March 26, 2016

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

Review #787: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

Christopher Reeve (Superman / Clark Kent), Gene Hackman (Lex Luthor / voice of Nuclear Man)
Jackie Cooper (Perry White), Margot Kidder (Lois Lane), Jon Cryer (Lenny Luthor), Mark Pillow (Nuclear Man), Sam Wanamaker (David Warfield), Marc McClure (Jimmy Olsen), Mariel Hemingway (Lacy Warfield), and Damian McLawhorn (Jeremy) Directed by Sidney J. Furie.

Simply put, this movie is terrible. Any which way you look at it, the movie fails at every level, from failing as a superhero movie to failing to make a plot or direction that works to failing be a movie of spectacle or excitement. To make a long review of this movie would be redundant, but a basic criticism will suffice for such a basic movie. The first (and easiest) flaw to notice is the opening credits, which are representative of both the cheapness of the production studio (Cannon Films) and the harbinger of a movie that goes downhill from there. As usual, Reeve (who contributed to the story for the film) does a fine job, and Hackman returns to make for an entertaining Luthor once again, but neither can save a movie bogged down by terrible, terrible film-making not just from directing, but from a (chopped-down) budget that can't support what the movie wanted to be. The effects are the ultimate final blow, with easily visible strings, a shot of Reeve "flying" towards the camera being repeated numerous times, and numerous other examples of futile attempts at penny pinching. At least Cooper, Kidder and McClure are back, though they don't really very interested in the movie, much like the rest of us. The less said about Cryer, the better. Nuclear Man is certainly a strange villain, looking like he was time-warped from the early 80's, especially with the silver nails, and the fact that he is voiced by Hackman is somewhat off-putting. The fights between him and Superman are downright laughable, and the solution to defeating him via moving the moon in front of the sun is the only perfect way to end such a silly climax.

What is interesting in all of this is the amount of footage that was cut from the movie. Originally, the movie was over 2 hours long, but due to a bad test screening, Furie cut over 30 minutes out of the movie, with a good portion of those scenes (but apparently not all of them) later resurfacing on DVD many years later. Almost all of them have a bit of degradation to them, and scenes meant to show special effects (such as one scene where Superman rescues a child from a tornado) are unfinished, and even the final intended scene, with Superman and Jeremy (a child who wrote him a letter wanting him to intervene in possible war) flying over the Earth isn't finished, with a red glow effect on them.

In the end, the movie has no hope, no substance, no luck, and most of all no budget, proving to be the death knell of the movie franchise for 19 years. I'd recommend the movie as a guide on what not to do with regards to budgeting, editing, and most importantly, presentation.

Overall, I give it 4 out of 10 stars.

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