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Old July 9 2013, 07:17 PM   #16
Flying Spaghetti Monster
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

With the exception of a few minor scenes, I definitely prefer the Lester Cut. By a mile.

First, it has the most iconic Superman moment ever placed on film: the newspapers furling away from the newsstand as the music swells and Superman arrives. "General, care to step outside?"

This is not just an iconic moment for Superman, it is an iconic moment in film. Despite having to (by necessity) to use some Lester footage to link scenes for his cut, Donner inexplicably chose to excise this iconic moment. Actually, not inexplicably... he did it because he's prideful and smug. All one needs to do is listen to his commentary track on the Donner Cut to realize how prideful, smug and arrogant he is.

I love Donner as a filmmaker, particularly early Donner. I loved the how the sweeping shots of landscapes really drew you in to the world of LadyHawke. And, with Superman: The Movie, he told the story in a striaght-forward way, a way that was as honorable and straight as the character himself. And in the third act, the allowed some wit into the screenplay. I thought Lester understood where he was going and built onto this. The Lester Cut really plays like a great Superman comic book with the wit intact, properly excising some of pretention that grounded the first film but would weigh bown a sequel like this. Despite not collaborating with each other, the two talents taken together made for a great Superman film. I love how peope in the second film had great comic book-like dialogue like "Superman is dead!" or "Man this is going to be good" (referring to the Superman/ Zod showdown, and "Oh, man, Superman didn't even do nothin'." The touch of these moments was perfect. And why aren't we allowed to laugh a bit at the guy on roller skates being blown back. That would really happen in that situation, and it's still funny. It was also balanced with real destruction.

Lester went too far with Superman 3, but I think that the "Lester cut" of Superman 2 will always be the proper sequel, not the arrogant "I'm entitled to this" cut that Donner tried to sell us.
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Old July 9 2013, 09:25 PM   #17
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote: View Post
First, it has the most iconic Superman moment ever placed on film: the newspapers furling away from the newsstand as the music swells and Superman arrives. "General, care to step outside?"
Agreed. The fact they got rid of that and (my personal favorite) the alley change just makes it a total dealbreaker in my book.

I have no doubt that Donner's real, finalized version of SII would have blown Lester's version completely out of the water if he had gotten to finish it..... but unfortunately all we have to judge by is the sloppy, patchwork "Donner Cut".
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Old July 9 2013, 09:29 PM   #18
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

My favorite scene besides the above mentioned one, is when he tricked Zod, crushed has hand and threw him across the FoS.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUORL-bvwA0
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Old July 9 2013, 09:38 PM   #19
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

Yeah there are a lot of really cool, iconic moments in the theatrical version. Which is why, despite it's issues, I still rate it higher than a lot of superhero movies made today.
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Old July 9 2013, 09:43 PM   #20
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

The touch of these moments was perfect. And why aren't we allowed to laugh a bit at the guy on roller skates being blown back. That would really happen in that situation, and it's still funny. It was also balanced with real destruction.
When I was a little kid I thought It was funny, but now?
Why is he rollerskating towards a group Kryptonians who were fighting each other?
The "comedy" stuff was a little too much for my taste.
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Old July 9 2013, 10:03 PM   #21
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

I like the Lester cut better. It doesn't make sense for Superman to have to lose hios powers AFTER he has sex with Lois. If he can do THAT, what's the need to be de-powered?

And her attempts to un-mask his identity are creepier. She jumps out of a building and appears to SHOOT Clark. She comes off as a psycho. We also miss the fighting in the Fortress with the Kryptonians(the saran wrap "S" and all that.)


The only big improvement is the inclusion of Jor-El and the way that Superman gets his powers back.
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Old July 9 2013, 10:43 PM   #22
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

The Donner cut does have some good things going for it. But I do not like seeing Clark get his powers back. Not seing it and then having Superman show up and say "care to step outside" is a great scene and not knowing if Superman is going to come back builds tension and you loose that if you know he gets his powers back. Part of the tension is the mystery and wondering if he will or will not become Superman again and learning of it at the last moment is better than if you see it happening.
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Old July 10 2013, 02:25 AM   #23
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

Agent Richard07 wrote: View Post
I really should read up on the filming of these two movies. The whole things sounds like its own convoluted time paradox. I'm guessing that big chunks of the second movie were reshot?
IIRC, they had Lester arbitrarily reshoot 70% of the material, so that he'd get sole director credit.

