Overall | Superman-The Movie: Four-Disc Collector's Edition (1978) | Superman II: Two-Disc Special Edition (1980) | Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006) | Superman III: Deluxe Edition (1983) | Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: Deluxe Edition (1987) | Superman Returns (2006) | Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman (Extras Disc) (2006) | You Will Believe (The Ultimate Superman Collection Extras Disc 2) (2006)

Superman: The Ultimate Collector's Edition (1978)

Superman: The Ultimate Collector's Edition (1978)

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Released 5-Dec-2006

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Overall Package

    Warner Home Video have outdone themselves.

    Superman The Ultimate Collector's Edition is a marvellous DVD box set that is literally packed with special features.

    The set includes;

    Superman The Movie

    Superman The Movie: 2000 Expanded Edition

    Superman II

    Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut

    Superman III

    Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

    Superman Returns

    Two bonus discs with two documentaries; You Will Believe: The Cinematic Saga of Superman and Look Up In The Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman.

    Other bonus discs include George Reeves in Superman and the Mole-Men, the complete Fleischer Studios 1940s cartoons as well as commentaries, featurettes, and more.

    In fact, there are more than eighteen hours of bonus features in this set. It even includes a Superman comic book.

    Unlike some recent box sets that have had cheap cardboard boxes (I'm still mad over original Star Wars trilogy set's crappy packaging) this set comes in a great lenticular package and metal tin case with Supe's logo on it. It'll look good occupying a proud space on your DVD collection shelf.

    Overall, the video quality of these discs are great.

    The sound quality is superb.

    The only disappointment about the disc is that the Region 1 set has an extra disc. Over the course of Superman Returns production, Bryan Singer and crew released 27 short 'making of' video clips on a promotional website and later iTunes. The R1 disc has these 27 Video Journals, R4 misses out. These clips have been on iTunes for free, so why Warners didn't include them must have been purely an economic decision. If you can download and view the clips, they are quite entertaining and insightful.

    Even if you own previous Superman DVD releases, this set comes highly recommended as there are 2 bonus discs that are only available (in Region 4 anyway) with this set. The only possible reason I could imagine holding out would be for a future HD Ultimate Edition. That said, personally I have enjoyed this set immensely and can recommend it highly.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ben Smith (boku no bio)
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Superman-The Movie: Four-Disc Collector's Edition (1978) | Superman II: Two-Disc Special Edition (1980) | Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006) | Superman III: Deluxe Edition (1983) | Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: Deluxe Edition (1987) | Superman Returns (2006) | Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman (Extras Disc) (2006) | You Will Believe (The Ultimate Superman Collection Extras Disc 2) (2006)

Superman-The Movie: Four-Disc Collector's Edition (1978)

Superman-The Movie: Four-Disc Collector's Edition (1978)

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Released 5-Dec-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Audio Commentary
Teaser Trailer
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots
Trailer-Justice league Video Game
Featurette-Taking Flight: Development Of Superman
Featurette-Making Of-Filming The Legend
Featurette-The Magic Behind The Cape
Featurette-Screen Tests
Featurette-Restored Scenes
Featurette-Superman And The Mole-Men
Featurette-Fleischer Studio's Superman
Featurette-Vintage Making of
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1978
Running Time 137:14 (Case: 130)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (77:16)
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Richard Donner
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Marlon Brando
Gene Hackman
Christopher Reeve
Ned Beatty
Jackie Cooper
Glenn Ford
Trevor Howard
Margot Kidder
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music James E. Myers
John Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German 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
Norwegian
Portuguese
Swedish
Turkish
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, It is even defended in the commentary
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The planet Krypton is reaching the end of its days. The red sun that sustains the planet is dying and causing it to shift orbit. Alas, only the scientist Jor-El (another flawless performance from Marlon Brando) believes this to be the case. He is sworn to silence by the Kryptonian council of elders and both he and his wife are forbidden to leave the planet. He does, however, manage to send his infant son Kal-El on a journey across the stars to the comparatively primitive planet Earth. There he is raised as Clark Kent in the quiet town of Smallville by a childless couple who discover the ship he arrived in by the side of the road.

    Clark Kent had known of his super powers all his life, but it was not until after a journey of self-discovery following high school that he learnt of his true past and assumed the identity of Superman (by which time he is played by Christopher Reeve). Fighting for truth, justice and the American way as Superman, he maintains his secret identity as Clark Kent, reporter for The Daily Planet. This dual life manages to form an unusual love triangle between Clark Kent, fellow reporter Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) and Superman.

    Superman's powers are so diverse and powerful that only the genius of the evil real estate obsessed villain Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) can stop his do-gooding ways.

    Superman: The Movie was the first real attempt at translating a fantastical comic book hero into a live action film. To this day it is still one of the best comic book movies (some would argue it is the best) but it has had some stiff competition over the years. It holds up well to this day. Even the special effects have stood the test of time, looking good even by today's standard.

    Superman could very easily have been a train wreck. The character himself has so much in the way of super-powers that it is difficult to construct an engaging and exciting story, let alone a good movie, out of the character - a point well and truly proven by later films in the franchise. Furthermore, there is so much back-story to tell, and rabid fans who hold that back-story as gospel, that a real balancing act was required to expose this mythology and tell a worthwhile story in its own right. Thankfully, the pen of Mario Puzo and the narrative genius of director Richard Donner managed to turn Superman into a true classic - and one that works equally well as a family film and an action movie.

    This Collector's Edition presents a remastered version of the original theatrical cut of the movie (as featured in the 2-disc "Special Edition" being released simultaneously) and the remastered extended cut of the film that was released in 2001 (and reviewed here).

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This video review covers the newly remastered theatrical cut (Disc 1 of the set) as the extended cut was not provided for this review. Our previous review of that transfer can be found here.

    Like the 2001 edition of Superman: The Movie the transfer is of reference standard, at least for the most part. There is one unpleasant digital artefact that spoils this otherwise superb transfer.

    The film is presented in its original 2:35:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The video represents the quality of the original theatrical image very accurately, save for between 23:13 and 23:16 when there is some serious digital distortion that impairs a shot of the Kents as they peer down into the crater left by Kal-El's ship to Earth. Aside from this brief shocker, there are no MPEG compression artefacts noticeable in the transfer.

    There are a handful of minor film artefacts throughout the transfer, but they are generally quite hard to spot, let alone get distracted by. The shadow detail is very good, particularly for a film of this age. There is surprisingly little grain, save for a few effects shots, or low level noise visible throughout the transfer. The sharpness of the image varies a little throughout the film, though never to a point that it is distracting, but this is a result of the various techniques employed in filming and not as a result of poor DVD mastering.

    The colours are quite accurately captured. Significantly different colour schemes are used at different parts of the film. The primary colours of Superman's outfit remain bold throughout, which is particularly striking against the relatively soft palette throughout later half of the film.

    This is an RSDL disc, with the layer break occurring discreetly at 77:16.

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

Audio

    This audio review covers the newly remastered theatrical cut (Disc 1 of the set) as the extended cut was not provided for this review. Our previous review of that transfer can be found here.

    There are four audio tracks available, including one commentary track. There is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384 Kbps), an English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192 Kbps) and a German Dolby Digital 1.0 (192 Kbps) track as well as the commentary.

    Dialogue is quite clear and in good sync throughout the feature. It has been mixed at a good level in the mix and translates well to the 5.1 mix, making good use of the surrounds for environmental effects (such as echoes).

    The new 5.1 mix is a rare example of an excellent soundtrack reworking, so much so that even the harshest critics of soundtrack rework (of which I am one) will be pleased. The surrounds get used frequently and at all times appropriately. The subwoofer gets a better workout than many new films would give it, and not just booming explosions, but rumbling earthquakes and occasional bass from the score. For the purists, there is nothing to fault in the 2.0 mix, save for the additional presence the 5.1 mix adds.

