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We all have unique reasons for loving a film. That's what makes cinema
so magical. It's personal. You can love the meat of the movie, or you
can love the trimmings.
There's a bunch of good stuff here. Most people my age will refer to "Superman" as THE definitive superhero film. None will ever take it's place. A position no doubt dictated by the age we were when first viewing it. As with films like "Star Wars" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark", WHEN you experience them is just as important as HOW you experience them.
As we age, youth's eyes fade. Cynicism creeps in. Experience leads us to see the many injustices this life offers and we become more critical... less likely to accept that which we would rather believe. After all, an adult who clings to the youthful ideals of wonder is simply naive... right?
To this day, the opening title sequence for "Superman" fills me with the same magical joy it did over twenty years ago. Never was a score so perfectly crafted around a film. John Williams and Richard Donner created such an indelible experience that over 25 yrs later, Bryan Synger will use the same music and theme to bring the magic to a new generation of wondrous eyes.
As for me though, this will always remain the best.
Every once in a while you'll be flipping channels or meandering through the
aisles of the local videorama, and you will stumble upon a film that takes
you back to your childhood - and the child-like wonder that accompanied it.
After 2 decades, as well as numerous (inferior) sequels and remakes, the
original Superman is back.
Well, okay, maybe this wasn't the ORIGINAL one, but certainly no other version of the legend has had such a lasting impact as this one. Nor has any other telling of the tale been as thorough and ambitious as that put forth by Director Richard Donner and Story writer Mario Puzo. Add to that the utterly inspired (and inspiring) score by John Williams, and you have a dose of that good old movie magic. Even the opening credits manage to raise your adrenaline levels, as the Superman symbol soars through space across the screen and Williams' opening theme perfectly builds to a masterful crescendo. It will make you want to stand up from your couch and soar out of the nearest window, though I don't recommend it if you live on anything above the first floor.
The film begins on Superman's home world of Krypton, a dazzling planet dotted by crystalline cities which, combined again with William's incredible theme music, seem to present an image of heaven itself. A super-race of highly advanced beings, the Kryptonians' only weakness is their pride, as the infant Superman's father, Jor-el points out. It is that pride that leads them to ignore Jor-el's warnings that the planet is doomed by an impending supernova. In a last ditch effort to save his son, as well as some remnant of his race, he sends his infant son Kal-el to the planet Earth in a deep space probe. Marlon Brando, in the role of Jor-el, gives one of his best performances. His role is the stuff of Hollywood legend, since he was paid 4 million dollars for his role of about 10 minutes, but despite his exorbitant fee and minimal screen time, his performance is no less worthy.
The probe crashes in a farmer's field in the early 1950's, to be discovered by the Kents, with Glen Ford in the role of Pa Kent. Though he seems to have even less screen time than Brando, his role as the young Superman's moral example is no less pivotal to the story. Superman's childhood and most of his teen years are completely skipped over, however, Jeff East gives an excellent portrayal of the teen Clark Kent, who is only beginning to discover the real extent of his powers.
Most of the supporting cast equally distinguish themselves. Gene Hackman creates a charming and amusing villain in Lex Luthor, and while Margot Kidder's portrayal of Lois Lane is a bit forced and grating at times, she still shines with a kind of charm, and it is always fun to watch her slip from the tough-as-nails reporter to the flustered schoolgirl every time the Man of Steel hits the scene. If you still don't like her performance, watch the "Lois Lane screen tests" in the special features section of the DVD, which includes tryouts by various prominent actresses of the day. After watching them, I think you'll agree that the filmmakers made the right casting choice.
But of course, the person we will remember the most is Christopher Reeve as Superman, and this is the way he should be remembered. It was certainly his greatest role, and although he overplayed the nerdy and fumbling Clark Kent, and his Superman sometimes pauses to deliver silly platitudes, he does so with an air of wry amusement. He may act like a goody two-shoes, but mostly he just seems to be having a good time showing off, and damn it, why shouldn't he? He's Superman, after all. If I could fly, you could damn well bet I'd be showing off too. This is confirmed in a brief but enjoyable restored scene in which, after saving Lois Lane and the President, as well as foiling several crimes, Superman flies back to his Fortress of Solitude to discuss it with his "Father", or rather, the persona of Jor-el which has been preserved in memory crystals and sent to earth with the infant Kal-el, so that he could benefit from Jor-el's knowledge and wisdom. He admonishes his son that, while it is natural to enjoy being able to show off his powers, he must learn to be humble and keep his vanity in check.
