Superman Fan Fiction TV Script: UP AND AWAY by Jessi Thind

Jonathan Kent desperately searches for his runaway eleven-year-old son throughout the United States before he hurts someone with newfound powers he is just beginning to understand.

CAST LIST:

Police Officer: Brian Carlton
Jonathan: Brandon Knox
Narrator: Val Cole
Linda: Alex Simpson
Clark: Randy Baumer
Douglas: Harry Judge

You can also submit via FilmFreeway:

***

Producer/Director: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Festival Moderators: Kierston Drier, Shepsut Wilson
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: Kimberly Villarruel

Festival Directors: Mary Cox, Rachel Elder, Natasha Levy

Camera Operators: Hugh Ritchie, Isabal Cupryn, Aser Santos Jr., Zack Arch

Movie Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS, 2010

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

JUSTICE LEAGUE CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS MOVIEJUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS, 2010
Movie Reviews

Directed by Lauren Montgomery, Sam Liu

Voices: Mark Harmon, Alyssa Milano, William Baldwin, James Woods, Chris Noth, Gina Torres, Gary Cole,
Review by Evan McCaffrey

SYNOPSIS:

When an alternate universe of evil superheroes threatens to destroy their world, The Justice League must team up with Lex Luthor in order to save the day.

REVIEW:

For the past few years, DC Comics and Warner Brothers have combined forces to deliver a slew of direct-to-video comic book adaptations to the market. It is a series of films that deals with the source material faithfully, and respects its viewing audience. These are not a watered down kids film. Each one is filled with level of emotion and intensity one would expect from the source material. “Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths” is no exception.

Often, when lesser-known entities of the comic book world are given feature film franchise, they are treated with less respect than they deserve, (i.e. ‘Daredevil’, ‘Ghost Rider’ to name a few.) The companies will take the name of the franchise, throw on a director who does not have the vision to fully realize these films, and then attach a star with little or no regard to how he fits in with the actual character. Fortunately, this film does not fall into that category. Though it is animated movie, it still contains everything you could want out of a Justice League film

As the movie begins, Lex Luthor and the Jester, an alternate universe Joker, have stolen a device of immense power. However, in doing so, they trip the alarms, and are quickly set upon by a mysterious and powerful force. It becomes quite clear at this point that this is not the Joker and Luthor we have grown to hate. In order to save his friend, the “Jester” sacrifices himself in order to give Luthor a head start, (something the Joker would never do.) Luthor’s head start is brief, and in moments, he is quickly surrounded by what appears to be a group of superheroes. Knowing he has no choice, he flicks on the device, and in a flash of light, he vanishes.

The story quickly shifts to our universe, where Luthor suddenly appears. Turning himself in to the Justice League, he convinces them he is not the Luthor this world despises so well, but from an alternate dimension where he is good and they are bad. On his planet, alternate versions of the Justice League have gone rogue and are creating a bomb that, if ignited, will destroy the entire planet. With little hesitation (the movies one quick and forgivable fault), the Justice League takes up Luthor’s cause, and joins forces to save his world from utter annihilation.

This is a fun movie. It provides roughly 78 minutes of solid entertainment. It never gets bogged down with too much exposition. It understands the audience watching this film, and it knows you already have an idea who most of the main characters are. Only once does it revert to a flashback, and that flashback is done in a way in which does not hinder the main story, but fleshes out one of the only characters I was slightly confused about. That is a testament to the writing abilities of the screenwriters. They know we have a solid foundation on most of the main characters. No one watching this film is going to be clueless about the motivations of either Superman or Batman. And most people have some sort of understanding of the Green Lantern, The Flash and Wonderwoman. It is this one character, J’onn J’onzz (The Martian Manhunter), that people will be confused about. Since the writers know this, he is the only character given a, if small, fleshed out backstory. I truly appreciate the respect and admiration these films have for their audience.

Now, as a story, does the film work. Yes. Absolutely. You will not go into this movie expecting the caliber of Christopher Nolan, but you will still get something immensely enjoyable out of this viewing. Not only is the story interesting, it is incredibly fun to watch. It is also very intense. People die, and, towards the end, the movie takes a dark turn reminiscent of “Watchmen.” It is a short movie, but one that delivers on all levels it intends to.

Studios take note; this is how you make a superhero movie. You do not need to always make an origin story. This is a movie that respects the audience and takes risks with its story. It knows what the fan base wants to see, and it delivers on all fronts. I can’t wait for the day that some company decides to stop playing the safe route, and to make comic films that deal with some of the more extreme stories in their universe. Until then, this movie more then satisfies that desire.

