May 26, 2014
This edit presents a daring new viewing of Superman Returns and I commend the editor's idea to juggle the scenes around to create a new narrative, but for me personally, it didn't work.
Apart from visual errors, which I will get into later, the structured narrative felt all over the place too much to feel consistent. To me personally there was no real thread throughout that combined all of the events. As njvc was raving about the structure, that should make it clear it's only a personal opinion and in no way in detriment to the editor.
It was a great idea to move the plane scene away from Luthor's experiment. On one hand you can understand the intention that the bigger equivalent of a 'small' pyramid causing a blackout would be an entire continent being pushed aside by the growing land mass. On the other hand it's perfectly understandable that the editor would like to scale down the effects of the pyramid crashing out of the floor of the house.
That scene immediately uncovers a few errors in judgement for me. Once Luthor and his goons enter the house, Kitty comments on not wanting to go back there, but they've never been there so far we know. What would their shared history with this house be then? Might have been left out that part.
The scene where Clark goes from talking to Jimmy to talking to Lois was very jarring as well. Not only does he lose his overcoat between shots, but Lois seems to appear out of nowhere. Not at any point was he looking away from where Lois was supposed to be standing, so how did she get there?
While those faults were small, I couldn't really get my head around why everyone was still talking about Superman? He arrived on Earth, but no one knew but us. It came across as if after all of those years, people were still bringing up those sore points about Lois having written an article, Richard being jealous, etcetera, etcetera. You would think that after a few months people would just let it go because they knew he wouldn't be coming back very soon.
The restructured narrative doesn't really work for me in the traditional sense; i.e. every traditional set up has a three-act-narrative. Act 1: introduce the major players and introduce the threat. Act 2: Show the impact of the change/threat and how the major players try to deal with this. Act 3: resolution of the change introduced in Act 1.
There's no action sequence to set off things in Act 1, which is also usually the case. While the Return to Krypton scene was there, and was handled well by filling it up with Superman Returns cues (didn't work very well all of the time but expertly handled nonetheless), there was no action until 20 minutes into the movie (the bank robbery). This was also a problem in the theatrical edit, that wasn't really resolved here.
Some other things felt jarring, which I'll list here:
-Back to the first act, the EMP is made out to be catastrophic by Lois although the actual shortage was only a few seconds, as evidenced by the short amount of time for the televisions in the bar to come back on.
-I agree with njvc’s review that the Deep Impact footage doesn’t gel well with Superman Returns. Not only is his roto into the meteor handled rather ‘ugly’ (for lack of a better word > was it necessary to edit the close up as well? I think that could have been avoided, but there’s also a single frame in there of Deep Impact that was overlooked.
It also doesn’t fit with Superman merely falling down. If that footage was used in Superman IV to show Nuclear Man being knocked out of the sky, I could understand the explosion. But not here. Not with Superman unconscious, perhaps it could work if he ‘meant’ to do that, but why would he? :)
All of this sounds very negative, but like I said, I mostly go over stuff I didn't like and let the ratings speak for themselves for the things I DID like.
While Act 1 felt lacking in terms of action, Act 3 more than made up for it by having two major action pieces intertwine with one another. The plane sequence truly felt to be the result of Luthor's grand scale crystal experiments, while the rest of the city in peril was still as strong as it was theatrically. I will say that I missed the boat sequence where it cuts in half and Superman rescues it.
That also makes for an awkward moment when you see the landmass rising towards a boat, only to see the boat's gone in the next shot. And where did Lois come from all of a sudden? And Richard?
To me personally the narrative is off. I don't mean to bring Avid 4D down a peg because I like all of his other edits, but this could have been handled better. I will be brutally honest and say that I hope that this review won't affect his review of my own Superman Returns edit should he ever watch it. It's a personal opinion at best and one that should never be allowed to faze him. I did enjoy his other edits (reviews on those to come later!).
My annotated ratings:
AUDIO/VIDEO 9/10: Great quality, not much to say about that. Could have been graded (better).
VIDEO 8/10: Some jarring cuts here and there and the Deep Impact footage wasn't handled well.
AUDIO 8/10: Some jarring audio jumps but nothing too major. Follows the video editing well. Great use of new music cues.
NARRATIVE 7/10: Great idea to restructure and take Jason out of the picture, but didn't work well as a new narrative. Still great work on Jason so extra kudos for that.
ENJOYMENT 5/10: The twitchy narrative doesn't allow me to get into it, sadly.