Sunday, July 31, 2011

Superman: The Movie (1978)

Director: Richard Donner

Starring: Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Glenn Ford, Valerie Perrine

More info: IMDb

Tagline: You'll Believe a Man Can Fly!

Plot: Unable to convince the ruling council of Krypton that their world will destroy itself soon, scientist Jor-El takes drastic measures to preserve the Kryptonian race: He sends his infant son Kal-El to Earth. There, gaining great powers under Earth's yellow sun, he will become a champion of truth and justice. Raised by the Kents, an elderly farm couple, Clark Kent learns that his abilities must be used for good. The adult Clark travels to Metropolis, where he becomes a mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet...and a caped wonder whose amazing feats stun the city: Superman! Meanwhile, Lex Luthor, the world's greatest criminal mind, is plotting the greatest real estate swindle of all time. Can't even the Man of Steel stop this nefarious scheme?

My rating: 10/10

Will I watch it again? Duh.

I remember seeing this in the theater in '78. It's always been a top favorite. I don't care for the director's cut which, unbeknownst to me, is what's on the Blu-ray. I'd rather have the original. The addition scene with Brando was nice but it's also partially redundant and the scene where Supes visits Luthor in his lair where he's greeted with machine guns and flame throwers isn't necessary and feels like it should have been in the deleted scenes section instead.

With that out of the way, SUPERMAN is fantastic. I dig how they cover so much ground and the tonal shifts. It's deadly serious (the Smallville stuff with his parents is heartbreaking), sometimes campy and very, very funny. Richard Donner delivers the goods. Christopher Reeve is the definitive Man of Steel, Gene Hackman is brilliant as Lex Luthor and Margot Kidder is my ideal Lois Lane (and it doesn't hurt that she needs to have my babies.)

HOKEY SMOKE! I just discovered that Margot Kidder posed for Playboy in 1975!!!
The supporting cast is superb as well. The special effects are great. Hell, the whole damn movie is great. And there's no way I'm getting through this without mentioning John Williams' contribution. His score is one of the all time greats. It's the kind of score you need for a comic book movie such as this. It's heroic and triumphant and IT'S GOT A THEME (several, in fact) THAT YOU WALK OUT OT THE THEATER SINGING/WHISTLING/HUMMING! Modern film composers have grown apart from this style of writing and that just makes me mad. Harumph!

SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE is one of those comfort films that feels like a warm blanket on a cold, lonely night. I loved it in '78 and I dig it just as much today. As I watched it recently I could see how if I didn't have nostalgia (even still I'd think it a terrific film), it would be very easy to pick this picture apart like vultures on the rotting corpse of Crom but I dare not tamper with such a treasured piece of my childhood.

No comments:

Post a Comment