It is surprising how little moments of restored footage such as this one seem to breathe much more life into the characters, giving them a depth not seen in their previous cinematic incarnation. And while the film is a tale of the power of good, it is ultimately a tribute to the power of love. It is love that makes Superman more vulnerable than even kryptonite, love that makes him betray his Kryptonian father's admonition to "never interfere with human history", and love that makes him truly human.
Though it is nearly an hour into the film before Superman finally makes his first heroic and world-stunning appearance, it is well worth the wait. The action gets more and more exciting, rivaling anything that today's action counterparts, like "The Mummy Returns" can dish out. The effects, though antiquated by today's overblown CGI standards, are still impressive and manage to maintain their looks and grace in their old age. As Lex Luthor launches a diabolical plan involving hijacked twin nuclear missiles, the subsequent chase, followed by Superman's efforts to save an Earthquake-ravaged California, are breathtaking even by today's standards.
Like the superhero of title, the film itself is not without its weaknesses. In trying to keep in touch with its vintage comic book roots, it can be a tad cornball at times, and occasionally gets bogged down by what I call the "golly gee-whiz" factor. Yet it does so in a very tongue-in-cheek manner, retaining enough adult sophistication and genuine drama to keep it from lapsing into a mere kiddy show or a parody of the source material. In fact, the film has several surprisingly mature nuances. If, like me, you hadn't seen this film since you were a kid, then you will be in a much better position to fully enjoy the subtleties of the film now. (i.e, Lois Lane, in her rooftop interview of Superman asks "How big are you . . . er, I mean . .. how TALL are you". I obviously missed that as a kid, because it had me rolling with laughter this time around.
But despite a few loose threads in the cape and tights, The Man of Steel remains quite intact and appropriately larger than life. It is therefore fitting that this film has been re-mastered and re-released in collector's two-sided DVD format. The sound and picture quality are excellent, wiping away the tarnish of age and making the film shine again. Some of the many features include the aforementioned restored footage (about 10-15 minutes worth), a few additional deleted scenes (which, I thought, should have been restored into the film as well), commentary by director Richard Donner, the Lois Lane screen tests, specials on the making and origins of the film, and a music-only track (well worth the price of the DVD alone).
If you haven't seen this movie since you were a kid, and you want to feel like a kid again, rent it now. If you've never seen it at all, then the release of this DVD has taken away your last excuse. You will believe a man can fly.
This is it ladies and gents...my 200th review. I thought long and hard
about what I would dedicate my 200th review to...would it be something
new and flashy, a movie that I knew was a knockout, something more
personal to me?? One of my faves perhaps?? I finally decided on this
Since I was a little boy I have loved Superman. Even now many years later I am still fascinated by the character, I mean he has withstood 6 decades of changes and world upheaval and still one of the best selling heroes of our time. Without further ado let's talk about Richard Donner's big screen epic Superman: The Movie. Thanks for reading my reviews!! Superman: The Movie MUST be judged not by today's standards but by the standards set for films of the late seventies/early eighties. That's not to say that it doesn't stand up for itself even almost 3 decades later but it's true brilliance may be lost if you don't remember when and where it was made. Brilliant Director Richard Donner (Lethal Weapon series, The Goonies, and stocks of brilliant TV series) I think really knows what the audience wants out of characters. I'm sure he tread on thin ice when it came to bringing the infamous Man of Steel to the big screen having only comics and TV and radio before him to base it on. Donner took everything Superman stood for, truth, justice, American Way, fighting evil, his estrangement from his home planet, his love for Lois Lane and put it all into this film.
Nothing is left out of Superman, we have the origins including an in depth look into Krypton (which at the time would have been a first.) We see Kal-El's parents and their conflicts, we are given a small introduction to Clark Kent's youth and his coming of age and then everything else we know and love about the Superman legend. Everything from "The Phantom Zone" to Lois and Clark falling in love. I always thought the casting for Superman was it's one downfall but after watching the film again I really see that it wasn't such an error in judgment.
