August 16, 2013
Superman was always my favorite superhero growing up, and probably still is. That's why I was intrigued by Siebener's edit based on a Superman radio program from the 1940s. I had no idea it existed! But I'm glad I had the privilege of listening to his work, as it provides not only a new perspective on the "Man of Steel" for modern-day audiences, but also serves as a well done enhanced version of this long forgotten but still entertaining material.
AUDIO/VISUAL QUALITY - 10
As usual, I rate quality compared to the original source. All the "defects" one can hear are from the original (I did listen to some of the original recordings to compare!). But Siebener actually enhances the quality by reducing the background static in places so it is never overpowering. The original voices and sound effects are very clear. Siebener also integrates music from the modern movies of Superman, and the quality of these additions is top notch.
AUDIO EDITING - 9
Siebener's audio editing is terrific, to say the least. He has taken 11 separate episodes, each with a canned beginning, canned ending, as well as "catch up" material that would be repetitive in a single edit, and reduced that to a single cohesive story. With regards to his editing, I could detect absolutely no hard edit points at all, and the same is true for the musical score he added. Truly a stupendous job considering the task at hand!
I have very few criticisms in this area. Perhaps in a few places the audio levels could have been tweaked just a bit more; and while there were no hard edit points, once in a while I could tell where there was a joining of two different episodes, or an early fade out. Finally, while the added music was generally outstanding and nicely varied, one particular musical selection (to me) felt just a bit overused.
But I must emphasize how small these few issues factor into the overall superb editing job that is on display here. Excellent work, Siebener!
VISUAL EDITING - 9
N/A - set to the same as AUDIO EDITING per instructions by the admins.
NARRATIVE - 8
Siebener does a commendable job piecing together a story that spans across 11 episodes so that it becomes one tale, told without repetition, and without plot holes.
Siebener also includes a couple commercial breaks, which I found to be fun and entertaining. Nice touch!
That said -- and this is no fault of Siebener's -- due to the nature of the radio program itself, there are parts that for me seemed to drag on a bit. I'm sure this is because for each installment, a specific length had to be met. Thus we get some areas that have a bit more exposition than I'd prefer. But generally speaking, the story moves along just fine. I just would have liked it to move a bit faster. :-)
ENJOYMENT - 8
The best part for me was experiencing the Superman universe from a whole new perspective, that in many ways is very different than all other mediums. Siebener's added music really helped me get into the story. Of special note is the introduction, where Siebener expertly synchronizes the most famous of Superman themes from John Williams' fantastic score with the narrative beginning, which for me was quite exhilarating to listen to! But throughout the edit, the added music really serves to pull the listener in; without it, I think this would have been a completely different (and not nearly as enjoyable) experience.
As this show was primarily meant for kids, I cannot take too much off for the fact that I found the story a bit one-dimensional. While it is not a comic book, I felt the story was similar in terms of depth and plot development. That's not a bad thing; it's sometimes fun to re-experience one's youth (as I did read Superman comic books all the time!), and in a different way (e.g., audio vs visual).
Additionally, one cannot help but notice how the radio show was influenced by the current events of WWII; this story takes place soon after the end of the war, and the idea that Nazi's were still a menace plays a part. I found this to enhance the listening experience, as it was similar to watching a movie in a specific period.
Finally, I found it interesting to hear how all the characters (Clarke, Lois, Perry, Jimmy, Superman) interact differently than what I'm used to. As Siebener points out, most of the events that take place in the radio show predate the comic books (and of course, the movies!)
OVERALL RATING - 8.5 (8.4 auto-calculated)
Overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable listening experience, and I have to say Siebener did an excellent job all around; his attention to detail is truly amazing, and I applaud him for introducing this site to a whole new category of fan edits.
I am definitely looking forward to the next installment in this series!
Great job, Siebener, on your first of what I hope to be many edits!
I can definitely recommend this edit to anyone who has a remote interest in Superman, and/or what radio programs were like in the 1940s. Also, given the uniqueness of this edit on fanedit.org (being the very first audio-only edit!), I would encourage everyone to give it a try. :-)
Again, well done Siebener!