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Superman II - The Richard Donner Cut (2006)

Christopher Reeve , Margot Kidder , Richard Donner  |  PG |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (574 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder
  • Directors: Richard Donner
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Director's Cut, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 28, 2006
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (574 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000IJ79WU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,526 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Superman II - The Richard Donner Cut" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Richard Donner's cut includes footage shot but never used, including a never-before-seen beginning, a never-before-seen resolution, 15 minutes of restored footage of Marlon Brando as Jor-El, and more
  • All-new introduction by Richard Donner
  • Commentary by Donner and creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz
  • New featurette "Superman II: Restoring the Vision"
  • Deleted scenes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

The Richard Donner cut of Superman II is an infamous legend come to life. Director Donner shot most of the sequel at the same time as his first blockbuster film, but somewhere along the line, the producers and studio lost confidence and brought in Richard Lester (The Three Musketeers) to rework the film, and receive sole credit. For years fans speculated on how different the final film was from Donner's original until an underground copy appeared showing a fully formed feature. In an unprecedented move, Warner Brothers officially embraces this alternate version. For those who have not been part of the rumor mill, know that Donner shot all the footage with Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman). You can find blow-by-blow descriptions of what is new/changed elsewhere, but most of the changes deal with Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder as the comic-book couple. Donner's cut provides alternate scenes for how Lois tests her hunch that Clark is Superman, the moment he reveals his identity, and how Lois unlearns that truth. Thing is, Lester's reshots are stronger, adding weight to the romance between the two, lifting the picture's stature. Lester also added the dandy Eiffel Tower opening. Donner's chief additions are in the Fortress of Solitude, where Marlon Brando returns to teach (Susannah York, as Superman's mom, appears in the Lester cut). The producers cut Brando's footage so they wouldn't have to pay him millions. The Brando/Reeve scenes continue the father/son dynamic of the first film. There is a great lesson in editing--Lester's less is better than Donner's more--when you compare how Kent turns back into Superman after losing his powers. The Donner cut is completely formed but does use some rehearsal footage, new effects, and some pieces shot by Lester. The history of cinema has many of these stories of movies reshot, hijacked, and changed from the original version, but here the underdog wins and Donner gets his chance to change history, even adding a note in the end credits about the use of fur and smoking as regrettable choices of the time.

Director Donner and creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz have a jolly good time revisiting their past on the commentary track. You get a clearer picture of who shot what, but the two have nothing good to say about Lester's edition. Donner doesn't go much into why he was dropped, just a difference of opinion and the need not to pay Brando. He also explains why the déjà vu ending of this edition was used in the first movie and a new ending would have been thought up for part 2. A quick featurette looks at how Michael Thau and a small crew reconstructed the film and compares several scenes from both versions. Also added are additional scenes shot by Donner but not used, most with Hackman. --Doug Thomas

Product Description

In the year of Superman Returns, Superman II starring Christopher Reeve also returns - with a totally different beginning and resolution. With Jor-El (Marlon Brando in recently discovered footage) in key scenes that amplify Superman lore and deepen the profound relationship between father and son. With different Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) schemes to unmask Clark Kent as Superman. With...well, with so many changes, large and small, that this Superman II is an eye-opening alternate experience. Director Richard Donner began shooting his vision of Superman II while concurrently filming Superman The Movie. Now, for the first time, his never-before-seen vision is here. And it's a must for every Superman fan, an important addition to the legend of the Man of Steel.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
88 of 95 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Perfect, but a Clearer Sequel to Superman... December 3, 2006
Format:DVD
Having just watched the Richard Donner version of "Superman II" twice (once with his commentary with 'Creative Consultant' Tom Mankiewicz), I can say that I prefer the Donner version, over Richard Lester's...but with reservations.

Other reviewers point out redundancies, over-long scenes, and character development problems in the Donner version, but these aren't really fair arguments; what you see are the basic scenes, originally shot; Donner, himself, admitted that had he continued on the film, he would have had to do reshoots of several key scenes, and, of course, would have been involved in the editing process (which couldn't be accomplished to the same degree, in the 'restored' edition). The 'turning the world back' resolution was intended for "Superman II"; when the Salkinds chose not to end the first film with a cliffhanger ending, Donner shot the Lois 'death' scene, and Supes turns back time to save her...so repeating the same resolution in "Superman II" was simply a case of using the original film conclusion, which Donner would have changed, had he continued with the film.

There are plotholes, and leaps of logic; as the film stands, Luthor is apparently in the Fortress of Solitude when Superman destroys it(!); Clark's 'revenge' against the diner bully makes no sense, since, after winding back time, the original confrontation never took place; indeed, the Jor-El 'farewell' scene would have been unnecessary, as well, insomuch as Supes rewound time back to before he lost and regained his powers. And what ever became of Miss Teschmacher?

All this having been said, there are moments where I think Richard Lester's lack of understanding of Superman and his Universe makes me stand in Donner's corner; he introduced abilities Supes never had (Saran-wrap symbols...
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61 of 69 people found the following review helpful
By gdb
Format:DVD
I'm really begging with Amazon to not confuse The new Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, with the original Superman II: Richard Lester version because both of these are completely different films & should be treated as such.

1st thing people who truely think that Richard Lester is a great director & did a great job on SII need a reality check. All he did was take an already great script done by SUPERMAN I creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz, and 70-80% shot by Richard Donner shift around some stuff & make the film (all the actors were there for him, a donkey could have done it).

Lester would also add some unneeded slap stick humor (e.g. Metropolis fight scene where the three super villains use their super breath to blow out the Metropolis civilians where after an unneeded and very cheesey moment of slap stick bad homage to Charlie Chaplin stances take place & the earlier scene of when the supervillains are introduced by duking it out in the American wild west???).

