Superman II (The Donner Cut)

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Agent Richard07, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  2. Gojira

    Gojira Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  3. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Auld Lang Mod Moderator

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    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.

    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.
     
  4. Dorian Thompson

    Dorian Thompson Admiral Admiral

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    Hackman was pissed off to the tenth power when Donner was fired.
     
  5. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As I understand it, the Donner cut was actually put together by producer Michael Thau, rather than Donner himself.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superman_II:_The_Richard_Donner_Cut

    It seems a bit harsh to blame this one on Donner, if that's right.
     
  6. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  7. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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: Jul 10, 2013
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.


    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.
     
  9. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  10. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Commodore Commodore

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    Agree, well said.:vulcan:
     
  11. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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!
     
  12. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  13. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^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!
     
  14. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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!
     
  15. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  16. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  17. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Auld Lang Mod Moderator

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    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."
     
  18. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  19. Dorian Thompson

    Dorian Thompson Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  20. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.