The late and incredible Christopher Reeve truly was built for Superman. He embodied the character and created two completely different people to the point where you believed a pair of glasses and a different part in the hair was the perfect alter ego. His Clark Kent was goofy but pure and honest but completely different from the strength and character of Superman. His Superman was tall, larger than life, strong, honest, too good to be true. He was perfect and he looked both parts perfectly too and he will forever be known....in my books...as The Superman of film. Margot Kidder pretty much had Lois Lane nailed. I always thought she was a little old for the role and wasn't sure she looked the part but the personality was perfect, strong, forceful, pig headed, leap before you look kinda gal. And the chemistry with Reeve's Superman was very good. They established a fast but very bonding romance between the two characters. The supporting cast was also well done...Jackie Cooper was great as Perry White, Marc McClure was perfectly cast as the young, naive Jimmy Olsen, and Marlon Brando was an awesome screen presence for Jor-El and considering the billing he got for his brief role it's good that he had that pull. Gene Hackman is a brilliant actor, I've loved him in many roles...he was not right for Lex Luthor or perhaps even his character wasn't written right. Although diabolical and evil it was done in a comedic way right down to the doofus sidekick which was more cartoonish than it was big budget film. You just didn't truly feel the tension and arch rivalry between Reeve and Hackman's characters. The only other beef I can find with Superman is the overlooking of some key elements of reality. Yes I know Superman must leave reality at the door and that's easy to do with such a brilliant beautifully done Epic but the whole concept of Superman reversing time by making the earth spin backwards, or turning into Superman and having his "human" clothes literally vanish into thin air...these are things that the writers should have looked more closely into. But I think they focused so much of their time on making sure other elements were in place that they let these things slide and that's okay but it's such a minor thing but still with such perfection in other areas they stand out.
Special effects like this had never been seen before and they are still stunning. Watching Superman fly and the explosions and earthquake and his miracle powers are just wonderful and will forever be in the mind of movie goers. This is such a brilliant film and put a stamp on the genre of superheroes that every other film will try to live up to. For the record I am thrilled and excited about the upcoming Bryan Singer Superman film, I think he will take everything that was great about this original and utilize it to continue on the epic. Bravo to him!! Superman: The Movie also had and still has one of the most haunting, beautiful and stunning scores ever created. The music became his anthem no matter where Superman is. This is one of the best films ever, and will always be a classic especially to me!! 9/10
This is my 301st review on IMDb, so I'm going to make this short,
simple, and super:
"You'll believe a man can fly!" - the tagline for "Superman"
He stood for "truth, justice, and the American way." Ahh, to just think that this is the movie that started it all, ladies and gentlemen. Carefully adapted from the popular DC Comics character created by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, Richard Donner's 1978 epic has stood the test of time to become the supreme superhero film. Alongside Tim Burton ("Batman") and Sam Raimi ("Spider-Man"), Donner earned his place in cinematic history by becoming the first director to make a perfect superhero film. Superman is the most recognizable comic book superhero in history, and when Clark Kent (the late, great Christopher Reeve) rips open his shirt to reveal that symbolic "S" an hour and 11 minutes into the film, you know that it's one of the greatest cinematic moments. This epic defined the superhero film, and in the 27 years since its release, every subsequent comic book superhero movie is forever indebted to "Superman." The plot (and what a plot) runs complete throughout its epic 154 minutes and believe me, there's not a single wasted moment in the film's entire running length. Of course, Clark Kent is sent from his dying home world of Krypton by his father Jor-El (the late Marlon Brando), grows up and works at the Daily Planet, falls in love with Lois Lane (Margot Kidder), and must foil the diabolical plans of Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman). Put simply, there will never be another movie like "Superman," and who can forget those *cosmic* credits, the aforementioned "S" scene, the Superman and Lois date over New York City and later above the clouds, and that one, definitive climax when Superman lets out a painful cry that reveals that one glint of humanity that he's earned from his time on earth. Reeve will forever be linked to the role that really made people believe he was a super man, even when he wasn't wearing the blues, reds, and yellows, and was instead confined to the prison that's called a wheelchair. But we know that he's up there, flying high with the Almighty and proving to us all that he is who we believed he was. The recent news that Bryan Singer ("X-Men") is directing a new Superman is not exactly getting me giddy, considering the low standards of today's film-making and the onslaught of CGI effects that dominate many Hollywood action movies these days. I love "Superman" and even today, I'm still touched by its magic, and deeply saddened by the real-life tragedies that have followed it.
A perfect, "super" 10/10.
