Misc. Thoughts On Further Improving The Donner Cut Of Superman 2

Paul_Scott

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2002
Messages
6,545
villans take over the world

much has been made that this footage was never shot, and therefore we are only left with the small town skirmish from the Lester version. I think, had Warner had a larger budget for this, this actually could have been accomplished fairly efficently with available technology.
The main way I would have done it- was to show not so much the live destruction around the world, but rather various vignettes of groups of ordinary people seeing the destruction live on TV- You get a small sense of this communal reaction in the first film with the news footage after his first night (and there is a small bit with Donners cameo in the 2001 cut of the movie).
This kind of footage (people huddled watching the tv) could have been culled from almost any Warner bros. owned film from the mid to late 70s, and if neccessary, digital grading could have then been employed to try to better match the look to what something Unsworth might have shot.
I would use this as the primary footage within this sequence
Tying it together, would be newcaster voice-overs. This voice over is simple ADR now- cast a (few) distinctive voices - and bingo! half the job is already done.
further I would cut out all the sequences in the small town from the film, but I would use Zods address ("your lands, your homes, your very lives...") as a soundbite that the TV stations are playing over and over-or even better, get Stamp in to record some even more dialouge to be used in voice overs for these 'tv' broadcasts).
Scenes of destruction could be witnessed as broadcasts as well, and the cinema vertie effect of live TV, as well as the resolution issues, would greatly help mask the cgi needed to accomplish a large scale scene of destruction.
Furthermore, you would be using mostly longshots anyway, which means you could even get away with live or digital doubles of the villans.

so basically, to accomplish the Villans taking over the world for this project,
you simply have to show that people from a wide cross section of backgrounds are seeing the same information

elements needed would be
1) footage of several disparate groups of people watching various tv broadcasts (farmhouse, office, street, Washington, etc).
this could be either newly shot footage, or stock footage culled from contemporary 70s features
2) Voice overs of announcers calling the play by play- "it's...it's totally gone...I don't know what to say...I don't see how anyone culd have survived..." etc. This would all be newly looped- some on screen commentators would be newly shot as pick-ups (decked out in full Ron Burgendy attire complete w/ porno mustaches)
3) a Zod soundbite (or several) that could either come from the 'Houston' scene or could be newly recorded
4) some disaster stock footage mixed in with some cgi of the figures in longshot doing some damage.

Doing it this way you would also get across the 'epic' nature as you transition from several groups of people with vastly disaprate backgrounds shown all sharing the same communal experience with a look of shock, awe, and concern.

the big problem then becomes, how and when do you transition to this. After they first land and walk off into the woods? after the meeting with the sheriff? Neither of these seem to provide the proper seguae. More than likely you would have to have some new looped dialouge with either Sarah or Terrence which could then be overlaid on an existing insert shot of the other as they are listening/reacting (something like "enough of this, we are not earthbound here...let us survey this planet from a better vantage point"). If there was a bluescreen close-up of one of the two, you could just composite that with a background plate to match the forest, or the roadside.

anyways- I don't think this sequence is still beyond the realm of possibility. Beyond a limited budget? Yeah. But not that limited a budget and not if you are creative and resourceful.
 

BrettGallman

Screenwriter
Joined
Nov 11, 2002
Messages
1,392
Real Name
Brett
Just watched the Donner Cut this weekend, and I agree that this would be a good way to convey what was originally intended. I especially like the idea of using Zod's address as a soundbite. To do that, you'd obviously have to put such a scene after the East Houston incident. I guess perhaps you could put it somewhere after they take over the White House, but I'm not sure.

One thing that bugged me was the non-resoultion regarding Luthor. While the Arctic Police scene isn't the best scene in the world, I think it's better than just leaving the audience wondering. I haven't listened to any of the commentaries or whatnot, but has Donner or Thau said why they opted to leave this scene out?

Also, something else that's always bothered me about Superman II that stayed in the Donner Cut: Clark has to walk back to the Fortress all alone? Lois couldn't give him a ride? It's kind of nit-picking, but it's always seemed a bit weird that he, you know, gives up his birthright for her, but she can't even give him a lift to the Fortress.


Overall, I really enjoyed the Donner Cut. While it's not the masterpiece the first film is, it's a solid improvement over Lester's version of the film. The pacing is a bit weird at times, especially in regards to some of the Niagra Falls part, but that's mostly due to being so familiar with the Lester version, which perhaps contributes to the feeling that something is "missing" there. Whenever I watch Superman II in the future, I'll be watching the Donner Cut, even if the ending feels repetitive when watching it with the original film (which, of course, isn't entirely Donner's fault, and it gets rid of that crazy magic kiss business).
 

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
344,813
Messages
4,720,903
Members
141,341
Latest member
Ron Piko