    John Williams' phenomenal score really needs no introduction. Not only is it a great score, but it is one of the most recognisable orchestral works of the last century. It has made a great transition to the 5.1 mix.

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

Extras

    The range of extras in this set is staggering. There is simply no other way to put it. The extras even reach beyond the confines of Superman: The Movie and collate other theatrical takes on Superman. There are a number of features in common with past Superman releases, but enough material that has not been released on DVD before to hook fans all over again.

    The extras are spread across 4 discs as follows:

Disc 1 (Theatrical Cut):

Main Menu Audio & Animation

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

    Commentary from the money man and his salesman. Unsurprisingly, there is a lot of commentary on the pre-production side of things and their past work (particularly the Musketeers they had been involved with), but there are some interesting anecdotes about the production side of things. Certainly worth a listen, but not great.

Teaser Trailer (1:11)

    An early teaser that consists solely of stock footage shot from a plane with the main cast credits flying through the air. Very simple stuff, but very effective.

Theatrical Trailer (2:34)

    A fairly standard theatrical trailer

TV Spot (0:32)

    A reasonably snappy TV spot, particularly for the day.

Trailer - Justice League 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

Disc 2 (2000 Expanded Cut):

Music-Only Audio Track

    Dolby Digital 5.0 Music-Only Audio Track.

Commentaries - 1. Richard Donner - Director; Tom Mankiewicz - Creative Consultant

    (reproduced from our previous review) This is a most interesting listen amongst the director Richard Donner and creative consultant Tom Manciewicz. Clearly friends, they talk with ease and have much to say. It is quite wonderful to listen to the gasps in their voice as they see a scene and say "Yes, I remember this.." and proceed to discuss it. One of many interesting points is that Marlon Brando can be seen many times during his scenes on Krypton pausing and looking around the room - looking for little cards with his lines on it! Not bad for someone getting paid $3 million for a few week's work, which was and is a ridiculous price for such a relatively small part. Poor old Richard Donner, who also directed 80% of Superman II, only got $1 million!

Disc 3 (Extras):

Featurette - Taking Flight: Development Of Superman (30:16)

    A documentary on the pre-production of Superman hosted by Mark McClure (Jimmy Olsen in the film). This was produced in 2000 for the previous Special Edition release of Superman.

Featurette - Filming The Legend (30:42)

    A documentary on the production of Superman hosted by Mark McClure (Jimmy Olsen in the film). This was produced in 2000 for the previous Special Edition release of Superman. This documentary is largely made up of interviews with cast and crew. It also includes an interesting section about John Williams' score.

Featurette - The Magic Behind The Cape (22:48)

    A documentary on the special effects of Superman hosted by Mark McClure (Jimmy Olsen in the film). This was produced in 2000 for the previous Special Edition release of Superman. It features some great stuff, particularly a number of effects that weren't used, the process of custom developing equipment to do the special effects for the film and a lot of test footage of effects techniques that were and weren't used in the movie. I doubt there is a fan out there that wouldn't want the radio controlled Superman tested, but never used, for the flying sequences!

Featurette - Screen Tests (21:32)

    Screen test footage for the roles of Superman/Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Ursa (who was featured more prominently in Superman II), introduced by the casting director Lynn Stalmaster. Legend has it that every actor in America tested for Superman. This featurette does little to dispel that legend. The tests for Lois Lane are the best (not to mention diverse) here. Ever picture Stockard Channing as Lois Lane? I didn't think so!

Featurette - Restored Scenes (14:28)

    11 deleted scenes that have been restored in the same fashion as the main feature.

Featurette - Additional Music Cues (35:26)

    A series of 8 musical pieces recorded for the film that were never used and alternate versions of ones that were.

Disc 4 (Extras):

Featurette - Vintage Making of (51:48)

    A "Making of" documentary from 1980. Although very dated, this is an insightful documentary. It consists mainly of interviews with the cast and crew, as well as representatives from DC Comics and members of the public. It also features a brief introduction to the world of Superman (despite spending a reasonable amount of time reminding us how he needs no introduction!), a segment on how Krypton was realised and a segment on how Christopher Reeve physically prepared for the role.

Featurette - Superman And The Mole-Men (58:04)

    The entire Superman and the Mole Men movie, starring George Reeves as Superman and Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane. This 1951 movie was the precursor to the 1952 Superman TV series.

    The story tells of a race of underground-dwelling Mole-Men whose existence is disturbed by people drilling for oil near the small town of Silsby. An angry mob from the town, led by Luke Benson (Jeff Corey), decide these creepy little people need to be eliminated and only Superman can prevent this genocide!

    It is quite campy and fairly cheaply produced, but this is a real treat for Superman fans and fans of paranoid 1950s science fiction.

    The video is incredibly well restored. It is presented in the film's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The image is very sharp for an old black and white movie. There are light film artefacts noticeable throughout, but no particularly big or distracting ones - mostly just white flecks. There are no noticeable film-to-video artefacts in the transfer.

    The audio has been extremely well preserved and restored. It is presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192 Kbps), although it does sound mono throughout. It does sound dated, but there are no quality issues - the clarity is near perfect.

Featurette - Fleischer Studio's Superman (77:12)

    Nine of the 1940s Max Fleischer Superman cartoons are featured, from the earlier days of the series. The only thing better than these cartoons in this package is the main feature itself (though Superman and the Mole Men provides stiff competition!). They are fantastic. Not only are they great stories in their own right, but they are like a time capsule of the era - so much so that they border on being propaganda cartoons for the war effort at times.

    The cartoons feature superb animation and a striking noir style. The recent Batman has borrowed from this style incredibly heavily, both in terms of look and story design and pacing.

    Each is in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The video quality is very good for the age of these cartoons. There are film artefacts and grain visible to a modest degree and occasionally mild telecine wobble is noticeable, but none are enough to distract from the glorious animation. The audio is very clear, although it does sound somewhat dated. The cartoons can be played individually or all together as one feature.

    The episodes featured are:

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 Collector's Edition is being released simultaneously in Region 1 as is being released in Region 4, the only differences being in language tracks and subtitles. Region 1 has a French language track in place of the German language track on the Region 4 release. Region 1 also misses out on Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian and Swedish subtitles. This comparison is so close I'd call it a draw.

Summary

    Superman is a true classic. This set provides both official cuts of the film, making it a must have for serious fans.

    The extras package is excellent. Though there are a number of extras in common with the 2001 Special Edition, the additional extras in this Collector's Edition are well and truly enough to warrant owners of the 2001 edition upgrading. In particular, the additional feature Superman and the Mole Men and the Fleischer Studios Superman cartoons bear repeat viewing.

    One significant, albeit brief, digital fault mars an otherwise excellent video transfer in the theatrical cut. There is nothing to complain about with the video of the extended cut.

    The remastered audio of both cuts of the film is exceptional.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Saturday, December 09, 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)
Point of Updating if you already have the 2001 Version - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
Extras of the both the Superman the Movie Releases - Anonymous
Is this the same audio transfer ? - Bran (my bio, or something very like it) REPLY POSTED
This is still not the longest version available - SJ2571
Supes: The Move Longest Version... - Wilson Bros - UK
Super box set - Sean.
Superman super extended edt. - Sean.
Get the longest versions for both movies at MySpleen.net - SJ2571
Super box set PT:2 - Sean.