"Superman: The Movie," Say those to anyone and they'll most likely say "Oh, I love that movie!" Superman is packed with drama, action, romance, great special effects. Christopher Reeve is truly the one and only Superman and always will be to me. Margot Kidder is a fantastic Lois Lane, witty yet beautiful, she is great! Gene Hackman is hilarious as Lex Luthor along with his henchman and henchwoman played by Ned Beatty and Valerie Perrenie. You'll laugh every time you hear him yell, "MS.TESENMACHERRRR!!!" John Williams Score is brilliant and really sets the mood for the movie. One of the most memorable parts of the movie is the opening credits. I suggest you rent or buy the special edition DVD of this because it's loaded with A lot of bonus features. I rate this movie *****/5 [5/5]
It's interesting that another re-make is coming out this year. Man,
time flies because I vividly remember when this movie came out and the
excitement it caused. This was the first Superman anyone had ever seen
with modern-day special effects, so it was pretty cool, to say the
It's still very entertaining, and the more I watch this the more I'm amused with the villain (Gene Hackman as "Lex Luthor") and the lines he delivers. He's a funny guy. Christopher Reeve, meanwhile, was always a popular "Man Of Steel" and the special effects are still fun to watch, from the long opening scenes showing the end of the planet Kryton all the way to the ending credits. There's a solid soundtrack to this, too.
Personally, I didn't care for Margot Kidder as Lois Lane but then again, Lane's character in the 1950s TV series was a bit annoying, too. I guess it comes with her character. However, being a kid growing up with that series with all its innocence (it's now on DVD, by the way, and worth a purchase), it was just too weird hearing Lois ask Superman what color her panties were!
Anyway, this is simply great entertainment. As a superhero, Superman has always been THE MAN. Three sequels followed this film, the second one being the best in my opinion.
I thought I would pay tribute to one of Christopher's Reeve's best role ever; and that role is Superman. As many comic book fans follow, the film tells the story of Clark Kent who was born on Krypton and was transported into Earth after the planet exploded and loses his real family. As a new family finds him in the field going home, the couple take Clark as their own son and raise him. What the couple know about Clark is that he has a gift to do things twice as fast than any other ordinary human being; but as time goes by, Clark loses his father of a stroke and decides to take a life of his own as he works for the Metropoltian Newspaper, he meets Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) and he has a crush on her, even saving the woman from being killed. Just like any comic book movie, there is always a villain; with Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor in a campy role along with Ned Beatty as Otis, the sycophant with no sense, these two plan to destroy the world with nuclear weapons. Christopher Reeve doesn't get into the Superman Costume until 45 minutes into the film in which he saves Lois in one scene, busts bad guys and becomes and icon to the public. Superman is the finest comic book movie, and I only wish Christopher Reeve's family the best.
In 1976 a pair of father/son producers were trying to find the perfect way to score a box office success. Then they thought of a new way to produce a Superhero movie. Alas, Superman was the most famous Superhero at the time and the rights were acquired. Then a director and writer were required. This is when they went to first Guy Hamilton, and then Richard Donner. Alas, Donner won the acclaim and the Newman's were on board for writing a script. After months of screen testing and such, a Superman was found and cast-that of a young New York native Christopher Reeve, who fit the bill and filled the role well. Then a gorgeous woman was needed for the part of Lois Lane, no more gorgeous than the manic, energetic actress Margot Kidder, who was then known for small movie roles such as The Great Waldo Pepper and Sisters. Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando had already signed on before alot of the cast was cast. And to make a long story short, Superman: The Movie was filmed! A great film indeed, with then state of the art special effects to make your views and experiences soar high! Christopher Reeve does a terrific job as the man of steel who learns of a plot to destroy the west coast. Gene Hackman was perfect for the role of Lex Luthor, the villain who wants to own his own territory of the would be new coast of California( Costa Del Lex!) Margot Kidder was just right as the gorgeous Lois Lane who falls in love with Superman but gives Clark Kent lessons on life, while Jackie Cooper is great as Perry White. Ned Beatty and Valerie Perrine do good performances as well as supporting dim witted characters. The script had to be re worked for a couple of times because of being too hammy, and so Donner brought in the wonderful Tom Mank. who did a great job of modifying the script to a more down to earth level. Great musical score by John Williams. T.V. version ran 191 minutes in full length on the famous California tele channel KCOP. But all was not well in paradise. Richard Donner was in opposing thoughts with producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind, and so a mediator was brought in, that of Richard Lester, directer of the Three and Four Musketeers, and the Beatles films. This went on whilst Superman and Superman II were being filmed back to back. Then, in a sudden chance to get Superman released before the year 1979, the cast and crew stopped filming Superman II to finish the first film. And so it was done, but at was price...
