Thursday, June 24, 2010

Superman II - The Richard Donner Cut

I like the films of director Richard Donner. Films like the classic Lethal Weapon and its follow-ups.

When Donner made the original Superman movie with Christopher Reeve, he also shot much of what he intended as Superman II. But then he was fired. And replaced with UK director Richard (A Hard Day's Night) Lester.

Superman II came out in 1981 and was a smash. But it was not what Donner had in mind. Lester's film had a very different tone from the first. While it was OK, it felt too jokey to me. I remember not liking it. It didn't feel right. It wasn't true to the spirit Donner had created in the first film.

Fast forward to 2006, and the Richard Donner cut of Superman II was released. I finally saw it tonight.

While the film is a somewhat strange result, cobbled together as best they could from footage found in a vault, I am so glad they made the effort. The Donner cut features a wonderfully moving performance by Reeve and has brought back the heart that Donner had invested in the first film.

In fact, that's what Donner is about: heart. The heart of human relationships. Look at the connection between Murtaugh and Riggs in Lethal Weapon.

In the Donner cut of Superman II, the scenes between Superman and his ghostly father Jor-El (played by Marlon Brando), where the son is torn between his mission to care for humanity and his love for a mortal woman, will bring a tear to your eye.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, June 24, 2010

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