Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh, Maggot Kidder, Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando, Glenn Ford, Terence Stamp, Susannah York, Ned Beatty, Valerie Perrine, Marc McClue, Jackie Cooper, Richard Pryor, Annette O’Toole, Robert Vaughn, Pamela Stephenson, Jon Cryer, Marc Pillow, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, James Marsden, Parker Posey, Frank Langella, Sam Huntington, Tristan Lake Leabu and Eva Marie Saint

Richard Donner, Richard Lester, Sidney J. Furie and Bryan Singer Running

Time: 905 mins

Out to buy on Blu-Ray 13/06/11




"The last son of Krypton"

From 1978 until 2006, DC’s greatest hero who stands for truth, justice and the American way on the big screen. From arriving on the planet, growing up in Smallville, arriving in Metropolis and announcing himself to the world. From then on he had to save California from a nuclear disaster, battle General Zod (Stamp), take on a self-aware computer, face off against Nuclear Man (Pillow), stop a diabolical plan by Lex Luthor (Hackman & Spacey) and fall in love with Lois Lane (Kidder and Bosworth). This would have been too much for the mild mannered Clark Kent but for this alter-ego Superman (Reeve & Routh), the last son of Krypton, he is here to save the Earth.

In 1978, director Richard Donner set the standard for superhero movies and five sequels followed but can ‘Superman’ be named as the greatest hero ever to grace the silver screen?

‘The Superman Motion Picture Anthology’ brings together all of the man of steal’s big screen adventures onto Blu-Ray, some for the first time. All of the Christopher Reeves films are here including the theatrical and expanded editions of ‘Superman the Movie’, the theatrical and the Richard Donner Cut of ‘Superman II’, ‘Superman III’ and ‘Superman IV: The Quest for Peace’. Also included in the 2006 ‘Superman Returns’ directed by Bryan Singer, plus over twenty hours of bonus features including all of material from previous DVD and Blu-Ray releases and two feature length documentaries on the phenomenon that is ‘Superman’.

When ‘Superman the Movie’ was released in 1978 with the tag line, “You’ll believe a man can fly’, it not only brought followed in the footsteps of huge blockbusters such as ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Jaws’ but set the standard that all superhero movie origin stories would have to follow and be compared with ever since. It set the standard because it not only introduced the character but also showed his back-story, introduced the world he inhabited and the characters that would shape his life. Director Richard Donner created a template that ever superhero movie would have to follow but as a film it simply entertained. The casting of the relatively unknown Christopher Reeve allowed him to become the personification of the character and it also gave Donner the chance to cast some big hitters to draw in people who did not want to see a comic book movie. The casting of Gene Hackman as criminal mastermind Lex Luthor was exceptional but getting screen legend Marlon Brando to play Jor-El, Superman’s Kryptonian father brought something more to what could have easily been seen as a children’s film. While there were some scenes that didn’t work with the “Can you read my mind” scene been a standout, the film is still as genre defining today as it was in 1978.

In 1980 the troubled ‘Superman II’ flew onto the silver screen. With Richard Donner having been fired by producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind due to the direction of the second film, most of which was shot during the production of the first film, Richard Lester took over and put his own stamp on the franchise. Moving away from the cinematic epic feel of the first film, the sequel did its best to continue the story and most importantly the love affair between Superman and Lois Lane. While Superman faced off against the criminal genius of Lex Luthor in the first film, the second film raised the stake by pitting him against three Kryptonians, all with the same powers as him. Terence Stamp’s General Zod and his minions Ursa, played by Sarah Douglas and Non, played by Jack O’Halloran were nothing like Superman had ever faced become and would ever face again on the big screen, adding more action to the franchise. While the film may not have had the impact of the first film, it was still a continuation of the story set out in the Donner classic. In 2006, Richard Donner returned to the movie he was fired from to produce his own cut which allowed him to use the majority of the footage that he shot during the production, including over fifteen minutes of material with Marlon Brando, who never even appeared in the Richard Lester version. Fans see this as the version that should have been released and one that Superman aficionados have embraced.

1983 saw Richard Lester get his own shot at Man of Steal film with ‘Superman III’. With Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor not returning and Margot Kidder’s Lois Lane becoming a background character, the film tried to cash in on the public’s interest in the power of technology. With films like ‘WarGames’ outlining the possible consequences of handing over power to computer systems, ‘Superman III’ sees Christopher Reeve go up against a computer built by power hungry industrialist Ross Webster, played by Robert Vaughn and its creator, computer programmer and easily influenced genius Gus Gorman, played by legendary comedian Richard Pryor. With scenes of Superman fighting an evil version of himself and even a video game representation of the battle, ‘Superman III’ was enjoyable, just really for the presence of Richard Pryor, but not a patch on the two Richard Donner influenced films that had come before.

After four years away, 1987 brought the last time that Christopher Reeve would wear the famous suit. Plagued with financial problems and a story that was reflecting the heightening of the Cold War, like many films of the late 80s, ‘Superman IV: The Quest for Peace’ was the movie that killed the franchise. Even with many of the main cast returning and Gene Hackman reprising his role as Lex Luthor, the fourth film bombed and it is clear to see why. Truly dreadful visual effects after the budget was cut by Cannon Pictures and a nemesis in Nuclear Man, played by the awful 80s pop star looking Marc Pillow, that was a shadow of the Zod or even the super computer that he had thought previously. While the idea of Superman ridding the world of nuclear weapons is one that is interesting it was so poorly executed that the film becomes the travesty of the series.