Overall | Superman-The Movie: Four-Disc Collector's Edition (1978) | Superman II: Two-Disc Special Edition (1980) | Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006) | Superman III: Deluxe Edition (1983) | Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: Deluxe Edition (1987) | Superman Returns (2006) | Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman (Extras Disc) (2006) | You Will Believe (The Ultimate Superman Collection Extras Disc 2) (2006)

Superman II: Two-Disc Special Edition (1980)

Superman II: Two-Disc Special Edition (1980)

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Released 5-Dec-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary
Deleted Scenes-Superman's Souffle
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Superman 50th Anniversary
Featurette-First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series
Featurette-Famous Studios' Superman
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1980
Running Time 122:15 (Case: 118)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (67:36)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Richard Lester
Richard Donner
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Gene Hackman
Christopher Reeve
Ned Beatty
Jackie Cooper
Sarah Douglas
Margot Kidder
Jack O'Halloran
Valerie Perrine
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Ken Thorne


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0 (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
Hungarian
Norwegian
Portuguese
Spanish
Swedish
Turkish
English for the Hearing Impaired
German 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

    Superman is back! This time he faces off against three political prisoners from Krypton, each of whom have equal powers to the man of steel himself (again played by Christopher Reeve). Along the way he also reconciles the conflict between his love for Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) and his love for the human race as a whole.

    After unsuccessfully leading a coup on Krypton, the megalomaniacal General Zod (a deliciously evil Terrence Stamp), the heartless Ursa (Sarah Douglas) and the simple brute Non (Jack O'Halloran) are imprisoned in the Phantom Zone by the Krypton council of elders (as seen at the start of Superman: The Movie). Years later, they are inadvertently set free by a stray nuclear device that Superman had sent into space while saving the human race. Upon discovering their super powers, that grow stronger the closer they come to a yellow sun, they invade planet Earth. Needless to say, a trail of super destruction is left in their wake.

    Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman, again at his best) is quick to cash in on the action, offering the invading trio his increasingly intimate knowledge of the man of steel - for the small price of a continent or two!

    The question of whether Superman II is better than the original is one often debated by freaks and geeks everywhere, regardless of whether they are fans of Superman. It is certainly an argument that divides the masses. Without going into the politics of it all (see our review of Superman II: The Donner Cut for that!), it is Superman II all the way for my money. The story isn't bogged down by the origin story side of things, as is the case in Superman: The Movie. Both the action and romance sides of the story get straight to the point. There's certainly a degree of build-up to those aspects, but they don't muck around quite so much when they reach their climax as similar moments in the original do. I appreciate that this was simply the style of the original, but I prefer the style of the second. Furthermore, General Zod and his cohort are by far the most entertaining enemies Superman faces in any movie in the series. If that's not enough to spark a flame war, I don't know what is!

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Transfer Quality

Video

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

    The film opens with a notoriously awful poorly cut montage of key parts of the original Superman that runs for about 8 minutes. This montage varies in focus, but is mostly too soft. The montage is occasionally a little grainy. There are a number of film artefacts noticeable throughout it and, worst of all, the brightness flickers considerably - enough so to be quite a distraction. Upon viewing these opening minutes, I was prepared for the worst but was relieved to find the rest of the transfer to be excellent.

    There are a handful of film artefacts visible throughout the rest of the film, most noticeable during scenes in the fortress of solitude due to the high contrast in those scenes, but they are quite small. The image is quite sharp, in so much that it is accurate to the original intent of the material. For example, Margot Kidder was typically shot in soft focus for close-ups, such as at 21:35, and those soft focus shots are cut into scenes that are otherwise not in soft focus. The focus is different between shots in these scenes, but intentionally so. There are no issues at any point with low level noise. Some scenes have mildly noticeable grain, but not enough that it becomes a distraction.

    Colours are quite accurate to the original source and do look good. They are quite soft in comparison to a modern film, but that was the general trend at the time (largely due to film stocks used). The more colourful scenes, such as one in a rainforest at 60:43, look marvellous.

    Beyond the somewhat shoddy opening segment, the film is free from film-to-video artefacts and free of any noticeable MPEG compression related artefacts entirely.

    This disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer change occurring at 67:36 minutes. The change is at an obvious point in the film, but was not noticeable on my equipment.

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

Audio

    6 audio tracks are available, including one commentary track. There is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384 Kbps) soundtrack, English and Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192 Kbps) soundtracks, and Spanish and German Dolby Digital 1.0 (192 Kbps) soundtracks.

    The dialogue is quite clear throughout and does not get buried in the mix at any point. The dialogue is in fairly good sync, but there are a few points where ADR has been used (such as at 33:10).

    An excellent job has been done in remastering the soundtrack to Dolby Digital 5.1. The surrounds are used frequently and to good effect, particularly during the big action scenes towards the end of the film and parts with big orchestral backing. There is great use of the LFE track, and consequently the subwoofer, for both explosions and environmental effects.

    Ken Thorne did a very good job of picking up where John Williams left off with the score. The style is quite consistent with that of the original Superman, yet quite accomplished in its own right. It has translated very well to the new 5.1 mix.

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

Extras

    Anyone who was put off buying previous releases of Superman II because of the lack of extras available should quickly change their tune with this release. The extras package is excellent, particularly for a mid-priced release of an older title.

    The extras are spread across two discs as follows:

Disc 1

Main Menu Audio

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

    This is an interesting commentary track, though more for political reasons than because of any anecdotes about the production that are given. The tone of the commentary is mostly praise for the film, particularly in the case of Ilya Salkind, but there is more than one occasion when the pair talk as though they are on trial for the parts of the movie fans frequently criticise (Salkind's defence of the infamous "throwing the S from his suit" part makes this worth a listen, if nothing else!). Alas, the abominable opening montage isn't one of those occasions - Salkind even goes as far as to call it "inspired". The producers do briefly address Richard Donner's "decision not to return" and why the franchise no longer "wanted" Marlon Brando, although it is, unsurprisingly, a little one sided! Pierre Spengler does a good, and rather generally impartial, job of identifying which parts are Donner filmed and which are Lester filmed, however.

    It would have been nice to have some insight from either director on the film, but this commentary track itself is worth listening to (although fans would probably advise it be taken with a grain of salt).

Deleted Scene - Superman's Soufflé (0:40)

    A single, rather amusing deleted scene that has enough double entendres to put James Bond to shame!

Theatrical Trailer

    Back in the days before the art of cutting a snappy trailer had been perfected this would have been a great trailer. It is a little cheesy and perhaps a little flat by today's standard, but that's a lot better than many of its peers!

Disc 2

Main Menu Audio

Featurette - The Making Of Superman II (50:07)

    A "Making of" TV special from 1982. Presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, the transfer quality is reasonably good. The image is fairly soft, although that is not surprising given its age. The audio sounds dated, but is quite clear. This extra features the same range of subtitles as the feature.

    The featurette itself is very good. It is about one third marketing guff and two thirds actual "making of", which works out as a good balance. The "making of" sections are largely centred around the wardrobe and special effects aspects, which is quite appropriate for this kind of film. The marketing component includes opening night and a variety of cast and crew interviews in which they heap praise on one another no end.

    Of particular interest, and probably largely due to the line the producers were taking at the time of the film's release, this featurette manages to completely ignore Richard Donner's contributions to the film. It even includes footage of Richard Lester directing parts of the film that the producer commentary claims were largely done by Donner!

Featurette - Superman 50th Anniversary (48:11)

    A 50th anniversary tribute to Superman from 1988, executive produced by Lorne Michaels and featuring several of the guys behind Saturday Night Live at the time. This special is hosted by Superman fanatic come Wayne's World star Dana Carvey and features clips from various versions of Superman (TV, Radio, Comic, Movie) intercut with a number of "Citizens of Metropolis" being interviewed about what Superman means to them, including Metropolis' deputy mayor (played by Best in Show's Fred Willard) and Lou Reed - yes, the one from The Velvet Underground! In fact, Lou Reed's "I liked his old heroics better than his new heroics" bit is probably the highlight of the whole special. This is a very silly featurette, but worth a look.

    Presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, the transfer quality is good - particularly given the low production values apparent in the special itself.

Featurette - First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series (12:55)

    A short featurette about the production of the Fleischer Studios Superman cartoons of the early 1940s. It doesn't go into great depth about anything, but provides some interesting background to the cartoons (a number of which are also featured on this disc and more again in the collector's edition set for Superman: The Movie.

    This featurette is in a 1.29:1 aspect ratio and has excellent video quality.

Featurette - Famous Studios Superman Cartoons (64:56)

    Eight of the 1940s Max Fleischer Superman cartoons are featured from the later days of the series (after the studio had been renamed "Famous Studios" instead of "Fleischer Studios"). The only thing better than these cartoons in this package is the main feature itself. They are fantastic. Not only are they great stories in their own right, but they are like a time capsule of the era - so much so that they border on being propaganda cartoons for the war effort at times.

    The cartoons feature superb animation and a striking noir style. The recent Batman has borrowed from this style incredibly heavily, both in terms of look and story design and pacing.

    Each is in its 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The video quality is very good for the age of these cartoons. There are film artefacts and grain visible to a modest degree and occasionally mild telecine wobble is noticeable, but none are enough to distract from the glorious animation. The audio is very clear, although it does sound somewhat dated. The cartoons can be played individually or all together as one feature.

    The cartoons featured are titled:

R4 vs R1

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

    Aside from the usual NTSC/PAL difference, the only difference between the Region 4 and Region 1 versions of this special edition are the combinations of languages and subtitles. That said, there are numerous editions available of Superman II and this is the best edition in terms of both transfer and extras - so make sure you know what edition you are getting if purchasing sight unseen.

    The Region 4 version misses out on a mono 1.0 French audio track and French subtitles.

    The Region 1 version misses out on mono 1.0 German and Spanish audio tracks, a Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo audio track and Danish, Finnish, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish and German for the Hearing Impaired subtitles.

    If alternate languages or subtitles are important to you, then pick the version with your preferred language. In all other aspects, the two versions are tied.

Summary

    Not only is this arguably the best Superman movie (and people will argue this fact until Superman himself comes to Earth to set them straight), but it is one of the best comic book movies of all time. It certainly has its faults, but they are more than made up for by the rest of the film.

    The extras package is, fittingly, superb.

    The video quality is very good, save for that of the hideous montage that begins the film (and which I would advise you fast forward as a matter of taste, anyway!).

    The audio is excellent and has been remastered into a 5.1 surround mix that puts a number of modern action films to shame.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Monday, December 11, 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)
You mention Donner review in this review - Sam
Good Review..Can't wait to watch these... - Anonymous
Is the extended TV version included? - Anonymous REPLY POSTED

Overall | Superman-The Movie: Four-Disc Collector's Edition (1978) | Superman II: Two-Disc Special Edition (1980) | Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006) | Superman III: Deluxe Edition (1983) | Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: Deluxe Edition (1987) | Superman Returns (2006) | Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman (Extras Disc) (2006) | You Will Believe (The Ultimate Superman Collection Extras Disc 2) (2006)

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006)

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006)

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Released 6-Dec-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Introduction-Director Richard Donner
Audio Commentary
Featurette-Restoring the Vision
Deleted Scenes
Trailer-Justice League Heroes Videogame
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 111:06
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Richard Donner
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Christopher Reeve
Marlon Brando
Gene Hackman
Margot Kidder
Terence Stamp
Jackie Cooper
Ned Beatty
Case ?
RPI Box Music John Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/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
Dutch
Finnish
French
German
Greek
Hebrew
Italian
Norwegian
Swedish
Spanish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
German 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

    When Superman: The Movie was first released, it had been shot simultaneously with footage for Superman II. The relationship between the producers of Superman: The Movie and its director Richard Donner had always been strained, so much so that they had used Richard Lester (who ended up with the final "director" credit for Superman II) as a go between for some time, which led to Donner being dumped as the director of Superman II as soon as the original became a hit. Furthermore, Marlon Brando won a precedent-setting law suit over payment for the films that resulted in the scenes he had shot with Richard Donner for the second film not being used.

    For years, people speculated what would have been if Richard Donner had finished Superman II. In order to justify the sole "director" credit to the Director's Guild, Richard Lester had to have been responsible for more than 50% of the finished film. This led to wide speculation over what had been cut out or changed by Lester. Speculation intensified further in 2004, when Margot Kidder claimed that enough footage had been shot by Richard Donner to produce a complete film (Donner himself has since claimed that he felt the film was 70-80% complete upon his departure). This led to a barrage of pleas and petitions to Warner Bros. asking for Richard Donner to assemble the film he started.

    That film is finally here. It is certainly not quite what we would have seen if Richard Donner had completed the film originally, but it is close enough for the most part. Assembled from around six tons of archived film and audio, this cut incorporates much of the Brando footage that was originally cut (thanks to a deal cut with his estate) and a number of previously incomplete effects completed digitally (though they do a very good job of maintaining the style of the original effects). The whole film has been re-assembled from the ground up - even scenes that are common to both cuts are differently edited to fit Donner's style and intent.

    The first question on every readers mind is undoubtedly "is it better?". My answer is no, but it is certainly not worse. There are aspects that work better in this film and aspects that work better in the original theatrical version. The "perfect" cut of the film would be some kind of marriage of the two versions.

    The main plot of the film remains relatively unchanged, however the course of a number of scenes (including some of the big action scenes) is a little different and a number of sub-plots have been removed entirely, such as the opening French terrorist part of the movie. Fans will also be cheering for the fact that the awful montage of Superman: The Movie from the start of the movie is gone (though that won't erase the scars it left in the minds of viewers!).

    The characterisations, particularly of the villains, are better realised in The Donner Cut. In particular Non (Jack O'Halloran) is no longer played as comic relief, but as the brute he is described as during his trial on Krypton.

    Superman II: The Donner Cut is best not taken in place of the original cut of Superman II. It is best taken by fans and film buffs as an alternate take for the sake of comparison. Although it does initially offer better continuity with the first Superman film, certain aspects do not follow quite so well. This is deliberately so, as they are parts that were originally intended for the second film but were pinched for the first movie and included here to illustrate their original context.

    This is a rare gem for Superman II fans and film buffs. Comparison with the original Lester cut is fascinating and the Marlon Brando footage included is excellent.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality varies a little from scene to scene, obviously dependant on the quality of the source material, but it is remarkable just how little it does vary. The restoration team have done an excellent job of cleaning the footage. In many ways this is a reference quality transfer, particularly for something assembled from archive footage.

    The film is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, as was the theatrical cut, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness of the image varies a little between scenes, dependant on the source material, but never enough to detract from the viewing experience. There are no problems with film grain, but there is mildly noticeable low level noise in a few scenes. The brightness level changes a little during a handful of scenes, causing a mild flicker in the image (such as at 19:46). Very few film artefacts are visible throughout the whole film.

    There are no significant MPEG compression related artefacts noticeable throughout the feature.

    This is an RSDL disc. The layer transition occurs at 72:12. This is in the middle of a scene, but the transition was not noticeable on the players I tested the disc on.

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

Audio

    Two audio tracks are available, English language Dolby Digital 5.1 (384 Kbps) and English audio commentary.

    The dialogue sits at a good level in the mix and is generally quite clear, however there are one or two points that it gets a little muddy (such as at 82:15). The dialogue at these muddy points is still quite understandable, just not as clear as the rest of the dialogue. There are a few points, such as at 42:50, where the audio sync is a little off, though it is fairly obvious that it was the best that could be done to match restored footage to restored audio (and for the most part a very good job has been done).