 

Movie Review: MAN OF STEEL (2013)

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  MOVIE POSTERMAN OF STEEL, 2013
Movie Reviews

Director: Zack Snyder

Stars: Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon

Review by Joshua Starnes

SYNOPSIS:

An alien infant is raised on Earth, and grows up with superhuman abilities. He sets out to use these abilities to guard his adopted world.

REVIEW:

Superman may be the most difficult of all the iconic superheroes to tell stories about. He is so powerful he defies the ability to fall into peril or crisis; he is so upstanding he defies the likelihood of meeting challenges with the darker sides of human nature. He defies all of the usual milestones storytellers use for creating conflict and drama.

Because of that many writers are unsure of what to do with him — do they play him straight, risking making him humorless and dull, or do they mock how straight he is and risk making him a joke.

In theory some sort of middle ground is the best way to go, but that is easier said than done and director Zack Snyder’s (“Watchmen”) has come down more or less on the straight side for “Man of Steel,” his reboot of the Superman franchise.

Unlike “Spiderman” it’s been long enough since Richard Donner first took the character on in the late 70s that a reboot is not a bad idea. And it’s been said that Superman is so plot-breakingly powerful the only real story he has is his origin, his decision to become Superman in the first place.

The basic story should be familiar even to non-fans. With the destruction of his planet Krypton eminent, scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe) hastily builds a ship to send his only son (Henry Cavill) away, where he will eventually land in Kansas, planet Earth. There the unique atmosphere and solar radiation gives him power like no man has had before and with it a question he doesn’t even know how to begin answering; what to do with all that power?

It’s a good way to approach the character, but if Snyder’s film is anything to go by the answer mainly seems to be ‘beating up other superpeople and destroying lots of stuff.’ If that is the end all and be all of what you want from a superhero movie then “Man of Steel” is going to be all that you’re looking for. If you want any more than that, particularly in the character and story department, you might be in for a little disappointment.

Not that it is completely absent in that regard. Screenwriter David Goyer (working from a story with his old “Dark Knight” co-hort Christopher Nolan) does seem to have actually thought long and hard about what growing up with Superman’s powers would be like, how that would affect the individual dealing with them, and how the world would react to discovering such a person living in their midst.

They’ve come up with several different answers to that, from Kal-El’s adopted Earth parents (Kevin Costner & Debra Winger) telling him to hide what he can do, to his own sense of moral questioning about his place in the world and whether or not he can actually refrain from having a simple human reaction to some normal human provocation.

But that sort of intelligent examination of character takes up a lot of time if done right, which would take away from time being devoted to superstrong people trying to bash each other’s brains in. We can’t have that, so character and thematic development have to be squashed to quick flash backs (devoted as much to showing young Kal/Clark using his super gifts as anything else) and short interludes to make certain this two and a half hour movie never suffers from a lack of action.

The result, besides some often abbreviated character work (it’s unclear, for instance, why Perry White is even in the film) is an extremely uneven pace particularly the beginning which must rush through an extremely quick and not entirely clear opening sequence on Krypton through Clark’s early childhood so that by the end of the first hour he has already grown up, traveled to the far north, met the ghost of his father, saved intrepid reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams) from an alien security robot and decided to become Superman. Complete with red boots.

And, oh yes, alerted his father’s age old enemy (Michael Shannon) to his whereabouts leaving the Earth with far more than just one alien to worry about.

Snyder has an excellent visual sense for action sequences and the unlimited power of Superman and unlimited budget of Warner Bros. create a great outlet for it — he has spent an in ordinate amount of time figuring out what these sort of action scenes would be like — the full scale of superman’s power is frequently on screen. And by frequently I mean more than half of the running time. Fully the entire last half of the film is given over to extended battles between Superman and Zod (or his lieutenants).

Individually each is fantastic in and of itself, particularly the extended battle against Faora (Antje Trau) in Smallville, who actually makes a far better villain than Shannon who seems to bounce continually from being very flat and very over the top and never with the gravitas required.

But barely is there any breathing room from that sequence before the next is getting underway. In their desire to make sure the audience gets what they want out of “Man of Steel” the filmmakers have ignored the most basic rules of story structure, skipping right over rising action in order to have a constant stream of climaxes, forgetting that without one the other doesn’t work. After a while it’s just overwhelming and a little over done.

There honestly is a lot to like about “Man of Steel.” It looks great and is technically resplendent. Snyder has put together an excellent ensemble and when he bothers to use them they shine. It’s just a little too rushed to make room for too many actions scenes which we are ultimately emotionally dislocated from due to the lack of developed story. It’s not a bad start but it could be better. On the optimistic side there is a lot of room to get better and hopefully, with the start out of the way, the next try will be better yet.

