Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

The Superman Motion Picture Anthology 1978-2006 (Blu-ray)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
8 out of 10
Extras Rating:
10 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: PG and PG-13

Starring:
Marlon Brando as Jor-El
Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor
Christopher Reeve as Superman / Clark Kent
Ned Beatty as Otis
Jackie Cooper as Perry White
Glenn Ford as Pa Kent
Trevor Howard as 1st Elder
Margot Kidder as Lois Lane
Jack O'Halloran as Non
Valerie Perrine as Eve Teschmacher
Maria Schell as Vond-Ah
Terence Stamp as General Zod
Phyllis Thaxter as Ma Kent
Susannah York as Lara
Jeff East as Young Clark Kent

Special Features:
DELUXE 8-DISC SET WITH OVER 20 HOURS OF BONUS FEATURES!

Disc #1
• Superman: The Movie, Original Theatrical
• Commentary by Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler (Original Theatrical Version)
• The Making of Superman: The Movie [1978 TV special]
• Superman and the Mole-Men [1951 feature]
• Warner Bros. Cartoons
Super-Rabbit [1943 WB cartoon]
Snafuperman [1944 WB cartoon]
Stupor Duck [1956 WB cartoon]
• Trailers

Disc #2
• Superman: The Movie, Expanded Edition
• Commentary by Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz (Extended Version)
• Taking Flight: The Development of Superman
• Making Superman: Filming the Legend
• The Magic Behind the Cape
• Screen Tests
Superman
Lois Lane with Optional Commentary
Ursa
• A Selection of Restored Scenes
• Additional Music Cues
Main Titles
Alternate Main Titles
The Council’s Decision
The Krypton Quake
More Mugger/Introducing Otis
Air Force One
Can You Read My Mind (Pop Version)
• Music Only Track (Donner Cut)

Disc #3
• Superman II, Original Theatrical
• Commentary by Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler (Original Theatrical Version)
• The Making of Superman II [1980 TV special]
• Deleted Scene
• First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series
• Fleischer Studios’ Superman
Superman
The Mechanical Monsters
Billion Dollar Limited
The Arctic Giant
The Bulleteers
The Magnetic Telescope
Electric Earthquake
Volcano
Terror on the Midway
• Theatrical Trailer

Disc #4
• Superman II - The Richard Donner Cut
• Commentary by Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz (Donner Cut)
• Introduction by Richard Donner
• Superman II: Restoring the Vision
• Deleted Scenes
• Famous Studios’ Superman
Japoteurs
Showdown
Eleventh Hour
Destruction, Inc
The Mummy Strikes
Jungle Drums
The Underground World
Secret Agent

Disc #5
• Superman III Theatrical Version
• Commentary by Iilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler
• The Making of Superman III (1983 TV Special)
• Deleted Scenes
• Theatrical Trailer

Disc #6
• Superman IV The Quest For Peace Theatrical Version
• Commentary by Mark Rosenthal
• Superman 50th Anniversary Special (1988 TV Special)
• Deleted Scenes
• Theatrical Trailer

Disc #7
• Superman Returns
• Requiem for Krypton: Making Superman Returns
Pt. 1 Secret Origins and First Issues: Crystallizing Superman
Pt. 2 The Crystal Method: Designing Superman
Pt. 3 An Affinity for Beachfront Property: Shooting Superman- Superman on the Farm
Pt. 4 An Affinity for Beachfront Property: Shooting Superman- Superman in the City
Pt. 5 An Affinity for Beachfront Property: Shooting Superman- Superman in Peril
Pt. 6 The Joy of Lex: Menacing Superman
Pt. 7 He’s Always Around: Wrapping Superman
• Resurrecting Jor-El
• Deleted Scenes including the never-before-seen original opening to Superman Returns
• Bryan Singer’s Journals – Video production journals
• Trailers

Disc #8 Additional Bonus Material
• Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman [Hi-Def]
• You Will Believe: The Cinematic Saga of Superman
Pt. 1- Origin
Pt. 2- Vision
Pt. 3- Ascent
Pt. 4- Crisis
Pt. 5- Redemption
• The Science of Superman [Hi-Def]
• The Mythology of Superman
• The Heart of a Hero: A Tribute to Christopher Reeve
• The Adventures of Superpup [1958 TV pilot]

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.77:1)
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Sound
French and Spanish Language
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 906 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Soar to New Hi-Def Heights with the Complete Movie Collection in Breathtaking Blu-ray Clarity and Sound! Deluxe 8-disc set with over 20 hours of bonus features!

