Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Superman IV: The Quest For Suck

Galley Friend B.W. sends us this link to a very long, very geeky, very excellent exegesis on Superman 4. Oh come on, it's not like you have anything better to do.

Here's a taste:
here comes Superman, who comes flying through space with the greatest of ease. (His introduction, I might add, provides the film with its first really appalling f/x shot.) Admittedly, during Superman’s long existence as a character he’s often been given the ability to fly through space without suffering any ill effect, including from lack of air. Of course, they also once showed him pushing the Earth out of orbit by shoving on it with his two hands. However, in recent decades I think they started realizing how silly this was, and now Superman generally is given at least the fig leaf of an air helmet or something. Not so here. In fact, Supes is quite visibly breathing here. Plus his cape is waving up a storm. Oops.

Superman grabs hold of the station and stops it from spinning. This is a neat trick since he doesn’t have any leverage. Actually, he’s presumably using whatever force he employs to propel himself in flight to counter the momentum of the craft, so I’m just being snide. It’s not like I won’t have a bunch of fatter targets coming down the pike. . . .

Via another horrible matte shot, Superman flies out to grab the floating cosmonaut. He then deposits the fellow into an open airlock hatch. Finally, he gives they guy a friendly little farewell speech. This is in Russian, which I could buy, and in space, which I definitely couldn’t. And even if Superman could ‘talk’ in space, how the hell could the cosmonaut hear him? Plus, doesn’t Superman usually ‘hear’ cries for help? Makes you wonder how he managed to just stumble across the space station seconds after it was hit.

Let me get back to the political leanings thing. I know with some readers I’m undoubtedly considered a paranoid kook who sees a Red under every bed. (This habit being scary and nutty, unlike, say, seeing an overt anti-Communist message in every sci-fi film made in the ‘50s.) Even so, it’s pretty clear that Reeve & Co., are taking a bit of a shot at then-President Reagan here. First, of course, Reeve takes Superman out of the "fighting for the American Way" box by having him not only saving Soviets, but speaking to them in their native tongues. None of that jingoistic nationalistic parochialism for this Man of Steel! Also, how could the USSR be an "evil empire" when their cosmonauts were singing Sinatra songs, for cripe’s sake? The fact that this event opens the film only strengthens one’s suspicions.

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