Review Detail

6.5 4 10
FanMix August 13, 2012 1714
(Updated: September 11, 2012)
Review by latenights — January 20, 2009 @ 3:34 pm

I’m sorry but I have to disagree with the general consensus here. Whereas I like the idea of seeing the first two movies combined into one overarching story (as I understand it this is how the original Mario Puzo screenplay presented the first film) I don’t think this achieves the objective.

Since watching the ADM movie Superman Redeemed, the first fan edit I ever saw, I’ve had a resurgence of interest in the Superman movies. I’ve watched my old VHS of the pre-2001 “Director’s cut”, the DVD of the extended version and even the 3 hour TV version that is doing the rounds. Personally I prefer the original release (with the 143 minute runtime) because the additional scenes added to the 151 minute version don’t really serve the story. My biggest gripe is the conversation Superman has with Jor-El after revealing himself. It makes no sense that Jor-El would need to tell Superman of the need to keep his identity secret when he’s been doing it for the best part of 30 years already. Likewise the scene with Superman approaching Luthor’s lair – we know he’s impervious to all of these elements because he faces them at other points in the film, some even prior to this scene.

For my money Superman: The Movie was a perfect film as it was and although I’d never go so far as to compare Richard Donner’s tinkering to George Lucas’s on the Star Wars franchise, the changes in the extended edition aren’t really improvements. Having seen the full 3 hour edit I have an even greater appreciation of the 143 minute cut (although I’d recommend that anyone who loves the movie track it down just for the sheer joy of it – I honestly felt like a kid again!) So when I watched this version and saw that 45 minutes of the original movie had been cut, but the additional scenes were left in (really, do we need 15 minutes watching the plight of Krypton when we can’t even spend a couple of minutes watching young Clark enjoy his powers or see how the adult Clark so convincingly diverts Lois’s attention from his heroics when she’s robbed at gunpoint?)

I’ve noticed that a lot of fanedits simply exist to reintroduce deleted scenes to the official release of the movie. Okay, not all deleted scenes work when reintroduced but I can understand that a fan might be interested to see how they would have fit and the three hour cut of the original is a perfect example of this – it’s by no means better, but it’s fun. But what the editor has done here is take out the more important and fun elements of the movie and kept in the pointless guff that was cut for good reason. And it really sours the whole experience of watching the first half of the movie knowing that there’s just so much movie gold left out. I just can’t understand why a fan would find any of the scenes that have been cut offensive!

The Superman II side of it I can’t complain about. I far prefer the official Donner cut to the Lester cut, but given that Donner never finished the movie he started off making it is difficult to justify using some of his scenes over Lester’s. This edit addresses some of those issues, but there are so many other versions of Superman II around that having this one presented after the butchered version of the first film doesn’t let it stand as tall as it could. A separate release might fare a lot better.

The biggest problem with this edit is the ambition. The two movies stand as separate entities with their own structure and there is no need to combine them. Although there is no need that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done, but next time can we please keep what made the first movie special so it feels like we’re watching the story of Clark Kent and Superman instead of showing bias towards what was originally left on the cutting room floor?

Not all bad – the editing was done well.

But the movie (compared to the originals) is only a 2/5
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