on June 13, 2006
Being a life long fan of Superman and the series, all of the new interest and excitement in the world of the beloved superhero has got me pumped. I've been a huge fan of Smallville for the last 5 years, but this is Superman!. It's like getting back in touch with an old friend. I was so excited when I first heard that this documentary was happening, and even more excited when I learned that I don't have to wait to see it. It's going to be on A&E!. I watched it last night, and it was great. However, I heard from some web sites that the TV version last night had about 30 minutes of material cut, but will be on this DVD. As for the show itself, it was incredibly done. From 1938 to 2006, they pretty much touched upon everything. "Superman Returns" is coming, and I can't wait, and it was great that this was not one big plug for the movie. The new film gets it's little section at the end. What we have here is a very exclusive, in depth look at the history of The Man Of Steel. I learned some things here that I didn't know before. For instance, I had no idea Schuster/Siegal had a Superman that was supposed to be evil. Had no idea!. That is just one of a few splendid moments that shed light on this everlasting character that you just may not know. The film goes thru everything there is to know about Supes' life in the comic books, radio, TV, cartoons, and film. I would've liked to of seen a little more time spent on more of the individual movies, but I guess time was a factor. Maybe there is more on the DVD version. People along for the ride include such Superman regulars as Noel Neill, Jack Larson, Margot Kidder, Jackie Cooper, Richard Donner, Annette 'O' Toole, Dean Cain, and the cast of the new film. Comic book writers and historians give their two cents, as does Superman fans Mark Hamil and Gene Simmons. Seeing some of these people was a hoot. I don't know how old she is, but Noel Neill was adorable!. Seeing her and Larson together was great. Some sections were barely touched upon. They just gave a little thing here and there for "Lois And Clark" and the "Superboy" series from the 80's. Maybe there will be more of that on the DVD version. They also touch upon George Reeves' death, Christopher Reeve's horrible accident and unfortunate passing, and other things. This is the most in depth and detailed project I have ever seen on the character and history of the boy in blue. It really is a must have for all Superman fans. So, just what is it about Superman that endures nearly 70 years later?. Superman is just good. People look for and want that kind of hope. It is too surprising that Smallville became a huge hit right after 9/11. What is sad is that Christoper Reeve is not there to join in on the festivities. I still can't believe that he is gone. He will never be forgotten. And 70 years from now, neither will Superman. Welcome back, Supes.
While it's true this excellent documentary would probably not have been made if there was no SUPERMAN RETURNS, it doesn't matter. Seventy years of Superman history PRIOR to the new movie certainly warrants this much attention.
Virtually no stone is left unturned in this feature-length exploration of Superman's history. From his first comic book appearance through all the t.v. and movie incarnations, this is the definitive visual guide to the Man of Steel. Even die-hard fans are likely to learn a few new things about their favorite hero. For example, did you know there was an attempt at a live-action kids' series in the late 50's called "Superpup"? The never-aired clip from the pilot episode has to be seen to be believed. There was also a never-seen live-action Superboy pilot, as well as a painfully bad musical version in the 70's. You'll marvel with disbelief as the Last Son of Krypton SINGS to bad guys as he's smacking them around, complete with 60's-era Batman-style "Pow!"'s, etc.
Of course, there's plenty of coverage of the successful screen variations, including the still-unsurpassed George Reeves series, some (but not quite all) the animated series, and Smallville. Director Kevin Burns enlists everyone he could find from those shows, as well as celebrity fans like Mark Hamill and Gene Simmons.
I think even a casual Superman fan will enjoy this lengthy, but thoroughly engaging documentary. I expect it is a show I will return to view many times in years to come.
on June 12, 2006
What the other reviewers did not tell you is that this is a DVD of the 2 hour special that is running on A & E channel this month. I have watched it twice already and will probably buy the DVD since I absolutely love Superman and this is a great review of Superman from Action Comics #1 all the way up through the new movie, Superman Returns.
There is a great deal of depth to the discussions especially that of the 50s TV show and they discuss the death of George Reeves. The show also pays homage to Christopher Reeve and goes behind the scenes to discuss the making of Superman: the Movie.
There is discussion of Superman in every medium- tv shows, movies, cartoons, comics, merchandising and Broadway musical. We can see how the Man of Steel affected lives and see how his popularity rose and fell with the times. There are discussions with the stars of the shows, producers and directors.
This program is very comprehensive and enjoyable if you are a Superman fan. I would highly recommend it
on July 2, 2006
The Man of Steel is the most beloved modern mythic hero. Whether labeled "the man in blue," "Boy Scout in tights," "political propagandist for the US government," or "hero for truth, justice, and the American way," Superman's resiliency in the personal and collective consciousness has proven that, for many reasons, people need a hero.
