Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut does a valiant job giving viewers Donner’s original concept for the sequel and utilizing not only some new visual effects but some rehearsal footage to give as complete of a vision as possible.
Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut
Genre(s): Adventure, Action, Science Fiction
Warner Bros. | PG – 116 min. | May 9, 2023
Date Published: 05/07/2023 | Author: The Movieman
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
THE MOVIE — 4¼/5
Plot Synopsis: Kryptonian villain Gen. Zod (TERENCE STAMP) and his henchmen are accidentally freed from their outer-space imprisonment and threaten Earth with destruction, just as Superman (CHRISTOPHER REEVE) decides to renounce his superpowers for his new love, Lois Lane (MARGOT KIDDER).
Quick Hit Review: Even though this was released a few years back, this was my first viewing of the Donner Cut. It doesn’t exactly flow well from one scene to the next since some scenes Donner couldn’t shoot and had to use either some Lester footage or even screen tests. It’s a shame we couldn’t see what could’ve been if Donner had been given the chance to make his movie, but this as close as it’ll come and for that effort, it’s still an entertaining flick.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3½/5
Introduction by Richard Donner (1:54) – The director explains his pleasure for getting as close to his cut as possible and, briefly, the work that went into piecing it together.
Feature Commentary – Donner and Mankiewicz return and probably give a much more interesting commentary on this cut and the ins and outs of what occurred. This track also allows Donner to vent a little but provide his thoughts on what they were able to include. The two also talk about the impact Christopher Reeve, who this film was dedicated to, had on these films.
Superman II: Restoring the Vision (13:20) is an excellent, albeit short, featurette that details the process of putting together “The Richard Donner Cut”. Anyone interested in this version should check this out.
Deleted Scenes (8:44) – Here we get 6 scenes, mainly with Gene Hackman, shot by Donner that didn’t make it into either cut. It’s nice to see them there but ultimately they were excised for good reasons.
Famous Studios Superman Cartoons (1:07:49) are a collection of 8 (more) animated shorts. I’m not sure why these weren’t included on the same disc with the Fleischer cartoons but for animated fans, I’m sure they’re fun to watch wherever they are.
VIDEO – 5/5
As with the theatrical version of Superman II, this one, presented with a 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and a 2160p high-definition transfer, pretty much looks the same save for the test screening footage needed for a couple scenes. The new footage inserted for this Donner Cut still looks great, detail is sharp and colors bright throughout and the film grain is still present giving it a nice consistency.
AUDIO – 4¾/5
I will copy what I saw on the theatrical cut on Lester’s Superman II: The disc includes a new Dolby Atmos track, a slight upgrade over the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track on the Blu-ray disc. Dialogue comes across with good clarity while the score, now solely by John Williams, comes across with nice depth.
OVERALL — 4/5
Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut does a valiant job giving viewers Donner’s original concept for the sequel and utilizing not only some new visual effects but some rehearsal footage to give as complete of a vision as possible. It’s not great but was a decent improvement over Lester’s version.