Review: Thanks to the Circuit City DVD sale this week, Mr. Monster was finally able to purchase the long awaited Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut for only $5.99.
For those who don't know, Richard Donner was the director of the original Superman movie and was filming the sequel at the same time as part I. After nearly completing Part II, Donner was taken off the movie by the studio and replaced with another director, Richard Lester who ended up crafting his own story and releasing the sequel that we've seen over the last 30 years. Lester used some footage from Donner's version but Donner's unique take never resurfaced, until 2006.
After being seen by only a few and reading that Donner's version was also good (I liked Lester's Part II also) I wanted to be able to compare their films. In a short take Donner's version has the strongest take on Clark Kent/Superman's decision to lose his powers in order to be with Lois Lane, his speech on giving so much to humanity and only wanting one thing he desired was pretty strong. There is also additional scenes with Marlon Brando's Jor-El speaking to his son. Another strong point is that the three villains had stronger presence here and were more diabolical in taking over the U.S., I do wish that their deleted scenes that was not integrated into the main move WERE added in.
There are weaknesses to this film as well. The film misses some of the more light-hearted and comical aspects from Lester's film, scenes are not played out as long causing viewers to miss segments that would explain ideas better such as why Clark had to lose his power? I do wish they cleaned up some areas that did not make sense such as the villains able to talk to the astronauts on the moon (airless) and such. The ending for me was the low point since it takes the same cue as the original movie and so I wish they updated it for this version. Sure, it was the original intended ending, but since it was already done in Part I, why do it again 30 years later when they could have made the ending more logical. The first eight minutes of the movie is also a recap of the original film that ties into Part II, a bit longer than I feel should have been shown.
The score shouldn't reflect the overall enjoyment of the movie, it is enjoyable but if you were expecting something significant, then this DVD isn't it. It has certain good aspects not present in the theatrical version, but nothing super-new that would warrant non-superman buffs to go out and get this version. For film historians and comic book geeks, this one is for you. Compare and enjoy!
Score: 2.95 out of 5