Sunday, January 14, 2007

Superman 2: As You've Never Seen Before!

With the continuing popularity of the super-hero movie genre, movie studios continue to take advantage of the situation by releasing sequels and remakes of some of the most beloved and popular super-hero icons. Recently, Batman returned in a remake in director Christopher Nolan's, "Batman Begins". The Fantastic Four made a fantastic debut on the big screen with a sequel already announced to co-star the Silver Surfer. A few weeks ago an announcement was made that Iron Man was ready to start filming starring Robert Downey Jr. in the dual role of business mogul Tony Stark and ol' metal head himself. Spider-Man 3 is done filming and set to be released this year. Even Marvel has announced that a sequel (or remake, depending on what you read) to the terrible Hulk has the green light to start filming as The Incredible Hulk. They better do a better job on the Hulk this time or I will be very angry. Don't make me angry Mr. McGee.

Now you can even see a movie you saw 27 years ago but still see it for the first time. I am not talking about time travel here folks. I mean that Superman 2 has been re-released on DVD but not as you or your children know it.

When Superman:The Movie was slated to be released in theatres in 1978, it was decided already in advance that it and its sequel Superman 2 would be shot simultaneously as one long movie made into two parts. Director Richard Donner was hired to direct the epic story of the man of steel. While filming the two stories at once, Donner fell behind schedule (according to Donner, he was not given enough time by the producers) and was asked by the producers to abandon shooting scenes for 2 and concentrate on completing the first movie so that they could make the release date on time. Ultimately, that is what happened. Donner finished the first movie assuming he would return to finish shooting the remaining scenes for Superman 2. At the time he was forced to stop working on 2, he had approximately 70% of the second movie filmed and in the can. After Superman:The Movie was released, the producers informed Donner that his services would no longer be required to finish the sequel. The producers then hired a man by the name of Richard Lester to complete the project. For some unknown reason, Lester not only shot the remaining 30%, but also went back and re-shot many of the Richard Donner scenes and replaced them. As a result, of the 70% of the scenes that Donner filmed, only about half of it was used for Superman 2. In addition, the producers did not want to pay Marlon Brando for his scenes as Jor-El in the Fortress Of Solitude, so they cut those scenes out and re-shot them using the actress who portrayed Superman's mother. To get a better understanding of what I mean, watch this next video:

Now for the first time ever, see Superman 2 the way it was meant to be seen almost 30 years ago. The film footage shot by Donner thought to be long lost has been found and restored. The Marlon Brando scenes have been re-inserted. See for the first time how Superman really got his powers back from Jor-El after he had given them up for Lois Lane. Watch as Lois comes up with many more schemes on how to prove her suspicion that Clark Kent is Superman. The originally intended ending has also been added. All in all, about 50% is never before seen footage. Enjoy it again for the first time. I already have!

Message from Richard Donner

Entertainment Tonight featured a story on the restored version and Mary Hart interviewed Margot Kidder (aka Lois Lane) about how she felt about all the hoopla.

Margot Kidder (interview on ET)

Here is the entire Superman series starring Christopher Reeve DVD advertisement including a sneak peek at the Richard Donner Director's Cut of Superman 2.

For more background story and production stills from Richard Donner's cut, check out Superman 2: The Richard Donner Cut

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