    The new 5.1 mix is excellent. There is plenty of appropriate surround usage and lots of activity in the LFE track. The subwoofer kicks in for more than just the odd explosion, adding a lot of atmosphere to many of the scenes as well as big booms to explosions.

    The classic score has been fitted to the altered pace of the film quite masterfully. It is hard to tell that it was not written with the current cut in mind.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio

Introduction by Richard Donner (1:55)

    A brief introduction to the film and thank you to fans from Richard Donner, shot in the editing room of this cut.

Audio Commentary by Director Richard Donner and "Creative Consultant" Tom Mankiewicz

    Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz (whose role as "Creative Consultant" was effectively co-screenwriter, adapting Mario Puzo's epic tome into two workable features) provide a jovial, although occasionally a little sparse, commentary. The pair have a great momentum when they do get talking and it is obvious that they have been life-long friends.

    The pair touch on the politics between themselves and the producers, why they did things differently in this cut, what they did and didn't like about each cut and which bits were shot by which director. Donner's "Didn't do this... but I did that... it's like picking strawberries!" during one action sequence is priceless!

Featurette - SUPERMAN II: Restoring the Vision (13:20)

    This relatively brief featurette provides a good overview of the making of The Donner Cut, but does not go into a great deal of depth. It would have been preferable if it had done more than scratch the surface of some aspects, but this is a worthy watch nonetheless.

Deleted Scenes (8:47)

    Six deleted scenes, some of which are actually extended scenes to those found in The Donner Cut, are provided. Each is restored to the same quality that the main feature has been afforded. Though no commentary on them is provided, it is easy to see why some were cut, but others could have easily been slipped into The Donner Cut.

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 version is available in Region 1, although the local version features a wider choice of subtitles. The primary reason to consider purchasing overseas is that this disc is currently only available in Region 4 as part of the "Collector's Edition" of Superman II, whereas it is available separately in Region 1, although this may change in the future.

Summary

    A must have for Superman fans and film buffs alike. This cut cannot really replace the theatrical cut, for reasons that are obvious after watching it, but is great viewing as an alternate take - in much the same way that a remix of a song can never really replace the original take.

    The extras are good, but a little light-on for this sort of collector's item.

    The video and audio on this release are both very good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Tuesday, December 12, 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)
Donner Cut - John (bio on Krypton) REPLY POSTED
80% of what he would have done ? - Bran (my bio, or something very like it) REPLY POSTED
My thoughts - Sam
re Sam's thoughts - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)
Unshot Scenes - DarkEye (This bio says: Death to DNR!)
Donner cut - Alan Mason
Why the Donner cut is better... - Metaphor
R1 Vs R4 - Stimpy REPLY POSTED
BD/HD-DVD - Anonymous
Re: Why the Donner cut is better... - SJ2571
Re: Why the Donner cut is better - Metaphor
Re: Why the Donner cut is better - SJ2571
Lester's better? - Sean.
Re: Why the Donner cut is better - Metaphor

Overall | Superman-The Movie: Four-Disc Collector's Edition (1978) | Superman II: Two-Disc Special Edition (1980) | Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006) | Superman III: Deluxe Edition (1983) | Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: Deluxe Edition (1987) | Superman Returns (2006) | Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman (Extras Disc) (2006) | You Will Believe (The Ultimate Superman Collection Extras Disc 2) (2006)

Superman III: Deluxe Edition (1983)

Superman III: Deluxe Edition (1983)

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Released 5-Dec-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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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
Comments (Add)
great review - Anonymous

Overall | Superman-The Movie: Four-Disc Collector's Edition (1978) | Superman II: Two-Disc Special Edition (1980) | Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006) | Superman III: Deluxe Edition (1983) | Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: Deluxe Edition (1987) | Superman Returns (2006) | Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman (Extras Disc) (2006) | You Will Believe (The Ultimate Superman Collection Extras Disc 2) (2006)

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: Deluxe Edition (1987)

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: Deluxe Edition (1987)

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Released 6-Dec-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Justice League Videogame
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1987
Running Time 86:08
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (67:04) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then 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
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Alexander Courage


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
Norwegian
Portuguese
Spanish
Swedish
Turkish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Nuclear weapons are bad. Superman (another paycheck for Christopher Reeve) comes to this realisation after he receives a letter from a concerned young lad who is worried about a recent escalation in the arms race between the USA and USSR. After a hard night thinking, he comes to the conclusion that he will break his vow to not interfere with the course of human history and stop nuclear weapons. He holds a press conference and lets the world know that he is going to put an end to nuclear weapons. He then flies around the world intercepting nuclear missiles (evidently the writer missed the point that the arms race was about stockpiling weapons and not launching them) and stores them in a big net in space, which he routinely empties by hurling the stockpile into the sun.

    Meanwhile, Lex Luthor (again played to perfection by Gene Hackman) breaks out of prison with the aid of his bumbling nephew Lenny (a young John Cryer, who has found considerably more success recently with the TV show Two and a Half Men). The pair hatch a nefarious scheme to use the DNA from a strand of Superman's hair, that they have stolen from a local museum exhibition, to create an evil super-being. They will need a lot of power to do this, so they strap the hair onto one of the nuclear missiles Superman is sending to the sun and thus Nuclear Man is born (with the body of Flash Gordon wannabe Mark Pillow, but the voice of Gene Hackman). It is not long before Nuclear Man's actions go beyond even Lex Luthor's maniacal wishes.

    The subtitle The Quest for Peace could easily be changed to The Paranoia of the 1980s. Superman IV doesn't stop at jumping onto the nuclear paranoia bandwagon, it manages to squeeze an anti-corporate greed and an anti-suburban sprawl sub-plot in the mix too.

    Superman IVis an utter mess of a movie, largely as a result of the producers going broke during production and the film's budget being slashed by more than half. Many of the special effects appear half done; wires are visible, most of the flight sequences re-use past effects footage or an incredibly cheap looking shot of characters flying directly at the screen. The movie has been chopped into a 86 minute affair that doesn't make a lick of sense, but was evidently all that was possible by the end of production.

    Despite it's shortcomings, Superman IV is actually quite watchable. You might not know what is going on at given point in time, but the fluid style and tight gags keep the momentum going for the relatively short duration of the movie. The reason it works as well as it does is that the movie does not opt for the serious tone of the first three films in the franchise. Instead, it employs a larger than life comic style that suits the script quite well. Furthermore, many of the characters that seem on paper to be ill-conceived are actually a lot of fun - particularly Lex Luthor's dimwit nephew Lenny, who steals many of the best lines of the movie.

    Die-hard Superman fans will already know they should steer clear of this film (although they will probably get something out of the extras). Anyone with a casual interest may enjoy it, just don't expect anything on par with the earlier films in the franchise!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good for a film of its age. So much so, it almost seems criminal that so many classics get mediocre transfers when pulp such as this is given an excellent restoration.

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

    The image is fairly sharp throughout. Film artefacts are occasionally visible, but never distracting. The most notable is a faint line that is visible for about a minute from around the 07:00 mark, though it is only really noticeable when blown up on a high resolution display. The level of shadow detail in the few darker scenes is good, but not great.

    The colour scheme employed throughout is quite bold, particularly for an older film. The colours do vary a little in some of the poorer effects sequences, but it could easily be argued that this adds to the b-movie charm of the movie.

    There are MPEG artefacts at any point in the movie.

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 language Dolby Digital 2.0 (192 Kbps) tracks and an audio commentary.

