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Blu-ray Review: Superman: The Motion Picture Anthology
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Superman Blu-ray Anthology

Superman: The Motion Picture Anthology
Blu-ray
Starring Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Brandon Routh, Kevin Spacey
Release date: June 7, 2011

With all the superhero movies that have been made over the last few decades, the first Superman movie is still by far my favorite. Based on the DC Comics character, the 1978 film was the superhero film for all ages, not just children, and set the bar for all comic book movies to follow.

Now, all four original films, which starred Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel, along with the 2006 sequel/reboot hybrid Superman Returns starring Brandon Routh, are now collected in high definition in Warner Home Video’s new offering Superman: The Motion Picture Anthology Blu-ray Edition.

The Blu-ray set is an absolute must-have for any fan of the Superman franchise. Along with the aforementioned films, this new set also includes the expanded edition of Superman: The Movie, as well as the Richard Donner Cut of Superman II, which more than makes up for having to sit through Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest For Peace. Then, there’s the over 20 hours of bonus features, including director and producer commentaries; deleted scenes; TV specials and cartoons, behind-the-scenes features, documentaries, and lots more.

This collection is so comprehensive, that the WB somehow managed to include the yet-to-be-made Superman reboot in it!

I kid, I kid, but seriously, I spent many, many hours re-watching the movies on this 8-disc set and had great fun delving into all the bonus features, which include a lot of interview footage with the late Christopher Reeve, many of those conducted with the actor after he became disabled. To me, Reeve is and always will be Superman and I miss him, so I loved seeing all these great behind-the-scenes featurettes.

So, you get lots of Reeve and the original Superman franchise, but also Superman Returns and its related bonus features. Now, admittedly, when I saw the reboot in theaters, I didn’t love it. But, I was immediately on board with Brandon Routh as the new Man of Steel. He had the Reeve look and I feel he did a great job. It was everything else about the movie that I didn’t love. Eventually, I saw the picture several more times on Cable and it grew on me, so if you’re on the fence about this reboot, I suggest watching it here in Blu-ray (as it looks fantastic), and definitely check out the bonus features, as there’s plenty of material highlighting the filmmakers’ thoughts on bringing such a beloved character back to the big screen.

I can’t say enough good things about this Blu-ray anthology, I can’t think of anything that I didn’t like about it, except for Superman III and VI, but that’s no fault of the packaging. It would be kind of me to say that the third and fourth installments were simply not on par with their predecessors — which were amazing — but I have to be honest, they are downright painful. I remember them being terrible when they were originally released in theaters, and no amount of nostalgia will made the pain go away. Yes, I made myself watch them now on Blu-ray and there were parts I enjoyed, like Reeve, who even when dealt terrible scripts and embarrassing scenarios, is still Superman. Reeve is the only redeeming quality in those movies — even the bonus features were horrendously made. The only reason to watch these two movies now is if you feel like ragging on something, then these are perfect for that.

But, the two versions of Superman I and II along with the eighth disc full of extra bonus features — like the feature-length documentary Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman — more than justify the existence and worthiness of this collection. Plus, in my case, I’m a completest, so owning this Blu-ray anthology is a no-brainer for me, that is, until the new Superman reboot starring Henry Cavill comes out.

Bonus Features

Films included are…

– Superman The Movie
– Superman The Movie: Expanded Edition
– Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut
– Superman III
– Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
– Superman Returns

Disc #1
· Superman: The Movie, Original Theatrical
· Commentary by Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler (Original Theatrical Version)
· The Making of Superman: The Movie [1978 TV special]
· Superman and the Mole-Men [1951 feature]
· Warner Bros. Cartoons
Super-Rabbit [1943 WB cartoon]
Snafuperman [1944 WB cartoon]
Stupor Duck [1956 WB cartoon]
· Trailers

Disc #2
· Superman: The Movie, Expanded Edition
· Commentary by Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz (Extended Version)
· Taking Flight: The Development of Superman
· Making Superman: Filming the Legend
· The Magic Behind the Cape
· Screen Tests
Superman
Lois Lane with Optional Commentary
Ursa
· A Selection of Restored Scenes
· Additional Music Cues
Main Titles
Alternate Main Titles
The Council’s Decision
The Krypton Quake
More Mugger/Introducing Otis
Air Force One
Can You Read My Mind (Pop Version)
· Music Only Track (Donner Cut)

Disc #3
· Superman II, Original Theatrical
· Commentary by Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler (Original Theatrical Version)
· The Making of Superman II [1980 TV special]
· Deleted Scene
· First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series
· Fleischer Studios’ Superman
Superman
The Mechanical Monsters
Billion Dollar Limited
The Arctic Giant
The Bulleteers
The Magnetic Telescope
Electric Earthquake
Volcano
Terror on the Midway
· Theatrical Trailer

Disc #4
· Superman II – The Richard Donner Cut
· Commentary by Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz (Donner Cut)
· Introduction by Richard Donner
· Superman II: Restoring the Vision
· Deleted Scenes
· Famous Studios’ Superman
Japoteurs
Showdown
Eleventh Hour
Destruction, Inc
The Mummy Strikes
Jungle Drums
The Underground World
Secret Agent

Disc #5
· Superman III Theatrical Version
· Commentary by Iilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler
· The Making of Superman III (1983 TV Special)
· Deleted Scenes
· Theatrical Trailer

Disc #6
· Superman IV The Quest For Peace Theatrical Version
· Commentary by Mark Rosenthal
· Superman 50th Anniversary Special (1988 TV Special)
· Deleted Scenes
· Theatrical Trailer

Disc #7
· Superman Returns
· Requiem for Krypton: Making Superman Returns
Pt. 1 Secret Origins and First Issues: Crystallizing Superman
Pt. 2 The Crystal Method: Designing Superman
Pt. 3 An Affinity for Beachfront Property: Shooting Superman- Superman on the Farm
Pt. 4 An Affinity for Beachfront Property: Shooting Superman- Superman in the City
Pt. 5 An Affinity for Beachfront Property: Shooting Superman- Superman in Peril
Pt. 6 The Joy of Lex: Menacing Superman
Pt. 7 He’s Always Around: Wrapping Superman
· Resurrecting Jor-El
· Deleted Scenes including the never-before-seen original opening to Superman Returns
· Bryan Singer’s Journals – Video production journals
· Trailers

Disc #8
Additional Bonus Material
· Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman [Hi-Def]
· You Will Believe: The Cinematic Saga of Superman
Pt. 1- Origin
Pt. 2- Vision
Pt. 3- Ascent
Pt. 4- Crisis
Pt. 5- Redemption
· The Science of Superman [Hi-Def]
· The Mythology of Superman
· The Heart of a Hero: A Tribute to Christopher Reeve
· The Adventures of Superpup [1958 TV pilot]

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