T Nation

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut

Anyone interested in watching the new version of Superman II to be released on November 28th on DVD? I haven’t seen yet but it’s received some glowing, mixed, and a few negative reviews so far.

For many who don’t know the history, Richard Donner directed both Superman I and II simultaneously. However, the project was running over budget so Superman II was halted so Donner could finish Superman I. Donner completed about 70% of Superman II.

After Superman I was released, the producers fired Donner due to several issues and brought in director Richard Lester. Because a director needs to shoot 50% of a film to receive credit, Lester deleted much of Donner’s footage and replaced them with alternative material.

This year, Warner asked Donner to restore his version of Superman II, handing over tons of unused film footage locked in a studio vault. This includes “new” footage of scenes between Christopher Reeve and Marlon Brando (Jor-EL). The movie, for instance, shows a key scene where Jor-El restores Superman’s powers (you may remember when a wounded Clark picks up the green crystal in the Fortress, the movie cuts away with no explanation of how Clark became Superman again).

There’s new scenes in which Lois attempts to force Clark to reveal his secret identity (replacing the scenes showed in 1980) which include Lois jumping out the window of the Daily Planet building and shooting Clark with a gun in the Niagra Falls hotel room.

Donner shot all scenes in both movies with multiple cameras so much of the movie will has been re-edited to show the same scenes at different camera angles and with different takes.

More info on wikipedia:

Of course I will buy it. From what I understand, Lester took the film and made it more “comedic” and took away the harder edge that Donner intended. Many comic book films after this did the same, like the ultra crapfest Batman and Robin. The Superman movies fell down hill over and over after the first one…even though General Zod stole the show when I was a kid.

I also remember seeing that scene where the mute (the larger Kryptonian with Zod) killed a kid on horseback by tossing a headlight at him with super speed as the kid ran away for help. They showed that version in movie theaters when it first came out but then removed it for every showing afterwards. It isn’t even on the packaged DVD they sold with all 4 movies over a year ago.