XenForo Template Superman: The Motion Picture Anthology Release Date: Available now Studio: Warner Home Video Packaging/Materials: Digipack with slipcase MSRP: $129.98 "Look, up on Amazon! It's the eight-disc Superman Motion Picture Anthology!" No one can accuse Warner Home Video for not being thorough, at least when it comes to its massive boxed set that collects the "Superman" feature films, their various permutations, and seemingly all the extras ever associated with them. It's an impressive, and somewhat daunting, assemblage of material related to the enduring Man of Steel, but it also begs the question of who will purchase it outside of the most devoted of fans -- especially considering about half the titles - "Superman (Expanded Edition)," "Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut," and "Superman Returns" have been out on Blu-ray for some time and have likely made it into most people's collections already. Those willing to go through the cycle of sell and re-purchase will see some upgrades - the alternative cuts for the first two films have lossless audio and Brian Singer's video blogs and a new addition to the deleted scenes (all now presented in high definition) have been added to the extras on "Superman Returns" - but my guess is there won't be many to take that step. The majority will wait until those titles that haven't seen a separate Blu-ray release - i.e. all the theatrical versions - finally get one. With a veritable mountain of extras, consisting of all the material from the 2006 DVD special editions, extras from "Superman Returns," and some noteworthy additions, Warner certainly deserves an "A" for effort, though it also shows that despite having everything, a product can still have limited appeal. Overall Score (not averaged): 4/5 The Features: See individual titles below Video Quality: See individual titles below Audio Quality: See individual titles below Special Features: 5/5 The boxed set also includes a coupon code for a ticket to see the upcoming "Green Lantern" film starring Ryan Reynolds. The coupon is valid from June 17th to July 5th. [Disc One] Superman: The Movie Year: 1978 Rating: PG Running Time: 2:23:16 Video: 1080p high definition 2.40:1 Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1, English 2.0 / Dolby Digital: French 2.0, German 1.0, Italian 1.0, Castellano 1.0, Spanish 1.0, Portuguese 1.0 Subtitles: English SDH, French, German SDH, Italian SDH, Castellano, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish The Feature: 4/5 Though George Reeves had made a sizable impression as the Man of Steel in the syndicated '50s TV show "The Adventures of Superman," by 1978 it was high time for a new generation to have a Superman to call its own. Significant effort by producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind, with partner Pierre Spengler, went into making it a reality, from securing movie rights from publisher DC Comics, to enlisting writer Mario Puzo to develop a suitable script, to ultimately hiring director Richard Donner to bring some vision and credibility to the project. The other critical piece was the casting of Superman himself, which ultimately went to an unknown after lengthy consideration of A-list stars of the era. Today's day and age would probably call for a Man of Steel with more physical bulk and gravitas, but for the movie that was being made and the standards of the time, Christopher Reeve cannily embodied the character from cape to boots. Additional effective casting - from Margot Kidder as the scrappy Lois Lane to Gene Hackman as Superman's nemesis Lex Luthor - helped Donner and company turn in a fully formed work that would come to thrill audiences worldwide. Though the movie is not without its problems, namely a disjointed middle section that includes important - but largely unrelated - waypoints along the hero's origin story, there's no questioning how effectively it draws upon and generates its own deep sense of nostalgia. When Superman cites truth, justice and the American way as his all-encompassing standards, it doesn't seem like hokum as much as reveal the superheroes of today have all but abandoned such lofty ideals. The theatrical cut of the film was previously only available on DVD, the last release being 2006's four-disc special edition. The Blu-ray release, also from 2006, presented the expanded version, which runs about eight minutes longer and is included in the boxed set on Disc Two. Video Quality: 4/5 The film is accurately framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. The transfer features strong and stable black levels, deep and well saturated colors, and contrast that displays the full range of values with good shadow detail and delineation. There's some obvious soft focus filtering going on through much of the film, which has the