You said you are going to do a final release soon..so is this your final cut ?
How much of the campyness did you cut?
I think the film needs a major cut of all the camp humor...
Both versions are campier
than the first film and have the same shifts in tone going from serious drama to
tongue in cheek comedy to action.
I liked the tone of Donner cut much better than the original. I think it was the camp in Lester's version that turned me off. Not that there aren't campy moments in Donner's, there was just something about the slapstick attempt at comedy in Lester's that I didn't like.
I still find the the donner changes disorienting because the
scenes with Brando were so serious. I'm glad they're back in the Donner version and it works better thematically than having his mother but it's remains a very uneven film. I also
thought the explosions, cars crashes and other effects could've been tightened
further. The crowd reactions seems wrong. Why were all those people hanging around? They should've been running away or ducking for cover if there's a mid-air fist fight between Superman and the three villains. They just stood around waiting for something to fall on them. Faster cuts would've made that work better and seem less silly. I liked it as an alternate glimpse. The BOBW would include a careful edit of both versions. The only problem Lester's version had was that it went from deadly serious to very silly camp. I would also at least look at some scenes cut but used for TV broadcasts, like the PZers killing that kid from a distance. But it would prolly look even worse than the cellophane S.
But keep the workable humor. I mean, was the movie irreprably harmed by 'Excuse me, General....' ?
My ideal cut would be pretty much exactly what is in the Lester Cut except I would swap out Lara with Jor-El for the Fortress of Solitude stuff and I would go with some of the small trims that the Donner Cut made to the campier bits of Lester's footage. Like it or not, the Lester Cut is simply a more complete version of the movie. The Paris opening is exactly the kind of high energy action sequence that a movie like this should start with. The magic kiss is kind of a lame ending but it's better than turning back time so far that the entire movie never even happened. And the campier bits of General Zod's performance are exactly what has made the character such an icon over the last 28 years. "KNEEL before Zod!"
Despite the flaws in Lester's film, it's still better than Donner's cut.
There's nothing wrong, for instance, with the beginning Eiffel Tower action scene; it's a riveting, effective action opener and there's no reason why it shouldn't be in there. Donner basically uses the end of part I as a large part of the first act of II. It just feels redundant and is no way to start a movie.
There's also nothing wrong with Lester's scenes at Niagara Falls. They help build up the romantic tension a bit more and make their later love scenes seem more credible.
The Fortress of Solitude climax was also superior in the first film, even despite the lame cellophane wrap attack and teleporting.
I only wish they had used the Marlon Brando footage for the original. That was a major improvement in the Donner cut.
the ending for the Donner cut felt REALLY sloppy.
My dream cut of Superman II would be to use the Donner Cut, but then have the movie end on the somber note of Superman dropping Lois off at her apartment, and eliminate everything after that, cut immediately to superman restoring the flag at the white house then\or cut to Superman flying off into space, and cue the credits). No reset button in which Lois forgets that she knows Superman's secret identity. Any such reset button is kind of a cheat, IMHO. Sure, it screws up the continuity of the subsequent movies, but who cares about the subsequent movies?
they should have had Lois still remember everything and ended it with the scene of Superman over Earth. There would have been nothing wrong with Lois knowing the secret at the end of the second movie. That's what we call character development. Who the heck cares about Superman IV anyway?
I get the feeling that when Richard Lester was brought in to complete this movie, he viewed this same footage with his team and realized it wasn't working. The opening Daily Planet scene isn't exciting or interesting. It doesn't even make sense. This is the next day following the missile caper? Luthor is sentenced that quickly? Miss Teschmacher's dialogue later on indicates he's been away for some time so it doesn't work in any logical manner. Neither does Clark using his super powers in broad daylight with pedestrians walking past! It makes me wonder if Donner even intended for the heat vision to be visible, since the "destruction of the Fortress" scene has been shown on television with "incomplete" effects. Perhaps he had something else in mind. We'll never know. In both scenes, animated red beams have been added. That being said, I'm not even sure why Superman destroys the fortress here, but then I've never understood that. I guess Donner never got to shoot the scene explaining that.
A lot of it just doesn't make sense. The only reason any of it really works is because we've all seen the theatrical version of Superman II, a movie that does make sense. Lester's Superman II fills in the holes of this assembly. Part of this could be because Donner didn't get to complete shooting, the other part could be because the makers of this project were intent on using as little Lester material as possible. What we end up with is an assembly of footage that makes Superman IV look airtight and coherent.
one gets the sense that while Lester was faithful and comfortable using Donner material, Michael Thau and his team were extremely disrespectful towards anything filmed by Lester. The best scenes in The Donner Cut are the ones lifted relatively intact from the released version of Superman II. That includes the moon sequence and the diner sequence, not ironically, both were filmed by Donner. But anything else from that movie filmed by Lester is re-edited in such a hasty fashion, that it now makes Lester seem like a ham fisted know nothing. While Lester honored the Donner material, Lester here is thrown under the bus.
Any of the major scenes (really just Lois jumping and scenes with Marlon Brando) would have been better served as completed scenes in a deleted scenes section. Instead they are shoe horned into a nonsensical narrative with inferior performances (many alternate takes from familiar scenes are used) sloppy edits and bad decisions.
Watch the opening scene at the Daily Planet. Why are we looking at Jackie Cooper's back as he calls for Lois and Clark? At the end why do we have Lois walking into her dark apartment only to have that followed by Jackie Cooper walking into a dark bathroom turning the lights on? I was initially confused by this, because I expected to see Lois. The entire assembly is filled with questionable choices like this.
Battle scenes are a mess too, with no geography between cuts. It's just random action. Of course, the major action scenes were shot by Lester and his material is only used as a bridge to the next set of Donner outtakes or alternates. They should have used more of Lester's footage, but probably had too much pride to admit that.
The music editing on the Donner edit, it's terrible. It's as unmusical as you can get. The main titles are a mess and the end titles aren't any better. You'd think they would be great sequences to let the music play out, but no, they are hacked all over with no rhyme or reason. And the feature proper is just a disgrace. The moon scene is essentially the same as the Lester version (there is only one minor trim that I could detect) but the music has been entirely replaced, and what's there now no longer works. The scene is more effective in the Lester version. I should also note that when General Zod kicks the Russian astronaut, no sound effect is present.
The sloppiness extends to the military missile as well. As noted elsewhere, the missile shown in The Donner Cut bears the designation "XK 10" while we all know it's the "XK 101"! A blind man in STM knows that! The producers of this assembly, who tried so hard to honor the original film, dropped the ball less than five minutes in and that mistake is indicative of the quality of the entire production. For all the supposed care that was put into this, the final product has an air of shoddiness to it that is inescapable.
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