The Return of Superman Returns

01-Dec-09 2:45 PM by
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Superman Returns, released to theaters in June 2006, was a mixed success: it raked in $391 million from the worldwide box office — a lot of money, but well short of the $500 million expected. Critics were also, well, critical: some found male lead Brandon Routh dull, the plot lacking in action, and the inclusion of Superman's son unnecessary.

But Superman fanboys, even those who can are not blind to the film's shortcomings, still love the film and want even more from it. The various teasers and trailers released at the time revealed footage not seen in the final cut, so we hoped those pieces would be restored in the DVD edition. And though some deleted scenes were indeed made available, there remain even more that were not.

Just as Superman II got a Richard Donner cut, there is now a petition for Warner Bros. to create Superman Returns: The Bryan Singer Cut, named for the movie's writer, producer, and director. These fans have taken what unreleased snippets they could find and strung together this trailer:

As an owner of the original Superman Returns DVD, I would buy another edition and so hope this petition succeeds — but I don't think it will. First, Superman Returns is likely to be dismissed in whatever film is next for the superhero; the potential for a reboot could be confused by further promotion of this film. Second, the Richard Donner cut was a unique situation in which studio politics prevented his vision for Superman II from being realized for more than two decades; I don't know of any similar dissatisfaction on Bryan Singer's part. Finally, since DVDs have regional releases, I'm not sure if it hurts, or is immaterial to, the cause that the petition is based in Argentina.

Nonetheless, you can follow the cause on Facebook or Twitter, though neither have been updated in the last two weeks, just two days after the above trailer was posted to YouTube. Perhaps this cause was just a superhero fly-by-night.

Hat tip to the BlueTights Network.

Movie Opening, Collect $50 From Every Player

17-Aug-07 12:16 PM by
Filed under Films, Humor; 2 comments.

In this, the 25th anniversary of Blade Runner, director Ridley Scott will apply his cinematic genius to a film adaptation for which we've all been longing…

Monopoly?!

It's true: Mr. Scott is involved in bringing the Parker Bros. board game to the silver screen. But what may appear on the surface to be a stretch may in fact be justified by Hollywood's history.

I don't know that there is any longer any criteria for judging a concept's worthiness based on its origin. In the past ten years, I've enjoyed the likes of Mortal Kombat, The Brady Bunch Movie, and Superman Returns, despite being unoriginal properties. And the theatergoing masses's overwhelming approval of Disney transforming an amusement park ride into a trilogy of Johnny Depp films extends the list of acceptable inspirations. But Monopoly? I don't get it. What's the hook? What can this game license do that films like Wall Street and Boiler Room can't?

Granted, board game adaptations are not unprecedented; give Monopoly an all-star cast and a good sense a humor, and I'll admit Mr. Scott might not be clueless. But regardless of the film's quality, if the public flocks to Monopoly and makes it a success, we can be sure the clones will follow. Which begs the question: where will it all end?

AC/DC

22-Mar-07 10:43 AM by
Filed under Films; 3 comments.

In my quest for podcasts, I came across Supertalk Concern, a Superman show that doesn't limit itself to the Man of Steel. The latest episode has exciting scripting and production updates on live-action versions of Wonder Woman, The Flash, Justice League, and Watchmen. I'd be thrilled to see DC produce a film that'd succeed on the scale of Marvel's Spider-Man or X-Men.

But best of all in this podcast is a reading of a story the headline of which featured prominently in Superman Returns: "Why the World Doesn't Need a Superman". The show's host got his hands on the Daily Planet newspaper prop used in the movie, and it features actual articles, advertisements, and more. Though his delivery is not very elocutionary, the content of the article is interesting, proposing that, though Superman inspired humanity to achieve piece, it also made them sloppy and unable to care for themselves, knowing that Krypton's Last Son would save them. The message is mixed — though we can claim our independence in his absence, the blood is on his hands of those who have died who he would have saved by his presence — but the value is not just in the rhetoric, but in the insight it provides to its author. If we compare her theories to Superman's reception upon landing the airplane in the baseball stadium, it's astounding to acknowledge how positively everyone welcomed him back — perhaps everyone but Lois, the article's Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Methinks this is personal!

Courtesy Showbits reader Gene comes more film news from the DC universe. This interview with Bruce Timm looks at an upcoming series of direct-to-video animated films that, unlike Mystery of the Batwoman, are not based directly on animated series. Among them, look for a revamp of Superman that will pit two popular bad boys against each other: Adam Baldwin (Firefly's Jayne) as Superman, and James Marsters (Buffy's Spike) as Lex Luthor. Cool!

Donner, Party of Two

29-Dec-06 8:22 PM by
Filed under Films, Television; 5 comments.

Yesterday, on the six-month anniversary of the theatrical release of Superman Returns, my friend Sir Harry (with whom I'd first seen the film that Friday) and I watched the newly-released Richard Donner cut of Superman II. I had thought my only problems with the Salkind version were the silly, non-canonical powers it gave the Kryptonians, such as levitation and cellophane shields. And those are gone in this update — but I find most of the other changes far preferable to the original as well, as Donner's approach is simply more respectful of the characters in ways I didn't realize Salkind's wasn't.

The Eiffel Tower scene is completely gone; instead, the Phantom Zone criminals make their escape in a fashion that suggests the first two Reeve films were not only shot together, but also meant to be seen together. Lois challenges Superman to save her without throwing herself over Niagara Falls; and Clark's true identity is revealed in a fashion that, though flawed, lends intelligence to Lois and finesse to the Man of Steel. The interaction between Kal-El and Jor-El also cements a tradition of passing the torch from father to son, as seen in Superman Returns.

(more…)

But Superman Can See Through Tin

13-Dec-06 1:35 AM by
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Released late last month was The Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition, containing 14 discs that detail every microsecond of the Man of Steel's existence, from his appearance in Action Comics #1 in 1938 to his silver screen revival in 2006 (which I don't understand how some people thought was a remake – duh).

Clearly not thinking, I eschewed this bounty, instead opting to buy Superman Returns (2-Disc Special Edition) and Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut separately. I already have the Fleischer cartoons and the four-disc Superman box set released, what, six years ago now? as well as the Look! Up in the Sky (fantastic) documentary, released back in June. Why pay to get all that stuff again?

For the two items I bought last month, I paid the lowest I could: $35 total from Amazon.com. IOW, I got three discs for $35 when I could've gotten the ultimate tin of 14 discs for twice that ($70, for those of you reaching for your calculators). And if I already had seven of the discs, that's still seven more – $10/disc – I could've gotten.

Super-hindsight super-sucks.

Here's someone else's review of the new Superman II.

Did anyone else pick up any of Superman's multiple returns to home video?