intended effect on the picture's overall sharpness, but shots without it stand out all the more for their crispness and clarity, from wide shots to close ups. Given the age of the film and its special effects, it isn't always the epitome of high definition, but the transfer appears true to the source with no signs of excessive digital processing. Audio Quality: 4/5 Dialogue in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is detailed, clear and intelligible. Surround activity consisting of directional and environmental effects is balanced and seamless, particularly evident in the film's opening credits with the "woosh" effects. Bass activity is clean and robust, with occasional dips into LFE territory, and high frequency detail is nicely evident via the film's rousing orchestral score by John Williams. The disc also includes the original theatrical two-channel mix in DTS-HD Master Audio format. Though it has a fairly narrow sound stage, it has good dynamic range and detail. Along with the theatrical cut, it provides viewers with a presentation consistent with what moviegoers experienced in 1978. Special Features Commentary by Pierre Spengler and Ilya Salkind is the same as that found on the 2006 four-disc special edition DVD. The Making of Superman (51:50, SD) is a vintage behind-the-scenes documentary produced in 1980, featuring Reeve as an occasional host and including interviews with the cast and crew, on-location footage, and history of the character in popular culture. Though it's interesting as an archival piece, its promotional nature means there's nothing especially revealing about the production itself, which was fraught with technical and interpersonal problems. Fortunately there are other documentaries in the set that go into those particulars. Superman and the Mole-Men (58:05, SD) is a 1951 black and white theatrical film with George Reeves in the starring role. According to Wikipedia it served as a trial run for the eventual TV series, "The Adventures of Superman." Cartoons Super-Rabbit (8:12, SD) follows Bugs Bunny as he tests out new powers acquired from a "super-vitamized" carrot. Snafuperman (4:34, SD) features Privates Snafu (who sounds an awful lot like Bugs) attempting to fight Axis forces thanks to powers granted him by a magical fairy. Stupor Duck (6:39, SD) tries to stop supposed villain Aardvark Ratnick from wreaking havoc on the world. TV Spot (:30, SD) Teaser Trailer (1:14, SD) Theatrical Trailer (2:39, SD) Title Recap The Feature: 4/5 Video Quality: 4/5 Audio Quality: 4/5 [Disc Two] Superman: The Movie (Expanded Edition) Year: 1978 Rating: PG Running Time: 2:31:25 Video: 1080p high definition 2.40:1 Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: French 5.1, German 5.1, Italian 5.1, Castellano 5.1 Subtitles: English SDH, French, German SDH, Italian SDH, Castellano, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Russian The Feature: 4/5 Adding about eight minutes to the original theatrical cut, the Expanded Edition doesn't provide any insights, but it does make the film run a little longer. Though perhaps the preferable version due to the extended bits with Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman, I'm not sure the film deserves an entire disc of its own. Nevertheless, fans will appreciate the cut getting such lavish attention. Video Quality: 4/5 The film is accurately framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. The picture quality and characteristics look the same as those found in the theatrical cut. The restored scenes are somewhat noticeable, but are not excessively distracting. As such the transfer again stays true to the source with no evidence of excessive digital processing. Audio Quality: 4/5 The previous Blu-ray release only included an English Dolby Digital 5.1 option, so the inclusion of a lossless track represents a step up even though most would be hard pressed to tell the difference. As with the theatrical cut, dialogue in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is detailed, clear and intelligible. Surround and low frequency activity also exhibit similar qualities and characteristics. Special Features Commentary by Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz is the same as that found on the four-disc Special Edition DVD and the single-disc Blu-ray release. Taking Flight: The Development of Superman (30:14, SD) covers the arduous journey involved in bringing the Man of Steel to the silver screen, though the documentary on Disc Eight is more candid about the entire endeavor. Major points include the hiring of Mario Puzo to write the script, the eventual hiring of Richard Donner to direct, the script revisions made by Tom Mankiewicz, and the casting of the major roles. Produced in 2001. Making Superman: Filming the Legend (30:41, SD) describes the