Superman III: Deluxe Edition (1983)

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Released 5-Dec-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary
Featurette-Making Of
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Justice League Hero's Video Game
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 119:54 (Case: 116)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (73:42) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Richard Lester
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Christopher Reeve
Richard Pryor
Jackie Cooper
Marc McClure
Annette O'Toole
Annie Ross
Pamela Stephenson
Robert Vaughn
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Ken Thorne


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary 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
Danish
Finnish
German
Greek
Hebrew
Hebrew
Portuguese
Spanish
Swedish
Turkish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor) has been unemployed for so long that the city won't even give him the dole anymore. In his desperation for work, he trains to become a computer programmer only to find he's a computer genius. His boss, scheming industrial magnate Ross Webster (Robert Vaughan), discovers this fact too, after Gus defrauds the company he works for of tens of thousands of dollars using a computer. Rather than fire Gus, Webster makes him his right hand man (although Webster's sister, Annie Ross, and his "psychic nutritionist", Pamela Stephenson, are ahead of Gus in the pecking order) - getting him to hack into a weather computer and causing a host of natural disasters in Columbia in a crazed effort to corner the world coffee market. Alas, Superman manages to foil this scheme and finds his elimination at the top of Webster's nefarious list of things to do.

    Webster and Gus attempt to make artificial Kryptonite to defeat the man of steel, but get the formula a little off. Instead of killing Superman, they manage to alter his personality and turn him into an uncaring drunk. As Superman wallows in his own misery, Webster's sights are set on building the greatest computer the world has ever seen and using it to take over the oil industry.

    If it doesn't sound like there's much Superman in the plot, you have the right impression. In many ways, Superman III is a second rate Richard Pryor movie that happens to feature Superman. Worse still, it is a PG rated Richard Pryor movie - a rating that forces him to hold back his trademark foul mouthed humour. About all there is to remind us this is a Superman movie for the first half of the movie is a rather weak side-plot around Clark Kent's high school reunion. A handful of rather unimaginative action sequences pad the movie, but therein lies the problem - they are just padding; the story would lose virtually nothing without them. At least Margot Kidder had the good sense to do her best at steering clear of this sequel. Lois Lane is relegated to two brief scenes in the whole movie!

    Superman III is a miscalculated mess from start to finish. It does little but show up the flaws of Superman as a concept. There is nothing interesting about an infallible hero. That is, someone who turns up, goes through the motions of saving the day and heads off to the next routine feat of heroics without any plausible threat. The lack of suspense is dull, so much so that by the time a threat to his super powers and all around niceness comes about, you just don't care. If you were ever in need of convincing about the sheer talent that went into producing the first two Superman movies, watch Superman III. It is a perfect example of how easily the concept could fail.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good for a film of its age, but not quite up to the standard of the remastered editions of Superman and Superman II.

    The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is quite sharp throughout, although a number of effects-heavy sequences are not as sharp as other parts of the movie. There is a good amount of shadow detail in darker scenes. Film artefacts are present throughout the film, but very few are distracting. There are a handful of larger artefacts (such as a dark smudge at 18:48) that I am surprised were not cleaned up.

    A handful of scenes appear to have been the victims of edge enhancement, though these are all effects sequences and it is likely this was introduced as part of the special effects process. An example can be seen at 67:43 when Superman corrects the leaning tower of Pisa. Two actors in the foreground, who were most likely added via a blue screen effect, appear to have distinct white halos around their edges.

    There are no noticeable MPEG compression or other film-to-video artefacts noticeable throughout the feature.

    This is an RSDL disc. The layer change occurs at 73:42.

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

Audio

    Four audio tracks are available on this disc; English, German and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192 Kbps) language tracks and an audio commentary.

    The dialogue is quite clear throughout and at a good level in the mix.

    Aside from the opening theme and a handful of familiar cues, the score is adequate and no more. Though not actually bad, it is not nearly as striking as that in the first two films

    The surrounds and subwoofer receive virtually no use, even with Pro-logic activated.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio

Audio Commentary - Ilya Salkind (Executive Producer) and Pierre Spengler (Producer)

    This is quite an entertaining commentary track, for many of the wrong reasons and a few of the right ones. Ilya Salkind goes to great length to explain how, contrary to popular belief, the film was in fact successful. Salkind seems to honestly believe that the only failing of the film is that it was too dark and too scary for "the kids". He is even proud to proclaim one scene as "perfection". We will have to agree to disagree here I'm afraid!

    The tone of the track is quite defensive at times, particularly around some of the sillier parts of the film - in regard to one infamously silly effects piece in which Superman is trapped in what appears to be a bubble of cling film, Pierre Spengler dismisses popular opinion of the effect with "...people say 'the bubble, the bubble!', but you try to make it yourself!".

Featurette - Making Of (47:09)

    A vintage made for TV "making of" featurette from 1983. Presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.

    This is a mixture of marketing guff and rather interesting examinations of the stunts and effects. Much of the featurette revolves around scenes in the first 20 minutes of the film, so it does a good job of not giving away too much plot to anyone that hasn't seen the movie. It is interesting to compare this featurette to a similar featurette on the Superman II special edition, particularly how the demeanour of several of the cast (especially Christopher Reeve) has changed following the success of the first two films.

Deleted Scenes (19:43)

    11 deleted and extended scenes. Like much of the movie itself, the best bits here (and indeed most of the bits) are all around Richard Pryor.

Theatrical Trailer (3:02)

    An overlong trailer that gives away a little too much of the plot of the movie. Presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and 16x9 enhanced.

Trailer - Justice League Hero's Video Game (1:48)

    A rather unnecessary trailer for the next computer game that will feature Superman. It looks kind of fun, but is little more than shameless advertising.

R4 vs R1

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

    A near identical special edition is available in Region 1, the only differences being in language tracks and subtitles. Region 1 has a French language track in place of the German and Spanish language tracks on the Region 4 release. Region 1 also misses out on Danish, Hebrew, Finnish, German, Greek, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish and Swedish subtitles. This comparison is so close I'd call it a draw.

Summary

    Few franchises have "jumped the shark" quite so spectacularly as the Superman series did with Superman III. This release features a very good extras package that makes this disc reasonably worthwhile despite the quality of the film itself.

    The video quality in this release is very good.

    The audio is quite basic, but has no faults.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDLG V8824W, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 80cm 4x3 CRT. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D512
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

Other Reviews NONE
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great review -