I had only ever seen the TV version of the original Superman movie
until I bought the HD-DVD. So, as you can imagine, on TV it was in
hideous pan and scan and with several scenes missing. In reality, I
have never seen the 'full' movie until now. And I have to admit, it's
far, far superior to Bryan Singer's self-indulgent mess of Superman
It actually takes quite a while to get going, but there's so much going on that the running time certainly doesn't seem two and a half hours. Richard Donner shot it back to back with Superman II, so there's an extended opening act that establishes the plot of the sequel at the same time.
Anyone who doesn't know the story of Superman must be from another galaxy, but for those people I will give you a quick soundbite. Kal El is the orphan of the planet Krypton, which has recently blown up. He comes to Earth as a baby and lands in Smallville where he is quickly adopted by a farmer and his wife and renamed Clark Kent. His dense molecular structure and his ability to defy Earth's gravity give him advantages over humans and ultimately he becomes...SUPERMAN! But who doesn't already know that?
Clark Kent assumes an exaggerated, clumsy, meek newspaper reporter persona to distance himself from the Superman guise. Somehow everybody, including secret love Lois Lane, falls for it even though the glasses and the hair are all that is different. Hypervillain Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) doesn't take well to the man of steel as he might interfere with his plans for Real Estate Domination (the modern term for World Domination). But does he really think he can win? Hypervillains never know when to be humble.
Just about everything that was terrible about Superman Returns is completely right about this one. The cinematography, the music, the editing, the pacing. I won't call the SFX fake, since it doesn't ever take you out of the film, so I'll just call them 'quaint'. For 1978 they're good and even though they are all done optically it's still better than the CGI crapfest of Singer's interpretation.
Christopher Reeve's ultimate fate does kind of upset me, so it's good to see him in his prime and being made immortal in a way. The cast of this film does have a lot of big names. Along with the huge scope and spectacle, such a large cast adds to the epic feel of it. Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Ned Beatty, Margot Kidder, Terence Stamp and Glenn Ford just seem like a far more dynamic bunch of actors than Kate Bosworth and Kal Penn. Don't you think?
It's been 29 years since this film was released and people still make a big fuss over it today. In 29 years, will be still be talking about Superman Returns? Outside of ridicule, I think not.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Superman: The Movie is the first serious official Superhero movie, before it was cheesy comedy farces like the Batman show and the George Reeves Superman serials. Now, 30 years later, we have X-Men, V for Vendetta, Batman Begins, Daredevil Director's Cut, Batman, Fantastic Four, and Superman Returns but Superman: The Movie is still a classic and the first serious Superhero Movie. While not as dark as say, V for Vendetta and Batman Begins, Superman: The Movie has some excellent drama here and there but is no Superman Returns and still is mainly comedic and a little cheesy.
Christopher Reeve is good as Superman, but Brandon Routh is better. Reeve embodies Superman better than Clark Kent, who is a little too mild-mannered for my tastes. Gene Hackman, when compared to not just Kevin Spacey but also Magneto, Doc Ock, The Green Goblin, Von Doom, Kingpin, and William Stryker, he is pure awful. He is egotistical, slightly annoying, and his plan to take over the world is dumb. Blow the Californian Coastline and build his own empire using real estate. Margot Kidder is cheesy as Lois Lane and I honestly nearly got freaked out when she gave Jimmy Olsen a big smile. Olsen, as usual, is annoying and Perry White is too much like J.K. Simmons as James Jonah Johnson. Luthor's henchmen, the bumbling Otis and the airheaded Miss Tessmacher, are very stereotypical and stupid. Surely Luthor could've gotten better sidekicks. It's Marlon Brando who give the best performance, playing the charismatic and charming Jor-El, father of Superman. He has only around 30 minutes of footage in the Special Edition but he leaves an amazing impression on you.
Despite the acting is inferior to Superman Returns, Superman: The Movie is one cool film. The special effects are quite impressive, especially for its age. The flying scene between Lois and Superman is quite beautifully done and is a great scene. Lois's death scene is actually quite brutal and brings up shades of Director Richard Donner's Lethal Weapon series as well as the scene where Superman is forced to wear a necklace of Kryptonite. Plus, the score by John Williams is one of his best, right up there with Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, and Schindler's List. A pity the old guy's losing his touch (Haven't seen Munich but the scores for Minority Report and War of the Worlds were quite awful). Anyway, see this film.
Signed, The Constant DVD Collector
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