Another interesting bit of trivia is that Hackman didn't come back for the reshooting, so any scenes with him clearly shown are Donner. When you know what to look for, there are some pretty obvious bits in the Lester version with body doubles (seen from behind in long shots) and voiceover work, to fill in a few brief gaps.

davejames wrote: View Post
Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote: View Post
First, it has the most iconic Superman moment ever placed on film: the newspapers furling away from the newsstand as the music swells and Superman arrives. "General, care to step outside?"
Agreed. The fact they got rid of that and (my personal favorite) the alley change just makes it a total dealbreaker in my book.

I have no doubt that Donner's real, finalized version of SII would have blown Lester's version completely out of the water if he had gotten to finish it..... but unfortunately all we have to judge by is the sloppy, patchwork "Donner Cut".
The exact two things that I miss the most in the Donner Cut. Plus, I'm incredulous that Superman has so little sense of touch that he couldn't even tell whether or not he'd been hit by a bullet. Not to mention those super-senses of his that should have literally been able to see it (not) coming.
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Old July 10 2013, 02:50 AM   #24
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

Hackman was pissed off to the tenth power when Donner was fired.
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Old July 10 2013, 09:33 AM   #25
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote: View Post
Donner inexplicably chose to excise this iconic moment. Actually, not inexplicably... he did it because he's prideful and smug. All one needs to do is listen to his commentary track on the Donner Cut to realize how prideful, smug and arrogant he is.
As I understand it, the Donner cut was actually put together by producer Michael Thau, rather than Donner himself.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superma...ard_Donner_Cut

Work finally began on the project in late 2005, though without Richard Donner. At the Director's Guild screening of the Donner cut in November 2006, Michael Thau underlined Donner's reluctance to involve himself in the project, telling the audience, "Dick (Donner) was doing (the film) 16 Blocks at the time and I was always trying to lure him in with, you know 'Dick, here's a piece of candy, come in to the cutting room.' and he said 'No, no, no..."
Thus, mixed emotions invariably followed the initial announcement in January 2006 that a new Superman II was being worked on, primarily down to the news that Richard Donner was having little or nothing to do with the re-edit. In a January 2006 interview with the website IGN, he stated, "They're doing it. I'm not doing it...I don't even want to see it until it comes out in the theater...I'm too far away from it now." A month later, when asked about the new Superman II cut, Donner told the website Dark Horizons, "I would never shoot like that now in a million years, I mean it was a different way, a different style, different interpretation."
In August 2006, Thau confirmed that the entire film, rather than simply featuring new material, would be re-cut from the original camera negative (including the small number of Lester scenes remaining in the film). The Donner cut comprises Donner Superman II scenes edited by Stuart Baird in 1977-78, 1980 Superman II theatrical scenes cut by John Victor Smith, as well as a large amount of new material edited by Michael Thau.
In an interview with Now Playing magazine, Thau noted, "A lot of scenes that had been already cut, that Richard Lester had interwoven new material in — and there was a lot of them — I unwove that material and recut those scenes, basically from scratch a lot of times. I also had to deal with negatives that had already been cut. And when I wanted to recut it, and Lester had already cut it in a different way, I'd have to unwind that. It was a complicated jigsaw puzzle sometimes, to put it back the way I envisioned Dick would want it cut. We only used the Lester footage when there was material when they had not been able to shoot, and to keep some continuity to the story." (boldface added by me)
It seems a bit harsh to blame this one on Donner, if that's right.
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Old July 10 2013, 04:54 PM   #26
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

Uh.. ok.

Directors always have a group of people surrunding them and they are really doing all the actual gruntwork...

And Donner was there long enough to approve them calling it "The Donner Cut"

He was there long enough to sit by a microphone and record a commentary for the film.

Apparently this was at least long enough to sell fans on the idea that this was Donner's version of the film, and those fans start raisign holy hell on the internet that finally, the real sequel to Superman has been made, and how much better it is. They all drank the Kool-Aid, in my opinion. Even if it had been "finished" it's not a better movie. One only need to listen to Donner's commentary to realize that his attitude about the cut was all wrong.
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Old July 10 2013, 07:05 PM   #27
davejames
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
The exact two things that I miss the most in the Donner Cut. Plus, I'm incredulous that Superman has so little sense of touch that he couldn't even tell whether or not he'd been hit by a bullet. Not to mention those super-senses of his that should have literally been able to see it (not) coming.
Yeah I have no problem with making Lois a stronger and more intelligent character in that movie, but the way they originally went about it just didn't really work or feel plausible at all I don't think.