ACTORZack Snyder
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORHenry Cavill
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORAmy Adams
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORRussell Crowe
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORMichael Shannon Clark
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORKevin Costner
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORDiane Lane
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORLaurence Fishburne
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORChristopher Meloni
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORJadin Gould
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORAntje Traue
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORRichard Schiff
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORAyelet Zurer
Best of the ARTIS

 

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Movie Review: SUPERMAN RETURNS, 2006

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SUPERMAN RETURNS MOVIE POSTER
SUPERMAN RETURNS, 2006
Classic Movie Review
Directed by Bryan Singer
Starring Brandon Routh, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Parker Posey, James Marsden
Review by Andrew Kosarko

 

SYNOPSIS:

For five years, Superman (Brandon Routh) has been away from Earth, coaxed into space by a belief that Krypton may still exist. Finding nothing, he comes back to a changed world–not only has terrorism become rampant, but Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) has married, started a family, and won the Pulitzer for her piece “Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman.” After a stop in Smallville to see his adopted mother (Eva Marie Saint), Superman is back in Metropolis, and Clark Kent has his old job back at the Daily Planet, with everyone still incredibly oblivious to his alter ego. But where there’s Superman, there’s Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey), and he is likely to be planning something dastardly–in this case, using a piece of pilfered kryptonite to grow an entirely new continent that he will control.

REVIEW:

This is not the Superman movie we all wanted. That’s pretty much a nutshell so you prepped for how the rest of this review is going to go. The ….well…..we’ll get to all of it as we go so I don’t harp over the same things repeatedly…..

The Story:

So Superman is homesick to a home he never knew and apparently, some NASA scientists think they found that his planet didn’t actually blow up and that it’s still there. That’s about as much of this movie that’s going to make sense for you until the ridiculousness butts in and overtakes it. Ignoring everything he’s learned from his dead father’s crystal in the fortress of solitude, Superman somehow fit himself into the tiny space ship he originally came to earth in and got it to fly again, piloted it back to where his home was supposed to be, found out NASA wasn’t on their game (anyone surprised? Anyone?) and now returns to earth after a long long time. Now all this takes place off screen, which in my opinion would have been pretty interesting to see him struggle with the decision of leaving and how the heck he did all the things I listed above.

But that’s neither here nor there. Let’s get to it. Lex got out of prison (because Superman violated his rights when he stopped him = aka a technicality let him loose. I buy it. Good job movie) and then swindled some old lady out of her fortune. So now he’s a clean slate with a boat load of money. Hey….wait a second….are we trying to get him back on track with the comics version of Lex Luthor? Maybe….or maybe not. He’s still after this whole “I want land and to kill tons of people” deal. Psssst….Lex just hates Superman. He’s not a mass murderer or money hungry. Lex Luthor’s hatred for Superman is based on the ideal that Superman restrains society from bettering themselves. A good metaphor is that Lex is the son of an overprotective parent, but he’s ready to move out of the house and be on his own. Make sense? Hopefully it does. But ok, so we need a villain for the movie. Lex wants land, I’ll take it. So in retrospect, this film is supposed to take place after Superman II (aka – Richard Pryor, Jacoby and Myers guy and Nuclear Man never happened), so Lex knows where and how the Fortress of solitude is. So with his new yacht and his criminal cronies, he sets forth on a venture to take some crystals from the Fortress to make his own weapons and…you guessed it, his own island (key part of that last word = land). Superman, however, returns to the world and finds out they don’t care about him anymore. That is, until Lois’ plane launches into space. How she survived that many years without him, I have no idea. But he saves her in the most thrilling movie scene I’ve ever witnessed. This scene was just so….Superman. I loved it. And then the movie dies and spirals downwards. Superstalking of Lois, Lois and Superman had a kid (how the hell the kid didn’t kill her when he was kicking in the womb is beyond me. Maybe because he hadn’t been exposed to sunlight – which is what gives Big Blue his power, but still at least they gave him asthma. A realistic effect of interbreeding two different species.) So after about an hour an a half of boring, the movie picks up with a glimmer of hope. Lex forges his new island, shanks Superman in the back with a jarred piece of kryptonite and throws him off a cliff. Ok, I’m awake again. Then Lois finds him in the water and pulls him out. Problem not so dramatically solved. Meanwhile, Lex and his crew are chilling on the island doing nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. And then there’s this whole forgotten part of the story. Lex outlined his evil plan to Lois on the boat about how the island would displace water and kill millions, err, BILLIONS of people. And yeah…no title wave. Not even high tide. In internet language, this would be called an “Epic Fail.” But we’re not done yet. Superman, now pissed and charged up in the sunlight decides that the same island, which in case you don’t remember is made partially of kryptonite, decides that the same island he was stabbed and beaten on before because he was too weak to walk on it, well he’s just going to go swimming and lift that sucker out of the ocean and throw it into space. Alright, I’ll grant him a little leniency. Willpower and adrenaline can make people do some crazy stuff. Then, after he plays island toss he falls to the ground (passing right by the sun mind you which would have re-powered him instantly) and is in a supercoma. Now the doctors easily rip off a costume that repels bullets, then try and poke him with needles like they think it’s going to work. But the biggest problem is, they know how he ticks. They know sunlight powers him and his skin is tough and all that. And so what do they do? They put him in a hospital room……and SHUT THE BLINDS. Are you freaking kidding me? And then Lois comes in and plants a magic wake up kiss on him and that’s that. He’s back to super stalking her and now his estranged child (who mind you threw a piano and killed a guy earlier. Very Super-man like. NOT.) And Lex is stuck on a desert island to munch on dogs. Do I need to backtrack and miss all the other points I missed? Nah, I think I hit the major ones here. Let’s move on shall we?