Through old filmstrip footage, photos and interviews with comic writers and artists, actors, and historians, this film describes Superman's creation by high school pals Jerry Siegel and Joseph Schuster, and his many subsequent incarnations. The evolution and interpretations of the character depended on the mood and needs of the times. We are escorted through Superman comic strips, comic books, cartoons, TV shows, and movies from the late 40s to the present. Superman comics were translated into Italian, French, Spanish, Swedish, and other languages. Not to mention an amazing array of collectibles including Superman dolls; suitcases, lunchboxes and clothing emblazoned with the "S" logo; toys; patches.
Coverage is given to the TV shows that did well (for instance, Superman with George Reeves) and those that bombed (Superpup, which used animal puppets and thankfully never got on the air). There was also a Superman musical. Several actors appearing in the TV shows and films prior to the 1980s convey what it was like to work with George Reeves and Christopher Reeve. Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen) discusses the unresolved death of George Reeves (probable murder publicized as suicide), and Margo Kidder (Lois Lane) praises the non-super heroics of Chris Reeve, who after his accident became a leading advocate for the needs of the paralyzed. We see some movie sets, learn the perils of flying above a sound stage in a harness, and more.
We are treated to many clips. A sample: Chris Reeve guest stars in Smallville. Dean Cain plays Clark Kent-Superman in the underappreciated Lois and Clark series. As a nice touch of continuity in the DC universe, Annette O'Toole plays Lana Lang to Chris Reeve's Superman, and later Clark Kent's mom Martha Kent in Smallville. Some of the older Superman buffs may remember George Reeves in rarely-seen roles as Superman on I Love Lucy, and as Clark Kent hawking breakfast cereal in a commercial.
Superman's cousin Supergirl is briefly mentioned, primarily as having failed at the box office. The writer and director wrongly assume that only men and boys want to be super-heroes (and hence, identify as Superman) and that women and girls always want to be rescued (and hence, identify as Lois Lane). Just as little boys have wrapped towels around their necks, wanting to fly, so have girls (including this author). Had the Supergirl comic books -- and later, film - been given quality writers and marketing savvy comparable to that accorded Superman, the outcome of this super-heroine might have been different. Apparently, it never occurred to the comic (and later movie) industry that girls can benefit from a female super-hero role model.
There are impressive glimpses of comics, from the famous first Action Comic of the 1930s to the present. However, the comic book segments are among the weakest parts of the film. The dizzying speed with which they catapult into view and dash away, hurts the eyes. A comic collector is interviewed, but the camera races through his memorabilia collection so that one cannot linger and enjoy these vital parts of Superman history. There is no excuse for underutilizing these rarely-seen resources. Not enough time? The scene with Kidder and Reeve in which he catches her, appears at least three times. Reduce it to one. And the ample historical footage of Nazi Germany and John Kennedy's assassination -- although helpful for understanding the ever-changing context of Superman's roles -- appear in many other venues. They could be shortened to make room for a more leisurely browse through the comics and memorabilia, interviews with the actors, and rare archival Superman footage. When you get to the memorabilia sections, a finger poised over the "pause" button is a good idea.
Overall, this is a good overview for Superman aficionados and especially newcomers. However, at the end, the too-long excerpt from the newest film Superman Returns makes one wonder if this is part infomercial disguised as a documentary. With a little re-editing, and the addition of more complete (and watchable) archival footage, this film will earn 5 stars.
There is so much to like about Kevin Burns' masterful documentary, "Look, Up in the Sky - The Amazing Story of Superman", that it is actually difficult to single out a 'best' moment! For fans of any of the incarnations of the 'Man of Steel', this is the 'ultimate' companion piece to your collection of DVDs; for film, television, and history buffs, the documentary offers Burns' insightful overview of America's changing attitudes and culture over the past 75 years; for entertainment 'junkies', this is a BLAST!
There are areas of the Superman saga that finally get the attention they deserve...the radio series, that really 'fleshed out' the mythology and Superman 'family' of characters, often treated as a footnote to the overall story, finally is recognized and acknowledged; Kirk Alyn's serials, which, in fact, were the most successful Saturday matinee attractions, ever, get their due; the FX wizards of three generations, who virtually 'rewrote the book' in creating the illusions of flight and superpowers, receive their long-overdue praise; and the list goes on and on!
I was overjoyed to see Forrest J Ackerman (the Fantasy/SF 'Pulp Fiction' icon), Stan Lee (Marvel Comics' guiding light, and one of the few remaining pioneers of comic books' early days), Jim Nolt (a personal friend, who has done so much to keep George Reeves' legacy alive), and so many of the people 'behind the scenes' who are every bit as essential as the 'stars' in front of the camera.
Naturally, there are people I wish could have been interviewed; Phyllis Coates, television's first 'Lois Lane', still an active, vivacious actress, at 79, signs autographs, but never seems to get her 'due', sadly; Deborah Joy LeVine, the guiding light of "Lois and Clark" doesn't appear; "Smallville" star Tom Welling, surprisingly, doesn't, either (I'd have loved to hear his thoughts on Superman!) Still, just to see and hear Noel Neill (looking glorious at 85) and Jack Larson (a spry 78-year-old) is worth the price of the documentary!
