Monday, 5 December 2011

Superman the Movie

The World let, alone the UK could do with a reality Superman. The 1978 Superman -the Movie film, introduced the former comic book character to a new generation with its trademark prolonged title sequence using the latest graphics and Marlon Brando as his father and Susannah York in his mother on the doomed planet Krypton in the opening sequence in which the main plot of the follow up film was also heralded as the Council banished three traitors into space where it appears they were able to escape from their imprisonment after the Krypton explodes.

Before the explosion Brando and his screen wife said loving goodbye to their son before placing him in a space craft intentionally directed to earth because of similar human physical characteristics and an environment in which he could thrive and do good.

It was fortunate that he landed meteor like in the days before the entire earth air space could be monitored and he landed close a an agricultural middle America just at the point that the kindly childless dirt farmer couple of Glenn Ford and Phyllis Thaxter who immediately take the child as their own and realising his superhuman powers, when he lifts their truck with one hand so the wheel can be changed, bring him up as normal as possible and keeping his strength secret.

At this point he has not learned to fly although when at High School he is thwarted in his normal interest in girls by a local yokel he runs faster than the a passing train to reach home before the rest of the carload pass by on the way to their respective homes at other farmstead. It is presumed that he has also hidden his knowledge and mental abilities his biological parents having provided the sum total of human and terrestrial knowledge over the journey which enabled him to grow from a baby into a young boy. Once source says three years later.

Following the death of his father he makes arrangements for his mother to be able to continue living at the farmstead and goes off to the artic with a green glowing crystal which creates a structure in which he can learn of his parental background via holographic images, develop his abilities and his destiny. This includes the trade mark costume and cape together with the ability to fly at speed across the planet, into space and back without the need for respiratory gear. He is also able to stand the most intense and fierce heat as well as hold or lift breathtaking loads.

Again from a source the period of his stay in the artic is twelve years after which for some unexplained reason he chooses to become a reporter on the Daily Planet the Metropolis (New York) newspaper on which he is immediately assigned to work with the ambitious Lois Lane(Margot Kidder) to regards him as a hack handed hack! Her first impression appears confirmed when the couple on leaving the office are accosted by a mugger with a gun who Lois takes on unaware that Clark (Superman) has saved her life by capturing a bullet in his hand.

Clark only commences to reveal his superhuman powers after a helicopter leaving the top of the building becomes entangle and crashes downwards from the skyscraper and this heralds the city and the world learning of this amazing individuals who prevents disasters and catches criminals while continuing to function as a not so good journalist.

Unlike batman and Robin who confront a series of villains Superman has only one adversary, the master genius intellectual criminal, Lex Luther played by Gene Hackman who lives in a super dwelling hidden beneath the subways and which primarily consists of huge luxury fitted library with an incompetent henchman and peroxide girlfriend played by Valerie Perrine. His first plan is to capture USA nuclear rockets and aim at the San Andreas fault tipping the Western seaboard into the ocean (people and buildings and all so that the large area of inland desert which he has acquired becomes the coast and the home of various new cities and towns making him a rich and powerful man. The plan is thwarted by superman who also prevents Lois being submerged as a dam breaks. Superman saves the Lois by spinning the earth back in time.

Before this event Superman has prevented Airforce One from crashing into a baseball stadium/may have been football and captured some bank robbers escaping by boat which he returns to the police station. Superman then delivers Luther and his male associate direct to a chain gang prison. His relationship as superman with Lois has developed when he takes her flying around the world from her penthouse with patio garden home where he alternates with Clark as her date for the evening.

Although the plot is full of holes the film has credibility because of the role of Christopher Reeve as Superman and the exceptional cast where in addition to Brando, Hackman and Ford there is Trevor Howard as the first Elder on Krypton and Terence Stamp as General Zod the banished leader of the plot by the trio of villains to take control of the Krypton before it explodes. The cinematic tricks including flying around the planet, stopping planes and trains and rockets were also firsts as the new era of science fiction got underway, before Star Wars, Batman, Spiderman and the rest. The film has been much written about as a consequence including reference to potential biblical themes with General Zod as the devil cast out from Paradise and Superman as Christ set down on earth to lead the way with his miracle working and selfless behaviour. However at the time it was great family entertaining ground breaking fun.

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