Acting:

Brandon Routh – Clark / Superman: Ok now this was good. He’s not boring. He’s not unbelievable. He’s the second best Superman we’ve got (tied with Tom Welling in this reviewers opinion.) Routh may look like Reeve, but he’s also got something there to back it up. He’s good at playing a double role and makes all the cheesy stuff funny, and not so cringe worthy. And I believe that this character is tortured emotionally when I watch him. Excellent job.

Kate Bosworth – Lois Lane: Not bad. Not great. She’s just ok. She’s better than Margot Kidder was, and not annoying like Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane in Spider-man. But she also isn’t exactly likable. For whatever reason a strong independent woman in a movie has to be somewhat of a bitch. There, I said it. And it bothers me. She doesn’t have to try so hard. Lois is tough skinned, sure. But she’s a little whiney in the film. If you had given me Katie Holmes’ “Rachel” from Batman Begins and put her in as Lois in this film, then it would have been perfect if you ask me. Even the casting I could have liked more. Nothing against Bosworth. But Lane should be likable to some extent.Kevin Spacey – Lex Luthor: Spacey toes the line of an amazing Lex. Which is needed. He’s not perfectly the comic book mythos and he’s not Gene Hackman either. I like to look at this film as a “transition” for Lex. It really is setting him up to be much darker for later on in the franchise. And I can deal with a little camp from him now if that means we’ll get rewarded later. Spacey has fun with the role as anyone would, but he needs to play it more of a “10 steps ahead of everyone but acting like he’s not” a little more. Then he’ll be right on the money.

James Marsden – Lois fiancé: I don’t even remember his name. I know he’s Perry’s nephew or something, but he’s just a throw away character so we can hear Lois’ feelings about Superman, a red herring for the boy’s father and also potential death bate for a later film. All while still being the ex-bf that Superman will have to overcome. Cuz yeah, we have a character with all these powers but we want that O.C. type drama. *Rolls eyes*

Parker Posey – Kitty: Funny, believable. But overall…not really needed. She’s a nice character for Lex to play off of but in the end she’s just another girl pining over the alien boy scout.Frank Langella – Perry White: Grumpy, yet not the kind of grumpy that we got from the Reeves’ movies. It’s just not as much fun. I did like how they’re hinting that Perry figured out Clark’s secret. I mean come on. Clark comes back to work the same day that Superman shows back up. Way to keep the coast clear on that one Clark. Kal Penn – Lex’s head goon: Yeah, all his lines were cut. So I can’t tell you how he did.

Sam Huntington – Jimmy Olsen: Ok as Clark’s confidant, but more like a tag along here. He really should be Lois’ side kick but I only remember one scene with them together. And it was a set up for a joke about the “it’s a bird, it’s a plane” line.

Cinematography:

One of the main thing I did love about this film is the crisp clear and beautiful shots. Everything is very nostalgic and romantic. It’s very nice to watch on blu-ray or high def. Especially some of the action scenes. The colors are vibrant and it’s a well done translation of a comic property to a film medium.

Production Design:

Also amazing. Everything is very noir and shiny and clean. The way it should be. Look at it like this: Superman is the opposite of Batman. In every way. Batman’s city should be grimy and gothic and nasty. Superman’s should be super clean and brand new. And it is. +2 points for that.

Editing:

For the most part, it just seems like the pacing of the movie is too slow. The writing is at the main fault for that with too much lulls in the action but the editing isn’t minimalist enough to make up for it and many people find themselves getting bored.Top of Form

Special Effects:

It’s pretty. But it ain’t no man on strings. Give me that over CGI any day of the week. Please. I beg you. Use strings. And don’t be lazy in the next film with a CGI cape. It’s just….annoying.