various special effects, the filming experience, scoring, and editing the film. Produced in 2001. The Magic Behind the Cape (23:45, SD) provides great detail about the special effects, in particular filming miniatures, coordinating the flying sequences, and using practical effects. Optical effects supervisor Roy Field also describes his area of expertise. Produced in 2001. Screen Tests Superman (9:21, SD) shows Reeve playing the apartment scene opposite Holly Palance as Lois. Lois Lane (10:57, SD) shows the various actresses who tested for the role, including Anne Archer, Lesley Anne Warren, Stockard Channing, and finally Kidder. Ursa (2:05, SD) shows the various actresses who tested for the role, included their attempts to flip a stunt man. Restored Scenes show what was added back to the film, if it wasn't entirely clear from viewing the feature. Jor-El and the Council (3:21, SD) Security Council Meeting (:28, SD) Baby Kal-El's Starship (:08, SD) Young Lois with Parents on Train (:19, SD) Mrs. Kent Opens Up House (:37, SD) Clark and Jimmy (:26, SD) Jor-El and Superman (2:23, SD) Pedestrian and Clark (:30, SD) Fire and Ice (2:42, SD) Hollywood Sign Falls (:16, SD) Additional Scenes (3:22, SD) shows Luthor ordering Otis to "feed the babies" with Miss Teschmacher. Additional Music Cues presented in 384 kbps 48 khz Dolby Digital 5.0. Main Titles (6:08) Alternate Main Titles (3:49) The Council's Decision (7:55) The Krypton Quake (2:25) More Mugger/Introducing Otis (7:17) Air Force One (1:25) Chasing Rockets (3:39) Can You Read My Mind, Pop Version (3:03) Music-Only Track presented in 640 kbps 48 khz Dolby Digital 5.1. Title Recap The Feature: 4/5 Video Quality: 4/5 Audio Quality: 4/5 [Disc Three] Superman II (Theatrical) Year: 1980 Rating: PG Running Time: 2:07:29 Video: 1080p high definition 2.40:1 Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: French 1.0, German 1.0, Italian 1.0, Castellano 1.0, Spanish 1.0, Portuguese 1.0 Subtitles: English SDH, French, German SDH, Italian SDH, Castellano, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish The Feature: 3/5 Despite "Superman II's" box office success, the dismissal of Director Richard Donner and the hiring of Richard Lester as his replacement has an all too obvious effect on the film's pacing and overall tone. Nowhere is it more evident than in the film's disjointed first act, which includes a painfully slow Paris hostage sequence and overdoses of cornball humor. The patchwork quality, typified by plot devices and situational contrivances, also finds its way into other parts of the movie, though thankfully those sections also include the characters of General Zod, Ursa, and Non (Terence Stamp, Sarah Douglas, and Jack O'Halloran), the Krypton criminals imprisoned at the beginning of the first film. Stamp's scenery chewing performance in particular steals the show and his inevitable defeat brings a tinge of remorse every time. The film also shows hints of the inspired as Clark Kent considers a life sans Superman, but the depth of that struggle never gets a proper setup nor is the choice he finally makes (and then un-makes) more than a plot device. All of this doesn't make the film unwatchable, but there's a clear difference in vision between the two directors. Unfortunately the most limiting of them would continue into the next Superman movie, while the other would not see some measure of vindication for another 25 years, through the "Richard Donner Cut." Video Quality: 4/5 The film is accurately framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. Scenes that don't depend on special effects prove to be the most pleasing and natural looking, with good contrast, color, black levels, and detail that holds up from wide shots to close ups. Things can get a little ugly when the special effects come in, though that's ultimately about the quality of the source (and vintage of the effects) than the transfer. Though the video quality gets the same score as the first film's, the first clearly stands out as the more aesthetically pleasing of the productions. Audio Quality: 4/5 Dialogue in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is clear and intelligible, though there is frequently a kind of harsh edge to the vocals. Surround activity consisting of directional and environmental effects is balanced and seamless, though perhaps not as dynamic or involving as the first film's. Bass activity is clean and robust, with occasional dips into LFE territory, and high frequency detail is nicely evident via the film's orchestral score. Special Features Commentary by Pierre Spengler and Ilya Salkind is the same as that found on 2006 Special Edition DVD. The Making of Superman II (52:15, SD) is a vintage, promotional piece covering the major plot points of the sequel, though it does include some significant