Superman: The Movie—Warner Brothers (HD DVD)
Amazingly, the first time I saw this movie was just a few months ago. What can I say? I’m a Batman kind of guy. Superman is campier than many of the more serious comic-book adaptations of late, but, compared with other comic-book movies of the time (and for many years after), it’s downright somber. It holds up well and is still the quintessential Superman movie. Covering the last days of Krypton to the time when Superman saves Earth from a toupeed Gene Hackman, it’s quite a film. It’s not least recognizable for its excellent score, which earned John Williams one of his 4,383 Oscar nominations.
The 2.40:1 picture is fairly detailed, but it has an inconsistent amount of grain. Some scenes look OK, but others (often, and not surprisingly, the special-effects shots) are very grainy. In all, the picture quality isn’t as good as I’ve seen on other HD DVDs, even of movies from the same era. The only sound option is the standard Dolby Digital Plus. There’s a lot of surround use, but the overall sound quality is rather thin, especially in the music tracks.
The extras include commentary by Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz, plus Christopher Reeve’s screen test. The only other two extras are two documentaries, one a making-of and the other on the development of the movie.
Overall, it’s not the best HD DVD, but it still looks better than the DVD.