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Look, Up In The Sky... It's An Amazing Box Set,
This review is from: Superman - The Ultimate Collection [DVD] (DVD)
This box set comes with a slightly hefty price tag but believe me, dear reader, this is a set no Superman fan can afford to be without.
Everything about this box set, from the contents to the packaging, has been specially and thoughtfully considered in order to really give The Man of Steel his due.
I assume Richard Donner's 1978 Superman needs no introduction. It's present here in both its theatrical form and the 2000 extended edition are both available here. Both cuts look and sound excellent (if you've not seen the famous credit sequence in 5.1 surround sound, you haven't lived)and are supplemented by a host of superb bonus features. All the documentaries, deleted scenes and screen tests from the 2000 Superman release are here along with a surprisingly good period "Making of" doc.
Warner Bros have also been kind enough to throw in the ENTIRE Fleischer studios Superman cartoons. These animated shorts are endlessly charming and tremendous fun!
The 1951 Superman TV pilot, Superman and the Mole Men is here too. While it doesn't represent the best of the 50s TV series it's a nice and welcome addition.
Superman II gets the same treatment with similar extras. This set contains not only Richard Lester's theatrical version but a new cut by Superman director, Richard Donner. The Donner cut, by the way, may as well be a completely different film with a great deal more footage. Both are excellent in their own ways, though I think the Donner cut exists to supplement the original Superman II, not supplant it.
The first 2 Superman films have commentaries by producers Illya Salkind and Pierre Spengler as well as Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz. All are worth listening to, though Mr Salkind does come across a little pompous.
Superman III is well represented here, boasting a commentary track by Messers Salkind and Spengler, a period "Making of" and a slew of deleted scenes. While Superman III is not, generally fondly remembered I've loved it since I was a child and it's still a fun romp. Christopher Reeve is on form as ever and his interactions with Anette O'Toole show a genuine chemistry. Even if everything except the near legendary Superman vs Superman scene were chopped away, there'd still be a film worth watching.
Superman IV, while universally loathed, is firmly in the "so bad it's good" category for me. From the 'masonry vision' to Nuclear Man's mullet to Lenny Luthor's attrocious "valley boy" accent there's always something to giggle at in the film. It comes with a commentary by co-screenwriter Mark Rosenthal (essentially a two hour apology) and a bunch of deleted scenes which are silly and fun additions.
Superman Returns is here too, with pretty much the same content as the 2 disc special edition. I find the film to be a highly underrated and enjoyable take on The Man of Steel and I'm grieved slightly that Bryan Singer probably won't be asked to return to direct another Superman. The film looks absolutely stunning and the 5.1 track does the sound effects and John Ottman's score proud. The 3 hour documentary Requiem for Krypton is a comprehensive account of the film's production from inception to completion and there are also a handful of highly entertaining deleted scenes.
As if all this weren't enough, the set is capped off with two truly excellent documentary discs. "Look, Up In The Sky The Amazing Story of Superman" is a brilliant and comprehensive documentary detailing Big Blue's every incarnation from his early comic strips through the animated series and Lois & Clark to the Smallville TV series and Superman Returns.
"You Will Believe", the final documentary of the set is a highly detailed and frank account of the creation and reception of the Superman film franchise right up to 1984's Supergirl. While much of the material (especially concerning the first two films) is already seen or mentioned elsewhere it's still an entertaining and informative documentary.
The disc also contains some vaguely Superman related Warner Bros cartoons, as well as a cute, unseen TV pilot called 'Superpup'.
There are also two smaller documentaries. The Mythology of Superman is an interesting take on the superhero's roots in Greek and early mythologies narrated by Terrence Stamp and featuring many of Dcs heavyweight writers and editorial staff. The Heart of a Hero: A Tribute to Christopher Reeve is a deeply touching documentary about the man who made us all believe a man could fly. Fellow actors and crew members join friends and co-workers in remembering this remarkable man and my only regret is that it doesn't mention Reeve's political activism and staunch work for human rights.
My apologies for the lengthly review but it doesn't even encompass ALL the material in this magnificent box set.
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Initial post: 17 Mar 2014 11:50:05 GMT
All you want in a review & much more.
Good product review.
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