Superman 2 theatrical vs Richard Donner Cut

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by crookeddy, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. crookeddy

    crookeddy Commodore Commodore

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    I finally watched the Richard Donner cut of Superman 2 and liked it infinitely more than the goofy Richard Lester version. It was a far more modern movie, it flowed way better with the first one and weirdly the acting in it seemed so much better! I feel like the Lester version made the decision that Superman cannot be in a serious movie, and went the camp route, while Richard Donner had a bit more respect for the character and tried to put him into something resembling the real world.

    Now, this movie still had goofy and nonsensical moments, but for an 80s superhero movie it felt strangely... modern. I saw a lot of Zack Snyder's ideas in this movie - especially in Superman's self doubt when giving up his powers. His reasoning for giving his powers up ("why can't I live the same life as everyone else") is something that I wouldn't be surprised to hear from Henry Cavill's Superman.

    Overall, I see the Richard Donner cut as the definitive version of the movie now, and Superman Returns is a (shitty) sequel to this particular movie.
     
  2. Commander Richard

    Commander Richard The Man With the Zapper Gun Premium Member

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    Here are some of my thoughts on the matter...

     
  3. crookeddy

    crookeddy Commodore Commodore

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    The explanation for the time travel is that Donner's vision was to have time travel be the ending for Superman 2. However, they had no ending in mind for Superman 1, and just decided to use time travel there instead. This had the side effect of having Superman 2 left without an ending, and they failed to come up with anything better than the mind wiping super kiss. Since the purpose of the Donner cut was to try to show the movie Donner originally had in mind, they chose to go with the original time travel ending even though it was very repetitive.

    I think the movie felt incomplete because it was incomplete - it conveyed Donner's original vision, but since he couldn't go back in time himself to actually film his vision he had a lot of blanks to fill in. I have a feeling that if we actually had Richard Donner direct Superman 2 in full we would have gotten a far superior movie to either cut.
     
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  4. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The only thing about the theatrical cut that I like better than the Donner version is Superman's line to General Zod: "General, would you care to step outside?"

    In the Donner Cut, it's replaced with something like "Haven't you ever heard about freedom of the press?" Which, while a fine sentiment, is nowhere near the level of the theatrical version of the scene.
     
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  5. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I like both cuts, but the Donner cut is better in my opinion. Outside of the reused ending, it did pretty much everything better, especially removing the really stupid gag bits.
     
  6. Saul

    Saul Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I love the Donner Cut. I grew up with the original cut though, gags and all. There are some parts I miss but overall the Donner version is a stronger sequel. What we really need is an ultimate cut of Superman and Superman II to give his vision a little more justice.
     
  7. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'll take the theatrical cut just because it's a finished product

    Using test footage just looked weird. I understand it's all they had to work with but still looked weird.
     
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  8. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I have a love/hate relationship with both versions.
     
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  9. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    What do the actors think?
     
  10. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I remember seeing the Donner cut with a friend when it was released, and I remember being quite disappointed. It might be my nostalgia talking, but I'm glad we got the camp in theatrical cut as I think that's what was needed at the time.
     
  11. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Commodore Commodore

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    Director Richard Donner was not allowed to finish Superman 2 and I am glad to see the completion of his vision in this cut.
     
  12. crookeddy

    crookeddy Commodore Commodore

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    I don't think we'll ever get their real opinions, since they won't want to risk burning any bridges.
     
  13. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ WHAT bridges? It's not like any of the surviving Superman actors are going to do any roles like this again. And even if they did - for example, if Margot Kidder wanted to appear on Supergirl - that's a different producer, writer, etc.? So even if one of the film actors pissed off somebody who was involved in making the movies, it wouldn't affect their ability to star in future, unrelated Supes material.

    Besides, how can it be "burning bridges" simply to state which version of the film they prefer?
     
  14. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Mih ssim, mih ssim, nam, daed si Xim. Moderator

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    Wasn't Margot Kidder's reduced role in Superman III because of her objection to how Donner was treated over Superman II?

    So it was the Superman II that we needed...but not the one that we deserved...or something like that....
     
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  15. Nightowl1701

    Nightowl1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    According to her, the Salkinds would have fired her outright if they thought they could have gotten away with it, and she'd have been glad to go. According to Ilya Salkind, the Clark/Lois relationship was done by the end of II anyway so she was hardly needed, while the Clark/Lana relationship was all set up in I (the high school football scene) and ready to be used.

    Hackman, Perrine and Beatty all refused to return to finish Superman II with Lester, forcing the use of a Hackman soundalike to paper over the holes. Kidder - see above. Reeve initially refused to do Superman III after II wrapped, and the Salkinds were reportedly on the verge of putting Tony Danza in the suit before Lester personally begged him to come back (offering script changes as incentive). Brando was paid in full either way and couldn't have cared less. So... draw your own conclusions.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  16. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Mih ssim, mih ssim, nam, daed si Xim. Moderator

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    I need an amnesia kiss, stat!
     
  17. Nightowl1701

    Nightowl1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^ :lol: He was actually the third runner-up. Both John Travolta and Kurt Russell had been approached and said no.
     
  18. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Maybe. But I think it's easy to look back on it after seeing the Donner cut and say that it's what it should have been. I think the Superman II that we got felt very in tune with the 80's and its values. A slightly more serious take maybe wouldn't have been as well received with audiences given how well received the original was. Remember, we're seeing this after being exposed to a number of darker takes on superheros, a context that audiences didn't have back then. We were exposed to reruns of the 60's Batman series, and I believe these Superman movies were made to reflect the comics of the day.
     
  19. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    One thing I like better about the Donner cut:

    - I really like how it's the Hackensack missile that frees Zod and his cohorts. The whole Paris subplot was lame.


    One thing I like better about the Lester cut:

    - I like the scenes in the Honeymoon Suite better in this version.
     
  20. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just a pity it looks more like a quickly cobbled together fan edit than a professional release.
     
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