Today is my birthday, I am now 27 and still not grown up. Yesterday I recieved my birthday gift from my beautiful Grandmother, she knows me so well and I laughed with pleasure as I unwrapped the red paper to reveal the Iconic Superman logo framed in silver. This wonderful 75 year old women hasn’t lost her touch and continues to support my childhood heros by giving me the The Complete Superman Collection on DVD. This box set isn’t big news, in fact it’s been on the shelf for over a year now, but it’s a great package which I wanted to review. Furthermore; I thought this collection of movies would be a good introduction for a column I am dubbing DVD Flashback.
To no surprise the collection contains all 4 Superman films. Superman the Movie, released in 1978 -the year I was born- and starring Chris Reeve as the man of steel, Gene Hackman as the greatest criminal mind that ever lived, and Margot Kidder as the pink panty wearing Lois Lane. A great movie in my opinion, a fine interpretation of the characters and a memorable theme to boot.
Superman II, was released in 1980, which also stars the original cast. In this sequel, Superman must defend Metropolis from three infamous criminals from Krypton; General Zod (Terence Stamp), Ursa (Sarah Douglas) and Non (Jack O’Halloran). This sequel continues with the spirit of the first film and can easily stand up to superhero movies of today -minus the flashy special effects, hey it was the 80’s-.
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The true gem of the lot in my humble opinion -and I know I’ll have a lashing coming my way for this one- is the third installment of the Superman collection, the estranged Superman III staring Richard Pryor. Now before you toss the first stone allow me to elaborate on why I call this picture the gem of the box set. Firstly it’s the only Superman movie which is unavailable at the rental stores, they always have 1, 2 and 4 all lined up but you never see 3. It’s the only Superman that stars alternative villains. Clark Kent returns to Smallville for his class reunion and the town asshole is named Brad. Superman gets nasty, puts the moves on two women, gets drunk and then has to fight himself in a junkyard. Finally; one of the coolest things about this movie is that Richard Pryor is in it.
Then of course we have Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, the only one carrying a sub-title. Adding to the mix of wrong doers is Jon Cryer playing Lex’s nephew Lenny. Together Lex and his stoner 80’s punk rock nephew create a solar powered Supervillain to destroy his nemesis. This one is a bit poor, although as a kid I was a fan of Lenny’s attitude and style.
All in all a fantastic package. With the hype surrounding Superman Returns let’s not forget about the people who gave us characters we grew to love and the sounds that continue to send shivers down the back of our necks. Flawed as they are, these movies wax nostalgia of my youth by taking me back to when life revolved around playing guns in the yard, collecting G.I Joes and reading my favorite comics on Saturday mornings while watching the Super Friends.