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Reconstructed using archival film and sound elements long thought to be extinct, this special cut of Superman II pieces together unseen footage shot by Richard Donner in order to present the most comprehensive version of what was to be the original cut of the blockbuster sequel. As initially planned, the first two films were to be filmed back-to-back using the same sets and actors to save on production costs. In order to meet the completion date, the decision was made to drop any further filming on the sequel in order to finish the first movie and usher it into theaters. Once production was set to resume on the sequel, Richard Donner, was not brought back to finish the film he had started, but was replaced by Richard Lester (who would also help Superman III). Decisions were made to drop most of the key scenes that were already in the can, including all of the footage featuring Marlon Brando as Jor-El, the Man of Steel's father. With the release of Superman Returns, the company saw this as a chance to finally deliver what people had wanted for years and enlisted Michael Thau to oversee the restoration process. Under the tutelage of Donner's notes, scripts, storyboards, and the director himself, the new version was delivered to home audiences in 2006, thereby not only giving people a look into what could have been, but giving a director an unprecedented chance to realize a vision long thought lost in the annals of movie history.
The story itself is the same with the three villains that had been imprisoned at the beginning of Superman: The Movie, being released from their captivity and causing havoc on Earth. However, much of the little bits of goofy stuff Lester put in is now gone, most specifically with the trio of villains, who've been given back their menace, with none of the baby noises or eye rolls that once plagued them. The director's dubious choices of silly superpowers have also been nixed, with the mystical kiss and disappearing/reappearing gags left on the cutting-room floor. Thankfully, though it's graver in its emotions and is indeed more intense, the movie is still a joy to watch.

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WA86851 Superman II: Ricahrd Donner Cut DVD (1980/Christopher Reeve) $24.98 $22.49