When Superman disappeared from the cinema in 1987, Batman took over in 1989 bringing DC’s other big hitter to the silver screen but as with the Man of Steal the fourth film ‘Batman & Robin’ killed off that franchise. With Marvel’s ‘X-Men’, ‘Blade’ and ‘Spider-Man’ franchises reigniting the comic book genre in the 00s, Warner Bros. and DC decided it was time to bring back Batman and Superman. Christopher Nolan re-envisioned the Caped Crusader in 2005 with ‘Batman Begins’ but it was man who brought the ‘X-Men’ to the silver screen, Oscar winner Bryan Singer who was given the task of re-invigorating the franchise with ‘Superman Returns’ in 2006. With the little known Brandon Routh stepping into the late Christopher Reeve’s red boots and Oscar winner Kevin Spacey becoming Lex Luthor, the film took place in the time frame just after Superman had defeated General Zod. Clinging onto the Donner vision and using Luthor as a criminal mastermind again who seems to be obsessed with Real Estate, ‘Superman Returns’ while engaging the fans, didn’t engage the worldwide audience as much as Warner and DC would have liked. ‘Batman Begins’ earned a sequel and ‘The Dark Knight’ set the new standard for comic book movies but Superman had to hang up his cape again until 2012 when he will return.

Digitally remastered and filled to the brim with bonus features, ‘The Superman Motion Picture Anthology’ is a must for any comic book fans collection. With two cuts of ‘Superman the Movie’ and ‘Superman II’, the third and fourth films appearing for the first time in high definition and ‘Superman Returns’ looking as good as ever, this is a Blu-Ray collection that is worth the investment. Throw in the hours and hours of extras and you have a package that sets a standard for superhero movies to follow.

Superman: The Original Theatrical Movie (1978) and Expanded Edition (2001)
A box-office smash, an Academy Award winner and a fan favourite since it first flew into theatres in December 1978, Superman: The Movie assembles a cast and creative contingent as only a big movie can. At its heart (just as in three sequels) is Christopher Reeve’s intelligent, affectionate portrayal of a most human Man of Steel.

The movie’s legacy soared even higher when director Richard Donner revisited this beloved adventure 22 years later and integrated eight additional minutes into the film. Enjoy more footage of the Krypton Council, a glimpse of stars of prior Superman incarnations, more of Jor-El underscoring his son’s purpose on Earth and an extended sequence inside Lex Luthor’s gauntlet of doom. Reeve, Marlon Brando (Jor-El), Gene Hackman (Luthor) and Margot Kidder (Lois Lane) give indelible performances that fuel the film’s aura of legend.

Disc #1 Superman: The Movie, Original Theatrical

Disc #2 Superman: The Movie, Expanded Edition

Superman II (1980 and The Richard Donner Cut)
Unwittingly released from Phantom Zone imprisonment, three super-powered Kryptonian criminals (Terence Stamp, Sarah Douglas and Jack O’Halloran) plan to enslave Earth – just when Superman (Christopher Reeve) decides to show a more romantic side to Lois Lane (Margot Kidder). Gene Hackman (as Lex Luthor) also returns from the first film, with a top supporting cast, witty Richard Lester direction and visuals that astound and delight.

Disc #3 Superman II, Original Theatrical

Disc #4 Superman II - The Richard Donner Cut

Superman III Theatrical Version (1983)
In Superman III, meet Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor), a half-witted computer programming natural. For him a keyboard is a weapon – and Superman faces the microelectronic menace of his life. Christopher Reeve reprises his most beloved role, deepening his character’s human side as Clark Kent reunites with old flame Lana Lang (Annette O’Toole) at a Smallville High class reunion. And when Superman becomes his own worst enemy after Kryptonite exposure, Reeve pulls off both roles with dazzling skill. Incredible visual effects abound – but above all it has heart, heroism and high-flying humor.

Disc #5 Superman III Theatrical Version

Superman IV The Quest For Peace Theatrical Version (1987)
Christopher Reeve not only dons the cape for the fourth time but also helped develop the movie’s provocative theme: nuclear disarmament. “For me, it’s the most personal of the entire series,” Reeve said. “It directly reflects what Superman should be, and should be doing.” Superman does a lot this time around. To make the world safe for nuclear arms merchants, Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) creates a new being to challenge the Man of Steel: the radiation-charged Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow). The two foes clash in an explosive extravaganza that sees Superman save the Statue of Liberty, plug a volcanic eruption of Mount Etna and rebuild the demolished Great Wall of China.

Disc #6 Superman IV The Quest For Peace Theatrical Version

Superman Returns (2006)
He's back. A hero for our millennium. And not a moment too soon, because during the five years Superman sought his home planet, things changed on his adopted planet. Nations moved on without him. Lois Lane now has a son, a fiancé and a Pulitzer for "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman." And Lex Luthor has a plan that will destroy millions - no, billions - of lives.
Filmmaker Bryan Singer (X-Men) gives the world the Superman it needs, honoring the legend everyone loves while taking it in a powerful new direction. Brandon Routh proves a perfect choice to wear the hero's cape, leading a top cast that includes Kate Bosworth as Lois and Kevin Spacey as Lex. And the thrills - from a sky-grapple with a tumbling jumbo jet to a continent-convulsing showdown - redefine wow.

Disc #7 Superman Returns

Disc #8 Additional Bonus Material

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