Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Offline for a while

So I moved into my new study carrel, worked a little, and went swimming. And though I thought I was being careful, apparently I worked too hard, because I woke up Monday not being able to move my neck to the right and upper back pain on the right side. I went to work but no computer work was possible after I came home. So I watched the Richard Donner version of Superman II and took the muscle relaxer and went to bed.

Tuesday feels slightly better, but still hurts. So that means yoga is out and I don't know if I will be able to work at a computer when I go home.

So the movie. This post from Celluloid Heroes is what got me to buy the movie a few months back. Same time as Doctor Who box sets and guess what I went nuts over first?

The first thing I noticed was I really need to watch Superman I and Superman II theatrical again. Other than baby Clark lifting the truck and the helicopter scene, I don't remember anything from the first movie. Superman II scorecard is worse, Lois throwing herself into Niagara Falls, the end fight in the Fortress of Solitude, and the GODDAMNED-STUPID-EVIL-SHOULD-NEVER-HAVE-BEEN-USED-AND-
WHY-THE-HELL-WON'T-SOMEBODY-GET-RID-OF-IT PSYCHIC KISS! I'm not a rabid Supes fan and his powers in the 20's, 30's, and possible the 40's were different and retroconned more than once. But when you think Superman, you think flying, bullets bouncing off, heat ray vision, and able to lift anything. Telepathy belongs to Martian Manhunter. But it has been established that Richard Lester was a dick and should have never been allowed to breath on the franchise. Bryan Singer should have retroconned it away in Superman Returns, but maybe he had too much trying to get rid of the stupidity of Superman III and IV.

Sorry, didn't mean to rant. But it bears in with a later point.

Okay, back to the lousy memory thing. Superman I came out in 1976. I was born in 1977. I've seen the whole thing, but since I'm not a huge fan, probably just once or twice. Superman II came out in 1980, and whenever I did see it, it apparently made such a bad impression on me, I was composing letter to Superman in my head as to why Lois Lane? "You could do so much better, at least find someone pretty." I didn't like Lois as a character until Terri Hatcher's portrayal in Lois and Clark. I've seen Superman III and IV and I think I can remember one scene each from both of them. Evidently, I never wanted to see those movies again after watching once.

Well, I didn't really need my memories to enjoy the Richard Donner version of Superman II, since they use flashbacks very nicely to bring you up to speed. (Which is what made me realize I have almost no memories of the films to compare to.) But I was still blown away. Here's the reasons without hopefully spoiling for someone else who wants to watch it.

  1. Lois is no longer a ditzy idiot! She figures out the whole Clark/Superman thing, and how she finally tricks him into revealing it is jaw-dropping brilliant. If the writers had gone that route on Lois and Clark, I could see Terri Hatcher pulling off the same thing. This obviously is what Lois should be.

  2. Lex Luthor is actually menacing played by Gene Hackman. Had the sequels not ruined the character and if his performance was like this in Superman I, I can understand people saying he was a great Luthor. I always figured him as Luthor's stupid cousin and really loved Kevin Spacey's portrayal. I would have dropped the threating to knock Eve Teschmacher's teeth out. Luthor is a criminal genius and very abusive, but I don't see it going physical. Too lowbrow for someone of his stature.

  3. Man of steel, woman of kleenex problem dropped. I don't care who the hell came up with the idea, I find it misogynist and demeaning to both characters. Superman controls his powers all the time as Clark Kent, and hell, even as Superman. Otherwise, he'd be leaving a crater every time he took a step. Theatrical version had them having dinner in the Fortress of Solitude, Supes giving up his powers the Mrs. Jor-El tells him is a bad idea, and then sleeping with Lois. Donner's version: dinner, sex, and Supes giving up his powers after Jor-El tells him it's a bad idea.

    Personally, Lois should have said something. I know that would have thrown out their plot, but something along the lines of "You juggerhead, I'm a career woman. You can still date me and save the world." needed to be said.

  4. NO MORE PSYCHIC KISS! Supes spins the world backwards again to reverse time instead, which I do have problems with because it erases the sex, but at least the first movie establishes it as something Superman can do. I don't think he should do it very often. That can't be good for the planet.

    Incidently, I just learned through Internet Movie Database that the first movie was not supposed to end with the spinning backwards planet, but it had been conceived as the ending for the second which were being done together.

So at the risk of incurring fandom wrath, how I would have fixed I, II, and Superman Returns. First, I never would have went with Lois losing her memory. I would have kept her having sex with Superman but not knowing he's Clark Kent. Then what happens, Superman leaves the planet for five years. She meets Richard White soon after that, I see all this taking place in a month, and not to make her a slut or anything, but her and Richard are intimate before she finds out she's pregnant. So it must be Richard's, Superman is an alien of course we couldn't have kids.

I don't mind the Superman's baby idea so much, and relished the reveal scene. But I do mind the questions racing through a memory-wiped Lois's head. We only kissed, how did I have his kid? Why don't I remember? Did he drug me? It's just not cool in today's climate.

And the drama is upped. She's a woman scorned, he still loves her passionately and can try to woo her as Superman and Clark. Also I would make the world a lot less forgiving. Superman left them for 5 years. He has to prove himself all over again. Show that along with the all the great saves. And that would have made the vigil at the hospital more poignant. Like the New Yorkers throwing stuff at the Green Goblin in Spider-Man and the train scene in Spider-Man 2.

I didn't have a problem with the airplane catch intro or Luthor's land plan because he has land on the brain when you compare I and II to Returns.

Okay, I'm done now.

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The BookWorm

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MerylF said...

Ye gods. Now I remember why I loathe Superman. Yeuch.

MerylF said...

Oh, and I hope the neck improves.

Paul said...

Superman 1 actually came out in '78, by the way.

Glad you could appreciate the differences in the Donner cut. I don't think I can watch the Lester cut anymore.