Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Written by Hombre Divertido
One might be reminded of the Terrance Mann (James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams) quote: “The one constant through all the years has been baseball.”
The new documentary on Superman by Bryan Singer and Kevin Burns tells us of the consistency of the man of steel.
This 110-minute film out on DVD follows the career, if you will, of Superman from his birth at the hands of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in the early 1930s, to his present-day incarnation in the Singer film Superman Returns, and it does it while being both educational and entertaining.
The reason this piece works so well is that it goes beyond Superman, and follows history and the culture of each time period. It expands upon the tragedies and triumphs of America and the world, and how said changes impacted Superman and he us.
We follow Superman from the scratch pads of Siegel and Shuster, to the pages of comic books. From the radio to the movie screen in the form of animated feature, serial, and live action film, to the television screen, and back again. We are led on our journey by the subtle narration of Kevin Spacey (Lex Luthor in the new film), and joined by comic book historians, writers, artists, publishers, industry insiders, actors from numerous if not all Superman endeavors, and pop culture icons ranging from Gene Simmons to Mark Hamill.
It is a wonderful trip as we get behind-the-scenes footage and insight into all the super ventures including those released to the public and those that never saw the light of day. The screen tests of Stockard Channing, Leslie Ann Warren, and others, for the part of Lois Lane in the 1978 feature film were particularly enjoyable to watch.
Of course the investment of time and money is not without its less than super aspects. The animated efforts of the 1960s and ‘70s are barely even acknowledged, and the DVD is quite sparse when it comes to extras. Nonetheless, the story is told well, and one can’t help but smile as some part of our respective memory is touched upon in this super tale.
Recommendation: A must have for the true Superman fan, and a great way to educate those who enjoy the theatrical and televised efforts of the past thirty years, but aren’t familiar with the Kryptonian roots.