Superman II

( 7 )

Overview

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, ...
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Overview

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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Special Features

Commentary by director Richard Donner and creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz; Introduction by director Richard Donner; New featurette Superman II: Restoring the Vision; Deleted scenes
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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: 11/28/2006
  • UPC: 085391131045
  • Original Release: 2006
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:56:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 19,300

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Christopher Reeve Clark Kent/Superman
Gene Hackman Lex Luthor
Margot Kidder Lois Lane
Marlon Brando Jor-El
Ned Beatty Otis
Jackie 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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Menu

Disc #1 -- Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut
   Languages
      Spoken Languages
         English 5.1
      Subtitles
         English
         English (For the Hearing Impaired)
         Français
         Español
         Off
   Scene Selections
   Special Features
      Behind the Story
         Introduction by Director Richard Donner
         Commentary by Director Richard Donner and Creative Consultant Tom Mankiewicz
         Superman II: Restoring the Vision - The Process of Rebuilding Richard Donner's Original Cut
      Additional Footage
         Play All
         Lex and Ms. Teschmacher Head North: Follow in the Adventure as Lex Leads Ms. Teschmacher North
         Lex and Ms. Teschmacher Head South: In Anticipation of the Supervillains' Arrival, Lex Directs Ms. Teschmacher South
         The Villians Enter the Fortress: An Encounter With the Fortress Force Field Proves to Be a Challenge
         He's All Yours, Boys: Lex Is Arrested by the Artic Police
         Clark and Jimmy: Jimmy Shows Clark His New Camera at the Daily Planet
         Lex's Getaway: Lex Luthor Breaks Out of Prison With the Help of Ms. Teschmacher
      Play Movie
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Finally Donners Original Vision as it was ment to be seen.

    In 1978 Richard Donner was in the process of filming both Superman the Movie & Superman II. With only roughly 70% of Superman II completed production was halted to complete Superman the Movie. After years of hope we finally have Donner¿s vision as near complete as possible. What a difference from the Theatrical version. This is far superior then what was released. We finally get to see the thought to be lost Marlon Brando footage. All the Campy stuff is gone. Bow Yield Kneel before Donnor and buy this DVD

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    2006 version in comparison to 1981 version

    The Richard Donner cut version of Superman II is a stronger film than the 1981 version. This film features Superman’s father in many scenes, as opposed to his mother that was shown in the 81 version, which makes more sense considering the fact that he is the one who sent Superman to Earth, as well as the one who imprisoned the three villains. This film shows the scene in which Jor-El, Superman’s father, sentences the villains to the shadow zone, and Zod’s vow to have Jor-El and his heirs bow to him. In this movie, the villains were released by the nuclear missile that was launched at the end of the first movie. This is a better plot twist than the hydrogen bomb that is set off within the elevator in the 81 version. This film also goes into detail about what happens when Superman gets his powers back. In this scene, and the scene in which Superman gives up his powers, Jorrel scolds Superman for his decisions, which is a bit more realistic than how his mother reacts in the 1981 version. There are certain scenes that are worse than their replacements in the 81 version, such as the scene in which the villains come to the Fortress of Solitude. In the 81 version, there is a conflict between Superman and the villains, almost like a fight. In the 06 version, the villains simply find Superman and threaten him using Lois. Also, Superman turns back time at the end of this movie in order to cause Lois to forget his identity, leaving several plot holes and the lack of satisfaction due to the fact that none of the events in the movie actually happened. In the 81 version, Superman kisses Lois to make her forget, and he has still saved the world. Overall, this version of the film is stronger than the version released in 1981.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Donner Version Takes the Gold

    Superman II, the 2006 version, was superior to the 1981 version in many ways. Although Superman is supposed to be a comic adventure, and therefore is a break from reality, the Donner film was more realistic than the Lester film because the characters were smarter in Donner’s film. Lois Lane, a Nobel Prize nominee for newspaper writing, should have been able to figure out who Superman was earlier. In the Lester film, she figures out that he might be Superman because Clark disappears before Superman saves a little boy at Niagra Falls. This is further evidenced by Clark tripping over a pink bear rug and falling into a fire but not being burned. This all happens pretty far into the Lester film, making Lois seem very stupid for her character. In the Donner version, Lois draws, with a black marker, a suit, hat, and glasses on a picture of superman. She realizes that he looks exactly like Clark. She looks for further evidence by shooting him with a blank. He reveals himself to her before she tells him that it was only a blank and that it never would have hurt Clark Kent if he wasn’t Superman. This trap makes Lois fit her character of being smart and a good investigator her trickery led to a confession. Several of the unnecessary scenes, which were in the Lester film to allow for him to have produced 51% of the movie himself, were cut out all together or were cut down considerably. The wind blowing scene, where the villains blow away the mob of angry New Yorkers was cut to the bare necessities. Much of the physical humor from that scene was cut out so that it would be the suspenseful scene that Donner wanted it to be. The entire scene in the hotel room was cut because it had no bearing on the storyline. It was a regular hotel room, so there was no purpose to crack any of the jokes that were made when Clark and Lois first saw the hotel room that they were to share. Remember that mystery from the Lester Superman II about how Clark got his powers back? That’s another thing that the Donner version improved on. The green crystal led to his father giving him one final “address”. Jor-El gives Kal-El all of his power so that Superman can carry out his duties on Earth. He speaks to his son one final time, then his hologram comes towards him and gives him the powers. Let me just say that the 2006 version had much better special effects thanks to new editing techniques. The effects with Gene Hackman’s character, Jor-El, brought the scene to life and showed that the father was a hologram/ghost but was still there with Kal-El. In a final analysis, there’s no contest. Although each film recycled some scenes from the other, Superman II (the Donner Version) is far superior to Superman II (the Lester version).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Superman 2