glimpses behind the scenes and a number of interviews with the cast. Superman's Souffle Deleted Scene (:40, SD) shows the Man of Steel and Lois getting domestic. First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series (12:55, SD) provides an overview of the animated Superman shorts created by Fleischer Studios, and a history of its innovative work that continues to influence animators today. The Fleischer Studios Superman (1:19:29, SD) includes the nine shorts produced by the animation studio before it was taken over by Paramount Pictures and renamed Famous Studios. Superman (10:28) The Mechanical Monsters (11:03) Billion Dollar Limited (8:36) The Arctic Giant (8:35) The Bulleteers (8:02) The Magnetic Telescope (7:38) Electric Earthquake (8:43) Volcano (7:58) Terror on the Midway (8:21) Theatrical Trailer (2:22, SD) Title Recap The Feature: 3/5 Video Quality: 4/5 Audio Quality: 4/5 [Disc Four] Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut Year: 1980 Rating: PG Running Time: 1:55:52 Video: 1080p high definition 2.40:1 Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: Thai 5.1 Subtitles: English SDH, French, German SDH, Italian SDH, Castellano, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazil), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Magyar, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovene, Swedish, Thai, Turkish The Feature: 4/5 Though not without its flaws, "Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut" addresses many of the issues of the theatrical version, most critical of which is the pacing (though the removal of most of the campy humor also does wonders for the tone). Per writer Tom Mankiewicz's original concept, the events of the first film tie in directly to those in the second, leading to a narrative that is both logical and economical. Superman's struggle with his identity also gets the set up and attention it deserves, as well as a more satisfying explanation of why he must make the choice he does. What proves disappointing, however, is the film's conclusion, which re-uses a major plot device from the first film. Even though the original idea was to use it for the second movie, it seems overly obstinate to insist on it in the "Donner Cut," as it effectively gives the two films the same ending. Some may also take issue with the less than polished visual effects, though in terms of helping tell a story that was never told in the first place, they prove more than adequate. Video Quality: 4/5 The film is accurately framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. The picture quality of the "Donner Cut" is largely consistent with the theatrical version of "Superman II." Given the nature of some of the source elements - screen tests, somewhat rudimentary visual effects, and footage from the theatrical version - it's surprising the film looks as cohesive as it does. Again, scenes with no or minimal special effects work tend to look the best, with strong contrast, fine detail, and pleasing color and black levels. Audio Quality: 4/5 Dialogue in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is detailed and intelligible, though levels seem to be a touch inconsistent. Surround activity consisting of directional and environmental effects is balanced and seamless, and bass activity is clean and robust, with occasional dips into LFE territory. In general it seems the overall level of the track is a touch lower compared to the theatrical version's, but that's easily remedied with a nudge of the volume knob. Special Features Introduction by Richard Donner (1:54, SD) includes words of gratitude from the director towards the fans and Michael Thau, the producer and editor who spearheaded the project. Commentary by Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz is the same as that found on the 2006 DVD and Blu-ray releases. Superman II: Restoring the Vision (13:20, SD) includes interviews with Donner and Thau describing the process and methods behind reconstructing the original vision of the film, as well as video footage from actual working sessions. Deleted Scenes (8:44, SD) Lex and Ms. Teschmacher Head North (1:06) Lex and Ms. Teschmacher Head South (1:42) The Villain's Enter the Fortress (1:22) He's All Yours, Boys (1:51) Clark and Jimmy (:55) Lex's Getaway (1:46) Famous Studios Superman Cartoons (1:07:49, SD) includes the eight shorts produced after Fleischer Studios was taken over by Paramount. Japoteurs (9:08) Showdown (8:22) Eleventh Hour (8:59) Destruction, Inc. (8:34) The Mummy Strikes (7:48) Jungle Drums (9:02) The Underground World (8:14) Secret Agent (7:39) Title Recap The Feature: 4/5 Video Quality: 4/5 Audio Quality: 4/5 [Disc Five] Superman III Year: 1983 Rating: PG Running Time: 2:04:56 Video: 1080p high definition 2.40:1 Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: French 2.0, German 2.0, Italian 2.0, Castellano 2.0, Spanish 2.0, Portuguese 2.0, Magyar 2.0, Polish 2.0, Thai 2.0 Subtitles: English SDH, French, German SDH, Italian SDH, Castellano, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Russian The Feature: 2.5/5 Nothing is more telling of what we're in for than the slapstick sequence that runs through "Superman III's" credits sequence. In addition, the casting of comedian Richard Pryor as a hapless computer programmer makes it clear the goal is to present a more lighthearted Man of Steel, though "cornball" would be more accurate. To many this proved offensive, a clear departure from the tone previously set by Donner, which basically respected the source material. Even without that legacy, the film has few moments that work, the attempts at comedy overshadowing the compelling bits, such as the manifestation of Superman's dark side and Clark Kent's burgeoning romance with former high school classmate Lana Lang (Annette O'Toole). The film's villain, a money-grubbing tycoon played by Robert Vaughn, is also no replacement for Lex Luthor - in either deviousness or ambition - though the role is really more of a plot device than an actual character. Ultimately the movie represented a precipitous decline in the franchise, though no one would guess four years later things could actually be worse. Video Quality: 4.5/5 The film is accurately framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. Though there's not much going for the film, its transfer to high definition has plenty to appreciate, with deep and nicely saturated color, solid black levels, and contrast that shows the full range of values. Overall sharpness is also noticeably improved, showing off fine detail in hair and skin and holding up well in wide shots. There are still issues related to the special effects sequences, but given the vintage of those processes the problems are ultimately inherent to the source. Audio Quality: 3.5/5 Dialogue in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is generally clear and intelligible, but sometimes has a hollow, tin can quality. Surround activity is fairly minimal, consisting mostly of support for the score and the occasional directional effect. Bass activity and LFE are full and robust however, and provide the track with a satisfying fullness and depth. Special Features Commentary by Pierre Spengler and Ilya Salkind is the same as that found on 2006 Special Edition DVD. The Making of Superman III (49:08, SD) is a vintage, promotional piece covering the major plot points of the sequel, though it does include some significant glimpses behind the scenes and a number of interviews with the cast. Deleted Scenes (19:43, SD) Save My Baby! (:47) To the Rescue (1:28) Making Up (:29) Going to See the Boss (1:14) Hatching the Plan (1:39) The Con (3:24) Rooftop Ski Resort (7:43) Boss Wants This to Go (:30) Superman Honored (:26) Gus' Speech (:28) Hanging Up On Brad (1:32) Theatrical Trailer (3:10, SD) Title Recap The Feature: 2.5/5 Video Quality: 4.5/5 Audio Quality: 3.5/5 [Disc Six] Superman IV: The Quest for Peace Year: 1987 Rating: PG Running Time: 1:29:52 Video: 1080p high definition 2.40:1 Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio: English 2.0 / Dolby Digital: French 2.0, German 2.0, Italian 2.0, Spanish 2.0, Castellano 2.0, Portuguese 2.0, Magyar 2.0, Polish 2.0, Thai 2.0 Subtitles: English SDH, French, German SDH, Italian SDH, Castellano, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazil), Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Magyar, Slovene, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish The Feature: 2/5 The low critical and public opinion for this third Superman sequel is reflected in the near absence of reviews for the Deluxe Edition DVD that came out in 2006. What I did find was a criticism of the commentary track, which complained about co-screenwriter Mark Rosenthal blaming everyone except himself and his co-writer for the film's abject failure. Indeed the box office for the film was abysmal, especially in comparison to its predecessors, but it was wholly appropriate for this frequently laughable installment that finds Superman putting his foot down about nuclear arms. Leaving behind most of the farcical humor of "Superman III," its humor still tends toward the corny, though frequently its biggest chuckles come from the awful dialogue and equally painful line readings. The ridiculous villain of Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow), with his radioactive fingernails (yes, you read that right) and the overly preachy tone also don't help, giving the film a strange Roger Corman meets afterschool special vibe. While it's unfortunate the Christopher Reeve era of Superman films ended on such a bizarre note, its strong start with "Superman" also tends to overshadow its missteps, as severe as they may be. Video Quality: 4.5/5 The film is accurately framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. As with the previous film, "Superman IV's" transfer to high definition is impressive, with deep and nicely saturated color, solid black levels, and contrast that shows the full range of values. Overall sharpness and detail are also excellent, holding up well from wide shots to close ups. Though special effects sequences (which are of noticeably lower quality) continue to be a weakness for the film's overall picture quality, the transfer presents them as-is with no signs of excessive digital processing or manipulation. Audio Quality: 3.5/5 Dialogue in the 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track is detailed, clear and intelligible. The sound stage is also reasonably wide considering its two-channel nature, with pleasing dynamic range and low frequency depth. Special Features Commentary by Mark Rosenthal is the same as that found on 2006 Deluxe Edition DVD. Superman 50th Anniversary Special (48:10, SD) is a 1988 TV special hosted by Dana Carvey (?!) as the character celebrates five decades since his creation. The piece doesn't hold many insights, but it's entertaining to see the years' collection of pop culture artifacts, including a monologue with Hal Holbrook as an old Kal-El reflecting back on his life (presumably a spoof of his famous Mark Twain one-man-show). Deleted Scenes (31:02, SD) Clark's Morning (1:25) Jeremy's Letter (:32) Superman's Visit (1:09) Nuclear Man's Prototype (5:27) Metropolis After Hours (2:31) Lex Ponders (1:32) Flying Sequence (Extended Scene) (2:35) Battle in Smallville (2:48) Battle in the U.S.S.R. (1:12) Nuclear Arms Race (2:08) Superman's Sickness (:59) Red Alert (5:24) By My Side (:19) Clark and Lacy Say Goodbye (1:02) No Borders (1:53) Theatrical Trailer (1:26, SD) Title Recap The Feature: 2/5 Video Quality: 4.5/5 Audio Quality: 3.5/5 Superman Returns [Disc Seven] Year: 2006 Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 2:34:19 Video: 1080p high definition 2.40:1 Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: French 5.1 (Quebec), French 5.1, German 5.1, Italian 5.1, Castellano 5.1, Spanish 5.1, Portuguese 5.1, Czech 5.1, Magyar 5.1, Polish 5.1, Russian 5.1, Subtitles: English SDH, French, German SDH, Italian SDH, Castellano, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazil), Croatian, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Magyar, Slovene, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Swedish, Thai, Turkish The Feature: 4/5 Director Bryan Singer's supposed re-boot of the Superman franchise, with the Man of Steel played by newcomer Brandon Routh, proved to be a conceptual disappointment, if not a commercial one. Its premise, however, was intriguing, addressing the question posed in "Superman II" - that is, how would the world get along without Superman? The measured and meditative exploration of the answer ran counter to most people's notions about what a Man of Steel movie should entail, while the almost slavish devotion to the Donner vision for the franchise - down to the font style used in the credit sequence - made some question the point of the entire project. In hindsight, the film is more of a curiosity than a failure, though it's clear it didn't reinvigorate the franchise as much as pay homage to it. Video Quality: 3.5/5 The film is accurately framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the VC-1 codec. As the first feature film to be shot in high definition with Panavision Genesis HD cameras, initial impressions of the Blu-ray and HD-DVD transfers were divided. Some complained about the all around flatness of the image - from colors to contrast to black levels - while others praised it for its pristine clarity (while still feeling uncertain about the HD format). So five years on, and many more movies shot in HD later, how does it fare? Somewhere above average. While the contrast and color look great, black levels lack a pleasing level of depth and fine detail is noticeably limited, with sometimes hazy wide shots and faces that look plasticky. The image is also subject to the occasional artifact - banding and posterizing specifically. Considering that feature films and TV series continue to be shot with the Genesis, it's safe to assume the picture quality issues are a result of a limited transfer. How this wasn't a homerun is ultimately a headscratcher. Audio Quality: 4.5/5 Dialogue in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is detailed, clear and intelligible. Surround activity consisting of directional and environmental effects is balanced and seamless, the airline rescue being particularly dynamic and enveloping. Bass activity is clean and robust and LFE suitably