Includes:
Superman The Movie
Superman The Movie: Expanded Edition
Superman II
Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut
Superman III
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
Superman Returns "

"Superman The Movie", "Superman II", "Superman III", and "Superman IV: The Quest For Peace" are rated PG.

"Superman The Movie: Expanded Edition" is rated PG for peril, some mild sensuality and language.

"Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut" is rated PG for sequences of action violence, some language and brief mild sensuality.

"Superman Returns" is rated PG-13 for some intense action violence.

Mini-Review:
If you're a fan of Superman, then this is a tremendous opportunity for you. To get every Superman movie from 1978 to 2006 in Blu-ray in one set is a fantastic deal. Not only that, but you get almost all of the bonus features from the previous DVDs. (I looked at the old DVDs I have and the only thing I could find missing was some old storyboards from the PC.) This is just a great addition to your Blu-ray collection.

Some of these films I've watched many, many times. I know every moment of "Superman: The Movie" and "Superman II" by heart. And it's amazing how much of the movie still stands strong today. The scenes with Marlon Brando saying goodbye to his son are still powerful. The scenes of Pa Kent encouraging Clark that he's destined for something bigger than football still resonates. And the scenes where Superman flies still look as good or better than any CG effect today. And of course there's the debut of Christopher Reeve. In my mind he's the definitive Superman. Not only does he look the part, but he perfectly embodies all aspects of the character. He has nobility, character, and strength as Superman despite the world's cynical attitude. He handles the bumbling yet pure-hearted Clark in a perfect way as well. He had a great balance of comedy and straight acting with the character. Then there's John Williams' soundtrack. No superhero movie since then (with the possible exception of Danny Elfman's "Batman" score) has been as good or as memorable. I don't know why Marvel can't create a lasting theme for one of their characters. Anyway, for me, "Superman: The Movie" is the film all other superhero movies are measured against.

But with the good you also take the bad. Until I got this Blu-ray set, I hadn't seen "Superman III" or "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace" in about 25 years. Some of it is better than I remembered. The battle between Clark Kent and "Jerk Superman" is equally amusing and dramatic. Clark's return to Smallville and facing his former classmates at a reunion is a fun moment. And Annette O'Toole is a great Lana Lang. I have to add that the computer turning the woman into a robot still freaks me out today. Some of the ideas in Superman 4 are also solid in theory. The idea of Lex Luthor cloning Superman and using him as a tool to destroy Superman is a solid idea. And the idea of Mariel Hemingway as Lacy Warfield romantically pursuing Clark Kent provides a lot of opportunity for comedy. And even I'll admit to laughing at Jon Cryer as Luthor's idiot nephew. But make no mistake about it, these movies are quite bad. They trade the depth and quality of the first film for campiness and poor writing. While there's obvious love and care put into the first movie, the later sequels seem like a quick cash grab. Still, they're worth revisiting if nothing more than to highlight what NOT to do in a superhero movie (Zack Snyder, take note!).

Also included in this set is "Superman Returns." It's a solid Superman movie and a great effort to return to the form of the first movie. The cast is great, the action is cool, and they re-used the John Williams' theme. I think where it went wrong was the tone and it broke the Superman formula. The movie was kind of dark and melancholy. It also split up Superman and Lois Lane and put her with another guy. Going heavy on the drama and light on the comedy ultimately hurt the movie. Still, it's an interesting take on the character.

This Blu-ray set is absolutely jam packed with all of the previous DVD bonus features. You could spend weeks going through them all, but the bonus features take things even further by including a bunch of Fleischer Studios Superman cartoons, a Superman documentary by Bryan Singer and Kevin Burns, various Superman TV specials, and much, much more. There's so much here it's just mind-blowing.

"The Superman Motion Picture Anthology" is a required addition to any family's Blu-ray collection. It's great for young, new fans of Superman as well as adults revisiting the films from their childhood. The set is well worth the investment.

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