Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

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Released 19-Oct-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1987
Running Time 86:09 (Case: 96)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Sidney J. Furie
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Christopher Reeve
Gene Hackman
Jackie Cooper
Marc McClure
Jon Cryer
Sam Wanamaker
Mark Pillow
Mariel Hemingway
Margot Kidder
Damien McLawhorn
William Hootkins
Jim Broadbent
Stanley Lebor
Case ?
RPI ? Music Alexander Courage
Paul Fishman
John Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Arabic
Bulgarian
Dutch
French
Italian
Romanian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Superman IV: The Quest for Peace was the final instalment in the adventures of the last son of Krypton that began with Donner's 1978 Superman. Box office takings were dismal, with only $11 million taken in the US (even in 1987 that wasn't much money). Only nine years earlier Superman had taken $134 million in the US and $300 million worldwide. One of the world's most beloved superheroes had suffered a spectacular, Kryptonite-like fall from grace. Ironically, this movie is much more entertaining and a lot more fun than Superman III, but thanks to the awful taste Superman III left in viewers mouths, IV only did about a sixth of the business that III did.

    Superman IV: The Quest for Peace brings back the solid cast from the previous films. As usual, Christopher Reeve does a good job as Superman, but he is starting to look a little tired in the role. Margot Kidder, who had the presence of mind to pass on III, is back as Lois Lane but as the love interest is looking well past her prime. Jackie Cooper (Perry White) and Marc McClure (Jimmy Olsen) also make significant appearances at The Daily Planet. A Superman movie would not be complete with his arch-enemy Lex Luthor, who is played by Gene Hackman. I am a fan of Hackman but in this appearance it's pretty obvious he is there to cash his cheque and get out as quickly as possible. He still has some pretty good lines and does a decent enough job. He is joined by possibly the lamest sidekick in history, Lenny Luthor (Lex's nephew) played by Jon Cryer. To add a bit of romantic tension to the film Mariel Hemmingway is cast as the daughter of a wealthy tycoon (Sam Wanamaker) who has acquired The Daily Planet in a hostile takeover. She doesn't get much screen time to strut her stuff but her shoulder pads are worth checking out for horror 80s fashion flashbacks.

    Keeping in mind this film was made in the dying days of the Cold War, nuclear power plays a prominent role in the story. Superman makes a decision to save the world from nuclear destruction by removing all nuclear weapons from the planet. Without giving too much away, using the nuclear power of the sun Lex Luthor is able to duplicate a being that has powers comparable to Superman. He names his 'son' Nuclear Man. A lengthy and unbelievable battle ensues.

    Movies that have a tagline in their title scare me. It's generally a sign of a bad, bad film, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blue and Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous are two recent examples. Pretty much any Police Academy sequel is another older confirmation of that. Unfortunately Superman IV: The Quest for Peace is further proof. The plot is weak, the franchise is tired and clearly has seen better days, but unlike Superman III it's a lot of fun if you are willing to look past its flaws. At least it's a Superman movie - Superman III was a Richard Pryor film that co-starred Superman. Superman III is undoubtedly a better film, but Superman IV is a better movie. Its more enjoyable, easier to watch and doesn't pretend to be anything else. Sure it has laughable special effects and some dumb plot points, but it makes you appreciate the better superhero films all the more.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This PAL disc is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Considering I was pleasantly surprised when I reviewed Superman III I was a bit disappointed this time round. Because it was the most recent of the films and 4 years younger than IIII thought it might have improved over its predecessor. This was not the case.

    Not surprisingly for a film this old there is a bit of grain, but considering that no print restoration has been done it looks pretty good.

    There are film artefacts present and apart from a scene or two there is nothing overly distracting.

    Like Superman III, aliasing can be a bit of an issue in some wide angle scenes where the shot has a lot of movement on screen.

    Also like Superman III, close up shots were the clearest. Some scenes had a fuzzy, blurred look to them, especially anything with SFX.

    Colours came across well, especially in outdoor shots. Skin tones were excellent. Some effect shots have that blurry hue about them from the blue screen process.

    Overall, a decent transfer for a classic (but not for the right reasons) film.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) track is pretty ordinary..

    Most of the dialogue was clear without any of the tinny echo that sometimes plagued Superman III.

    Effects sounded OK and added to the viewing experience.

    The music came across sounding good at the high end, but otherwise was left wanting.

    There were no obvious issues with the soundtrack, but towards the end I did detect a slight sync issue in one scene. I believe this was not a DVD transfer issue, but inherent in the original film. It's the scene where Perry takes back The Daily Planet.

    There was no sub-woofer use.

    French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) and Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) tracks are also included on the disc.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio

Theatrical Trailer

    Warner Home Video must be holding something up its sleeve for an eventual double dip because the only special feature is a pretty ordinary trailer.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 version is a bare bones edition too, except theirs came out 4 years ago! Choose on price.

Summary

    The video presentation is a good enough, but not quite what I though it could be.

    The sound is fine, but it never really stands out. There is a minor sync issue in one scene.

    There are no real extras except for a trailer.

    It's about time PAL fans had the chance to buy this locally - why is it 4 years after the Region 1 release?

    An essential purchase for diehard Superman fans and completists who already have 1,2 & 3. Most kids will enjoy it - after all, it is Superman!

    For everyone else... a rental will suffice.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ben Smith (boku no bio)
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDMarantz DV4300, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL HS10 projector on 100 inch 16x9 screen + Palsonic 76WSHD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-DE685. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPioneer
SpeakersDB Dynamics VEGA series floor standers + centre, DB bipole rears, 10" 100W DB Dynamics sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Schumacher??? - Reg Spoon (read my bio) REPLY POSTED
You've only seen half of it... - Le Bros Wilson, UK REPLY POSTED
Great info, Le Bros Wilson ! - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)
The Quest for Pieces... - Le Bros Wilson, UK
Just remembered... - Le Bros Wilson, UK
This is actually shorter than the version I saw in 1988! - Paul Ryan
Tornado & Moscow bits... - Le Bros Wilson, UK