    The dialogue is quite clear throughout and at a good level in the mix. The dialogue sync is mostly good, with the obvious exception of Nuclear Man, who is voiced (but not acted) by Gene Hackman. There is one minor fault in the audio at 26:53 when a brief distorted sound follows a line of dialogue, but there is nothing amiss with the rest of the soundtrack.

    The music throughout is fairly consistent with the rest of the series, this time re-interpreted by long lime Star Trek composer Alexander Courage.

    There is a modest amount of pro-logic surround use in the 2.0 soundtrack. The basic surround does a good job of enhancing the atmosphere in the film. A small amount of bottom end makes its way to the subwoofer.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio

Audio Commentary - Mark Rosenthal (writer)

    Screenwriter Mark Rosenthal provides a rather candid commentary on the film. Though there are a few long pauses, there is plenty of good commentary here. Rosenthal explains what went wrong, what went right, what the intent of some parts was and discusses the development process in good detail (including the lengths Christopher Reeve went to in order to put the film, and most of its original cast, together). The level of honesty and reasonable objectivity in the commentary make this the best commentary on any of the 2006 Superman special editions.

Deleted Scenes (30:56)

    More than half an hour of deleted scenes, virtually all with incomplete effects, are included. Split into 15 segments (although some include a couple of related scenes), these scene make the movie, its intent at any rate, infinitely more comprehensible. Reportedly, around 45 minutes was removed from the original cut for budgetary reasons, so the picture is far from complete even with these scenes - but it is close.

    The scenes are presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and are 16x9 enhanced, but are not up to the same high standard of video quality that the main feature is afforded. The main culprit in the transfer here is film artefacts - and some big ones at that.

Theatrical Trailer (1:26)

    A fairly short trailer, but it does a good job of masking many of the shortcomings of the film.

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

     When not compared with the first two Superman movies, Superman IV makes for a strangely entertaining, though incomprehensible, B-movie. Alas, it will always live in the shadow of its lineage.

    The extras package is good, but would benefit from a some form of "behind the scenes" or "making of" featurette or commentary on the deleted scenes.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio is quite good for a basic 2.0 track.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Friday, December 15, 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)
Scenes of contention... - Wilson Bros -UK
Slip-of-the-finger correction... - Wilson Bros - UK REPLY POSTED

Overall | Superman-The Movie: Four-Disc Collector's Edition (1978) | Superman II: Two-Disc Special Edition (1980) | Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006) | Superman III: Deluxe Edition (1983) | Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: Deluxe Edition (1987) | Superman Returns (2006) | Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman (Extras Disc) (2006) | You Will Believe (The Ultimate Superman Collection Extras Disc 2) (2006)

Superman Returns (2006)

Superman Returns (2006)

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Released 5-Dec-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Web Links
Featurette-Making Of-Requiem For Krypton
Featurette-Resurrecting Jor-El (Superman's Father)
Deleted Scenes
Teaser Trailer
Theatrical Trailer
Game-Trailer EA Superman Returns
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 147:57
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Bryan Singer
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Brandon Routh
Kate Bosworth
Kevin Spacey
James Marsden
Parker Posey
Frank Langella
Case Amaray-Opaque-Dual-Secure Clip
RPI $44.95 Music John Ottman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Arabic
Greek
Hebrew
Icelandic
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

    Superman Returns marks the first Superman film since 1987's disastrous Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. It's hard to believe that it almost took a full two decades for another Superman film to be made. Even Schumacher's awful Batman & Robin only killed Batman on the big screen for 8 years. To think that it took 19 long years to see Superman re-emerge is a testament to how difficult it was for Warner Bros. to get the franchise back on track.

    Thankfully, Warner put their flagship superhero in the capable hands of Bryan Singer. Having firmly brought 21st century legitimacy to comic book movies with Fox's X-Men and X-Men 2, Singer jumped at the chance to resurrect the franchise and pay respects to the first two Superman films. In Singer's Superman lore, III and IV do not exist, and Superman Returns picks up 5 or so years after where II left off.

The Story:

    The prologue of Superman Returns is that scientists discover Kal-El's dead world of Krypton, causing Superman to depart in a spaceship to see if there are any other survivors. Originally occupying the first 10-12 minutes of the film, Singer shot an elaborate and expensive sequence that was ultimately cut from the film. Unfortunately, none of these shots occupy the deleted scenes, but a brief snippet can be seen in the original trailer.

    The movie opens with a world left without Superman, a Lois Lane that has moved on and a lonely mother wondering what happened to her son. Superman returns to Earth and Clark Kent returns to Metropolis (somewhat conveniently straight back into his old job). Clark is upset to see Lois has not only written a Pulitzer Prize winning piece on "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman" but is engaged and has a son. Not only that, but Superman failed to appear in court so Lex Luthor has been freed from prison due to a  lack of witness testimony.

    Luthor makes his way to the Fortress of Solitude and steals the crystals that Jor-El gave to Kal-El. The crystals enable him to hatch a plot that can upset the world balance and establish New Krypton on Earth. Meanwhile, Superman tries to adjust to a world that has survived without him.

The Cast:

    Newcomer Brandon Routh is fantastic, sharing a physical likeness to Christopher Reeve and eerily a voice that is strikingly similar. Routh does justice to the classic character. His Kent is not as vulnerable as Reeve's and his Superman is not as strong, but he holds his own and any new Superman will invariably be held up to Reeve as the benchmark. He does a good job and should definitely get another gig should a follow-up be ordered by Warners.

    Kate Bosworth was a surprising and controversial choice for Lois Lane. She certainly didn't do a bad job, but she is not the Lois Lane of choice. There were a few things that bugged me; firstly she doesn't look like Lois (I know that sounds weird but she doesn't), secondly she doesn't quite pull off the amusing charm that other iterations of Lois have done well and finally, she didn't have any real chemistry with Brandon Routh. Admittedly, I liked her a lot more in the role than I though I would but I'm still not convinced.

    Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor was always going to be a sure thing. He's dangerous, charismatic and a lot of fun to watch. Too bad that his plot to take over the world is more cartoony and lampoonish than the recent comic book Lex who wields significant political and financial power. A legitimately powerful Luthor (as opposed to a petty crook) would be extremely pleasing on the big screen.

    The rest of the cast are great in their respective roles. Parker Posey as Luthor sidekick Kitty is fun to watch and has some of the best lines in the film. James Marsden plays Richard White, the love interest of Lois Lane, whilst Jason White (Lois' kid) is played by the cute Tristan Lake Leabu.

The Verdict:

    Unfair comparisons have been made between Batman Begins and Superman Returns. Batman was perceived as a commercial and critical success. Superman, whilst critically acclaimed, was controversial and a relative box-office disappointment. In fact, Superman Returns actually outgrossed Begins (US $391 million to US $371 million) but Superman cost considerably more. Unfairly or not, over a decade's worth of development fees (as well as payments to creatively void producers like Jon Peters) were added to the production costs, even though they had nothing to do with Singer's end product. Returns is a continuation of Donner's vision of Superman, not a franchise reboot origin story like was required for Batman. As such, it was labeled (unfairly in my opinion) as not being original or creative and merely being a homage to Donner's Superman.

    It was lighter on action than it could have been but there was so much to enjoy about this film. I laughed a lot in this film - there are many genuinely funny moments. For example, cute kid Jason needing his asthma puffer when he sees Clark standing in front of a plasma TV that has Superman on screen, Clark pining at Lois in a crammed elevator and the elevator music is Quando, Quando, Quando ("Tell me when will you be mine......") and when Lex and Kitty return to the mansion to find only one dog. It might have been light on action, but it does have a lot of heart.

