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Old July 10 2013, 09:10 PM   #31
Captaindemotion
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote: View Post
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.
Well, I'm only posting what I understand the position to be, which is that the ('so-called'?) Donner cut wasn't actually made by him. Perhaps there's a Trades Description/ Advertising Standards complaint to be made there. The question is perhaps best directed at WB, Thau and Donner!

FWIW, I agree with you 100% about the removal of the 'care to step outside?' scene. In fact, I remember watching TDC and actually double-taking or going 'What?' when this scene was omitted (I can't tell what replaced it, which is probably telling in itself). I was always very keen to see Donner's version of Superman II, but while I was glad to see some of Lester's slapstick tendencies excised, I definitely prefer Lester's version. I'm not privy to the ins and outs of the makings of this or any film and who cut what, but really the Donner version does seem to be 'the Thau ideal of what the Donner cut would've been.'

As to Donner's arrogance, I must admit that I didn't pick up on that myself. By all accounts he's a decent guy who does charity work and so forth and whose actors tend to love him (e.g. Hackman refusing to be involved with the Salkinds after his sacking, the way that the likes of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover worked with him so often etc.).

Bear in mind though that he was sacked from this series, into which he had put so much work. Prior to his and Mankiewicz becoming involved, the project was shaping up to be something like the Adam West Batman; in his screenplay Mario Puzo had 'side-splitting' scenes like Superman swooping down into a city to arrest a bald man who he thought to be Luthor - then Telly Savalas turning round to say 'Who loves ya baby?' Donner and Mankiewicz introduced the respectful tone to the movie. So it's perhaps understandable that he's somewhat bitter towards Lester and less than totally-objective to Lester's version of a project which he had so much affection for. He's not, er, superhuman after all!
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Old July 10 2013, 09:23 PM   #32
Flying Spaghetti Monster
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

Captaindemotion wrote: View Post
Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote: View Post
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.
Well, I'm only posting what I understand the position to be, which is that the ('so-called'?) Donner cut wasn't actually made by him. Perhaps there's a Trades Description/ Advertising Standards complaint to be made there. The question is perhaps best directed at WB, Thau and Donner!

FWIW, I agree with you 100% about the removal of the 'care to step outside?' scene. In fact, I remember watching TDC and actually double-taking or going 'What?' when this scene was omitted (I can't tell what replaced it, which is probably telling in itself). I was always very keen to see Donner's version of Superman II, but while I was glad to see some of Lester's slapstick tendencies excised, I definitely prefer Lester's version. I'm not privy to the ins and outs of the makings of this or any film and who cut what, but really the Donner version does seem to be 'the Thau ideal of what the Donner cut would've been.'

As to Donner's arrogance, I must admit that I didn't pick up on that myself. By all accounts he's a decent guy who does charity work and so forth and whose actors tend to love him (e.g. Hackman refusing to be involved with the Salkinds after his sacking, the way that the likes of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover worked with him so often etc.).

Bear in mind though that he was sacked from this series, into which he had put so much work. Prior to his and Mankiewicz becoming involved, the project was shaping up to be something like the Adam West Batman; in his screenplay Mario Puzo had 'side-splitting' scenes like Superman swooping down into a city to arrest a bald man who he thought to be Luthor - then Telly Savalas turning round to say 'Who loves ya baby?' Donner and Mankiewicz introduced the respectful tone to the movie. So it's perhaps understandable that he's somewhat bitter towards Lester and less than totally-objective to Lester's version of a project which he had so much affection for. He's not, er, superhuman after all!
Hi.

Thank you for your response. I mean that sincerely. I believe my snap at you was unwarranted. My sincere apologies. I guess I was was venting a bit, partly because (and this is obviously nothing having to do with you) that every time TDC is discussed on this or every other board in the past, or on YouTube, the fans seem to think TDC is Gospel, like the unearthing of the Dead Sea Scrolls for so many years.

Every single point you made and clarified here I understand now and agree with. I just want to apologize.
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Old July 10 2013, 09:30 PM   #33
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

^Thank you and no need for the apology.

I actually didn't take it as a snap at me personally, just a general lament on your part at the silliness of a movie being called 'The Donner cut' and not actually being directed or put together by, er, Donner! Which is a lament I totally understand!

