Perhaps I can help you edit your copy .... - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 11-27-2006, 12:32 PM
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Default Perhaps I can help you edit your copy ....

I love the reviews, but the grammar and syntax could use an edit before you go final. I took the liberty of a cursory edit which follows for one of your columns. I didn't address passive voice (which is overabundant) or punctuation (unless it screamed at me off the page. The errors are in bold and underlined.

I'm not trying to be overly critical, but as a writer I am very aware that readers lose focus when they trip over such errors.


Superman Returns (HD DVD)

Reviewed by Peter M. Bracke
Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

As 'Superman Returns' begins, it is about five years since the events of 'Superman II' (the incredibly dismal, largely played-for-yuks sequels 'Superman III' and 'Superman IV' are wisely ignored). Superman had left for a long sabbatical to explore the remnants of his destroyed home planet of Krypton, and when he returns he has miraculously morphed into Brandon Routh and found that Lois Lane (Bosworth) also looks nothing like Margot Kidder. But more than just cosmetics have changed while old ‘Sup’ was away -- apparently Lois, pissed off that her Man of Steel left her stranded, has not only written a Pulitzer Prize-winning piece called "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman," but also shacked up with another guy ('X-Men's James Marsden) and has a new child (Tristan Lake Leabu). Unfortunately for Lois, however, her feelings for Superman are still simmering, and it seems the world may indeed need their absent superhero after all. Lex Luthor is fresh out of prison (with one Oscar winner replaced by another as Kevin Spacey slums, er, subs for Gene Hackman), and the only thing he wants more than real estate is to kill Superman. With Lex hatching a new plot to destroy a good chunk of America and turn it into the Mall of Luthor, Superman must defeat his greatest enemy all over again and win back the heart of the woman he loves.

I would not be the first reviewer to say that 'Superman Returns' has a lot of problems. The casting skews too young, the plot replicates key narrative and character dynamics from Donner's 'Superman' far too closely, and the film is so devoid of action that you start to wonder if Kryptonite causes narcolepsy in Superman, not death. But even if those issues had been fixed, on a conceptual level something feels amiss in Metropolis, if not downright creepy. Singer is so busy making goo-goo eyes at the original 'Superman' that his 'Returns' never assumes an identity of its own. And that's a genuine surprise -- Singer so memorably put his own personal stamp on the 'X-Men' series that I really wasn't expecting his 'Superman' to be wrapped so tightly in nostalgia that it is practically mummified.

Indeed, watching 'Superman Returns' with even a passing familiarity with 'Superman: The Movie' and 'Superman II' plays like deja vu. It is not just that the Superman versus Lex Luthor storyline is plotted out in an all-too-similar fashion (a plot to destroy a huge chunk of America for real estate -- again?), but the Superman/Lois love story explores little new territory. It doesn't help that Routh and Bosworth, though good actors, just don't share the same chemistry that Reeve and Kidder had in spades. I think that is not only due to the age and relative inexperience of Routh and Bosworth (who look like a toothpaste-fresh couple straight out of 'High School Musical'), but because Reeve and Kidder were also classically-trained stage actors at the time they did 'Superman: The Movie." Much of their witty banter in the first two Superman films was if not wholly improvised than a joint effort between cast and filmmakers. I just never believed Bosworth as a credible news reporter, much less a Pulitzer Prize-winning one, and while Routh looks great he just doesn't possess the life experience needed to turn Clark into a believable, three-dimensional boy-man. Even Spacey misses the mark -- his Lex is so smarmy and hammy that he never rises above an irritating caricature. While Hackman's Luthor was bigger-than-life, he lent the role enough gravitas to keep his feet firmly planted on the ground, even if his tongue was planted firmly in his cheek.

Yet, despite its faults, 'Superman Returns' is an earnest film that is hard to hate. A filmmaker can certainly commit worse sins than flattery-by-imitation, and this is still Superman, after all. For many of us, no one may ever fully replace Reeve as the Man of Steel, but the character is so iconic it is hard not to get a thrill watching anyone in those blue tights and red cape, fighting evil. And Singer manages to pull off a couple action scene doozies, in particular the end-of-first-act Superman rescue of Lois Lane from a fiery plane crash. I also liked the requisite "Superman saves Metropolis citizens from peril" montage, one of the few times Singer recalls the original Donner 'Superman' successfully. Perhaps had 'Superman Returns' possessed more such soaring pulp derring-do and less of the heavy-handed Superman-as-God posturing that completely derails the film by the time of its pretencious conclusion, it might have truly been the heir apparent to Donner's 'Superman' that it so desperately wanted to be.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

Technical aspects of this transfer are also excellent. Presented in 2.40:1 widescreen and 1080p/VC-1 video, compression artifacts are non-existent. Posterization and macroblocking never intrude, and colors appear free of chroma noise. I only noticed some slight digital fuzz in the darkest scenes -- noise is slight in darker patches of solid color, such as the later scene when Superman visits Lois and Richard White's home on the water. Hardly major, such slight imperfections are all that keep 'Superman Returns' from rating a five-star transfer.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

As you might expect, Singer granted almost unprecedented extensive access to the documentary crew, with only the director's legendary penchant for over-the-top outbursts left on the cutting room floor (Halle Berry famously responded to one such Singer outburst on the set of 'X2' by telling him to "kiss my black ass"). Even without controversy though, there is a nice sense of intimacy to the doc, from Singer's pre-production home movies to you-are-there video of development and production meetings, behind-the-scenes preparations to the usual cast and crew interviews with ever major player even remotely connected to the movie (in fact, I can't think of a single notable missing from the proceedings). Of course, the question with a doc of this length becomes one of overkill, and indeed some of this is a tad slow-paced. Did we really need a whole segment on Lex Luthor? I am also biased against special effects dissections, of which there is a fair amount in 'Requiem for Krypton' -- this stuff would have worked better for me as a separate supplement. But still, this is truly a landmark documentary and one of the best of its kind I've ever seen on DVD of any kind. 'Superman Returns' fans will absolutely love it.

Also included are 14 minutes of Deleted Scenes that, unlike the standard-def documentary, are presented in full 1080p video. The material itself is intriguing -- I especially liked the fleshed-out moments where Superman realizes what has happened to Earth while he was away. There is also a nice little outtake called "How Wrong Can You Be." Though there is no commentary by Singer or anyone else, the quality of these deleted scenes is quite excellent and they are definitely a must-see for Superman fans.
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Old 11-28-2006, 07:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GBlake View Post
I love the reviews, but the grammar and syntax could use an edit before you go final. I took the liberty of a cursory edit which follows for one of your columns. I didn't address passive voice (which is overabundant) or punctuation (unless it screamed at me off the page). The errors are in bold and underlined.
It's probably worth flagging to Jed.

On a side note, you forgot an end bracket for one of your sentences, I've corrected it in red!
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Old 11-28-2006, 03:28 PM
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Thank you. Just shows how important editors are <grin>.
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Old 11-29-2006, 08:53 AM
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Thank you. Just shows how important editors are <grin>.
Indeed!
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