Cert: TBC Runtime: 104 mins mins Director: Jon Schnepp Cast: Jon Schnepp, Tim Burton, Kevin Smith and Jon Peters
“‘Trouble’ isn’t the word, Superman! I’m telling you right now——it’s like Doomsday is here!”
Superman Lives was a film no one wanted to see (allegedly). We have all seen the picture of Nic Cage in the Superman suit, and yes I will admit I did say WTF? But without any real context we have judged that this film should of never been made. Tim Burton is a visionary and in his heyday he could’ve made anything. The background to the documentary is about the cancelled Superman movie intended for production during the 1990s. The film was to be directed by Tim Burton and produced by Jon Peters. The story would feature Brainiac, Lex Luthor and Doomsday as villains. Kevin Smith, Wesley Strick and Dan Gilroy wrote the screenplays that were nearly filmed. Nicholas Cage was officially announced to play Superman. What Jon Schnepp wanted to learn was what happened and what could we have witnessed and see if people might change their minds about Superman Lives.
This is a great outline to the tale and gives the audience more of an insight to what actually happened. Tim Burton and Kevin Smith seemed to give a very honest account of what happened. Jon Peters just seemed to be expanding the truth at some moments contradicting what his “team” actually said. From what I understand he didn’t even want Nicolas Cage he wanted Sean Penn allegedly. Basically he is trying to say it wasn’t his fault Superman Lives never happened, but this is the man that didn’t get Superman: Flyby off the ground. All the interviewees were concise and didn’t twist any question away. No disrespect to Jon Schnepp but his camera presence wasn’t needed, it’s very rare you see the film-maker appear in their documentary. He has done a spectacular job compiling and researching the project. It’s a fantastic account of the film that never was and I do anticipate people might actually change their minds about it now.
Nicolas Cage for me is one of the greatest actors of his generation, he has made some bad choices over the last 10 years. Schnepp’s documentary shows what Cage could have been as Kal-El and Clarke Kent. Burton’s interpretation of Superman was unique and meaningful and we would have seen the Superman the world deserves. To have even see Christopher Walken as Braniac or Chris Rock as Perry White would have been interesting. We eventually got to see Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor but I’d anticipate a completely different character in Burton’s version. What I will say about the documentary it seems to drag for a period, the runtime is slightly long and should have been cut by 10 minutes. The use of the concept art is great and turning them into animation was a stroke of genius. My overall consensus of The Death of”Superman Lives”: What Happened? don’t judge a film by one picture still. We did it with Superman Lives and it could of been a great film. Let’s not continue this trend.