    Ultimately, as someone who grew up seeing Superman I and II on the big screen, Superman Returns did what the Star Wars prequels couldn't - it made me feel like a kid again. Watching the Star Wars prequels I felt like the kid who found out Santa wasn't real, a disillusioned adult seeing his childhood memories being stained. Watching Superman Returns, however, I felt like that wide-eyed kid who actually believed a man could fly. For 147 minutes I was that 7 year old kid again. For me, Superman Returns is a nostalgic homage to the original films but it also takes bold steps towards the future. Let's hope Singer gets another shot.

    Highly recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This PAL disc is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and is16x9 enhanced.

    Originally shot in high definition using the new Panavision Genesis HD camera, I was expecting a lot out of this transfer. Ultimately, it disappoints. Whilst not a bad picture, it is certainly not clear and in many places is undeniably soft. The other consideration is that it's a long movie, so it could be compression related. I'm not sure what the culprit is. Being the first film being shot on this camera perhaps WHV had the training wheels on for this transfer. HD-DVD and Blu-Ray reviews are positive so the master must look good. Too bad that our SD transfer falls short.

    Shadow detail is not great either as the picture tends to get a little muddied and grainy when the shot is not brightly lit.

    Colours are on the muted side and not as real world bright as they should be. Many scenes look surprisingly drab.

    There are no MPEG or other artefacts.

    Available subtitles are; English, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, and English for the Hearing Impaired.

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

Audio

    The audio fares substantially better than the video.

    The main audio is a competent English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s) track.

    The dialogue comes through clearly and is audible at all times.

    The surrounds get an excellent workout. Key moments include the airplane sequence and New Krypton.

    The sub woofer also gets plenty of use and is quite impressive in the film's key moments.

    The music is top notch. John Williams' stirring Superman theme has never sounded better and John Ottman's soundtrack is very good.

    Overall, a nice audio mix that gets you feeling like you could leap tall buildings in a single bound.

    There is also an English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) track.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Web Links

Featurette-Making Of-Requiem For Krypton (173:42)

    An incredibly long but amazing look at Superman's return to the silver screen. Wisely, the film is viewable in five shorter, friendlier chunks that are selectable as chapters from the front menu. The chapters are;

- Pt.1 Secret Origins & First Issues: Crystallizing Superman  (29:14): Highlights include video footage of Singer reading from his treatment to Warners before he even has the job, and Routh doing wardrobe and screen tests before he knew he had the role.

- Pt.2 The Crystal Method: Designing Superman (34:05) Highlights include seeing all of the work going into wardrobe, Singer getting agitated (in an amusing way) behind the scenes, Routh doing wire and pool work practicing the flying sequences (2 months of practice) as well as Sir Richard Branson dropping by for a cameo.

- Pt.3 An Affinity for Beachfront Property: Shooting Superman;

   Superman On the Farm (21:13): Shows the crew on location outside of Tamworth filming the Smallville farm scenes. Interestingly, Singer cast Parker Posey without ever having met her or even having spoken on the phone. It shows when they first meet out on the Tamworth farm.

   Superman in the City (37:00): Shows filming in downtown Sydney out the front of the Metropolis Hospital, The Daily Planet and with the out of control Mustang. Some fun pranks between cast members show the lighter side of cast and crew.

   Superman in Peril (16:02) Shows some of the stunt shots like flying in the elevator shaft, the sinking boat, the seaplane, and so on.

- Pt. 4 The Joy of Lex: Menacing Superman (21:32): A look at Kevin Spacey and the character of Lex. So much praise for the actor that it should be called Everyone Loves Spacey.

- Pt. 5 He's Always Around: Wrapping Superman (14:29): A brief closing look at wrapping the film and Superman.

Featurette-Resurrecting Jor-El (Superman's Father) (4:02)

    A brief but interesting look at how footage from Superman: The Movie was digitally enhanced for use in the film. Personally, I would've liked to have seen more, especially on finding the footage, getting Donner's blessing to use it, and other such topics.

Deleted Scenes

    Firstly, Easter Egg alert - from Play All press up on your remote for Superman's S logo to appear. Click on it for Kevin Spacey yelling "Wrong" about 50 times with a few outtakes in between.

    Most deleted scenes here were rightly excised from the film. However, it's widely known that there were shots of Kal-El going to and exploring the dead world of Krypton in the original screenplay. One of these shots is even in the Teaser Trailer. Disappointingly, none of these shots are shown in the deleted scenes. This fact and the absence of a Singer commentary lead me to believe a Superman Returns 1.5 or definitive/ultimate/mega/super re-release will be out sooner or later.

The Date: Martha Kent playing scrabble with a male friend.

Family Photos: Clark waking on the farm and then looking at family photos. Essentially this is an extended scene.

Crash Landing/X Ray Vision: Young Clark practising his gravity defying skills and using x-ray vision.

Old Newspapers: In the barn cellar, Clark sees newspapers with stories of all of the problems that have appeared whilst he was gone, including Lois' piece on Why the World doesn't need Superman.

Other scenes are; Are You Two Dating?, Martinis and Wigs, I'm Always Right, Jimmy the Lush, Language Barrier, Crystal Feet and New Krypton.

Teaser Trailer

    The trailer that got me excited for this film. Includes the brief shot of Kal-El's spaceship exploring Krypton that somehow didn't make the deleted scenes.

Theatrical Trailer

    The trailer that got me even more excited for the movie.

Game-Trailer EA Superman Returns

    Trailer for an apparently dodgy game.

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 has trailers for Justice League Heroes video games, and a promo reel for The Christopher Reeve Superman Collection. Besides that both versions are the same.

Summary

    Overall, a fantastic film that will make you feel like a kid all over again.

    The video is quite disappointing.

    The audio is good.

    The special features are very good, but be warned that no Krypton deleted scenes and no Singer commentary (apparently he has recorded one) mean a double dip down the track.

    Personally, I would buy this right away! If not, you should pick up the 13 disc Ultimate Set which contains these discs (I have both).

    Highly recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ben Smith (boku no bio)
Monday, December 18, 2006
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)
Returns with crap pictue quality. - Sean.
Re: Picture Quality is Rubbish - Anonymous
the inevitable re-release - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
video transfer - nitin
SUPERMAN ULTIMATE TIN REVIEW?? - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
Superman Returns Exclusive to JB! - Steveo
Superman Returns sound - Steveo
RE: Superman Returns sound - freddo_frog REPLY POSTED
Dynamic Range--sound - Le Messor (bio logy class)
Re: Dynamic Range--sound - Rodda (This... is my *bioom* stick!)
Re: Dynamic Range - Anonymous
Re:Dynamic range - JediDude (read my bio) REPLY POSTED
re Dynamic range - Tom (read my bio)
Dynamic Range--sound - Le Messor (bio logy class)
Re: Dynamic range - Neil
Annoying anti-piracy ad - Le Messor (bio logy class)
Star Wars. - Sean. REPLY POSTED
too dark too Drab - James
Too Dark Too Drab - Le Messor (bio logy class)

Overall | Superman-The Movie: Four-Disc Collector's Edition (1978) | Superman II: Two-Disc Special Edition (1980) | Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006) | Superman III: Deluxe Edition (1983) | Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: Deluxe Edition (1987) | Superman Returns (2006) | Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman (Extras Disc) (2006) | You Will Believe (The Ultimate Superman Collection Extras Disc 2) (2006)

Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman (Extras Disc) (2006)

Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman (Extras Disc) (2006)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 5-Dec-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary None
Rating ?
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 110:27
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kevin Burns
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring James Grant Goldin
Steven Smith
Forrest J Ackerman
Gilbert Adler
Anne Archer
Stephan Bender
Kate Bosworth
Dean Cain
Mike Carlin
Stockard Channing
Gerard Christopher
Jackie Cooper
Dan Didio
Case ?
RPI Box Music John Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Outtakes and archival footage

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

Plot Synopsis

    Look Up In The Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman is the first bonus disc in the Superman The Ultimate Collector's Edition.

