Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Superman and King Kong on DVD

So, with Superman Returns in theatres, and doing quite well, all of the classic Christopher Reeve Superman movies are currently undergoing massive restoration, and are all getting new special editions. And...the stats for those special editions have been announced! Let's get to it:

Superman: The Movie - Four Disc Special Edition
Wow! 4 discs! I will point out that some of these bonus materials are recycled from the Y2K 2-disc special edition, so I'll mark the recycled stuff with a *. On this four disc set, you get:

- Both the original 1978 theatrical version and the 2000 director's cut that was prepared for DVD.

- The original trailers and TV spots*

- running commentary with director Richard Donner and creative consultant Tom Mankewickz*

- running commentary by producer Pierre Spengler and executive producer Ilya Salkind.

- Music only track*

- 3 featurettes about the making of the film*

- deleted scenes

- screen tests*

- the original 1978 TV special The Making of Superman

- the 1951 film Superman and the Mole-Men starring George Reeves as Superman!

- The first 9 Fleisher Studios Superman cartoons from the 1940s, beautifully digitally restored!

Superman II: 2-Disc Special Edition
Ah, the film that introduced the phrase "Kneal Before Zod!" the geek lexicon. You get:

- New running commentary by producer Pierre Spengler and executive producer Ilya Salkind.

- The original The Making of Superman II TV special from 1981.

- The original Superman's 50th Anniversary from 1988.

- the trailer

- the featurette First Flight: The Fleisher Superman Series, all about the making of the Fleisher Superman cartoons from the 1940s.

- the remaining 8 Fleisher Superman cartoons

Superman III: Deluxe Edition
Just a single-edition version for the one with Richard Pryor. You get:

- running commentary by producer Pierre Spengler and executive producer Ilya Salkind.

- the original The Making of Superman III TV special from 1983.

- deleted scenes

- the trailers

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
Again, only a single-disc edition. You get:

- running commentary by writer Mark Rosenthal

- deleted scenes

- the trailer

Now, before I continue, I should mention that all of the above DVDs will be in a big boxed set called The Christopher Reeve Superman Collection. Got it? Because what's next isn't in the boxed set.

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut
For those just joining us...Superman and Superman II were originally being filmed at the same time, with the goal of the two films coming out wihtin a year of each other. Well, when Superman was 80% filmed and Superman II was 60% filmed, it was decided to focus all their energy on finishing #1, and going back and finishing #2 later. So, #1 was finished, came out, was a giant hit. But, original director Richard Donner was not brought back in to finish #2. He and the producers had massive conflicting interests. Richard Lester was brought in to finish #2, and geeks the world over were left wondering, "What would it have been like had Richard Donner finished it?"

Well, now you're going to find out. Using Richard Donner's orginal notes (and with the final film getting final approval from Richard Donner), and lots of footage that Richard Donner shot that Richard Lester didn't want to use, Superman II has been completed that way Richard Donner wanted it done.

SEE lots of scenes with Marlon Brando as Jor-El that were filmed, but long since thought lost to the ages!

SEE the massive subplot of Lois Lane figuring out Clark Kent's true identity and her many attempts at unmasking him!

SEE much more threatening and serious Zod!

For bonus materials:

- new running commentary with director Richard Donner and executive consultant Tom Mankeiwicz.

- the featurette Superman II: Restoring the Vision, which is all about the controversy I outlines above and the efforts to create this edit

- even MORE cut scenes that weren't used.

All these Superman DVDs come out November 28.

Let's take a break from Superman now. Who's up for another dose of King Kong?

Coming out on November 14 is King Kong: Extended Edition. Peter Jackson's monster movie epic in a new, extended edition! Don't worry, unlike that 4-hour REturn of the King Extended Edition, the King Kong Extended Edition is only 13 minutes longer than the original version. Let's break down the bonus features by disc:

Disc 1: Part 1 of the Film - running commentary with Peter Jackson and co-writer/producer Philipa Boyens, and 16 deleted scenes

Disc 2: Part 2 of the Film - the rest of the running commentary, 5 featurettes, and the trailers

Disc 3: The King Kong Archives - intro by Peter Jackson, 8 new featurettes, 5 video galleries, 5 pre-viz animatics, 3 motion-capture/animation comparisons, and the 1996 and 2005 screenplays.

Yes, the 1996 screenplay. In fact, a couple of those featurettes are even dedicated to the 1996 King Kong. Now, in case you don't know what I'm talking about...back in 1996, Peter Jackson started work on King Kong, with the intent of having it in theatres by 1998. But then, Disney started doing a remake of Mighty Joe Young and there was that American Godzilla...so Universal thought that the market was getting oversaturated with giant monster movies. And they pulled the plug on Peter Jackson's King Kong.

So, Jackson went and made The Lord of the Rings, became the world's #1 director, and Universal then practically begged him to come try his hand at King Kong again.

So, yeah. Lots of these bonus features are going to get into the kind of King Kong Jackson would have made 10 years ago, had he got to.

Whew. I think this was my longest entry ever.

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