There are three things that used to be synonymous with ‘Americana’: Apple pie, white bread sandwiches and Superman! Yes, before our country got all dark and depressing, the big blue boy used to be everyone’s favorite superhero. It has literally become uncool to rate Superman over Batman and uncool to root for the hero that always does the right thing. Regardless of my personal opinion (and bias), I’m here to tell you that today’s newly released and restored ‘Superman: The Movie– Extended Cut‘ Blu-ray, fresh from the Warner Brothers archives, is an absolute must have.

For starters, my mind is utterly blown at what a masterful job WB has done at remastering the picture of a once 3-hour TV cut that had only seen the light of day on standard 1980s boob tubes.  More importantly, all the extended scenes in this release do add a lot to the nostalgia and mythos of this film. You see, a lot of times director’s cuts or in this case, extended cuts, feel egregious at best. However, this feels like an extended stay with one of the greatest comic book films ever made, and for that, there’s nothing to resist here. There’s one particular scene early on, where young Clark Kent is traversing the arctic circle to reach his fortress of solitude. In the original cut his character simply arrives far too fast (even for a Superman), but in this extended cut you get some fantastic outdoor shots, many shot on location, that show a much more realistic timeline for his arrival. This is old school Americana at its finest and most effects shots, not all, have truly stood the test of time here.

Another element that doesn’t feel dated or worn out was John William’s epic score. And I gotta tell ya, the scene early in the film where young Clark has to witness his human father dropping over from a heart attack, pay close attention to the score in the background and it’s guaranteed to at least make you “think” about getting a tad watery eyed– As much as the overall Superman theme Williams created was one of the greatest ever written and performed, the rest of his work in this picture is nothing short of sublime.

Let’s face it,  no one will ever replace the late Christopher Reeve as Superman/Clark Kent. Ain’t happening. The performance by him and everyone else in the cast with Gene Hackman, Ned Beatty, Glenn Ford, Margot Kidder, Jackie Cooper and Marlon Brando helped make this the seminal film that it is. It’s hard to find one modern filmmaker that doesn’t admit to drawing inspiration from this classic. So getting the opportunity to actually watch a 188 minute cut of the film and in HD is nothing short of a treat. This is how it was done back in the golden era of filmmaking. There was no CGI, nor was there action scenes every 5-10 minutes. It had character, substance and not withstanding, it was made in arguably a much more innocent time in our country’s history (pre Sep 11th, pre mass shootings).

Nevertheless, take a trip down memory lane with this iteration of the film– It’ll not only remind you a man could fly, but it just may stoke the furnace of nostalgia in a time that I’m thinking all of us could use the positive distraction. Nuff said.

—-Below is a clip of the original ‘ABC Sunday Night at the Movies’ promo for this version of the film back in 1982—

 

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