Supergirl (1984)

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Released 6-Dec-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1984
Running Time 119:35 (Case: 113)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (47:35)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Jeannot Szwarc
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Faye Dunaway
Helen Slater
Peter O'Toole
Mia Farrow
Brenda Vaccaro
Peter Cook
Simon Ward
Marc McClure
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Jerry Goldsmith


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French 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
Arabic
Serbo-Croatian
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
French
Greek
Hebrew
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Slovenian
Spanish
Swedish
Turkish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Kara (Helen Slater) is one of the last remaining Kryptonians. She lives in Argon city, a shielded city in inner space created by the artistic and scientific genius Zaltar (Peter O'Toole). When she and Zaltar accidentally send the Omegahedron, a small spinning ball that is the main power source for Argon City, to Earth, Kara heads there to recover it. Failing to do so will destroy Argon City in a matter of days. When she gets to Earth, she quickly discovers that she has the same super powers as her cousin Kal-El (aka Superman). She assumes the secret identity of Linda Lee, Clark Kent's recently orphaned cousin, and enrols at an exclusive girls boarding school while looking for the Omegahedron. There she becomes the room mate of Lucy Lane (Maureen Teefy), Lois Lane's sister. Jimmy Olsen (Marc McClure) visits too.

    The Omegahedron managed to land in the picnic lunch of fortune teller-cum-third-rate witch, Selena (Faye Dunaway). It enhances her magical abilities no end and gives her the powers of a true sorceress. Unfortunately for Selena, it doesn't give her the power to control the minds of men - which doesn't make her attempts at taking over the world as easy as she had hoped. Maths teacher and anarchic warlock, Nigel (Peter Cook) manages to help her out in this department, but is it enough to prevent Supergirl from saving the day for both Earth and Argon City? Probably not, she is the villain after all, but it is a great excuse for a barrage of 1980s special effects!

    Taken in its own right, Supergirl is quite an entertaining comic book action movie. It is a little slow to start and takes a few ill-explained turns to initially get itself on track, but there is a lot to enjoy when it does get going. In particular, Faye Dunaway is great as the megalomaniacal Selena and Peter O'Toole does a fine job of lifting the credibility of the film in his brief role.

    Alas, the film does not gel well with the rest of the Superman franchise. Whereas the Superman series took a serious tone to the subject matter and aimed to bring the fantastic comic book elements into a realistic setting, Supergirl embraces the fantastic and makes no attempt to make anything more realistic than it may seem on the pages of a comic book. Supergirl also takes a number of creative liberties with concepts from Superman that are likely to infuriate fans, such as completely re-imagining the concept of the Phantom Zone and making virtually no attempt at having Supergirl hide her identity.

    There have been a number of versions of Supergirl released over the years. This edition features the original international cut (originally 124 minutes theatrically, running here at 119 minutes due to PAL speedup). Bear this in mind when reading other reviews, as many will be of the original 105 minute US theatrical version that does not hold together as well as this cut.

    Superman fans may do well to steer clear of Supergirl, but casual fans and popcorn action fans may enjoy it. Setting aside continuity issues with the Superman series, Supergirl is much better than both Superman III and Superman IV, but not a scratch on the first two movies in the Superman series.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is reasonable for a movie of this age, but quite disappointing when compared to the superb remastered versions of the Superman movies.

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

    The image is generally quite sharp, although there are a number of effects shots featuring Supergirl flying around in front of grainy and occasionally out of focus stock footage. Film artefacts are frequently noticeable, and there are a few big ones (such as at 45:22), but they are rarely particularly distracting.

    The colour palette is a little dull, but only enough to show the age of the movie.

    A handful of minor digital video artefacts are noticeable in the video. Background aliasing is occasionally visible (such as at 34:40. There are a number of examples of posterization visible throughout, particularly in the opening credits amongst a mixture of smoke and light effects. Neither the aliasing or posterization are particularly distracting.

    This is an RSDL disc. The layer break occurs mid-scene at 47:35, but was not noticeable on my equipment.

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 language Dolby Digital 5.1 (384 Kbps), French and Spanish language Dolby Digital 2.0 (192 Kbps) tracks and an audio commentary.

    The dialogue is at a good level in the mix and quite clear to distinguish throughout. There are a few minor ADR issues, but otherwise the audio is in sync throughout the film.

    The 5.1 mix has been done quite poorly. All speakers are used, although quite clumsily. In most cases, sounds have been pushed entirely to one speaker rather than balanced between speakers. It is a shame that the original sound mix was not included as I would have found one basic mono mix preferable to the poor remix that has been done here. There is modest use of the LFE channel in the mix, but nothing of particular note.

    The score is quite good. It has a complementary big orchestral style to that of Superman, although it opts more for a sweeping grace than the bold and powerful Superman score.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio

Audio Commentary

    A reasonably informative commentary that largely plays like an interview, with historian Scott Bosco asking director Jeannot Szwarc a host of questions about the production, the effects, the planned Supergirl franchise and many of the cast.

Theatrical Trailer (2:37)

    This is a reasonably good trailer for its day, although a number of the special effects shots do not seem to be as complete as those in the final film, with wires discernable in a couple of flying sequences!

R4 vs R1

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

    An identical near bare bones release is available in Region 1.

    A 2-disc edition was previously available in Region 1, but has since been discontinued. That edition featured the 124 minute international cut featured on this release as well as an extended 138 minute "Directors Cut" as well as the following features:

    The preferred version for most collectors will be the discontinued Anchor Bay edition, but as it is no longer available I would call this one a tie.

Summary

    Supergirl has never really received the recognition it deserved. It's not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, particularly when compared to the first two Superman movies, but it is much better than the third and fourth instalments of the Superman series.

    There is not much on offer in the way of extras.

    The video is good for a film of its age.

    The audio rather mediocre - certainly listenable, but the 5.1 remix is poor.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Saturday, December 16, 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
Comments (Add)
Supergirl in THX. -
Supergirl Anchor Bay version -
R4 vs. R1 -