All in all, I simply can't praise this documentary enough...It's a 'keeper'!
on June 11, 2006
A great Intro to the Big Red "S" if you're a newcomer, or a treasured DVD "scrapbook" for longtime diehard fans like myself. The rich, complex and touching story of Superman is lovingly, respectfully and most importantly ACCURATELY told in this 110 minute series of film clips, photographs and great interviews by the folks who "know" him best! My only regret was not seeing an interview with Marc McClure...as "Jimmy Olson," he appeared in all four Reeve SUPERMAN movies as well as the ill fated, but still fun, SUPERGIRL starring Helen Slater, Faye Dunaway and Brenda Vacarro.
All his incarnations, from all the many mediums, are brought together in this colorful and charismatic presentation you will be delighted to include in your library. Also a great gift idea for the Superman fan of any age!
on November 10, 2006
I was enthralled with the this DVD and learned many things I did not know, especially the history of Superman on film...at the movies as well as on television. My Uncle had the original comic books, and I was lucky enough to have read all the original Superman episodes up to around 1962 when I started high school. I remember paying 10 cents a copy and the triple sized copy which came out in June just when school was over for the summer and rushing out to get my copy so I could see what adventures Superman was involved in this time and what and how he would save the world from this time! I remember George Reeves, Phyllis Coates, Noel Neill, Perry White's "Great Caesar's Ghost", Inspector Henderson....the whole shot. This DVD brings all that out, plus more. I highly recommend it for "Dyed in the Wool" Superman fans of all ages as well as just interested movie goers....it is interesting, fast-moving, entertaining as well as educational....it's good to see and hear what others have to say about what triggered their interest in Superman and what Superman is all about.
on May 24, 2011
Kevin Spacey(The Usual Suspects, American Beauty, Superman Returns, etc.) narrates this well made 2006 documentary about Superman called Look Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman. The last ten minutes are a plug for Superman Returns(2006). Produced by Kevin Burns and Bryan Singer, this documentary tells us about Superman's history from 1938 to 2006. They filmed interviews with people they could find. There's a brief interview with the late Jackie Cooper; he played editor Perry White in Superman The Movie(1978). We see Superman's roots in the DC Comic Books, the Superman movie serials starring Kirk Alyn and Noel Neill, the 1950's Superman TV show with George Reeves, the unaired Superpup TV pilot, the Filmation Superman cartoon, the campy Superman musical, the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, Superboy, Lois and Clark, the WB Superman cartoon, Smallville, and more. This DVD is a must see for any Superman fan. I learned a fact or two from this documentary.
I was fan of the old TV series 'Adventures of Superman'(watched as much of it as I could as a young child when it was on reruns) and of course I loved most of the Superman movies from the late 70's and early 80's. So coming in I really wanted to like this documentary. But after viewing a little over a third of the program, I just about had enough. The very early parts were somewhat enjoyable as I learned about how the first comic book version of Superman came about. But as the program wore on it became more of the same from the Superman acolytes with their supersaturated words of praise. And also a good portion of this program is basically an infomercial for 'Superman Returns', which I didn't find to be very enjoyable.
on June 21, 2006
I have been a fan of the Man of Steel since the old George Reeves series of the 50s. Superman is even from my home town of Cleveland, Ohio. Something my parents had no idea about.
Anyways this is a great documentary that traces the early history of the character from the comics, to TV and to movies!! Along the way, how Superman changed with the times. This DVD is a must for any Superman fan.
I'm sure there were a lot of things that Kevin Burns and Bryan Singer did not include in their film. I thought there were a couple of major ones that should have been used.
The DVD featured a couple of clips from the Filmation series of the late 60s, pre-SuperFriends. Bud Collyer, the voice of Superman in the Fleischer cartoons and the radio program, was also the voice in this show. CBS was forced to cancel the series after three years. At this point, the show had become the Superman/Batman Hour and was cancelled due to the violence. No mention was given to the show and the impact it had on its audience.
Another Superman cartoon premiered on Saturday mornings in 1987. This show produced by the team of Ruby/Spears borrowed from the Donner film and even had a slightly sanitized version of John Williams theme as it's theme. This show was family friendly as at the end of each major story, there was a feature called Superman's Family Album. This 5 min piece featured a pre-Superman Clark Kent as he was growing up on the farm in Smallville. The show lasted only one season on CBS. After this show, then came the debacle that is Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.
Neither the Filmation or Ruby/Spears Superman cartoons are available on DVD and I hope that one day they will be soon.
This beautifully made documentary was made with love by fans of the character and I am estactic someone took the time to introduce to many of us the real story of the Man of Steel. I watched the show on A&E when it premeired a couple of weeks ago and knew that it would be in my collection soon after. If you are a fan, do yourself a favor and purchase Look Up in the Sky!!!