Superman: The Epic Cut

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9.5 (16)
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Faneditor Name:
Franchise:
Fanedit Type:
Original Release Date:
1978
Original Running Time:
253
Fanedit Release Date:
Fanedit Running Time:
247
Time Cut:
13
Time Added:
28
Available in HD?
Brief Synopsis:
To create the Superman epic per the shooting script befor the movie was chopped in half by the producers when money ran out and the ending of the first half was changed.
Intention:
It's been a liflong dream to see this in the form that the director Richard Donner likely intended and never completed,
Additional Notes:
The 1979 SUPERRMAN: THE MOVIE was plagued with issues during production leading to many changes which resulted in two films being release (Superman and Superman II) which significantly differed from what was originally intended. SUPERMAN: THE WRIATH EPIC): Rt 3hr 59min 59 sec. NO truncation to the krypton open, cliffhanger removed and as close to the shooting script when they were thinking it would be a Lawrence of Arabia type film, with an intermission. I elected to NOT have an intermission with a cliffhanger. Producers chopped this in half as money ran out, and with 80% of Superman 2 shot, they changed the ending of the first movie, IMHO disastrously. The best account of this can be found in this LONG out of print paperback in which the author shadowed the production for a number of years leading to an astonishingly eye opening account of what went wrong...and lot went wrong. It is a miracle these films exist in the form they do frankly. The Making of Superman the Movie: Amazon.co.uk: david-michael-petrou: 9780446825658: This is a MUST read for any fan of these movies.. It is engaging, very detailed and had LOADS of things in it I knew nothing about and have not been documented anywhere else. ...Did you know about the Polar bear scene? The bear is still in one shot of the movie, but it was abandoned. This is a treasure trove !
Other Sources:
Superman CD Scores
Release Information:
Digital
Editing Details:
The base of this edit is the Theatrical Cut of Superman The Movie: Theatrical Cut (STM-TC), NOT the extended versions, though a few shots/scenes are included. DESPITE a lot of new scenes and changes being included i have completed them with editing and music to maintain the 80s tone and feel of a Donner film.
Cuts and Additions:
- New opening dedication so the Reeve and Unsworth are honored
- MUSIC opening removes the awful key change in the TC that occurs when the "S" flies in (source CD)
- Bespoke WRAITH credit with Stuart Baird
- Villains sentencing uses some S2DC
- A few TINY trims to Jor-El discussion with council to improve flow. Some shots re-purposed
- A new shot of Jor-El lowering Kal-El from the S2DC
- A few TINY trims to the Kryptonians in the earthquake
- Villains in zone shot added from Superman Extended TV version (TV)
- Additional shot of crater from TV
- Clarke chasing train completely re-edited to remove multiple continuity errors (including a shot where Lois is seen to speak, and we hear nothing) - See below for clip.
- Young Clarke approach to barn to get crystal uses some additional TV shots
- TINY trim in Daily Planet at end of Clarkes first day. Scene fely like it naturally ends when he sits.
- Cat rescue removed
- "Can you read my mind" trimmed by 1 minute. VERY hard to pull off. Scene went on for too long. Full audio and scoring rebuild needed. A shorter unused cue was use as the base
- A re-edit of the Extended approach to Luthor's lair is used with an unused cue meant for the scene. Everything is tightened up but it is new to the TC
- First missile flies towards zone as Superman flies back to earth
- We see Jimmy run from rocks from Extended version
- TINY trims to a few bad FX shots
- Lois is NOT crushed
- As Superman flies away from the prison, the phantom zone is destroyed.
- NEXT YEAR SUPERMAN II relocated
and many many more...
- Revised the end credits "coming next year Superman II" to Superman II THE DONNER CUT" in the correct font using the same technique as in Godfather Magnum Opus
Finally, Changes NOT made to this version include....
- NO material from Superman Returns
- NO Feeding the babies
- NO score enhancements
- NO modern DC intro
- NO modern WB logo
- NO revisionist credits in CGI
- NO net addition to the original theatrical run time, yet added 12 mins of material for no discernable loss
Cover art by Wraith (DOWNLOAD HERE)
image

demo fan mashup s c

User reviews

16 reviews
 
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Overall rating
 
9.5
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.6(16)
Audio Editing
 
9.3(16)
Visual Editing
 
9.5(16)
Narrative
 
9.5(16)
Enjoyment
 
9.6(16)
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Overall rating
 
9.4
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
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9.0
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9.0
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10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
Knowing how dirty Donner was done in the behind the scenes process of these movies, specifically Superman 2, it was great to see a version of this story told that Donner would have more likely intended, and Wraith did an excellent job accomplishing that. In terms of pure enjoyability, this edit is incredible and despite its four hour runtime, I barely felt the length; in contrast, though I do really like Superman Returns, it feels so much slower despite being only 2.5 hours long.

There were a few times where the editing was slightly off in my opinion, specifically in the scenes involving Superman 2, as Wraith was obviously trying to blend both Donner and Lester's cuts together in a satisfying way; they didn't take me out of the film, and sometimes the editing seemed to be from the movie itself, not Wraith, but it's still apparent in some areas, such as the Niagara Falls subplot, which feels a little scattered in Donner's version. Some other scenes also seemed to be a little lower quality compared to others; though some make sense, such as the screentest footage of Lois discovering Clark's identity, others like Clark and Martha in the wheat field seemed to be really hard to see for no major reason, and I couldn't tell if that was the quality of the film itself or the quality of the films Wraith was using.

