Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut—Warner Brothers (HD DVD)
Oddly enough, I’ve seen this movie a bunch of times, at least in its original form. Kneel before Zod! Most of this movie was shot concurrently with the original Superman, but the producers took it away from director Richard Donner and made it more comic-bookish by putting it into the hands of a new and mostly disliked director, Richard Lester. The punished trio from the beginning of the first movie break free and decide to take over Earth. Superman does what he does and makes Terrence Stamp cry.
The 2.40:1 image is just as inconsistent as it is with the first movie, just in different ways. There’s less graininess, but many scenes are significantly softer than others. Such is the nature of the beast when you’re dealing with lost footage. Again, the only sound choice is Dolby Digital Plus, and, again, the sound is good but not great. This soundtrack has just as much surround use, but it’s not as full or as open as many HD DVDs’ soundtracks have been. The first extra is an introduction by Richard Donner, who thanks the audience for petitioning the studio to let him make this film. There are six deleted scenes, commentary by Donner and Mankiewicz, and a documentary about the making of this new version.
Whether this redux or the original version represents the true sequel is up to you, but the fact that it was made at all is a testament to the Internet’s power and the fan base’s great diligence.