I don't think TDC is the Dead Sea Scrolls, but I'm glad it's out there. It's an interesting 'what if?' but it has to be seen in its limitations.

Now, if only he'd gotten to make Superman III for real!
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Old July 10 2013, 10:47 PM   #34
Flying Spaghetti Monster
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

Thanks for understanding!

I should also clarify that, while I have always considered the Lester Cut the real sequel, and a good blending (whether intentional or not) of both the styles of Lester and Donner while continuing the tone of the last act (the more comic book-flavored tone) of the first film, I do not think the Lester Cut is anywhere near perfect. There are many scenes, moments, etc, that cause me to cringe. But there are such moments in the first film. I do think more attention could be paid to certain moments. For example, the idea of starting the film with a Paris hostage crisis was a good idea, it gave Superman something different to do. However, I do think that this portion of the film needed more octane, or excitement, or something.

And, in my continuing need to understand the film-making process, having the Donner cut out there is also a good thing.. an interesting "what-if" and an insight on how this creative process works,. The problem is I can't separate the cut from Donner's commentary of it (and to me, it is relevant that it was never considered by him to be a complete film in and of itself, so his commentary actually holds more weight in considering the cut than most director commentaries) and now I can't separate TDC from his words, his attitude, and everything else.

I'd rather watch the Lester Cut and keep my memories intact. It's still a fun movie!
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Old July 10 2013, 11:15 PM   #35
davejames
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

I actually don't find the Lester version that cringeworthy at all. There's the slapstick during the superbreath sequence of course, and some of the effects appear a bit more cheesy and dated than they used to, but the movie still takes the story and the threat of Zod seriously enough that those things never really stand out to me.

Even with those lighter moments, the movie never comes close to being the farce that III and IV were.
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Old July 10 2013, 11:32 PM   #36
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

Yes, I see what you mean.

I really think Terrence Stamp is just awesome as Zod. Shannon rally chewed up the scenery, but in going so over the top, h seemed more silly and shallow, and even more bland, than almost any film villain I can remember. But Stamp is just perfect. Whether it's him commanding "kneel before Zod" or him just saying "ah" quietly as he considers the fact that the son of his adversary is on this planet, he hits all the right notes of being the perfect comic book villain.
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Old July 11 2013, 12:39 AM   #37
The Old Building & Loan
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

Christopher wrote: View Post
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.
I might buy that explanation better if Donner hadn't gone out of his way to show us Clark catching a bullet on short notice in the first movie. Seems like the same sort of reaction should apply, at least on the sensory level.

Also, the blanks scene was filmed before anything else--it was the actors' screen test. It's possible that somebody might have realized the issue and the scene would have been reworked later.

And not feeling pain isn't the same thing as not having a sense of touch. If he has one, he should be able to feel something. "It tickles."
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Old July 11 2013, 12:47 AM   #38
davejames
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote: View Post
Yes, I see what you mean.

I really think Terrence Stamp is just awesome as Zod. Shannon rally chewed up the scenery, but in going so over the top, h seemed more silly and shallow, and even more bland, than almost any film villain I can remember. But Stamp is just perfect. Whether it's him commanding "kneel before Zod" or him just saying "ah" quietly as he considers the fact that the son of his adversary is on this planet, he hits all the right notes of being the perfect comic book villain.
Agreed. Shannon's Zod was just too much of a blunt instrument, while Stamp's version had this detached, imperious air about him that was not only scary and intimidating, but fun as hell to watch as well.
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Old July 11 2013, 02:47 AM   #39
Dorian Thompson
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

I really think Terrence Stamp is just awesome as Zod. Shannon rally chewed up the scenery, but in going so over the top, h seemed more silly and shallow, and even more bland, than almost any film villain I can remember.
Thank God someone else said this. Shannon bugged the shit out of me. Terence Stamp was leaps and bounds better. That's why I think the Donner films will be remembered fondly longer than MOS.
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Old July 11 2013, 02:49 AM   #40
sonak
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

