this will be an excellent magnet for dust and little else. I know after my experience of watching this, I had new respect for Lester's version. It's by no means perfect, but Lester realized the deficiencies that were in the script that stand out here in bold relief. He managed to make a movie that has entertained for many years and will continue to do so, while this new re-cut will most likely only be remembered as a footnote in that films history.

Neil

RobertScorpio October 21 2008 09:58 PM

Re: Superman 2-Donner cut
 
Quote:

Indysolo wrote: (Post 2202554)
Here's a review I wrote in 2006...



Superman II - The Richard Donner Cut should be a fan's dream come true. At long last, footage only seen in photos and scenes that only existed on the printed page would finally come to life. A director that was unable to complete his vision would have the opportunity to have his vision restored. It seems like a winning situation. And then you start watching this assembly of footage and you realize this "esoteric dream" is a very real nightmare of sloppiness and incompetence. While it's entirely possible that no movie could compete with the finished perfect version each of us has imagined over the years it really should have been a thrill to finally see this project. And it is only a very few times.

You know things are shaky when the very first bit of text on screen looks like home brew computer graphics. But then we start seeing new footage (alternates from Superman - The Movie for the trial) and that first bit of hesitation fades away. Hey, this is pretty neat! Things are alright for these few fleeting moments until we see footage from STM intermixed with new effects for this project, and it doesn't convince at all. And from this point on, it never ever lets up. It's probably not right to judge a movie because of bad visual effects, but when this is supposedly the direct follow up to a movie whose tag line was "You'll Believe A Man Can Fly" it's difficult to believe anything shown on screen here. The best effects in this are from the original productions.

I get the feeling that when Richard Lester was brought in to complete this movie, he viewed this same footage with his team and realized it wasn't working. The opening Daily Planet scene isn't exciting or interesting. It doesn't even make sense. This is the next day following the missile caper? Luthor is sentenced that quickly? Miss Teschmacher's dialogue later on indicates he's been away for some time so it doesn't work in any logical manner. Neither does Clark using his super powers in broad daylight with pedestrians walking past! It makes me wonder if Donner even intended for the heat vision to be visible, since the "destruction of the Fortress" scene has been shown on television with "incomplete" effects. Perhaps he had something else in mind. We'll never know. In both scenes, animated red beams have been added. That being said, I'm not even sure why Superman destroys the fortress here, but then I've never understood that. I guess Donner never got to shoot the scene explaining that.

That's another issue with this re-cut. A lot of it just doesn't make sense. The only reason any of it really works is because we've all seen the theatrical version of Superman II, a movie that does make sense. Lester's Superman II fills in the holes of this assembly. Part of this could be because Donner didn't get to complete shooting, the other part could be because the makers of this project were intent on using as little Lester material as possible. What we end up with is an assembly of footage that makes Superman IV look airtight and coherent.

After viewing this, one gets the sense that while Lester was faithful and comfortable using Donner material, Michael Thau and his team were extremely disrespectful towards anything filmed by Lester. The best scenes in The Donner Cut are the ones lifted relatively intact from the released version of Superman II. That includes the moon sequence and the diner sequence, not ironically, both were filmed by Donner. But anything else from that movie filmed by Lester is re-edited in such a hasty fashion, that it now makes Lester seem like a ham fisted know nothing. While Lester honored the Donner material, Lester here is thrown under the bus.

So is there anything good in this release? Well Marlon Brando is in it, and that's neat to see. In fact watching any of the material shot by Donner is neat since it was all filmed at the same time as Superman - The Movie. But that only highlights the problems of this release. Any of the major scenes (really just Lois jumping and scenes with Marlon Brando) would have been better served as completed scenes in a deleted scenes section. Instead they are shoe horned into a nonsensical narrative with inferior performances (many alternate takes from familiar scenes are used) sloppy edits and bad decisions.

Watch the opening scene at the Daily Planet. Why are we looking at Jackie Cooper's back as he calls for Lois and Clark? At the end why do we have Lois walking into her dark apartment only to have that followed by Jackie Cooper walking into a dark bathroom turning the lights on? I was initially confused by this, because I expected to see Lois. The entire assembly is filled with questionable choices like this.

Battle scenes are a mess too, with no geography between cuts. It's just random action. Of course, the major action scenes were shot by Lester and his material is only used as a bridge to the next set of Donner outtakes or alternates. They should have used more of Lester's footage, but probably had too much pride to admit that.

Many other reviews have talked about the music editing, so I'll just chime in here and repeat what others have noted: it's terrible. It's as unmusical as you can get. The main titles are a mess and the end titles aren't any better. You'd think they would be great sequences to let the music play out, but no, they are hacked all over with no rhyme or reason. And the feature proper is just a disgrace. The moon scene is essentially the same as the Lester version (there is only one minor trim that I could detect) but the music has been entirely replaced, and what's there now no longer works. The scene is more effective in the Lester version. I should also note that when General Zod kicks the Russian astronaut, no sound effect is present. Oops! Did I say this was sloppy?

The sloppiness extends to the military missile as well. As noted elsewhere, the missile shown in The Donner Cut bears the designation "XK 10" while we all know it's the "XK 101"! A blind man in STM knows that! The producers of this assembly, who tried so hard to honor the original film, dropped the ball less than five minutes in and that mistake is indicative of the quality of the entire production. For all the supposed care that was put into this, the final product has an air of shoddiness to it that is inescapable.

Other reviews have already detailed the turning back the world ending. I know, it was in the script and it was planned and the team responsible for this assembly probably had no choice but to use it. That doesn't change the fact that it's entirely unmotivated and stupid. It was stupid when Donner was filming it and it's stupid almost 30 years later. Moving it to STM has caused nothing but problems for this script, but it did wonders for that film.

The entire affair would probably be easier to digest if Warner's didn't make this a separate release here in the states. As it is, we're expected to pay for what is essentially a bonus disc of deleted scenes with a "Play All" option. It's really only worth one viewing so that we can finally see the legendary cut scenes, but after that initial viewing, I expect that this will be an excellent magnet for dust and little else. I know after my experience of watching this, I had new respect for Lester's version. It's by no means perfect, but Lester realized the deficiencies that were in the script that stand out here in bold relief. He managed to make a movie that has entertained for many years and will continue to do so, while this new re-cut will most likely only be remembered as a footnote in that films history.

Neil

Good review.. I hadn't read it before. Spot on!

Rob
Scorpio

RandyS October 21 2008 10:04 PM

Re: Superman 2-Donner cut
 
Quote:

Ethros wrote: (Post 2202463)
Although I also don't like the end of Superman turning back time again!

Yeah, this bothered me in the Donner cut too. It makes me wonder what we are missing from the shooting script. In I, he turns the world back because he's depressed over Lois dying. In this version, there's no good reason for it, other than the novelty of seeing Perry's toothpaste in reverse. But, they say that this movie is the closest they can come to Donner's original vision, so, what are we still missing?

RobertScorpio October 21 2008 10:07 PM

Re: Superman 2-Donner cut
 
Quote:

RandyS wrote: (Post 2203663)
Quote:

Ethros wrote: (Post 2202463)
Although I also don't like the end of Superman turning back time again!

Yeah, this bothered me in the Donner cut too. It makes me wonder what we are missing from the shooting script. In I, he turns the world back because he's depressed over Lois dying. In this version, there's no good reason for it, other than the novelty of seeing Perry's toothpaste in reverse. But, they say that this movie is the closest they can come to Donner's original vision, so, what are we still missing?

I think it guts the entire thing with Jorel...Jorel giving up his last energy to give KAL back his powers...well...so what now? Time has been restore to before the point before the criminals escaped the phantom zone which means none of it happened anyway....

dumb edit...

Robert Scorpio

Kirkman1987 October 21 2008 10:13 PM

Re: Superman 2-Donner cut
 
Quote:

RandyS wrote: (Post 2203663)
Quote:

Ethros wrote: (Post 2202463)
Although I also don't like the end of Superman turning back time again!

