Movie News

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


The North Here:

With MAN OF STEEL anticipation reaching a fever pitch, we should look to the past for solace.
So it's time for another edition of PAST EBERT!

From what I have gathered from the MAN OF STEEL trailers, clips and articles there is definitely going to be material that is similar to Richard Donner's 1978 classic, SUPERMAN. I think MAN OF STEEL will do well to pay homage to a great film that is often overlooked. Especially now that SUPERMAN's place in history should be lauded more than ever before. 

Comic Book properties are dominating the box office now, but this was an incredibly original film when it was released in 1978. I think a lot of modern audiences can't really enjoy a film with visual effects that are now outdated. If you show a kid TRANSFORMERS, don't expect him to be blown away by STAR WARS. With jaded audiences, past films don't garner the credit and respect they deserve. Well guess who did credit and respect SUPERMAN? Yup. Our hero, Roger Ebert.

Mr. Ebert gave the film the highest seal of approval with his 4 Star Review.
He then went further and wrote an essay on it for an edition of 'The Great Movies'.
You can read the full essay here in which he praises the special effects. 
Here is an excerpt:

'"Superman's" most influential element is probably its special effects. Superman did lots of stunts in his earlier incarnations in movie serials and on TV, but rarely had effects like these been linked to the genre. Some of his heroics are frankly laughable, as when he descends to the bottom of a rift in the earth caused by an earthquake and literally pushes the early back up into place. Or when he flies into the exhaust of a missile and tilts it off course. And in the height of absurdity, he flies so fast around the planet that he reverses time and saves Lois Lane' life. The problems of logic presented by that stunt beggar the imagination.
But the point is, these effects on a vast scale are done well, and they upped the ante in the superhero genre. They are done traditionally, with back projection, traveling matte shots, blue screen, optical printers and all the other tools rendered obsolete by CGI. Is it only my imagination that the old-fashioned effects seem to have more weight and presence?'

It's smart thinking, real talk (and great writing) that separated Roger Ebert from the crowd. In one paragraph, he criticizes the absurdity of some of the effects, but understands that past visual techniques have a certain gravitas that make films like SUPERMAN and STAR WARS unique. Sure the effects in MAN OF STEEL and EPISODE VII will be "better" than the predecessors. Whether or not they will stand the test of time, like their ancestors have, remains to be seen. Enjoy the next iteration of the Man Of Steel, but don't forget the places he's been.

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