Score:

John Williams created the theme. So it always gives me goosebumps when I hear it. It encompasses Superman perfectly and is just as recognizable as Reeves, the “S” logo or anything else identifiying with Superman. John Ottman does a good job with what he has. And although I’m glad he gave Lex Luthor a new theme that doesn’t remind me of Ewoks, it’s also not that memorable either. But I give him credit for trying. In closing:

This movie is maddening to me. I have said before that Superman and his co-characters have the potential to making the greatest superhero film ever made….ever. This movie doesn’t even seem like it’s trying to me. Sure, it takes it a little more seriously. But when you’re playing with the possibilities that they are and you don’t take them as far as you can go with them, it’s a let down. It can be so much more than what it was. A note I would give to the film makers – it’s ok if Superman has too many problems. It’s even better if he can’t stop all of them. That’s what makes good drama. So my final consensus is that this movie is worth watching to see the Plane sequence alone. After that, if you need to mow the lawn, do the dishes, straighten out your taxes or sleep, by all means, feel free.

 

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Movie Review: SUPERMAN 2 (1980)

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SUPERMAN 2 MOVIE POSTER
SUPERMAN 2, 1980
Movie Reviews

Directed by Richard Lester, Richard Donner
Starring: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando and Terrance Stamp.
Review by Andrew Kosarko

SYNOPSIS:

Picks up where Superman 1 leaves off (kind of) and extends into the “I don’t want to be Superman” storyline right after he’s just become Superman.

REVIEW:

Now, I know that synopsis was a little weaker than usual, but that basic gist of both movies. And yes, I mean there’s two different versions of this and that’s whats kept me from writing this review for so long. But now I’ve seen both Lester and Donner’s versions. Despite what some may say, I prefer Lester’s version overall, but Donner definitely had the right mind going in.

The Story:

Both films deal with Clark’s decision to give up his powers in an attempt to live a normal life with Lois. My issue with this is only that it happens so soon in the franchise / continuity of the story since both films timelines are supposed to be set back to back – picking up where one left off. But that’s irrelevant at this point. Here’s the lowdown in the difference between the two films: Donner makes a better character arc for Clark in the discussions with Jor EL (Brando) and the laying down of the Superman mantle is much more interesting and explained. Furthermore, the love scenes between Clark/Superman and Lois Lane work so much better in this version. The very first scene with Lois and Clark in the Donner cut made me so happy. It was something I had always wanted to see. Oddly enough though, while the romance/revealing of Clark as Superman and the character transitions that are better handled in this film still leave Clark out as the main focus of the film. It’s very Dark-Knightish in the scene that the story is kind of all over the place and doesn’t necessarily stick with Superman most of the time. In fact, he really doesn’t show up for about an hour into the film – which for an origin is acceptable, but this is the sequel here; lets get shit moving can we? Now, here’s where Lester’s version comes in. While some of the ideas that are utilized in the action sequences are quite ridiculous (cellophane S’s thrown from Superman’s chest and this Vanishing act power that he seems to have) they are still far better than Donner’s cut. The pacing and excitement just aren’t in Donner’s cut as they are in Lesters. Not to mention, the single greatest line Superman has ever said on film, “General, would you care to step outside?” (which for those of you unfamiliar with the concept of subtext, this loosely translates into “General, would you care to get your ass whooping now?”). No, instead we get “General, haven’t you ever heard of the freedom of the press?” LAME. Overall, I think what my problem is with some of the Donner cut, is that he’s obviously quite bitter about Lester taking over and chooses to put his own footage back in for some scenes, even if it’s incomplete or doesn’t work as well.

Finally, the film ends with Superman spinning the world back again and completely un-doing all the events of the film from everyone’s mind, chalking it up to déjà vu. Not to mention he violates major comic book code when he KILLS LEX LUTHOR at the end. Hindsight is 20/20 Mr. Donner and a better approach should have been taken for this, not to mention blowing up the Fortress of Solitude for absolutely no reason. But don’t worry – it’s all undone in the backwards spinning world. Lester’s film, while campy and ridiculous at times seems to work better as a whole, while Donner’s film only just “has it’s moments.”

