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Old July 24 2012, 01:12 AM   #4666
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Superman (casting, rumors, pix till release)

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.

The 1978 film was therefore, ultimately, unrealistic. At the time it was tremendous fun, and I still enjoy the film a great deal, but realistic it was not.
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Old July 24 2012, 01:14 AM   #4667
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Re: Superman (casting, rumors, pix till release)

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I only played Zorro when it snowed.
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Old July 24 2012, 01:19 AM   #4668
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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.

The 1978 film was therefore, ultimately, unrealistic. At the time it was tremendous fun, and I still enjoy the film a great deal, but realistic it was not.
I have to agree. While there are moments I like in the film overall it had a wink-wink sensibility to it. That mightn't have been too apparent to a child, but to an adult it's obvious.
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Old July 24 2012, 01:25 AM   #4669
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Re: Superman (casting, rumors, pix till release)

Saw the comic-con trailer earlier today on Blastr, and I really liked it. I'm really hoping they put an HD official version of it online somewhere along the line. I would love to be able to see it all clearly.
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Old July 24 2012, 01:31 AM   #4670
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Re: Superman (casting, rumors, pix till release)

They won't. As explained before, it's convention floor exclusive footage. Just like the other footage they've shown their, which is why these get leaked in the first place. The only reason we're seeing this is because someone has decided to uploaded online and screw the no recording policy! LOL

I don't even think the "Thor" or "Captain America" footage was included in their DVD releases ( maybe wrong about that). Still have yet to see the "Doctor Who" footage or "Iron Man 3" footage leak yet online. So they're tightening things down more and more.
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Old July 24 2012, 02:11 AM   #4671
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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.

The 1978 film was therefore, ultimately, unrealistic. At the time it was tremendous fun, and I still enjoy the film a great deal, but realistic it was not.
All true. It's a tremendous, memorable film - but it's dated, and it was never intended to be mistaken for naturalistic in any way.

Superman II, BTW, is an exciting film with some nice emotional moments - there was a time when I liked it a little more than the first movie. As the decades have passed, though, it's become clear that Donner's film stands head and shoulders above even the best of those that followed.

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Nope, only as a character in a period film. There was no attempt in the Reeve-era Superman movies to portray anything other than a comic-book vision of the characters and the world they inhabited, and Singer imitated that heightened and simplified sense of color and place. Cavill comes off here, visually, as plausibly existing in a world that looks as much like ours as contemporary commercial films ever show it.
It might look that way now...
It looked that way when I saw it on opening night. Of course, I was an adult at the time - and the tone and look of the film was and is a bright fantasy, evocative of the comic book origin of the character. The only sense of realism to it was occasional and was the result of location shooting. By the time of the Routh film, of course, even locations could be and were massaged and extended in the service of a very specific and heightened visual sense.

Reeve's performance was great but he conjured it up pretty much in a psychological vacuum - he was given simple elements ("Superman is an orphan fighting to protect his adoptive home") and on-the-nose dialogue ("I'm here to fight for truth, justice and the American way") and he brought conviction to it. That said, he was working within the conceptual limits of the project.
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Old July 24 2012, 03:02 AM   #4672
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Re: Superman (casting, rumors, pix till release)

Reeve was awesome.. while anyone else wearing that suit might look silly, he did not.. it was all about how he carried himself. I read that he pretty much behaved like he was wearing a regular three-piece business suit - he was neither ashamed of it nor did he try draw to attention to it. 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, and I like them better than shots in a lot of newer superhero films. 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. In the scene where Superman brings the robber (who climbs buildings) to the cop was done with a harness (you can see it almost underneath the costume) I love it anyway because it shows that he exists in within the environment. And the script has him not just saving people and stopping earthquakes, it has him saving trains, buses, and the entire San Andreas Fault. They obviously reached high and then worked their asses off to bring it to life. Most superhero hero films since have been tame by comparison, not the least of which is Superman Returns.

But, above all the film had conviction and heart. They make for any of the "dated" aspects.
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Old July 24 2012, 03:57 AM   #4673
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Re: Superman (casting, rumors, pix till release)

I loved the whole Superman side of the story in Donner's film. The origin story, the time in Kansas, the training in Fortress and the Clark Kent in Metropolis story was great. I also liked the variety of action in the finale.

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. That's one of the reasons I was excited that Kevin Spacey was cast in Superman Returns. I expected something closer to the character in the animated series or Michael Rosenbaum in Smallville, but instead we got a rehash of Hackman's role.
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Old July 24 2012, 04:22 AM   #4674
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Re: Superman (casting, rumors, pix till release)

^^^^
This was the worst thing about dredging up the Donnor-verse instead of rebooting with Returns was the Land Grab Luthor of the 70/80's pre-Crisis Lex Luthor.
When he shows that map of how his plan is to create the island AND then sell his land to the wealthy the silliness is so evident. He's going to flood Western Europe, Eastern USA and most of North Eastern South America where the largest part of the worlds wealth resides. Great plan Lex. So that leaves Russia and Communist China I'm sure they'll just roll over for you. Great plan Lex.

