Richard Donner has made some really good, and even under-rated films, "CONSPIRACY THEORY" being just one of them. But, perhaps his finest film, "SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE" has been released on HD-DVD. What makes the film so frequently amazing, is the "epic" feel Donner aspires to throughout the film. "SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE", not unlike Singer's first "X-MEN" film, really shoots for lofty ideals within the genre. It treats the material as if it's no less important than "GONE WITH THE WIND". And, in fact, there are even scenes that could evoke memories of that film in terms of pure spectacle. Donner's handling of young Clark Kent growing up(these scenes are unfortunately too few)in high school are extremely powerful and even sentimental. But, wherever the film's scenes take place in time or location, Donner is in control and the audience is frequently in awe. To be fair, there are some instances wherein the film suddenly drags, but only momentarily. It's also amazing 28 years later to realize how impressive the cinematography and special effects blend in creating spectacular moments, without the CGI benefiting so many big films today.
WARNER BROS. has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio with the 1080p/VC-1 transfer. It's been completely restored and there's incredible detail in every single scene. It's much sharper than in the recent HDNET high-def satellite airing or standard dvd version. Colors are extremely rich. In fact, this reviewer had forgotten how colorful the film originally had been due to so many poor video offerings of late. "SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE" looks amazing!!! The darker scenes offer great detail with deep blacks and grays. No artifacts to be found anywhere!!!
WARNER BROS. has provided a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 mix. The mix is terrific, and far superior to the 2000 dvd restoration version. Dialogue sounds perfect now, whereas before it was sometimes overshadowed by effects and distortion. There's also extensive use of bass, giving some great kick to scenes and even the more impressive when realizing how old the film is! There are plenty of discrete effects, and some viewers may find them too emphasized in spots. The only minor flaw found in the mix relates to the lack of dominance in the score. This film features one of John William's finest scores and it doesn't have the prominence we'd have liked. This is easy to fix by turning the volume knob, but we'd have preferred it to be configured within the actual mix instead.
WARNER BROS. has not carried over some of the great extras from the dvd, including some great screen tests. However, there are two outstanding featurettes, offering insight into the troubled production, a fascinating audio commentary which includes Donner and a screen test with the very young, very thin Christopher Reeve.