shakes the room to its foundations. Special Features In addition to items from the 2006 Blu-ray release, the extras include the full complement of Bryan Singer's video blog entries taped over the course of the production. Note: The following contains material from the HTF review of "Superman Returns" on DVD. Requiem for Krypton: Making Superman Returns (2:53:41, SD) is a making-of documentary that contains several individual segments and runs almost as long as the feature-film itself. The piece contains five segments consisting of: Secret Origins and First Issues: Crystallizing Superman (29:15) The Crystal Method: Designing Superman (34:05) An Affinity for Beachfront Property: Shooting Superman (21:14) The Joy of Lex: Menacing Superman (37:00) He’s Always Around: Wrapping Superman (16:02) There should be no complaints from those interested in such features as this one covers the full gamut – and then some. Virtually every single member of the film’s cast and crew appear here including its director, Bryan Singer. The offering contains a plethora of information such as interviews, movie clips, behind-the-scenes footage, conceptual development, set decoration, costuming, make-up, special effects, photography, location shooting…. among other things. Special effects supervisor Rob Heggie also makes an appearance as his trade is discussed at length. There is virtually nothing that goes unmentioned here as almost all facets of the production are touched upon. This should be considered one of the best features of its kind. [Herb Kane] Resurrecting Jor-El (4:00, SD) shows how filmmakers embellished and then integrated old footage of Marlon Brando into the film. Bryan Singer's Video Journals (1:22:00, SD), not included in the 2006 release, collects the series of entertaining behind-the-scenes video blogs created during the course of production. Hello from Sydney (1:01) Tamworth Scout (2:03) Clark of the Corn (2:04) Up, Up and Away (2:19) If You Build It (2:07) Sure This Is Safe? (2:17) The Call (7:28) Extra! Extra! (2:15) Big, Scary, Lit-Up Director's Face (4:00) To Fly (2:47) Clark Returns (2:15) Rattle and Roll (1:38) Ma Kent: "The Andretti" of Smallville (2:08) Wind Up and Pitch (1:49) Storyboarded (2:16) Santa's Grotto (2:34) Untitled (2:39) Return Your Tray Tables... (2:03) Through the Eyes of Newton Thomas Sigel (2:40) Love Previs (3:32) In Graphic Detail (2:23) 20 Hours in San Diego (6:21) Derailed (2:45) Stoparazzi (1:41) Jimmy Meet Jack (2:27) See Plane (3:09) Bespoke (2:58) Outre (5:27) KR 83.80 (2:40) Deleted Scenes (21:27) presented in 1080p high definition and 640 kbps Dolby Digital 5.1. The 2006 release presented them in standard definition and Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. Return to Krypton (5:41), not included in the 2006 release, shows what Clark was referring to when he described Krypton as "a graveyard." The Date (1:09) Family Photos (1:50) Crash Landing / X-Ray Vision (1:40) Old Newspapers (2:50) Are You Two Dating? (2:40) Martinis and Wigs (1:28) I'm Always Right (1:01) Jimmy the Lush (:44) Language Barrier (:13) Crystal Feet (:24) New Krypton (:28) How Wrong Can You Be? (Outtake) (1:12) Trailers Teaser Trailer (1:28, SD) Theatrical Trailer (1:51, SD) Title Recap The Feature: 4/5 Video Quality: 3.5/5 Audio Quality: 4.5/5 [Disc Eight] Bonus Disc Video: Standard and high definition Audio: Dolby Digital: English 5.1, English 2.0 Subtitles: English SDH, French, German SDH, Italian, Castellano, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman (1:50:30, HD), directed by Kevin Burns and narrated by Kevin Spacey, chronicles the history of the character in comic books, cartoons, television and film. Produced in 2006. You Will Believe: The Cinematic Saga of Superman (1:29:25, SD) candidly explores the history of the Christopher Reeve era Superman films, holding back nothing when it comes to the conflicts between the Salkinds and Donner and the downturn in quality of the latter films as a result of Donner's dismissal. Produced in 2006. The Science of Superman (51:01, HD) takes a look at the various scientific principles behind Superman's powers. Produced in 2006. The Mythology of Superman (19:34, SD) looks at the mythological underpinnings of the Superman origin story and of super heroes in general, with narration by Terence Stamp. Produced in 2006. The Heart of a Hero: A Tribute to Christopher Reeve (18:00, SD) includes recollections from friends and colleagues, looking back on Reeve's career and his activism. The Adventures of Superpup (21:34, SD) shows what Superman would be like as a dog, living in a world of dogs. Perhaps one of the more odd variations on the character, the TV pilot (which, not surprisingly, didn't get picked up for syndication) was produced in 1958 and used the same sets as "The Adventures of Superman."