    The two films of Superman 2 were both created in the early 80s but only one was put out in theaters. The one that was put out in theaters in 1981 was a little weaker then the one that was put together in 2006. This film was created in 1981 but was put together and released in 2006. The director of the 2006 film was Richard Donner. The way that Louis finds out that Clark is Superman is much better then in the 1981 version. In the beginning of the film she draws a hand, glasses and a suit jacket on a picture of Superman and it looked like Clark. Then later in the movie she shoots a blank at him and he confesses that he is indeed Superman. In this film it shows how Superman is able to get he powers back. When he goes back to his home, Krypton, he finds the Green Crystal and sticks it into the last of the standing column of the control center. His father is shown for a brief while and Superman is able to get his powers back. This scene is much betters then the scene in the 1980s version because it shows he was able to get his powers back. The beginning of this movie starts off where Superman 1 when the missiles were going through the air and he brings them into space. This is a better way to start off the movie because it picks up where the other one left off. When Clark and Louis go to Niagara Falls the room is much different. The room that they went to in the 1980s version had a big pink bear rug, heart shaped things everywhere and a vibrating bed. In the 2006 version the room was much more normal and would have been what some one would have stayed in when they went to Niagara Falls. The ending of this movie is a little weaker though. The “Super Kiss” was a better way to end the other then having him rewind what happened. This may have left a starting point to the next movie because the missiles would still be going through the air and it would happen all over again. These few scenes that Donner had in his film made the film a much more exciting and better film. This film started off right where the first Superman ended and if the point to make two films right after each other was to have them be one big movie. The 1980s version did not work like this. It was more of two separate movies with the same themes. The tone in the 2006 film was a more serious film but had funny parts in where they were needed. This made the film better becaus

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Lester's a goof.

    Some may know, some may not know that the original 1981 release of Superman II was not the original intent for the movie. For those of you who already knew that, I’m sorry for wasting seconds of your life. I wouldn’t have known that had I not taken a Film Studies class. My assignment? Well, it’s to review Superman II as it was directed under Richard Lester. Richard Lester definitely took a more comical approach to the movie. That approach, I believe, was the wrong way to go. Superman II is full of gags more so than the cut from the original director, Richard Donner. Throughout the scene in which Zod, Non, and Ursa terrorize the city, there are many visual gags. The most prominent is the part where the three villains use their icy breath to blow debris and people out of their way. In the Richard Lester film, a man in a telephone booth continues to talk despite the fact the villains’ breath knocks it over and ice cream flies off of a cone and hits its holder in the face. While it did rouse chuckles throughout the classroom, it seemed to take away from the serious feel of danger in the scene. The three aliens are destroying the earth, everyone is scared, yet someone gets hit in the face with ice cream. If anything, it is inappropriate. The Donner film was much more straight forward in that it was much more straight forward. Trucks and people went flying, and that was that. The comical tone made the movie much more light-hearted. While that is not necessarily a bad thing, I think that it takes away from the dark tone employed by the Donner cut. For example, in both movies, Superman gives up his powers in order to be able to live with Lois forever. Because of casting issues, Marlon Brando was unable to play Superman’s father, Jor-El. Instead, they change the character from Superman’s father to Superman’s mother in order to retain continuity. The ways his parents react to him wanting to give up his powers are very different. In the original cut, Clark’s Mother gives into him very easily, because she wants him to be happy. However, the version of the movie that contains Jor-El depicts him in a less understanding light. He tells Clark that if he gives up his powers, he will not fulfill his destiny, which is to save the planet time and time again. He cannot do that if he is so attached to Lois. Jor-El eventually gives in, though. He gives into Clark after his worries for the planet Earth fall on deaf ears. While the Lester version of the movie is enjoyable, a viewer can become weary of all of the sight gags and unexplained super powers Clark suddenly has, such as a magic kiss…

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Superman II: The Real Deal

    In 1981, something happened on the set of Superman II. With most of the production finished, a new director was brought on to wrap up the film. Richard Lester was credited with releasing the 1981 version of SII and Richard Donner, the original director, was credited with nothing. In early 2006, he was given the opportunity by the SII production team at Warner Brothers to re-release the movie, as he would have released it way back in 1983. And what a stunning difference there is in the quality of the film. No longer would the world have to sit in semi-feigned amusement at the 1981 release of Superman. Richard Donner’s vision is brilliant. Superman is again a resolute character and is once again given his seriousness back. He knows that he is dealing with the three greatest super villains to ever exist on his now dead planet Krypton and that bothers him. He also realizes that everything he has never known from his planet Krypton is also gone and that bothers him even more. He is a bothered character and his internal disturbances make him highly believable. Superman no longer is caught in moments of awkward innuendo with Lois Lane and succeeds in being strangely dark. When he abandons the city of New York because he cannot defeat the super villains without the help of the Fortress of Solitude, it actually feels like he knows that he is absolutely and hopelessly screwed. He doesn’t just fly away because that’s what the script says he should do like in the 1981 version of the same scene. There is no unbelievable nuclear bomb threat at the Eiffel Tower in Paris that ultimately ends up freeing the super villains from the phantom zone. Instead, there is a nuclear missile launch and the missile’s explosion frees the villains. There is no horrendously un-serious honeymoon suite at Niagra Falls no pink bear skin rug and no vibrating bed. It all fits. Superman is a real character. SII by Richard Donner is definitely worth the viewing, especially in conjunction with the earlier SII 1981 release of the movie. For those that know Superman and realize that he is a truly disturbed individual with a lot on his mind, this is the perfect movie. He is not a comical representation of the man in blue and he is obviously deeply motivated to do good by the dark driving forces contained within the gray matter of his mind.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews