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Old July 24 2012, 04:42 AM   #4676
Christopher
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Re: Superman (casting, rumors, pix till release)

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Donner tried to square the circle of making a live-action comic book adaptation, by depicting the world as a comic book, with all the caricatures and goofiness the medium is practically infamous for, brought to life, as realistically as the state of the art could depict.

While it was visually as close to realistic as could be achieved, at almost every beat the tone going hand in hand with the visuals was infused with humor and silliness that let the audience know that nothing was real and they weren't taking the thing seriously at all. Although I thought there were some fine literary undercurrents and motifs, the film never dared to commit to having serious pretensions.
Well, that's kind of right, but I'm not sure of the emphasis. I'd say, rather, that it was an attempt to do a naturalistic take on what Superman comics were at the time, in the Bronze Age as it's called, and with a memory of what they were in the Silver Age. There is a lot of fanciful, silly stuff that comes with that, but they didn't have our perspective, our awareness of how much more serious comics could potentially be. This was the reality of comics that they had to work with, and they tried to make something that was true to that in as naturalistic a way as they could. It's not so different from what Christopher Nolan has done with Batman; it's just that the source comics Nolan has had to draw on have been from a far more serious era. Everything's relative.


Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote: View Post
And I think the approach to the SFX had the same quality.. they used every technique they could imagine and then some to bring it to life, and it feels often like Superman exists in real world, and though some shots are dated (particularly the blatant blue-screen shots where the city is out of focus behind Reeves) most of them hold up well...
They weren't bluescreen shots; they couldn't have been, since Superman's costume was mostly blue. They used a novel front-projection process called Zoptic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Front_p..._effect#Zoptic
Effects wizard Zoran Perisic patented a new refinement to front projection that involved placing a zoom lens on both the movie camera and the projector. These zoom lenses are synchronized to zoom in and out simultaneously in the same direction. As the projection lens zooms in, it projects a smaller image on the screen; the camera lens zooms in at the same time, and to the same degree, so that the projected image (the background plate) appears unchanged, as seen through the camera. However the subject placed in front of the front projection screen appears to have moved closer to the camera; thus Superman flies towards the camera.
Apparently this is also how the flying shots in The Greatest American Hero were done!

They did use bluescreen in Superman IV, and got around it by, I believe, putting Reeve in a differently-colored costume and printing the film through a filter that made it look blue; but this had the effect of making the yellow parts of his costume appear white.


I love the whole scene where he first takes off after Lois (when the guy compliments him on the nice outfit) that there is a quick cut that one suspects hides the change to the effect shot, but this cut is so well-placed it actually adds to the momentum of the scene... its fantastic.
If I remember that scene right, the "effect" would've just been lifting Reeve on a wire, so the cut would've been between a close-up where he didn't have a wire attached to a long shot where he did. Given how uncomfortable the flying harness must've been, I don't think they would've made him wear it in any more shots than they had to.


Shakaar wrote: View Post
That said, the one thing that REALLY dates the movie for me was the characterization of Lex Luthor. I guess that was a valid portrayal of the character from some of the comics, but it wasn't my preferred version. Here is supposedly one of the smartest people on Earth and he surrounds himself with the two dumbest people he could possibly find. He seemed more like a used car salesman than a villain in a superhero film. He never seemed much of a match for Superman.
Actually that was nothing like the Lex Luthor from the comics of the era. That Luthor was a brilliant criminal scientist and inventor, driven by anger and resentment toward Superman and the world, and he generally worked alone. Here's a look at how he was portrayed in the '70s. I really have no idea where the screenwriters got the idea for their version of Luthor.
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