Archive for Superman Week

Reviews of the Christopher Reeve Superman movies

Posted in Christopher Reeve, movies, reviews, Superman, Superman Returns with tags , , , on June 28, 2006 by Paxton

Superman Week

We are finally here. Day 3 of Superman Week. Superman Returns releases nationally today. Those of us who aren’t famous or aren’t in the “biz” can now, finally, watch the movie. I, however, won’t be able to see it until tomorrow night. So, in lieu of reviewing the movie, I’ll do quick reviews of the first four movies staring Christopher Reeve. Enjoy.

Superman the Movie
Superman: The Movie – A classic. I really don’t have to review this as everyone has undoubtedly already seen it. Christopher Reeve’s dual portrayals of Superman and Clark Kent are nothing short of spectacular. The effects, while sometimes dated, still work very well. Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor is played more for comedy than the comic version, and I really liked it. Hackman is great in whatever he does. I’m still not a fan of Margo Kidder as Lois Lane. I don’t know why, I just don’t like her. I wish they would have gone with Ann Archer or Leslie Ann Warren. But that’s just me. There is a reason this is considered the model for comic book movies. If you haven’t seen it, I ask, why?

Superman II
Superman II – Another classic, both in the movie itself, and the behind the scenes drama between the producers, the Salkinds, and the director, Richard Donner. Easily 70% of this movie was filmed during the production of the first movie. When budgets were tight, they stopped shooting this picture and finished the first one. After the first one was a hit, the producers decided to return to this. Due to failing relationships between the director and the producers, they picked Richard Lester to finish shooting. All of the main scenes were shot including all of Gene Hackman’s stuff. He refused to work with anyone but Richard Donner. Lester finished the picture and it finally released. It turned out to be a very good, if flawed, movie. The three main villains from the Phantom Zone were a great idea and the final showdown at the Fortress of Solitude was exciting, if a little confusing as it featured powers Superman had never shown before….he can disappear?. Also having the plot device of Superman losing his powers was a really nice touch (at least I thought so). But why did Supes have to sleep with Lois? Kinda creepy. All in all, a very good followup. For a breakdown of the different footage shot by each director go to Superman Cinema’s Superman II Section.

Note: The new Superman movie will ignore all the movies after this point. Superman Returns takes place roughly 5 years after Superman II. After watching parts III and IV, you’ll see why.

Superman III
Superman III – Here’s where things get a little dicey. Despite it’s glaring problems, I enjoyed this movie. Richard Lester continues as director and the cast adds Richard Pryor as a bumbling computer programmer. I did not like Pryor’s character, but I loved the subplots of Superman exposed to “dirty” Kryptonite and turning evil and Clark’s journey back to Smallville where he reunites with Annette O’Toole as Lana Lang. Those two subplots made the movie for me. The fight at the end with the supercomputer was silly and Robert Vaughn as the main baddie made me cringe. This is a toss up whether you will like this movie.

Superman IV
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace – The first Superman movie with a subtitle. Where do I begin? I don’t even think the word HORRIBLE begins to describe the absolute atrocity of this movie. Superman decides to rid the Earth of nuclear weapons and throw all of them in the sun. Luthor plants DNA on one of the rockets and uses the sun’s radiation to create Nuclear Man, one of the stupidest, most ridiculously dressed villains of all time. I wish Reeve had stuck with his initial idea of retiring the role of Superman to someone else. Even though Gene Hackman returns for this final sequel, I can’t in good conscious recommend this to anyone. Seriously. You’ve been warned.

BONUS:
1. Check out the original theatrical trailer for Superman: The Movie
2. Here’s a short sketch from a show called Robot Chicken. It’s a parody of Real World where 5 super-heroes are picked to live in an apartment together. It’s called Real World: Metropolis.
3. Here is a trailer for a Superman/Batman team-up movie called World’s Finest. It’s fan-made, but very well done.

Check out the other days of Superman Week here:

Day 1 – Review of Look, Up In The Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman
Day 2 – Scary Superman Merchandise
Day 4 – Stupid Superman Powers
Day 5 – Review of Superman Returns

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A look at some crazy, vintage Superman merchandise

Posted in nostalgia, pop culture, Superman, Superman Returns with tags , , , , on June 27, 2006 by Paxton

Superman Week

Well, it’s Day 2 of Superman Week here at the blog. I’ve got some good stuff today celebrating Superman so let’s take a look.

Superman is one of those pop culture icons that has produced A LOT of merchandise. I mean A LOT. And because so much stuff has been produced, inevitably, someone falls asleep at the wheel and certain products are released of questionable value. I’m going to look at a few of these ridiculous pieces of Superman product. Click the images below to go to the web page where I found these little pieces of insanity.

Superman Water Pistol
Superman Water-Squirting Head – At first glance this seems like a simple kids water pistol in the shape of Superman’s noggin. But if you think about it, the whole thing looks like Superman is spitting at you. Would Superman do something like this? Spit at you? Maybe if you drank White Zinfandel, because that is inexcusable, but not during the normal course of the day would Superman deem it necessary to hurl expectorate at you. He could just melt your head with his heat vision.

Superman Hood Ornament
Superman Hood Ornament – Yes, this is a Superman Hood Ornament. A. Hood. Ornament. For your car. Can you imagine pulling into work with this iron monstrosity on your hood? “Bob, I always thought your 1965 Corvette needed something. And I finally figured out what it is, the Superman Hood Ornament. It would really class up that boring old Vette’s hood.” It also can be attached to your bicycle. WHA?! Putting this on a bicycle would be interesting, because a bicycle HAS NO HOOD. Next best place is on your handlebars. Great idea, put a huge sharp metal object right where your face would go if you crash or have to stop suddenly. Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.