Acting:

For the most part, all of the actors hold their own. Reeves as Superman needs no comment. Even later in Superman 4 he still works that role better than anyone ever has or will. Margot kidder is much less annoying in Donner’s cut and much more believable. Gene Hackman – I apologize for my rant in my Superman 1 review. I recently watched the “Look! Up in the sky” documentary and was schooled on the history of Lex Luthor, who was a madman up until the 1980’s when they developed his

business man persona. Until then in the comics, Luthor was a crazed madman/scientist. So I apologize for the injustice I gave that performance and interpretation of the character. The real two characters that leap out are Terrance Stamp as General Zod, who’s quite a likable baddie in Lester’s cut (in a good way) and more of a dark sinister angel of death in Donner’s cut (also good) and Brando’s Jor-El. Zod’s performance can be attributed to Stamp’s ability to make the role work in whatever form and not violate the character. Brando as Superman’s father is incredible in the restored footage in Donner’s cut. It’s a shame they replaced him with his mother for Lester’s cut. Same dialogue and concepts, but come off completely different and much more powerful from Brando.

Directing:

I think I’ve touched enough on this in my story – but it’s simple, take the dramatic scenes from Donner, the action from Lester (sans a couple of moments ) and the movie would be phenomenal as a whole. I’m sure some fanboy somewhere has ripped both films and cut them together by now and I’m sure it’s a great thing to watch if it can be found…

Cinematography:

Same as always, although Donner’s cut has more of his personal stamp on it whereas Lester’s just seems more like cliché soft focus/fogged 80’s cinematography.

Production Design:

Good as always. A lot of projection backgrounds, but I can deal.

Editing:

Lester’s is much better edited because they had an opportunity to create pacing and emotion in the scenes. Donner’s completed scenes work phenomenally, however, the scenes that are incomplete and mixed with Lester’s footage fail miserably. Score: Here’s the shocker of the century. John Williams sucks. Yeah, I said it. Now, I don’t know if he was brought back to re-score Donner’s cut or if existing track music was selected by Donner to be placed over scenes but the music just does not work at all in Donners cut. The Superman theme is non-existant most of the time, especially in the fight scenes (where it’s needed most.) The score in Lester’s isn’t by Williams, but it works with that edit. There’s emotional justification in it and it just makes the film more exciting. So if Williams was brought in for Donner’s re-cut, then shame on him. But if he wasn’t, no ill will towards him, but someone should have told Mr. Donner you can’t cover up bad scenes with bland music.

Special Effects:

The 70’s effects of Lester’s film were better than most of the shoestring budget effects that were created for the Donner recut. But overall, it’s all forgivable given the dating of this film.

In closing:

Somewhere between these two films lies potentially a fantastic Superman film. Neither director, in my opinion, fully “got it” enough to hit that mark of potential that I still believe Superman has. If someone could really grasp the proper handling of these films, we’d have an epic film that would dwarf any comic book film. Sadly, ego’s, money and lazy storytelling stand in the way. Unlike Superman, not everyone believes enough to keep fighting till it’s done right.

PS: The worst part of the Donner cut is the removal of Bill Cosby from Perry White’s wall, but he makes it up with Super Copy teeshirts.

 

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Movie Review: SUPERMAN (1978)

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SUPERMAN MOVIE POSTER
SUPERMAN, 1978
Classic Movie Review
Directed by Richard Donner
Starring Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman
Review by Andrew Kosarko

SYNOPSIS:

A young boy is sent away from the planet Krypton before it’s destruction. He lands on Earth and is raised by a farm couple named the Kents to be an all American boy. Upon learning the lessons of life, he realizes his special abilities make him different. When his father passes away from a heart attack, Clark has a discovery that he must use his special talents to help pass on the values of his father. He journeys north and dawns the suit that will come to represent Earth’s greatest savior….

REVIEW:

So, let me start this review by saying that I’m a Batman fan first and foremost. And I’ve always been a Batman fan, even before the success of “The Dark Knight.” Now that being said, it is my belief, that Superman holds the potential for the having the title of “The Greatest Superhero Movie Ever Made.” Keyword in that sentence? “Potential.”Let me start by addressing…

The Story: The script moves very slow, steadily building towards Clark becoming Superman. It’s quite obvious that some of the roles from the comic book mythology are beefed up to support the actors playing the roles, such as Marlon Brando playing Jor-El, Superman’s biological father. A better part of the first act is based on planet Krypton before it’s destruction. This is, by far, the most interesting part of the movie simply because the “good parts” are not skimped over or rushed. The pacing is on beat and the story moves through character development. Once the film moves to Earth and we fast forward to Clark’s teen years, many important “Superman-necessary” elements are glimpsed over vaguely in exchange for the stereotypical “you’re alone” themes. The most disappointing scene is when Clark finally creates the Fortress of Solitude and dawns the suit for the first time. It has such great potential to be a goose bump raising moment and it passes over it. The script then because very repetitive and falls into a lull of random disasters that Superman must stop, including a half baked scheme to sink ½ of California by Lex Luthor.

