Yes, I could have easily split this into two separate reviews and got me a few more ad hits, but that just ain’t how I roll. These two films come together as one complete whole and tell a story that is fully contained within these two parts and the comic it is based on. No, there isn’t a comic called The Dark knight Strikes Again. That never happened. Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns is a comic that fans have wanted to see adapted for years. Apparently Warner entertained the idea in the process of reinventing Batman for cinema audiences after the travesty that was Batman & Robin. It would have been a tough one to pull off seeing as it is among the most brutal Batman stories worthy of adapting. What you’d need is a medium that can get away with a little more and a fan base willing to buy. And that’s where Bruce Timm and his pals at Warner Animation come in. Click the link for my review.
Tag Archives: Warner Bros.
Here’s a film I’ve been wanting to cover for a long time. Watchmen is a film that had been in development for nearly 20 years by the time Zack Snyder was able to bring it to the silver screen. In the past directors such as Darren Aronofsky, Paul Greengrass and Terry Gilliam had all made attempts to get this film made. Gilliam even termed the comic it is based on as unfilmable. If you’ve ever read the comic you’d probably agree. The story is thick with dialogue, richly layered with subtext and has some of the strongest character writing of the 20th century. I say with no intended hyperbole that Alan Moore is one of the greatest writers of modern times and Watchmen is his work at its most complex and creatively brilliant. When I first read the comic about 15 years ago I tried to envision what a film would be like. I just could not see it. I figured that Watchmen would be better suited to a 6-8 hour TV series, but then the budget would be ridiculous. I went to see this film in the cinema on release day expecting the worst, after all… there’s been a long line of terrible adaptations of Alan Moore’s work beforehand. Click the link to find out what I think of Watchmen.
Hey there, this is The Weekend Dump. It’s a new thing I’m gonna try to do in order to have some form of scheduled posting going on up in here. Keep in mind that I used to do this via a weekly trailers post and, well, do you see a trailers post this week? No, you don’t. But they never brought in the views like my reviews do so I guess the impetus to keep doing them wasn’t there. Plus, it was lazy. The Weekend Dump will be where I take a piece of movie based news from this week, or maybe a few pieces, and then write some unedited rant/thing about that news. Hopefully it’ll generate a little discussion. I was going to write about how Star Wars Episode VII is (brilliantly) being shot on 35mm film with a focus on practical effects. And then THAT news broke. So yeah, Batfleck everybody… let’s dump.
It would be wrong of me to start this review without a little bit of history. Mostly because it has become a habit of mine over the course of these Superman film reviews. So here it is. Man of Steel was originally the title for the sequel to Superman Returns. Right, that’s out the way, now onto the review. Click the link to find out what I thought of Man of Steel!
Superman Returns gets a lot of crap. Around 84.6% of this crap is unwarranted nitpicking. The remaining 15.6% ignore that we could have gotten a much worse film instead. For example, in the years between Superman 4 we nearly had: A Tim Burton directed Superman starring Nic Cage, a fight with Polar Bears and a giant mechanical Spider. A film directed by McG. A film directed by Brett Ratner. Ashton Kutcher as Superman squaring off with Jay Baruchel. For some reason the cancelled Superman films always seem to involve really odd stuff. Thank God for Bryan Singer and his respect for the work of Richard Donner, because instead of Superman wearing an electric suit we got something that treated the source material with respect, could serve as a better sequel than the previous 2 films, and had zero mechanical fecking spiders. Click the link to read how I try to validate the existence of Superman Returns despite overwhelming internet raging fanboy opposition.
Oh man… here it is. Superman 4: The Quest For Peace. Words cannot describe just… well… everything. Which probably isn’t the best basis for a written review. But dammit, I’m gonna try my best. Superman 4 is the only one in the Christopher Reeve series to not be produced by the Salkinds. Unfortunately, for us, this film is produced by Cannon films. The studio that brought us Cyborg, the MIA series and Masters of the Universe. There’s a certain tone and style present in those films that isn’t quite in keeping with the scope and scale needed for a Superman film. That said, they did also make Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo so I guess all can be forgiven. Now, let’s see if I can describe just what it is about Superman 4 that makes it so… I’m gonna say special, but it’s special like that kid in school that ate the erasers. Click the link for the review.
So Richard Donner has difficulty working with the producers of Superman The Movie but makes a very successful film. As a rewards he is fired and the sequel he had mostly shot gets chopped apart and butchered into something else. Richard Lest shoots his version of Superman 2, gets on really well with the producers because they’re all best friends but makes a film that makes half of what the first made. His reward is getting to make another Superman film. Proof if ever it was needed that being best chums with those in charge is more important than actually being good at your job. SO, what kind of film did this partnership create this time? Click the link to find out.
Well this is the first time I’ve reviewed the same film twice. Although if ever do my planned Blade Runner season I may end up reviewing the same film 5 times. Anyway, The Richard Donner cut of Superman 2 is essentially the closest we’ll ever get to seeing the film he intended to make. During the 19 month long filming of Superman 1 and 2 Donner shot around 75% of the second film. When he was unceremoniously dropped from the sequels production Richard Lester took over and had to re-shoot a large portion of the film in order to take the sole directors credit. Around 20% of Donner’s work survived in the final film, the rest stored away never to be seen again. That was until a few websites and a lot of fans banded together to get that footage recovered by Warner Bros. It worked and eventually Richard Donner was invited to work on finally making his cut of the film. So, how is this original director’s vision of the film that was nearly 30 years in the making? Click the link to find out.
History time! Man there’s going to be a lot of this over the next few reviews. After Richard Donner had hastily wrapped up the first Superman film he was under the assumption that he would be returning to do the sequel. This wasn’t some misguided belief brought on by the fact he had done such a good job with the first though. This was because he had already shot around 75% of the sequel already whilst shooting Superman The Movie. There had been a lot of tension on the set of Superman between Donner and the film’s producers Alexander & Ilya Salkind and their producing partner Pierre Spengler. So much so that the producer’s had brought in their friend, and established director, Richard Lester to act as a intermediary between the two parties. It seemed, though, that the Salkinds had decided that the success of Superman The Movie wouldn’t be worth working with Donner again and so he was fired and plans were put into motion to film a (mostly) new Superman 2 with Richard Lester at the helm. Sounds like it’ll probably be a mess right? Well… kinda is… sorta.. maybe… Click the link for my less vague opinion!!!
When I reviewed Tim Burton’s Batman I made mention that, prior to that film, no-one had taken the superhero genre seriously… except for in the case of Superman The Movie. For most cult genres there comes a point in the history of film where they suddenly get treated seriously enough and, more importantly, are successful enough to swing the general perception of that genre towards something more mainstream. For science fiction, barring a few examples, it was 2001: A Space Odyssey. For horror, a genre that had become more comedy after years of Universal monster movies, its return to credibility came with films such as Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist. For superheroes it was Richard Donner’s Superman. There’s a few examples of the superhero genre before this film but most were confined to B-Movie grade, throw away silliness. Superman The Movie had a huge budget, a huge scope and, like many great films, a huge amount of internal conflict. How did Richard Donner, who had most recently given the world The Omen, make you believe a man could fly when so many before couldn’t? By treating the source material with respect and spending an incredible amount of money. But how good a film is Superman The Movie? Click the link to hear me say stuff you probably already know!