Dorian Thompson wrote: View Post
I really think Terrence Stamp is just awesome as Zod. Shannon rally chewed up the scenery, but in going so over the top, h seemed more silly and shallow, and even more bland, than almost any film villain I can remember.
Thank God someone else said this. Shannon bugged the shit out of me. Terence Stamp was leaps and bounds better. That's why I think the Donner films will be remembered fondly longer than MOS.

another vote for Stamp over Shannon. I mentioned it in the "man of steel" review thread as well. Shannon's basically just playing a generic pyscho villain.
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Old July 11 2013, 03:25 AM   #41
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkKTqIgUHC4
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Old July 11 2013, 04:07 AM   #42
davejames
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

I have to admit, I'm kinda bummed we didn't get to see Stamp return as Zod in the SR sequel, which was one rumor that was going around for a brief time.

Assuming Stamp was up for it, it would have been freakin AWESOME to see.
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Old July 11 2013, 04:47 AM   #43
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

I liked the Donner Cut a lot though it was far from perfect. Having Superman turn back time at the end, thus negating everything that happened is unforgiveable. The diner revenge afterwards makes no sense because of the change. There's also the little things. Superman's "General, would you care to step outside?" in the Lester version is a THOUSAND times better than the "General, don't you believe in the freedom of the press?" line from the Donner Cut. Replacing a superior line from the Lester Cut with an inferior line from his own cut was a petty move by Donner. Just acknowledge that the line Lester Cut line was superior and keep it in there.

Anyway, where the movie thrives is the inclusion of Jor-El and more from Christopher Reeves. I think some of Reeves best acting in these films comes from the Donner Cut. The way he transforms from Clark to Superman with just a look after Lois fires the blank is brilliant. There's a scene later in the Fortress where he looks like Superman but is dressed like a civilian. He just knew how to make that look work if that makes sense. Adding Brando back into the mix enhances the story greatly.

It might be a rough screen test but Lois managing to get Clark to "out" himself was also better than the stupid "trip over a rug and into the fire" scene from the original.
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Old July 11 2013, 06:02 AM   #44
Dorian Thompson
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

Adding Brando back into the mix enhances the story greatly.
It sure does. If the film had been entirely the Lester cut but added the Brando scenes, it would work to perfection for me.

Anyway, where the movie thrives is the inclusion of Jor-El and more from Christopher Reeves. I think some of Reeves best acting in these films comes from the Donner Cut. The way he transforms from Clark to Superman with just a look after Lois fires the blank is brilliant. There's a scene later in the Fortress where he looks like Superman but is dressed like a civilian
That's the bit. That's why Reeve got praise from critics; (I was able to find some reviews from the time online) it was his apt differentiation between the bumbling Clark and the supremely confident Kal El. All in his voice, mannerisms, his bearing. All the critics praised him for that. Some compared him to Cary Grant, who could switch on a dime from debonair to bumbling character lacking confidence in his onscreen persona.
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Old July 11 2013, 04:16 PM   #45
sonak
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Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

DarthPipes wrote: View Post
I liked the Donner Cut a lot though it was far from perfect. Having Superman turn back time at the end, thus negating everything that happened is unforgiveable. The diner revenge afterwards makes no sense because of the change. There's also the little things. Superman's "General, would you care to step outside?" in the Lester version is a THOUSAND times better than the "General, don't you believe in the freedom of the press?" line from the Donner Cut. Replacing a superior line from the Lester Cut with an inferior line from his own cut was a petty move by Donner. Just acknowledge that the line Lester Cut line was superior and keep it in there.

Anyway, where the movie thrives is the inclusion of Jor-El and more from Christopher Reeves. I think some of Reeves best acting in these films comes from the Donner Cut. The way he transforms from Clark to Superman with just a look after Lois fires the blank is brilliant. There's a scene later in the Fortress where he looks like Superman but is dressed like a civilian. He just knew how to make that look work if that makes sense. Adding Brando back into the mix enhances the story greatly.

It might be a rough screen test but Lois managing to get Clark to "out" himself was also better than the stupid "trip over a rug and into the fire" scene from the original.

Lois looking like a psycho and Superman not being able to tell blanks from real bullets is better than him subconsciously trying to out himself by tripping into the fire?
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