Now that’s the plot. As far as characterization goes, Superman, Lois Lane, The Kents, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White are spot on. The relationship between Superman and the other characters hit spot on. Sometimes the film takes liberties with the subject matter to expose some exposition, such as the flying around of Superman and Lois and her “Can you read my mind?” monologue. These sequences are somewhat dated with the style of the 70’s, but can easily be enjoyed today once you look at it in perspective.

The only character that, sadly, is astray from his original comic book mythos, is Lex Luthor. Now many philosophers have said, “A hero is only as good as his villain.” This script demonstrates a maddening effect on the audience as Superman is easily built up to be a great hero, and Lex Luthor comes off like a second rate villain. His schemes and rationality are far fetched and “kiddy.” Never once during the film do you feel as though he is a threat against Superman, even when he busts out the kryptonite. It’s because of this that the film fails to hit it’s potential of the greatest Superhero film ever. And once Lex is introduced, the film falls into a campy mess that it can’t escape from, even if you spun the world backwards….

Acting: My God the great acting that takes place in this film. Christopher Reeve may not have top billing, but he steals the show. His performance as Clark Kent/Superman has become the pinnacle of standards that every super hero has to live up to – in film, comics or any other form. Margot Kidder is feisty as Lois Lane and believable as a hard nosed reporter who won’t go away. Marc McClure is great fun as Jimmy Olsen is great at being a bigger nerd than Reeve’s Clark Kent. Gene Hackman is a great actor, and while I don’t particularly agree with his characterization of Lex Luthor, he upholds the acting level to the height it needs to be and still makes for some enjoyable moments. The supporting cast, while smaller roles, contribute greatly to the film. Everyone from the Kents, to the reporters in the office, or the two-bit thugs that Superman has to overcome, everybody is colorful and memorable.Superman Reeve

Directing:Richard Donner has done the best job with Superman so far. As director, he finds himself responsible for the whole film and it’s said to know that it was taken out of his hands by the film studio and reworked in a different way. I prefer to believe that the first half of the movie was directed Donner and the studio took over as it starts to fall apart.

Cinematography: Geoffrey Unsworth does a fantastic job capturing Superman and the world around him. The camera work never bothers the viewer and some great affects are created with it. The film, at that point in technology’s time, lived up to it’s tagline: You will believe a man can fly.

Production Design: John Barry is a great production designer and comic book films must be a dream to work on. The creative freedom one can have to create new worlds or to shape the ones we live in to reflect what we imagine in our head. Everything from planet Krypton to the all-American Kent farm, everything is imaginative and well designed.

Editing: The film is pieced together well, if a bit slow at times.

Score: Ok. Now while the film doesn’t grab that title of Best Superhero Movie Ever, John Williams is a man you do not mess with. Rivaled only by Danny Elfman’s Batman theme, John Williams creates the greatest Superhero theme of all time. The music is so uplifting and by the first couple of notes, if the hair on the back of your neck isn’t standing up and there’s not a smile on your face, then check your pulse. You might be dead if you’re not excited.

Special Effects: As mentioned in the cinematography section, at the time these effects were top of the line. The team did a great job in making the audience believe a man could fly. To some extent, the effects still hold up today, implying old school techniques such as stop-motion, flying harnesses and special lenses that, in this reviewers opinion, blow CGI out of the water any day.

In closing: Superman: The movie is one of the greatest Superhero movies of our time. While it doesn’t live up to it’s vast potential, it gets 90% of it’s characters right and when dealing with a subject matter like this, that’s what’s important. That’s why comics have so many issues and so many characters become franchises. The characters keep people coming back for more. When the film allows itself to be the great characters that it’s trying to adapt, the story comes through and shines brightly. Even with all it’s character flaws and spotty 1970’s crazy science theories, the film still stands out as a great step forward in bringing some of the world’s most imaginative characters to life and wanting us to come back for more. I’ll hold my breath for the day Superman gets the villain he deserves. When the day comes where that finally happens, movies like The Dark Knight, Spider-man 2 and Iron man will pale in comparison. For now, I’ll enjoy having my favorite character on top, having my dirty little secret being that I can’t wait for the day he loses it to Superman.

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Movie Review: SUPERMAN/BATMAN: PUBLIC ENEMIES (2009)

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  MOVIE POSTERSUPERMAN/BATMAN: PUBLIC ENEMIES, 2009
Movie Reviews

Directed by: Sam Liu

Starring: Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, Clancy Brown, Xander Berkeley, Corey Burton

Review by Travis Seppala

SYNOPSIS:

When Lex Luthor gets elected US President, he uses the threat of an oncoming Kryptonite meteor striking Earth as a rationale to frame Superman. Superman and Batman must team up to put a stop to Luthor’s tirade and to save Earth from impending doom.

