NOTE: A "pre-release" version is available on Pirate Bay. Its listed as Superman Classic edit by Taolar. If you download, please let me know what you think.
SEE BOTTOM OF POST FOR 12/23/08 UPDATE
SoJ is a re-mix of Superman 1 and Superman 2 (both the theatrical version and the Donner Cut). I'm also using some shots from Superman 3 and 4 and various other sources, as well as new footage filmed specifically for this project.
When these movies came out on DVD I found that my memories of them from when I was a kid didn't match the actual films. I didn't remember them being so campy and (especially with Superman 2) peppered with lame attempts at humor. This project is my attempt to take the first two movies and turn them into something closer to the Superman of my memory, protecting all of the great performances from the dated elements, and hopefully ending up with a professional quality finished product that kids and adults seeing it for the first time will enjoy as a much as I did nearly 30 years ago.
Through the use of editing and subtle visual effects, I'm removing the unrealistic, campy, and unintentionally unfunny parts that aren't necessary to the plot. I'm fixing continuity errors, and re-editing many scenes to intensify the mood or speed up the action sequences so they are closer to what's expected in modern action films. I'm also improving visual effects when feasible. The end result is a darker, more serious, more modern film.
The film also focuses more on Kal-el's relationship with Jor-el. And I'm trying to bring the entire film down to under 3 hours. Everything is done in such a way that someone who isn't very familiar with the movies shouldn't notice what I did.
And since I didn't like the way either Superman 2 or the Donner Cut ended, I've created a new, darker ending that fits fairly well with Superman Returns.
The edit is still in progress. Most of the editing is done. Right now I'm working almost entirely on visual effects. It's a slow process and I'm only able to work on it part-time. Although it is nearing completion, I'm resisting the urge to set a release date. It'll be done when I'm finally satisfied with it.
High Quality Teasers:
Teaser 1: (0:50s, 5mb)
Teaser 2: Flight (1:14s, 7.8mb)
Teaser 3: Heat Vision (1:04s, 6.7mb)
Teaser 4: Locomotive (0:50s, 5.2mb)
Lower Quality Teasers:
Teaser 1 on YouTube
Teaser 2 on YouTube
Current Status (12/29/07): Focusing entirely on the final four FX scenes on Disc 1.
Here's an example of the type of effects to expect in SoJ:
Effect Shot Before/After Comparison
Few of my effects will look like FX shots. My hope is that a viewer who doesn't know the Superman movies very well won't notice that anything's been changed.
By the way, the shot above isn't finalized yet. More tweeking will be done. And this shot already took about 3x the time I though it would, which means, considering the amount of effects still left to do, this project is behind schedule. I'm sorry to say that a February release is highly unlikely. I probably won't set any more deadlines. It will be released when I'm completely happy with the final product, no matter how long that takes.
I'm holding a test screening of this edit in San Diego on February 24th. Private Message me if you're interested in being a part of it!
Yet another trailer. Hope it makes you smile!
New Trailer (5.3mb, Divx)
By the way, the test screening went great! I'm currently working on FX.
The Denver showing went great! The movie was well received, and I have a new, much shorter list of items that need to be done before release. Since the previous showing I've made editing changes to several scenes and did a major overhaul of the audio mix. I re-added a bit of previously removed footage, re-edited some other scenes, and rebuilt two action scenes. As of the Denver showing the stereo audio mix is about 99.5% done, and about 95% of the video is officially locked. I currently have a runtime of 3:02, not counting end credits. I expect it to bump up to 3:03 when all is done, although if I have an editing epiphany I'll gladly bring it back down below 3 hours. But the most important thing is that the final result doesn't feel hacked up, so I've resigned to accepting whatever runtime feels the most professional. There are around a dozen visual fx that are in various stages of completion. Half of those are relatively easy, and the other half are quite a bit more challenging.
If I were able to work full time on this, I'm sure I'd have it done in a couple weeks. But unfortunately I have to deal with working on it a couple hours here and there after work and on the weekends.
The project is still going strong. Until recently I'd work on an FX shot until it started to became difficult and I'd be spinning my wheels, then I'd procrastinate and start working on a different one. That means I've been putting a lot of work into this, with no finished shots to show for it. I've put an end to that, and am now focusing on a shot until it's finished.
This week I replaced the final remnant of Superman 2's "new powers" (i.e. Zod's telekinetic finger) with a new effect. Yesterday I spent from noon to midnight correcting a horrible compositing job from Superman 2. It's less than 2 seconds of film, but it's one of those things that looks so bad it pulls me out of the movie.
Next on the list are a couple small and relatively easy compositing shots and then I'm diving head first into the mostly finished Tanker Truck action sequence. Its an effects shot that I've already put many hours into but I had to put off for later because I came to a point where I was in over my head experience-wise, and was not completely sure how to go about completing it with a professional result. But I've been through this situation several times on this project. It's just a matter of working on it over and over, sometimes re-starting from scratch several times, until either I figure out a new way of doing it, or my brain explodes.
I took a break for a while, and directed a crew for the 48 hour film contest. I'll post a link to our finished movie when it comes online. In the mean time here are some pics of the shoot. I'm the dope in the grey shirt who looks like he's constantly pulling his pants up. I lost some weight.
I just fixed young Kent's wave at the train today. The original footage was sped up and it always bugged me because there was no frame blending or motion blur. Clark's hand just sort of flashes around the screen real quickly. I've added motion blur so now it looks much more realistic. It took about 2 and 1/2 hours and a few false starts.
Next on the list is removing Otis from a certain shot that he shouldn't be in...
Wow. I can't believe this year is over. I fully expected to be done with this by Christmas. I have four FX scenes left to do on Disc 1 (which ends when the Krypton villians escape), and quite a bit more on Disc 2. I'm focusing only on Disc 1 until it's done and will ship that out to a few testers, and then will resume work on Disc 2. I wish I could give more detailed info, but describing the FX work left to do on Disc 1 would give away the biggest changes I've made to the first movie and I think they're better left a surprise, because they're some of the original big ideas that got me excited about this project, and none of the other Superman edits have done them.
Finishing Disc 1 by February would be optimistic, but that's my goal.
Having not really worked on this project in months (sigh) I realized that it'll never finish unless I set a deadline, so on December 15th, 2008, I will release this in whatever form it happens to be in at the time.
All creative work was temporarily suspended December 15th, and I intended to release a version then to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Superman the Movie, but have had tons of rendering issues. Well, those have been mostly resolved, and the current "pre-release" is available now in Xvid format on Demonoid. Please let me know what you think.
There is still much to do before the official DVD release sometime next year. Among those things are:
1. 2.0 audio mix (95% done)
2. New title sequence (10% done)
3. Finish Lex newspaper FX (90% done)
4. Re-work escape from Phantom Zone (20% done)
5. Perry White newspaper FX (5% done)
6. Finish tanker sequence FX (80% done)
7. Remaster Flame thrower scene FX (0% done)
8. Finish end sequence FX (85% done)
9. End credits (0% done)
10. General image polishing, including color correction and minor FX fixes (5% done)
1. 5.1 Audio Mix (40% done)
2. New sequence of Superman finding missile (0% done)
3. Re-work Zod's landing on Earth (0% done)
4. Re-work battle around Statue of Liberty (50% done)
5, Matching Zod's voice effects between S2 and DC (0% done)
6. Remove Otis black eye (0% done)
7. Several dialog fixes (0% done)
8. Remove Zod's raised arm (0% done)
9. Replace Phantom Zone and space ship footage (0% done)
I'll update these as I work on them. And if anyone has anything they'd like changed, please feel free to bring it up.
Working on: Superman: Son of Jorel