Superman II

Superman II

3.8 7
Director: Richard Donner

Cast: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder


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Reconstructed using archival film and sound elements long thought to be extinct, this special cut of Superman II pieces together unseen footage shot by Richard Donner in order to present the most comprehensive version of what was to be the original cut of the blockbuster sequel. As initially planned, the first two films were to beSee more details below


Reconstructed using archival film and sound elements long thought to be extinct, this special cut of Superman II pieces together unseen footage shot by Richard Donner in order to present the most comprehensive version of what was to be the original cut of the blockbuster sequel. As initially planned, the first two films were to be filmed back-to-back using the same sets and actors to save on production costs. However, with a budget escalating out of control and Warner Bros. breathing down the producers' necks, the decision was made to drop any further filming on the sequel in order to finish the first movie and usher it into theaters. Of course, the first Superman was a wild success, so then it was just a matter of ramping up production again, though this time, Donner was not asked back. Instead, producers went with Richard Lester, who had served them well with his Three Musketeers films. Decisions were made to drop most of the key scenes that were already in the can, including all of the footage featuring Marlon Brando as Jor-El, the Man of Steel's father. After completion, the sequel found much success in theatrical and home-video box-office returns, though that didn't stop die-hard fans from speculating what Donner's cut would have looked like. Once the Internet was spawned, Warner Bros. saw interest grow more and more for this alternate version, even prompting the company to send cease and desist letters to individuals who had posted a re-edit of the film using deleted footage taken from an alternate TV version from the U.K. With the release of Superman Returns, the company saw this as a chance to finally deliver what people had wanted for years and enlisted Michael Thau to oversee the restoration process. Under the tutelage of Donner's notes, scripts, storyboards, and the director himself, the new version was delivered to home audiences in 2006, thereby not only giving people a look into what could have been, but giving a director an unprecedented chance to realize a vision long thought lost in the annals of movie history.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
A relative rarity -- a sequel that's just as good as the original -- Superman II continues the Man of Steel's crusade against villainous Lex Luthor and pits him against Kryptonian supercriminals to boot. Terence Stamp, Sarah Douglas, and Jack O'Halloran play the mischievous miscreants who, imprisoned long ago in the "Phantom Zone" by Superman's father, finally escape and make their way to Earth to wreak vengeance on his son. Their alliance with Luthor (once again played with tongue in cheek by Gene Hackman) makes no end of trouble for Krypton's last son, whose final showdown with the superbad guys lays waste to midtown Metropolis. Christopher Reeve, seemingly more comfortable in the familiar red-and-blue costume, is solidly convincing in the title role, and Margot Kidder, Jackie Cooper, Ned Beatty, Valerie Perrine, and Marc McClure effectively reprise their roles from the first film. Picking up plot strings left dangling from Superman -- and using extra footage shot by Richard Donner -- director Richard Lester (The Three Musketeers) wastes no time getting to the action, and as a result the sequel has more comic book flavor than its predecessor. Colorful, extravagant, and fast moving, Superman II is considered the best of the series by some discriminating aficionados.
All Movie Guide - Jeremy Wheeler
For years, people have wondered what Richard Donner would have done differently with Superman II, held by most to be one of cinema's most beloved sequels. And how about Richard Lester, a man who has been accoladed and equally jeered since the film's release, with cinephiles never quite knowing just how much of the film was his or not. How would history see him when the dust cleared? Well, after a painstaking remastering and assembly job, the Donner Cut is finally here -- and it's simply magic. Not only does it impress technically, with long-lost film elements preening with an unexpected shine, but it flows so organically that there is no doubt that the true heir to the Superman film legacy has been found. One cannot dismiss the impact of Marlon Brando's reinstated scenes, for they do more than just act as a bridge to the first film -- they bring an emotional weight that now seems criminal to have been cut. On the other end of the character spectrum, Clark and Lois have benefited greatly from the restored footage. Back is the long-rumored window jump sequence, as well as a key Niagara Falls scene that -- despite them having to use old screen-test footage -- fleshes out their personas and the eventual reveal of the Superman identity so much more than what was eventually used. Additionally, much of the little bits of goofy stuff Lester put in is now gone, most specifically with the trio of villains, who've been given back their menace, with none of the baby noises or eye rolls that once plagued them. The director's dubious choices of silly superpowers have also been nixed, with the mystical kiss and disappearing
eappearing gags left on the cutting-room floor. Thankfully, though it's graver in its emotions and is indeed more intense, the movie is still a joy to watch -- and even more so now that the running time has been shaved off. Now, the Donner Cut is nowhere near perfect -- a few plot points are left wide open, while they also had to recycle the ending from the first film (though the way it's edited is handled in an entirely neat and visceral way). Surely nothing can take away the joy that has permeated people's minds when dealing with Lester's cut, but this version really does give it a run for its money and supplies endless food for thought on what might have happened if Donner was never cruelly cut from the franchise.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Christopher Reeve Clark Kent/Superman
Gene Hackman Lex Luthor
Margot Kidder Lois Lane
Marlon Brando Jor-El
Ned Beatty Otis
John Cooper Dino/Perry White
Terence Stamp Gen. Zod
Sarah Douglas Ursa
Jack O'Halloran Non
Valerie Perrine Eve Teschmacher
Clifton James Sheriff
Marc McClure Jimmy Olsen
E.G. Marshall President

Technical Credits
Richard Donner Director
John Barry Production Designer
Tom Mankiewicz Consultant/advisor
Leslie Newman Screenwriter
David Newman Screenwriter
Mario Puzo Original Story,Screenwriter
Ilya Salkind Executive Producer
Pierre Spengler Producer
Michael Thau Editor,Producer
John Williams [composer] Score Composer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut
1. Chapter 1
2. Chapter 2
3. Chapter 3
4. Chapter 4
5. Chapter 5
6. Chapter 6
7. Chapter 7
8. Chapter 8
9. Chapter 9
10. Chapter 10
11. Chapter 11
12. Chapter 12
13. Chapter 13
14. Chapter 14
15. Chapter 15
16. Chapter 16
17. Chapter 17
18. Chapter 18
19. Chapter 19
20. Chapter 20
21. Chapter 21
22. Chapter 22
23. Chapter 23
24. Chapter 24
25. Chapter 25
26. Chapter 26
27. Chapter 27
28. Chapter 28
29. Chapter 29
30. Chapter 30
31. Chapter 31
32. Chapter 32
33. Chapter 33

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