REVIEW:

Oh. My. God! Now THIS is how you make a superhero/comic book movie! The only way “Superman/Batman: Public Enemies” could have been any more epic is if it would have been live action. And even then, I’m not sure it could beat this, because some of the fantastic fight scenes probably wouldn’t be possible in a live action film even with the immense amounts of CGI that turns up in Hollywood films now a days.

During the economic downfall in the United States, Lex Luthor is voted in as the new President. His first act in office is to create a government operated team of superheros including Captain Atom, Major force, Power Girl, Black Lightning, Starfire and Katana. The new hero team catch up with Superman while he’s in pursuit of a criminal in a high speed chase and try to recruit him. Superman tells them he will not join their team because he is un-trusting of Luthor, especially now that he’s the most politically powered man in the country. Captain Atom pleads with Superman that Luthor has changed his ways, and the two almost fight before Superman finally flies away.

The U.S. Government discovers a giant Kryptonite meteor hurtling toward Earth. Rather than asking the many superheros at their disposal for help, Lex decides to destroy the meteor with nuclear missiles and says he’ll even do all the calculations himself. He arranges a meeting with Superman to arrange a pact.

The meeting between Lex and Superman doesn’t go very well and Luthor goats Superman into a battle with his “bodyguard” Metallo. Luthor flees the scene as Superman and Metallo engage in an epic fight. When Metallo proves to be more than a match for the man of steel, Batman shows up to help. Superman and Batman escape to regroup. When Metallo regains consciousness from Batman’s sneak attack, he is killed by an unseen assailant.

Lex Luthor pins the murder of Metallo on Superman, saying that the approaching Kryptonite is causing Superman to lose his reasoning due to the radiation. He claims Superman is a threat to the country and possibly the world and puts a $1billion bounty on Superman’s head.

In an attempt to find out what really happened to Metallo, Superman and Batman break into S.T.A.R. Labs and find his remains, determining that the Kryptonite powered cyborg was killed due to an intense amount of radiation. When the World’s Finest duo leaves, they are attacked and find themselves in a battle royal against more than 20 of the world’s most powerful super-villains. After the single most epic battle ever in a movie, they manage to defeat nearly all their opponents. The rest are beaten by Captain Atom when he and his team show up to arrest Superman. Not willing to be taken, Superman and Batman engage in yet another fight which ends with them fleeing with Power Girl in tow.

Luthor’s scientists fire nuclear missiles at the on-coming meteor, but they do no damage to the lethal space rock. Lex is furious, saying his calculations were perfect until it’s pointed out that it would have worked except that the meteor is outputting so much radiation it acted as a type of shield- the missiles blew up before they ever made contact with the Kryptonite itself. Luthor flees (followed by Amanda Waller) and takes a Kryptonite steroid injection. Waller discovers he’s been taking these injections for months to make himself immune to the Kryptonite radiation and now decides that if he can’t stop it, he’ll let it destroy the Earth and he’ll rule whatever is left.

Superman, Batman, and Power Girl have another battle with Captain Atom and his team. Batman gets Major Force to admit that he’s the one who killed Metallo under Luthor’s orders. Power Girl and Captain Atom kill Major Force and let Superman, Batman and Power Girl leave to try to save the Earth. But can they beat Lex Luthor and his second wave of super-powered goons, get the schematics of the meteor and get them to Toyman in time to save the planet from the oncoming ball of green death that’s already so close it can be seen with the naked eye?

“Superman/Batman: Public Enemies” is, in short, EPIC! The story follows that of the comic book mini-series of the same title almost frame by frame! Seldom does a comic book movie hold so true to the source material, and I’m glad they did because it’s one of the best stories to come out in recent years.

The animation in this straight-to-video release is fantastic. All the characters in this film have such sleek and modern looks to them that go above and beyond any previous comic book animated film. I especially love how the younger, more imposing Superman looks.

The voice talent is equally fantastic. Voiced by Tim Dale and Kevin Conroy (the same men who portrayed Superman and Batman in their animated series’ in the 90’s as well as the Justice League series), Superman and Batman shine with their true voices.

The action sequences (and there are a LOT of action sequences) are all brilliantly done. They are on a huge scale that one can only really find in the world of comic books and animation. The big fight with Superman and Batman VS more than 25 characters is truly a spectacular thing to see!

“Superman/Batman: Public Enemies” is the superhero film of all super hero films. It’s great for all ages and is superb animation filmmaking.

 

 

 

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