Last night, the wife, daughter and I sat down to watch “Superman II,” but not the old favorite, this was “The Richard Donner” cut, which tosses most of the footage shot by director Richard Lester.
You see, because of production worries, big-time director Richard Donner was fired from the film with well over half of it done and Richard Lester was hired to finish up as cheaply as possible.
So recently Donner was given a budget to re-edit the film the way he would have wanted, and thus we have “Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut,” a new video release that’s been hailed by fans as something akin to the second coming.
For a non-die-hard fan, which I would count myself as, the film is just slightly different. The plot holes are just as glaring as before. The acting just as goofy. The special effects are just as “1980s.”
I’d hardly call what we got from Donner an improvement. Sure, it’s his pure vision, whatever that’s supposed to mean. Sure, it drops some of Lester’s trademark goofiness. Sure, it returns some interesting scenes into the story. … But so what? The Lester cut worked just as good, and the new ending, which steals the awful ending of “Superman: The Movie,” is far, far worse than what Lester used.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a fun film to watch — complete with a the greatest super-battle ever filmed, wonderful performances by Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder and Gene Hackman — but with the “Donner Cut” I don’t know what all the hubbub is all about.