Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006)


Only after I began watching today did I realize, that I had only ever seen the theatrical version of Superman II and never this newly re-released version, despite having heard so much about it.  After watching the opening scene, and seeing that I was looking at something relatively new, I became very excited.  After all, my childhood hero was Superman, and I do own the entire DVD collection of the four movies.  Unfortunately, I had purchased it before the Richard Donner Cut was officially released.

I mostly judge this movie in comparison to the original theatrical release, which despite hardcore fans’ criticisms, holds a special place in my heart.  It is also because the original release holds a special place in my heart that I cannot rate this edition above the original.  However, I can see the complete difference in the entire tone of the movie from beginning to end.  It indeed does link much more closely with the first Superman movie.  It also features much less of the original “campy” humor lines that were in the Lester directed version of the film.

I am neither a proponent nor an opponent to these changes; I only see them two very different ways of telling the same story.  Sadly, the original version featured some pretty poorly integrated scenes  in addition to scenes containing a drunk Margot Kidder.  But the new one had its own share of drawbacks, mostly likely due to the fact that they only used original shots and that it was re-made only through editing processes.  This means there were no new scenes shot and some of Lester’s scenes had to be used align parts of the plotline.  Poor editing also caused subtle inconsistencies in the video and audio quality when switching between camera angles and scenes.

Overall, I’d still say this version is more suitable for a more faithful Superman fan, and that the theatrical version by Richard Lester is much better for a broad audience which is looking for more of a fun film featuring Superman.  The Richard Donner Cut does indeed seem much more dark.  And because no additional filming was possible, some of the scenes and transitions still seem slightly disjointed.  Also, the musical score is not as well matched in this version since they were not able to re-hire John Williams for it, and merely had to use, again, what they already had available in their stock.


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