Lester would be found out as a director in the poor Superman III where his slap stick humour would basically ruin the film but not to say his version of Superman II is bad but it just doesn't compare to the brilliance of number 1, especially after repeated watchings II just seems like a poor boys substiute!!

Donner on the other hand had completely different thinking for II it was meant to be on the same epic scale & feeling a I & in quality terms match it if not even better it. Also around 30% of the Lester film uses Donner's footage whilst in the SII:DC it uses around 80% footage & will feel like a completely different film.

Having already seen some of the new scenes, e.g.
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49 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Superman II that should have been now is here November 29, 2006
By L. Webb
Format:DVD
Don't believe the naysayers. 95% of people like myself who saw the first Superman II, loved it, but had problems with some of the stupid humor, will love this version. Obviously, you can't go back and fix everything. For those who complain about the screen test footage, it's been over 25 years people!!! I for one am absolutely stunned by what was saved and the quality of it. And where there is an opportunity to have an alternate take of the same scene, it's in here. I had heard over 50% of the film would be new. Well, with the alternative takes, it seems like more like 80% of the film is new! And I have gone back and looked at Lester's Superman II again, and there is no comparison. Practically every single dumb humor moment that was in Lester's Superman II has been cut and has been replaced with Brando footage as the film was originally intended. It's like cutting out the Jerry Lewis humor and replacing it with Lawrence Olivier. If you liked the opening ten minute credit sequence of Lester's Superman III, then I guess you might like Lester's version better. But I think for 95% of Superman fans it's not even a debatable subject.

POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT:

I will not mention what new Richard Donner footage there is, (you should enjoy that for the first time yourself) but for those of you who want to know exactly what "dumb humor" or illogical stuff that has been cut from Lester's version that IS NOT in Richard Donner's version, read on below...

Lois' chain-smoking orange juice squeezing scene. - Gone!

Zod raising farmer with silver beam from his finger. - Gone!

Ursa beating farmer at arm wrestling. - Gone!

Almost all jokes relating to Non's dumbness including his inability to use heat vision like the others. - Gone!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid it like Kryptonite!
This was disappointing to watch, and not the Superman II that millions loved in the theaters. The 1981 film was a great combination of action and fun; the Donner director's cut is... Read more
Published 18 hours ago by Gridiron
5.0 out of 5 stars A Better Superman II
Superman II - The Richard Donner Cut is definitely a lot better and more dramatic than the theatrical version. Read more
Published 13 days ago by DESERTMAN40
5.0 out of 5 stars The Donner Cut should be the only cut!
Why this version was never theatrically released is ridiculous. It is far superior to the Richard Lester version. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Alan F. Bessen
5.0 out of 5 stars altered yes, but still my favorite version of the sequel
I suppose it's because this is the version I grew up with that I prefer it over the "restored" version which surfaced a few years back. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Hose Nose
2.0 out of 5 stars Awful rendition of Superman II
Sorry, but this is the reason why there is editing in movies. I found the Richard Donner version to be dramatically worse than the theatrical version. Read more
Published 1 month ago by D. Peter
5.0 out of 5 stars Superman II (Richard Donner) version twice the adventure!
Did you ever wish you could see one of your favorite movies in a slightly different version? Well now you can! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Frank J. Villalobos
5.0 out of 5 stars An old classic.
Superman 2 has always been my favorite Superman movie and Christopher Reeve will always be Superman. Read more
Published 1 month ago by David Blount
4.0 out of 5 stars The Salkinds drop the ball
The Salkinds made a huge mistake not allowing Richard Donner to film both of his Superman movies. This film has the ending they tacked onto the first film (cheapening it in my... Read more
Published 1 month ago by EE
5.0 out of 5 stars Super!!!
If you are a fan of the Superman movies, starring Christopher Reeve, like I am, you should do yourself a favor an watch this movie. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robert Benjamin
3.0 out of 5 stars Well, if only this were really made
It is unfinished but the movie was better than the original one that came out. We know that Donner wasn't part of the movie through to the end but there are bits of this that just... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lauren Glenn
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This just Donner's version or both versions?
I believe it's mostly Donners Vision (80%), with a smattering of Lesters footage used as connective tissue.
Jun 9, 2008 by Joseph Christl |  See all 3 posts
does this mean this is a different movie?
This is the orginal Superman II that Richard Dooner was working on before he was fired.It has a diffrent opening then the Richard Lester version.Also the scene where Lois finaly figures out Clak Kent is Superman in the Lester version Clark trips on a stuff bar and his hand fell into the fire and... Read more
Nov 1, 2006 by M. J Krankka |  See all 4 posts
KFA!!!!
I thought Bryan Singer's film was great, but it didn't quite have the magic of the first Donner film, and now we finally get the chance to see Richard Donner's version of SUPERMAN II. After reading a lot about the changes Lester made it will be great to finally see the originally intended... Read more
Sep 16, 2006 by gatchaman |  See all 4 posts
Where's the scene where Non kills the boy??
It was filmed by Richard Lester. That info comes from IMDB when the actor who played NON (Jack O'Halloran) was doing a sorta impromtu fan interview online. I saw it in the theather when it was released in 1980 and that scene was in it. It was Sara Douglas Role as Ursa that I thought killed... Read more
Sep 8, 2011 by Kent G. Thorne |  See all 3 posts
Scenes for TV version
Spoiler Alert---
Seen it & much of the "East Houston" segment has been cut out including the part you mentioned with the little boy. This version is hit or miss--the picture quality is better than the original theatrical release (remember being able to see through the man in the East... Read more
Nov 28, 2006 by J. S Thompson |  See all 2 posts
This is not the Donner Cut - Instant Video Be the first to reply
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