For every massive superhero movie that we are lucky enough to watch in today’s comicbook friendly climate, there is one lurking in the shadows that we will always look back upon with a sigh and a ‘what if…’. That movie was Superman Lives, starring Nicholas Cage as the iconic Kryptonian under the direction of Tim Burton, the director who had recently brought Batman back to life.
Alas, politics and the failing of recent epics such as Sphere and The Postman meant that the company became jittery and was no longer willing to roll the die on a movie featuring one of its biggest characters being killed off by Doomsday.
Now we have an inside look at the story of this film, with exclusive interviews with Tim Burton, many of the special effects people involved and Kevin Smith, who put together the first draft of the script. Can you imagine a Tim Burton film scripted by Kevin Smith? That is nerd nirvana right there!
The best thing about this super interesting documentary is getting to see all of the sketches for the various creatures to be used in the film. There is also the story of K, the being that travels to Earth with the young Kal-El, teaching him and bringing him comfort, starting out as a teddy bear style design and ending up being the suit that brings him back to life. There are some stunning drawings of this scene and you imagine how dazzling it would have been on the big screen.
The other interesting thing here is that the film happened just before the Internet exploded, so you didn’t have the trolling that we now see with every sci-fi epic that arrives (go see what ‘the people’ are saying about Arrival right now…) and so this is our first chance to see Nicholas Cage trying the suit, the various effects guys trying to create a unique outfit and even the creation of Cage’s Clark Kent, a geek in a Mickey Mouse t-shirt who no one would ever think was Superman.
The Death Of Superman Lives is a great look at a lost opportunity and a peek into how Hollywood operates. It is sobering to learn that after they decided that this was too much of a risk, Warner Brothers made Wild Wild West, one of the biggest flops of them all…