Friday, April 4, 2014

Superman (1978) Review:

Before 1978, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's Superman had been put on the screen in the past. With multiple actors donning the suit of "truth, justice and the American way", it was hard for fans to really pick their favorite actor who portrayed the Kryptonian. But when this movie came out, there was no decision that had to be made. Richard Donner's Superman (1978) is THE superman. Viewers who are closed-minded and don't like watching older films must try to make an attempt to see this. It does not have the crisp well-blended look like most of our films today but for what it had, it was astounding. It's not just the look either; everything else included as well.

Tell me that's not a beautiful shot
The story follows the original that we all know and love. With Krypton on the rise of destruction, Jor-El sends his baby son Kal-El to Earth where he can start a new, and be the hope and inspiration for all humans. Upon arriving to Earth, Kal is adopted by farmers Pa & Ma Kent and renamed him Clark Kent. As he grew up, Clark journeys to discover his heritage and answers to his questions. He then moves to Metropolis where he secretly puts on his suit and cape whenever help is needed. But it's not at this point where things become amazing; everything described that leads up to this point is just as great.

The writers behind the screenplay took extreme care with the how the viewer sees the growing process of Clark. Seeing Clark and his world change along with his loving stepparents are by far the strongest of character development scenes in the film. There are moments of pain and frustration and there are also moments of joy and power. The emotions are equally balanced throughout the film. With that, the positive tone of the film feels bright and optimistic. This mixes well with our main protagonist because Superman (Christopher Reeve) is an optimistic person. He is a symbol of hope.

The other characters in the film are just as likable. Margot Kidder as Lois Lane portrays her role accurately with a mind only a reporter could truly understand. Although his scenes are limited, Glenn Ford as Pa Kent provides significant depth to Clark Kent and his morals. Even as a villain, Gene Hackman as the notorious Lex Luthor provides a comical performance that viewers should enjoy. Speaking of which, comedy is another aspect this movie got right. The comedic elements do not push for camp. The funny moments feel natural as if anyone would react in the same manner. Nor does any of the funny scenes involve dark humor, the jokes are more innocent than they are intentional.

That's awesome
The other things that'll stand out are the effects, which co-exist with the action, music and cinematography. For 1978, the mix of green screen and practical effects look great. This helps make the action scenes look very professional (including props to editor Stuart Baird). One thing that stands out about the action is that it relies more on the brain, of how to take care of certain situations instead of having an all out brawl or frequent explosions. In fact, there's really only one true explosion in this film and that's all it needed. With the action comes one of John Williams' best known scores. It is by far still, the best of all Superman scores. The main theme is there, along with a love theme that may create goosebumps for some. Lastly, the most visually beautiful aspect of the film is the cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth. He captured so many shots that'll take viewers’ breaths away. See it for everything.

Christopher Reeve is the original Superman. There is no argument. The music, action and characters would be nothing without the pristine writing and optimistic tone.

Points Earned --> 10:10

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