Even if Lois did know 100% that Clark was Superman (which is debatable considering she apparently never noticed during the first movie-- and don't try to tell me she was "too distracted"), jumping out the window of a high rise office building is still a wacky and idiotic thing to do. Especially for a grown woman and professional reporter.

And the idea of Superman being fooled by blanks in Lois's gun is just ridiculous. His response as Clark should have been to flinch and then say "Ha ha, very funny trying to shoot me with blanks". Which would leave Lois with no proof of anything.

Last edited by davejames; July 10 2013 at 07:18 PM.
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Old July 10 2013, 07:18 PM   #28
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

davejames wrote: View Post
Even if Lois did know 100% that Clark was Superman (which is debatable considering she apparently never noticed during the first movie-- and don't try to tell me she was too distracted), jumping out the window of a tall office building is still a wacky and idiotic thing to do. Especially for a grown woman and professional reporter.
Except we're talking about Lois Lane here. Fearless to the point of life-threatening recklessness is one of her defining character traits.

And the fact that she didn't see the resemblance until she saw it is perfectly believable. Human perception works that way all the time. You can be aware of something for weeks or years before you suddenly notice something about it, and then once you realize it, it becomes obvious and you wonder how you ever could've missed it. And really, given the track record of Lois Lanes (Loises Lane? Loes Lane?) in general, it's impressive that this one saw through the glasses at all.


And the idea of Superman being fooled by blanks in Lois's gun is just ridiculous. His response as Clark should have been to flinch and then say "Ha ha, very funny trying to shoot me with blanks". Which would leave Lois with no proof of anything.
True, that is hard to believe, but the scene is so well-played, even in the rehearsal footage, that I can live with it. If you like, you can borrow the premise of the Lester version that Superman subconsciously wanted to be found out.

Then again, screen adaptations of Superman have often showed his supersenses differently than the comics. In the comics and prose, he can be constantly aware of every sensory input for hundreds of miles around, but in film and TV, he's often shown as being unaware of things until he chooses to concentrate his senses on them. Which makes sense in a way. Both Smallville and Man of Steel showed us Clark being overwhelmed by his supersenses and having to train himself to tune everything out except what he chose to focus on. So maybe he was too surprised or upset by Lois pointing a gun at him to take the time to concentrate his x-ray or telescopic vision on the gun chambers and discern whether the cartridges had live rounds. And maybe he genuinely wouldn't feel being hit by a bullet because he's invulnerable and impervious to pain.
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Old July 10 2013, 07:47 PM   #29
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

It seems a bit harsh to blame this one on Donner, if that's right.
I just don't understand this.

It's the Donner Cut.

He was involved. How much hands-on involvement did he have? Maybe not much. But then again, I don't believe that directors are as hands-on as they used to be or even could be, particularity with post production and editing. Remember, Lucas biked from the stage to the editing room to ILM every day during Star Wars and had to wear himself out to get the film done.. I don't hear any stories like that in the 2000's.

But Donner had his name on it. He left commentary on the movie about all the ways he obliged to use bits of Lester's footage because he had to, and coming across like an arrogant snot in the process, and then WB slapped in a DVD case with a cool cover (which is the best part of of the Donner Cut) and managed to convince a small group of vocal Superman fans that this is what they were waiting for.
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Old July 10 2013, 07:50 PM   #30
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

AllStarEntprise wrote: View Post
I prefer the original theatrical version (Donnor/Lester) to be honest. The Donnor Cut is hurt by the fact that it's an incomplete film that has been edited together from scenes shot by Donnor and others by Lester to complete it. However the Jor-El scenes do help tie the movie together better when it comes to the mythos of Superman. Also the fight scene in Metropolis had some extra oomph to it. Like when Superman was sent spiraling in to the statue of liberty.

The time travel fix of things was kinda lame but I blame that more on Donnor being fired before he could finish his original film, and had to edit an ending together decades later.
Agree, well said.
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