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Superman Fans Unite!

Warner Bros. has given us the shaft once again. To be fair, I must praise them and praise them again for the upcoming Superman DVD release. This disc is packed to the gills with tons of extras— from screen tests, four (count 'em four!) new documentaries on the making of the film, cast interviews, restored scenes, and more, all remixed, cleaned-up, the works. This is going to be the ultimate version of Superman: The Movie!

But, then they gave us the shaft with Superman II.

First, a brief history. Superman and Superman II were originally conceived as one film project. The films were, at the start, shot simultaneously and worked as parts One and Two of the same story. When Superman hurled the nuclear missle into space at the end of the first film, THAT's what released the villains from the Phantom Zone to come back in the second film. For a complete description of what the films should have been and what went wrong, visit the excellent Superman Cinema site at www.deceptions.net/superman/.

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Unfortunately, during production, the project was falling behind schedule and it was decided to concentrate all efforts on completing Superman I in order to make the release date. Plus, there was all sorts of bad blood, backstabbing, and politicking going on behind the scenes. Director Richard Donner was replaced and Richard Lester eventually completed Superman II. Somehow in this process, lots of changes were made, such as how the villains escaped, how Lois figures out Clark is Superman, and how she sets out to prove it. Much of what Donner had already shot was rewritten and reshot, probably to get Donner's name off the credits of the film. And this only scratches the surface of what happened.

Well, twenty years have passed and Warners is finally correcting much of the poodoo that went down with the making of Superman I and II. Not only does the Superman I DVD release include TONS of extras, but they let Richard Donner fix many of the things that he disliked about the first movie. This is Donner's cut of Superman I, thank heavens. If you ever saw the TV version with extensive amounts of extended footage, you'll know what's in store.

But Warner's has only done the job halfway. The more exciting disc should be the one for Superman II. There should be some major jewels included on this disc, such as Lois jumping out of a window at the Daily Planet to prove that Clark is Superman, and all of Brando's scenes from Superman II. That's right, Brando. All of it was shot by Donner, but none of it was ever used due to a contract dispute. Ideally, WB should have given Donner carte blanche to finally create HIS version of Superman II. They could put two versions of Supes II on the Superman II DVD. At the very least, they could have put all the cut footage on the disc. But, they're not. The Superman II DVD is just a basic, lackluster (albeit widescreen) release with no extras except for the trailer. For a disc that could be even better than the original, this is a major disappointment.

WB doesn't have the best track record on pleasing Superman (or Batman, for that matter) fans. They royally stuck it to us with Lois and Clark, most especially with the wedding fiasco, causing the show to be cancelled when it had already been guaranteed a fifth season. Not to mention Superman III, IV, and Supergirl. A Superman II Special Edition DVD would go a long way to make up for those travesties.

So, what do we do? Write to WB and let our voices be heard! Be polite, thank them profusely for the Superman I Special Edition DVD and ask them to do the same for Superman II. Tell them you won't buy the currently planned Superman II DVD, but you'll gladly shuck out the cash for a Special Edition. I can't say that it will do any good (there were loud outcries over the edited Batman: Return of the Joker and Eyes Wide Shut video/DVD releases, to no avail), but it may. It certainly feels better than staying silent. There's still a few months to go before the release date (which can be changed, by the way), so if enough people write, perhaps WB will change their minds and do something about it.

Address all correspondence to:

Mr. Warren Lieberfarb
President, Warner Home Video
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522
818-954-6000