Returns Luthor should've been the post-'86 Crisis one that was the corporate megalomaniac. That portrayal had successfully been incorporated into Animated Shows, Lois & Clark and Smallville. Yet for Superman Returns they revisit an outdated portrayal of Luthor. WTH.
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Old July 24 2012, 04:29 AM   #4675
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Re: Superman (casting, rumors, pix till release)

Well the normal old Lex Luthor storylines had him building a giant robot to rob banks and getting caught by Superman. I think we saw the end of that kind of storyline in the first Superman/Spider-Man crossover. But there's no way they could've done that in the late '70s so they had to make do. But I liked Gene Hackman's protrayal of Luthor, he was a real scene stealer as was Ned Beatty.
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Old July 24 2012, 04:42 AM   #4676
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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.


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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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Old July 24 2012, 05:04 AM   #4677
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Re: Superman (casting, rumors, pix till release)

Christopher wrote: View Post
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 [...] , but they didn't have our perspective, our awareness of how much more serious comics could potentially be.
Yeah, thanks, that's what I was thinking, although, additionally, my emphasis was on how comic books were perceived and regarded from the mainstream perspective. There's no question that, in the 1970's, comic books were regarded as anything but a literary medium by the public at large. Even while the eyes of comic book readers were opened in the following years, mainstream public appreciation for the serious potential of the medium still lagged behind. It probably still lags behind today; I'd bet that a lot of the general public really only knows Watchmen from the movie, if they really know it at all.
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Old July 24 2012, 05:49 AM   #4678
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Re: Superman (casting, rumors, pix till release)

davejames wrote: View Post
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Nope, only as a character in a period film. There was no attempt in the Reeve-era Superman movies to portray anything other than a comic-book vision of the characters and the world they inhabited, and Singer imitated that heightened and simplified sense of color and place. Cavill comes off here, visually, as plausibly existing in a world that looks as much like ours as contemporary commercial films ever show it.
It might look that way now, but Donner was all about making his Superman look as real and believable as possible. And when I was a kid, that's pretty much how it felt.

For a comic book movie, Metropolis looked like a very real and grimy place, and many of the other locations (like the New Mexico desert where Lois dies) looked pretty gritty and real as well.

At least compared to today's superhero movies, where pretty much everything looks like a set.
Seriously. Sounds like the OP is describing the Batman T.V. show or even Tim Burton's two Batman movies. In the Donner movies Metropolis was made to look like pretty much what a real life big city looked like in the 1970's.

Sounds like some are gearing up to "love" this movie simply because it isn't SR (regardless of Man of Steel's intrinsic value, if any), the same way many "loved" Batman Begins simply because it wasn't Batman and Robin.

Superman was the first comic book superhero I loved, and truth be told, he is still my favorite individual superhero. I don't want the character to get the BB treatment -- an overrated film that is "lovable" only for what it isn't rather than for what it actually is.
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Old July 24 2012, 01:21 PM   #4679
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Re: Superman (casting, rumors, pix till release)

The comic con trailer is circulating in 2 or 3 new better quality versions, FYI... it's far superior to the lame-ass teaser we got.

A GIF I made, thought I'd share...

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Old July 24 2012, 01:43 PM   #4680
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Re: Superman (casting, rumors, pix till release)

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Yeah, thanks, that's what I was thinking, although, additionally, my emphasis was on how comic books were perceived and regarded from the mainstream perspective. There's no question that, in the 1970's, comic books were regarded as anything but a literary medium by the public at large. Even while the eyes of comic book readers were opened in the following years, mainstream public appreciation for the serious potential of the medium still lagged behind.
Yeah, but what I'm saying is, at the time the movie was made in 1977, the perception of comics as a largely fanciful and lighthearted medium was still not far from the truth. They'd gained some more intelligence, character depth, and sincerity thanks to folks like Stan Lee and Dennis O'Neill, but a lot of the really wild, fanciful, cartoony, silly stuff was still very much a part of them, especially of DC comics at the time. So what Donner created was actually pretty authentic to the Superman comics of the period: a movie that treated its protagonist characters with a fair degree of sincerity but immersed them in a fantasy world.

(And I've heard it argued, persuasively, that Superman III is actually the purest screen depiction of the Silver Age Superman we've ever gotten.)

Today we look back on things like the Adam West Batman and the Richard Lester Superman and see them as a consequence of the "mainstream" not understanding what comics were really like and making fun of them instead. But if you actually look at the comics of the era leading up to those productions, the comics that would've been their referents, they actually were a lot like what we saw onscreen. Our modern perception of superhero comics as this ultra-serious medium is mainly an aftereffect of The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen and the lasting influence they had on comics -- but what we forget is that what was so distinctive about those two works is that their dark, serious tone was profoundly different from what superhero comics had been like until then. They were specifically meant to be radical departures and deconstructions.

So the tone of the '66 Batman and the '70s Superman wasn't a result of the "mainstream" misunderstanding or trivializing comics. It was a sincere and at least somewhat authentic depiction of the actual tone and flavor of the comics that these film and TV producers had available as referents. Maybe something based on Marvel, had it been treated authentically, would've been closer to a modern vision, but we didn't get any authentic Marvel adaptations in live action in the '70s, just radical departures like the Bill Bixby Hulk, the Nicholas Hammond Spider-Man, and the Reb Brown Captain America. The DC-based shows and films we got in that era (add Wonder Woman to those mentioned above) were actually a lot closer to the mark.
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