My only other nitpick would be the opening of the film. Though I imagine most of the opening credits are that long originally, it felt like such a slow start, even with Williams orchestration, and the use of Returns' "Krypton Explodes" scene was pretty noticeable. Despite this, Wraith has done an excellent job in merging all of these visions together into a cohesive whole, and has inspired me to want to make my own fan-edit of these films someday.

Thanks again Wraith!

User Review

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Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
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(Updated: September 25, 2023)
Overall rating
 
9.4
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
Another great and constrained edit by Wraith, which is respectful with the original director's intentions. I feel the two movies combined feel more natural and epic than the splitted versions, especially given the limitations of the SII Donner's cut. Some of the limitations of the latter are still there, but they are much less noticeable in this edit with the added context of the first movie.

The visual and audio edit is almost flawless and not only it cuts the two movies as one may expect, but it also trims some cheesy shots that help the movie to flow better.

As minor comments, I think the release could benefit from a higher bitrate and I'm not a fan of including the Superman Return's Krypton destruction shot. Even though the latter looks spectacular, IMHO it does not blend with the original effects, thereby making this cut quite obvious.

User Review

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Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
J
Top 500 Reviewer 10 reviews
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(Updated: September 12, 2023)
Overall rating
 
9.8
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
Wraith delivers a Superman edit worthy of any fans time. In my opinion it's a crime that Superman 78 and SII haven't officially been combined into one four hour epic. As a huge Superman fan myself I have some differing opinions on some choices that were made with this edit (and all SII edits) but that's too be expected as we all have different tastes and preferred versions (Donner, Lester, 3hr cut etc).

Bottom line, If you like Christopher Reeve Superman films you have to check this out.

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Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
P
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Overall rating
 
7.6
Audio/Video Quality
 
8.0
Audio Editing
 
7.0
Visual Editing
 
8.0
Narrative
 
7.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
Fanedit reviewed is a combination of Superman I and Superman II Donner Cut called “The Epic Cut”. The changelist on this page currently details a different edit (of only Superman I). To be clear, the edit I watched is tagged on screen (briefly) as “S EPIC v1.05 2022 revised B”, and following comments refer to this edit.

The editor is to be applauded for allowing us to see Superman I & II as one long movie. I watched the whole 4 hours in one sitting, so that attests to the edit’s watchability! Short review; it’s fun, watch it! But it’s worth a few more detailed thoughts too. These are just things that struck me while viewing. For context, my personal experience is that I know “Superman The Movie” extremely well, after many many viewings, and have seen other Superman movies far less often (e.g. Donner cut only when it first became available).

The Krypton explosion has been replaced, and I’m not sure of the source but it doesn’t work IMO. It’s very slow and doesn’t fit the pacing of the destruction sequence as a whole.

The “Superman’s first night” section is heavily cut, IMO to its detriment. The whole bank robber car chase / boat capture, and cat in the tree scenes are missing. Without these, Superman’s initial reveal to the world is rather heavily centred on saving aircraft, and the only crimefighting element is nabbing a single burglar! Perhaps these were cut for time, but in a movie allowed to run over 4 hours, I can’t imagine Donner himself would have cut them. Conversely, I think there are elements present that would have been cut if I&II had been finished as a single movie. The main offender here is all the nonsense with Luthor, Otis, and Eve around stopping the missile convoys. It goes on way too long, and isn’t even very good.

The villains’ escape from the Phantom Zone is too sudden IMO. Superman diverts a rocket into space and it is almost instantly passing Saturn (a journey which would take years!), and then the villains are free even before the earthquake has started in California.

In the finale sequence. Perry White’s toothpaste starts travelling back in time well before Superman even creates the time warp. (Does the Donner Cut play that way, I don’t remember the details.)

The opening dedication to Geoffrey Unsworth is appended with Christopher Reeve and Richard Donner. This is fine, but the white name captions then change to one white, one blue, one red. Perhaps this is intended as some kind of subtle reference to the Stars and Stripes, but unfortunately it looks exactly like the flag of Russia!
(If the colours are a nod to the good ol’ US of A, then the later removal of the line about “the American Way” seems even more strange than it already does. He grew up in Smallville, so expressing himself that way plays fine IMO.)


The edit is dealing with varying sources so some inconsistency is to be expected. I do recall one clear error in the sound mix though; there is a line from Jor-El to the council (“You cannot ignore these facts”) which appears over a close-up of Jor-El not even speaking. The power of super-ventriloquism! In the later stages of the movie, there are a couple of instances of loud clicks on the soundtrack too (I remember that some are in the end credits sequence).

All in all, a worthwhile viewing, and we can only imagine how “Superman The Movie” would have been received in 1978 as a 4 hour film.

User Review

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Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
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Overall rating
 
10.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
Wraith made Superman The Motion Picture magical once again. As a child I was never bothered by the inconsistency in quality between Superman 1 and 2. As I grew older that changed, an The Donner Cut failed to redeem the film's tarnished presence in my eyes. Wraith has constructed Donner's vision to its greatest extent, providing a seamless experience that details Superman's origin and challenges as a hero. With masterful attention to editing and tone, Wraith has provided a viewing experience that has recaptured my wonder for The Man of Steel.

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Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
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