Yeah, this bothered me in the Donner cut too. It makes me wonder what we are missing from the shooting script. In I, he turns the world back because he's depressed over Lois dying. In this version, there's no good reason for it, other than the novelty of seeing Perry's toothpaste in reverse. But, they say that this movie is the closest they can come to Donner's original vision, so, what are we still missing?

Allow me to explain this. Superman the movie and Superman II were originally one script. In this script, the turning back time device was used as the ending. When the massive script was broken into two pieces, it was decided to move the ending of the original script and make it the ending of the first film. Donner was shooting the pieces of II he had when he was fired, before a proper ending was written.

So there isn't really a Donner ending to II, so he just decided to make the cut as it would have been as part of a larger story.

as for my view, I agree with everyone that the Lester film is superior, but we have to realise that judging it aganist the Donner cut is extremely unfair. The Donner cut is NOT a complete film. It is ultimately made from an incomplete script, and uses screentests to fill in certain bits. I don't think we can properly judge how good a Donner II would've been, had he been able to reshoot certain scenes and finish everything himself.

That said, I like the Lester version fine. It's a fun movie with good action and some emotional highs.

Ethros October 21 2008 11:07 PM

Re: Superman 2-Donner cut
 
Also in the Donner cut, right at the end after Supes has now turned back time, we have Clark going to that diner and beating up that guy for no reason now.
That guy was probably thinking "wtf?! What did I ever do to you?!" :lol:


As I said though I like it for editing some of the corny bits out. I'd prefer a combination of the two

RobertScorpio October 21 2008 11:11 PM

Re: Superman 2-Donner cut
 
Quote:

Ethros wrote: (Post 2203934)
Also in the Donner cut, right at the end after Supes has now turned back time, we have Clark going to that diner and beating up that guy for no reason now.
That guy was probably thinking "wtf?! What did I ever do to you?!" :lol:


As I said though I like it for editing some of the corny bits out. I'd prefer a combination of the two

Exactly..the time change guts the entire movie...

Rob

RandyS October 22 2008 12:51 AM

Re: Superman 2-Donner cut
 
Quote:

Kirkman1987 wrote: (Post 2203705)
Allow me to explain this. Superman the movie and Superman II were originally one script. In this script, the turning back time device was used as the ending. When the massive script was broken into two pieces, it was decided to move the ending of the original script and make it the ending of the first film. Donner was shooting the pieces of II he had when he was fired, before a proper ending was written.

I actually already knew all this. It just seemed to me that given that the Donner Cut is basically an unfinished film, there was something that was written, but not filmed (sort of like the audition scenes) that would explain why he turned the world back at the end of II. As it is, there doesn't seem to be a point to it.

Kirkman1987 October 22 2008 01:18 AM

Re: Superman 2-Donner cut
 
Quote:

RandyS wrote: (Post 2204436)
Quote:

Kirkman1987 wrote: (Post 2203705)
Allow me to explain this. Superman the movie and Superman II were originally one script. In this script, the turning back time device was used as the ending. When the massive script was broken into two pieces, it was decided to move the ending of the original script and make it the ending of the first film. Donner was shooting the pieces of II he had when he was fired, before a proper ending was written.

I actually already knew all this. It just seemed to me that given that the Donner Cut is basically an unfinished film, there was something that was written, but not filmed (sort of like the audition scenes) that would explain why he turned the world back at the end of II. As it is, there doesn't seem to be a point to it.

I see

I'm not to sure that there ever was a solid reason. The world is bit beat up, Lois is depressed, and Jor-El died (which is funny, as he is already dead lol) but I agree that theres not really any strong motivation as is.

I much prefer the White house ending myself. That's a strong scene and has a real feel good quality to it.

EliyahuQeoni October 22 2008 01:42 AM

Re: Superman 2-Donner cut
 
The only portions of the Lester version I've ever found watchable are the portions that I've since found out were filmed by Donner. 98% of what Lester filmed is unwatchable campy crap.

The Donner Cut is an imperfect attept to recreate what Dick Donner intended for the film when he was making it. But it is still a far better movie than the silly crap Lester produced.


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