    Having close ties to Superman's latest big screen incarnation, this excellent documentary is produced by Bryan Singer and is narrated by Kevin Spacey. Spanning almost two hours, Look Up In The Sky covers the history of Superman right from the early beginnings of Siegal and Shuster. Interestingly enough, their first story entitled Reign of the Superman was about an evil, bald mad man who used his telepathic abilities to take over the world. It wasn't until they tweaked the premise and got a lucky break that Superman became a success.

    The commentary progresses through the evolution of the character from the comic book, to radio dramas, the Fleischer studio animated shorts, movie serials, the TV show, the musical (what a low point), to the films and back again to television (Superboy, Lois & Clark as well as Smallville).

    What could potentially be a relatively dry historical rehash becomes an extremely interesting look at the 20th century birth, evolution, decline and re-emergence of one of pop culture's most important icons. I had never realised how the radio show had affected the character development, key characteristics like flying and vulnerability to Kryptonite were introduced not by DC Comics, but by the early radio dramatisation. Viewers are treated with rare behind the scenes footage of the classics as well as a look at the weirdest Superman spin-offs history should forget (The Adventures of SuperPup and Superman: The Musical).

    The documentary draws comments from an impressively diverse number of Superman universe alumni as well as fans of the Last Son of Krypton.

    Superman related participants include Dean Cain, Jackie Cooper, Richard Donner, Annette O'Toole, Ilya Salkind, Lesley Ann Warren, Brandon Routh, Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Jack Larson and Noel Neill.

    Non-Superman related interviewees include Stan Lee, Mark Hamill, Gene Simmons, Adam West and a few DC staffers and historians.

    This disc is definitely one of the jewels in the crown of The Ultimate Superman Collection. It is up there as one of the best (and enjoyable) special feature discs that I have ever watched (perhaps not surprisingly, it was directed by Kevin Burns the force behind the excellent Empire of Dreams doc in the Star Wars DVD set.)

    In the US, this disc went on sale prior to the theatrical release of Superman Returns and is available for sale separately. In Australia, this disc is only available as part of the collection.

    Thoroughly enjoyable and an absolute delight for both hardcore and casual fans.

    Highly recommended and a valuable addition to any self-respecting DVD fan's collection.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video is presented at the aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and the disc is 16x9 enhanced.

    Considering the age and diverse sources of the archival footage, I couldn't help but be impressed with the overall picture.

    Colours tend to be strong and vivid, but can be a little washed out in some older footage.

    Interview footage and clips from the recent TV shows and films looks excellent.

    Some of the older TV footage suffers from dirt and fading, but that's natural given the age.

    There were no digital or video artefacts.

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

Audio

    The audio for the doco was a solid Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack (448 Kb/s).

    The dialogue tended to be clear, but in a few spots the booming soundtrack did drown out the commentary.

    The show used the Superman theme to its advantage and when that John Williams theme got going, it sounded fantastic.

    Surrounds were used for the music tracks, but when it came to the older TV shows their original sound mix was kept intact.

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

Extras

    There are no special features on the disc, but make sure you watch the doco to the end as there is some great archival footage in the closing credits.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 disc seems to be identical to our Region 4 disc. As stated above, in Australia this disc is only available in the Ultimate Collection. However, in the US this is currently available as a single disc release and in the Ultimate set. In the US, there was a limited edition 2 disc release that had additional content but the single disc is the same as what we have.

Summary

    A fantastic doco that celebrates the legacy of Superman. Highly recommended.

    The video is very good.

    The audio is good.

    No special features on the disc, but the disc is part of the excellent special features of the set.

    Definitely worth seeing, but it's a shame R4 consumers don't have the freedom to buy this on its own.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ben Smith (boku no bio)
Thursday, February 22, 2007
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)
Mark Pillow... - Hot Fuzz's Evil Butchers, UK
Superman the Musical - Phillip Sametz
It's a Bird, It's a Plane - It's...really not very good. - Hot Fuzz's Evil Butchers.

Overall | Superman-The Movie: Four-Disc Collector's Edition (1978) | Superman II: Two-Disc Special Edition (1980) | Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006) | Superman III: Deluxe Edition (1983) | Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: Deluxe Edition (1987) | Superman Returns (2006) | Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman (Extras Disc) (2006) | You Will Believe (The Ultimate Superman Collection Extras Disc 2) (2006)

You Will Believe (The Ultimate Superman Collection Extras Disc 2) (2006)

You Will Believe (The Ultimate Superman Collection Extras Disc 2) (2006)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 5-Dec-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary None
Rating ?
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 162:25
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Constantine Nasr
Gina Hall
Constantine Nasr
Michael Sackett
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring None Given
Case ?
RPI Box Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    You Will Believe is the second bonus disc in The Ultimate Superman Collection.

    The disc has 5 sections;

    - You Will Believe: The Cinematic Saga of Superman: a great documentary about the Christopher Reeve films. It is divided up into 5 chapters so that it can easily be viewed in seperate settings.

    Origin (13:45)  The genesis of Superman and the difficulties the Salkinds faced getting the film into production

    Vision (21:14)  Getting the script, director and casting issues.

    Ascent (22:23)  The production and filming of Superman and most of Superman II

    Crisis (12:45)  Conflict behind the scenes leads to splitsville.

    Redemption (19:12) Not sure why this is called Redemption as it is about the dual disasters of Superman III and Superman IV

    Overall, an excellent feature that has a wealth of behind the scenes footage from the four films.

    - The Mythology of Superman (19:33): Voiced by Terence Stamp this all too brief video looks at the mythology of heroes and gods. Comments from various DC figures, writers, historians and filmmakers make an interesting and entertaining feature.

    - The Heart of a Hero: A Tribute to Christopher Reeve (17:58): A tender look at Reeve's life and the influence he had on family and friends. I enjoyed hearing from friends, some famous like Jane Seymour and some not like the Christopher Reeve Foundation co-founders. Some great anecdotes are shared. Great to watch, but if you grew up with Reeve as Superman it'll make you a little sad.

    - The Adventures of SuperPup: 1958 TV Pilot (20:40): Watch this at your own risk. After George Reeves committed suicide the studio decided that they couldn't recast Superman so they made this disaster instead. Logic prevailed and it never went to air.

    - Warner Bros. Cartoons: A few WB animated shorts, Super-Rabbit, Snafuperman and Stupor Duck.

    This disc is exclusive to The Ultimate Superman Collection.

    You Will Believe, the mythology doco and the Christopher Reeve tribute were great, but unfortunately SuperPup and the cartoons are little more than space fillers. The first three features are compulsory viewing for Superman fans.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video is presented at the aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and the menus are 16x9 enhanced.

    Considering the age and diverse sources of the archival footage, the overall picture was pretty decent.

    Colours tend to be strong and vivid, but can be a little washed out in some older footage.

    Interview footage and clips from the recent TV shows and films look excellent.

    Some of the older TV footage suffers from dirt and fading, but that's natural given the age.

    There were no digital or video artefacts.

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

Audio

    The audio track for the docos were a solid Dolby Digital 2.0 (192 Kb/s) Nothing outstanding, but certainly competent tracks.

    The dialogue and commentary sounded clear.

    The shows all had good quality sound.

    There was no surround or LFE use.

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

Extras

    This is one of the extras discs.

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc is identical to the R1 release.

Summary

    There were no special features.

    Overall, another great disc for the Ultimate Collection.

    The video was pretty good.

    The audio was good.

    Recommended!!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ben Smith (boku no bio)
Friday, February 23, 2007
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

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