Kryptonite Rocks(Via Jeff Houck)
Kryptonite Rocks – Well, let it never be said that corporate isn’t a bunch of greedy SOBs. Pro Arts advertised these beauties in comic books in the ’70s. They painted rocks green, threw them in a box, slapped a Superman logo on it, then called it a day. How’s that for laziness? I would love to have been in that pitch meeting. “I’ve got a great idea. We go out into the atrium of this building, we pick some nice rocks, paint them green, then sell them to kids as Kryptonite. We’ll slap a Superman picture on the box, they won’t know the differnce. They’re kids.”

Superman Peanut Butter(Via Jason Liebig)
Superman Peanut Butter – I had to include this item in the list. It’s actually pretty well known, and a lot of people ate it. Including me. The peanut butter was awesome, it’s just, what the hell does Superman have to do with peanut butter? I mean really? Aside from that, this stuff ROCKED.

And the final item of today is…..

Kryptonite Kool-Aid – Kill Superman with just 2 quarts!!! Now, this product is not real, obviously, I made it. It’s a part of my crazy Kool-Aid flavors, but it fit in this list so I wanted to add it.

Well, I hope you enjoyed today’s entry for Superman Week. Since tomorrow is the national opening day for Superman Returns, I plan on reviewing the original 4 Christopher Reeve Superman movies for Day 3. That’s a big undertaking, so we’ll see how it goes.

Check out the other days of Superman Week here:

Day 1 – Review of Look, Up In The Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman
Day 3 – Review of Christopher Reeve Superman Movies
Day 4 – Stupid Superman Powers
Day 5 – Review of Superman Returns

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Review of Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman

Posted in comic books, movies, pop culture, reviews, Superman, Superman Returns with tags , , , , on June 26, 2006 by Paxton

Superman Week

It’s Superman Week here on the blog. I’m celebrating the release of Superman Returns on Wednesday, June 28. I won’t get to see it until Thursday night, so my review will cap off Superman Week on Friday, but every day this week I’ll try to have a Superman-related article up for your enjoyment.

Day 1 – Review of Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman

This documentary is exactly what the title implies, it’s a history of Superman as he has appeared in almost every type of media. It begins with his comic origins and covers the myriad of TV shows and movies that “the big blue boy scout” has appeared in. The documentary appeared on A&E, albeit shortened by 30min, and the DVD was released last Tuesday. As soon as I heard about it I put it in my Netflix queue. I got lucky, and the disc was shipped the Monday before it was released and I got it on the Tuesday it was released in stores. My wife and I finally watched it on Sunday morning.

Overall, the documentary was very good. It literally covered every aspect of Superman’s appearance in pop culture. The doc started with Superman’s creators, Jerry Siegel & Joe Schuster. It discussed how the idea of Superman evolved, and how every comic book company turned the idea down saying that no one wanted to read about a guy in tights jumping around on buildings (Superman couldn’t fly in his initial incarnation).

Siegel & Schuster finally got National Publications (DC Comics) to bite on the idea and Superman premiered in Action Comics #1 in 1938. The documentary didn’t just look at Superman’s impact on comics. The movie soon started covering the early serials in the ’50s and the George Reeves TV show. The doc even discussed tv shows like the once broadcast Superman Musical (based on the broadway show) in the ’70s staring Leslie Ann Warren as Lois Lane and David Wilson as Superman and the not broadcast pilot of a show called SuperPup staring midgets in dog costumes. Yes, you read that right (see pic).

The documentary is a fascinating look at the emergence of Superman in popular culture. It continues to delve into the people that played Superman, putting particular emphasis on George and Christopher Reeves and the fates that have befallen both men. That was a particularly poignant section for me. Very sweet men who didn’t deserve what fate handed them.

The doc, of course, had a nice section on the new movie with some scenes I hadn’t seen before. It definately made me ready to see the movie. I was pumped after watching it. I will be honest though, it felt a little long to me. The doc was 2 hours long and, to me, it felt it. I know they didn’t touch on a lot of stuff they could have, or delve even deeper into other Superman aspects, but even this protracted history felt long. I started losing enthusiasm towards the end, but the doc picks up for the last 20 minutes or so and I was left with an overall good feeling. I would be interested in seeing the A&E version as, like I said earlier, it’s 30 minutes shorter.

Also, a lot of the interviewees were nicely picked. Artists, writers, actors, a good mix. They even had Stan “The Man” Lee talking about Superman’s impact. That is cool. Then, Gene mutha-f’n Simmons pops up. Why is Gene Simmons on here? What does he bring to the table? It just said Comic Book Fan in his title card, but if that’s it, they could have asked Shaq or Seinfeld to participate as they are known Superman fans also. That was just a little jarring and wierd for me. Just a little sidenote.

Other than those two gripes, I really enjoyed the documentary and recommend it to any Superman fans, and non-fans, out there. It’s a great way to ramp up for the release of Superman Returns on Wednesday.

I’ll be back with another Superman related article tomorrow.

Check out the other days in Superman Week here:

Day 2 – Scary Superman Merchandise
Day 3 – Review of Christopher Reeve Superman Movies
Day 4 – Stupid Superman Powers
Day 5 – Review of Superman Returns

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