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Finally got a look at this last night on HD-DVD. A most excellent "alternate" version of the film. Still some plot holes but slightly better IMHO than the theatrical cut. I never really liked the silly sight gags in Lester's version.

If you are a fan of the Superman movie series, pick this one up.

A couple of nice things:

1. No dumb terrorist attack in Paris, France at the start of the movie.

2. We finally get to see how Superman gets his powers back.

3. Marlon Brando is back!

4. A rather excellent way Lois Lane exposes Clark Kent as Superman.

5. New opening credit sequence. Very nice!

6. Story ties in nicely with the first movie and even Superman Returns regarding the father and son thing.

Now the bad:

1. Movie flows a little differently and takes some getting use to.

2. The ending wasn't too great because Superman turns back time again and then goes back to beat up the bad guy in the restaurant who shouldn't even remember him.

3. Screen test footage used when Lois exposes Clark as Superman. I guess it is all they had.

4. Recycled John Williams score from Superman I. Wish there was some new stuff.
 

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Arcane Movie Trivia King
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Indeed-the Salkinds fired Donner before he could actually film the expose scene and what they used in this recut was actually Reeve's screen test with Holy Palance cut together with Kidder;s screen test...The part at the first with the missle freeing Zod and friends was actually Donner's original ending for Superman I...I would have loved to have seen Donner's finished product on this film. About the ending-i wish Michael Thau had used Lester's flag waving ending as opposed to the return to the diner, which didn't make ANY sense...

In both the director's cut of Superman I and Superman II, listen to Richard Donner's and Tom Mankiewicz's commentaries...
 

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Hall Of Fame
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I liked it a lot. They made the villains much more sinister. Marlon Brando's return was extremely satisfying. The moment where Jor El warns Kal El not to throw away his powers for selfish reasons was chilling as you could see the parental disappointment in his choice. Ditto for the price he would have to pay to undo it.

The turning back of time was supposed to be the ending for Superman II which would enable Lois to go back to being her clueless self. They wound up using it for Superman 1 instead. That awful and disturbing memory loss kiss (?!??!) almost killed the original movie for me.

Going back to the diner at the end should have come out. If time was restored to an earlier time, Kent comes in as a thug, mugs the guy for no reason, and then throws money at the owner of the diner to fix his pinball machine.

All in all it was enjoyable to watch it. It even looks good on HD DVD. I wonder how many other movies out there could be restored to include footage that would improve the original. The grandaddy of these will always be Cameron's The Abyss. A movie made MUCH better by the addition in the Special Edition of a darker side to the aliens who throw a tidal wave at the coastal cities to let them know they mean business....
 
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