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Superman Motion Picture Anthology Blu-ray Review: More Than A Bird or a Plane

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Posted June 20, 2011 - By Kevin Kelly

Superman Motion Picture Anthology Blu-ray Review: More Than A Bird or a Plane

Film nerds and appreciators of movies on Blu-ray have had a lot to be thankful for recently. Last year unleashed a landslide of geek films onto the format, ranging from the newly remastered Alien Anthology to Back to the Future to The Goonies. With Blu-ray sales set to pass DVD sales in 2012, it's only getting better. This year sees films like Citizen Kane, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Extended Editons and Star Wars: The Complete Saga coming, and in a summer full of comic-book movie adaptations, is it any surprise that Superman is swooping onto Blu-ray as well?

For a series that began in the 70s and continued all the way to Superman Returns with that film serving as a spiritual succesor to Superman II, the original Superman: The Movie still stands as one of the best comic book films ever made. "You'll Beieve A Man Can Fly" said the posters and the ads for the film, and they weren't lying. Richard Donner's direction, Mario Puzo's script, and Christopher Reeve's acting has put this on the pinnacle of translating comic books to film, and even after all these years, it holds up extremely well. 

The Superman Anthology "Christopher Reeve Defeated by Kryptonite" Scene »


Superman purists know that Superman isn't new to Blu-ray, but this anthology collection provides a new transfer, an expanded version of the film, all of the sequels, and even Superman Returns, all on Blu-ray. While Superman 3 and Superman 4 definitely are only for completists, Superman: The Expanded Edition, Superman 2: The Richard Donner Cut, and Superman Returns are all more than worth the price of admission here. The only real shame is that they didn't include Supergirl in the set. But while the audio and video really impresses in this entire set (although it's a real shame that they didn't give Superman Returns a new transfer), that's not what really makes it shine.

 

Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman is a feature-lengty documentary directed by documentarian Kevin Burns and produced by Bryan Singer, and is narrated by Kevin Spacey. It was originally made as a prescursor to Superman Returns and was issued on DVD in 2006. Best Buy had an exclusive two-disc set that featured Singer's journals, and the Blu-Ray Anthology includes the full version here in HD and with all of the bonus materials. It's a fascinating look inside the phenomenon that is Superman, both in film and otherwise, and is the most impresive centerpiece in the extras.

The Superman Anthology "Casting Superman" Behind The Scenes »


But this disc isn't light on extras to choose from. Take a look below at everything you'll get in the set, ranging from the original (and amazing) opening to Superman Returns to Superman serials and cartoons. It's a Superman-lovers dream set, and it's finally here. While the price is a bit steep (Amazon has it for $89.99), everything that's packed in here makes it more than worth it. The only thing that would make this even better would be if they'd made an ultimate edition that would come with Superman's cape and belt. Highly recommended.

 

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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