Richard Donner

A guy who made a few movies I like. I haven't seen his biggest ones, the Lethal Weapon movies.

Like It Superman: The Movie (1978) -- If you shut it off as soon as he gets to Metropolis, it's a great movie. The origin story is told wonderfully, nicely paced, takes its time, one interesting thing after another, all the way through Smallville and the Arctic... then he gets to the big city, puts on the outfit to become Superman (the whole point of the movie) and it becomes a big crappy mess until finally dumping on itself at the end with the whole "spin the world backward to go back in time" thing.  Even so, Christopher Reeve is charming, the John Williams score is great, and it's definitely got its fun moments. (See Richard Lester for the sequel, Superman II.  See further below for the alternate sequel, Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut.)

Love It The Goonies (1985) -- I love this stupid movie. It completely captures the way a child thinks and literalizes it on the screen: pirate treasure, adventure found underneath your own town, maps, legends, booby traps. Everything is realistic when you see it in this way, since this is exactly what happens if you're a kid. Oh, and it also features some of the most hilarious kids of any movie ever made.

Indifferent Scrooged (1988) -- Pretty decent for a different Christmas movie, though for the most part it looks like someone didn't get enough good takes or went crazy with the editing machine or something--everything's very very muddy and often just confusing (especially for something that should be a straightforward story, and one we know so well). Some funny stuff, but oddly wrong.

Really Like It Radio Flyer (1992) -- Like The Goonies, this movie is told through a child's point of view, but this time it deals with child abuse and the escapist fantasies that these two children go through in order to cope with their situation. Again, what happens is a literal interpretation of the fantasy, which is blended perfectly (and I imagine hard to pull off). I'm not sure if I've ever seen another movie like this.

Like It Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006) -- You know at the end of the first Superman when he spins the world backward?  That's done again with this edit, and not just in the movie.  We of course have ten years of these sorts of things by this point in movies: Lucas re-envisioning his Star Wars movies, Coppola doing his redux, Spielberg replacing guns with walkie talkies... but this is actually more like when, in the music world, they re-released The Beatles Let It Be as Let It Be... NakedLet It Be was an album that the Beatles weren't able to complete on their own terms for one reason or another and so Phil Spector went in and finished it for them, to the dismay of fans and the Beatles themselves.  Thirty-something years later, they de-Spectorized it (taking out sounds and songs and replacing them with others), cleaned it up, and released something close to the version they might have put out.  Superman II was shot at the same time (not back-to-back, but simultaneously) as the first Superman by Richard Donner, but he was eventually "fired" from the production (Brando also had to be left out), leaving Richard Lester to complete the movie for him, leaving him in this Phil Spector-like position (though fans weren't as cruel to Richard Lester as they were to Spector, since many fans enjoy what Lester added to the movie and cite this as their favorite).  Almost thirty years later, Richard Donner was able to go in and re-edit the movie as he would have done it, taking out the significant Lester additions (many of the scenes Lester shot, of course, had to be left in for the sake of the story) and adding a wealth of Donner-shot footage that didn't make it into Superman II.  What emerges is a movie more similar to the tone of the first and more of a continuation of the first story than a regular sequel.  Gone are the extra-goofy Dick Lester gags, Superman throwing his cellophane "S" at the villains, etc. (though Richard Donner has his fair share of stupid jokes).  Added are story developments that make a little more sense (though some that make just as little).  In the end, I'm not that big a fan of the Superman movies anyway, so it doesn't matter much to me, but I imagine fans will enjoy having this more serious version as well as having the option of always going back to the Let It Be of cinema when they want it.  My big suggestion, as long as everyone's going crazy?  Take the first two movies and cut them together as one big movie, intertwining the stories so that they make more sense in the first place; and if you gotta do the world-spin, save it for the end.  (See Richard Lester for the sequel, Superman III.  See further above for the predecessor, Superman: The Movie.  See Richard Lester for the alternate version.)

Copyright (c) Oct 2001 - Feb 2007 by Rusty Likes Movies