Skip to main content

Documentary: The Death of 'Superman Lives' What Happened?

If you're a fan of Superhero films or you're a filmmaker interested in the Sci-fi/Superhero genre then this documentary about Tim Burton's doomed movie, staring Nicolas Cage as Superman, from the 1990's, Superman Lives is a fascinating insight into the pre-production of a big budget film.

The Death of 'Superman Lives' What Happened?, a documentary by Jon Schnepp, follows the development of the movie from writer/director, Kevin Smith's early, and well documented involvement, right through to the final days of when Warner Brother's pulled the plug and transferred their funding to another movie, Wild, Wild West, that, arguably, should've been canned too.



The Nic Cage Super Suit that
we all said "Hell NO!" to.
If you're like me, and first heard about Tim Burton's failed Superman movie staring Nicolas Cage when the image on the left was doing the rounds online, you're probably thankful it never happened. After all, not only is it hard to imagine Nic Cage as Superman, but this image just looks like everyone dodged a bad cos-play bullet.

Then, since I discovered that Kevin Smith's story about how he was brought in to write a script for Superman that had to include a giant spider was linked to Tim's film, I've always had a mild fascination for what Superman Lives might have been. Note: If you haven't heard Kevin's story about his dealings with producer, John Peters, on this project, do yourself a favor and watch the video at the link above. It's hard to believe it's true because it's just so comical and hilarious.

After watching this documentary, which includes interviews with all the key players; Kevin Smith, John Peters, Tim Burton and the various artists and costume designers that worked on the film, your whole opinion on a Nicolas Cage/Tim Burton Superman movie is likely to be flipped. Especially when you consider the Superman reboot that we got with Superman Returns. That I've written about previously in my post, The Trouble with Superman.

Even though a Superman movie with a giant spider sounds bat bonkers crazy it's still way more interesting than anything we saw in Superman Returns.

This more classic Super suit is a later
design, seen here in a test photo.
Not only that but the sheer number of monster designs, a spacecraft shaped like a skull, Brainiac and Doomsday plus a myriad of Superman suit designs, will easily convince you that this thing would've probably been more visually exciting than Man of Steel.

Then you see Nicolas Cage actually wearing one of the more classic design of suits that may have made it into the final movie and, sure, he still looks a little unorthodox, but it's not so far off that you can't picture it having the potential to be amazing. It is Nic Cage after all.

I found this documentary to be incredibly fascinating. There's plenty of production artwork to give you a sense of what might have been, along with costume fitting footage and discussion with Nic and Tim Burton.

Getting to hear Kevin Smith and John Peters talk about their experiences with each other is a rare but special moment too. Not least because John confirms almost every part of Kevin's story, and what he denies you can see that maybe there's still some truth to it.

For example Kevin says that John said he didn't want Superman to wear the suit. John denies this but I suspect, given the direction of all the suit design on Superman Lives, John probably meant he didn't want the Christopher Reeve, spandex version of the suit. He wanted a much tougher looking design.

It's a real shame this movie didn't get made because I don't think you could make it now, even if everyone who worked on it came back on board. Superhero movies have become something much different to what this may have been, and could even look dated now, since Tim Burton's style is very much linked to all the 90's Batman films, even though he didn't work on the last two.

However, as a documentary I'm really glad this story got told. It acknowledges all the hard work that went into the project and elevates it from people thinking Nicolas Cage in a Superman movie was some kind of a joke to something that may just have been pretty darn awesome.


Comments

Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET.

Popular posts from this blog

How to Transfer Any Line Art to Your Griptape - Easy Skateboard Griptape Art Tutorial

Dog Star Griptape Art by TET Griptape art is once again gaining popularity amongst modern skateboarders. For those of us who have tried to create our own griptape art, using paint pens, you'll know reproducing your design onto the grip, without making any mistakes is incredibly challenging. Mostly because you just have to go for it and draw the design freehand, with paint pens, directly onto the griptape. You can make the odd mistake here or there but if you get the proportions of the design completely wrong, it can be very difficult to fix. Often you just have to live with the mistake. To address the problem I've come up with an easy way anyone can transfer a line art design to their griptape, removing almost all the anxiety of getting the proportions wrong. In fact, you could do this with any line art design, even if you have no drawing skill at all. Watch the video below to see my technique in action and/or skip past the video where I highlight the basic steps to get your de

Skateboard Trick Tips: Two Ways to Ollie North (Ollie One foot)

You have to be quick to see my Ollie Norths! Ollie One Foots, otherwise known as the Ollie North, is one of those skateboard tricks you learn and then tend not to do very much as more interesting trick challenges grab your attention. However it does look really cool if you learn how to kick your front foot well past the nose of your skateboard. Still shot from Braille Skateboarding's Ollie North tutorial. I was inspired to make my video below, showing two different techniques to achieve a successful Ollie One Foot, when I not only saw that Braille Skateboarding's Tutorial used a different method to the one I had learned but also, when I looked at various other video tutorials, I discovered yet another technique, with no one using the method I had originally learned. Braille's method is to simply Ollie and drag your front foot past the front of your board. The second method I came across in several video tutorials is to Ollie, drag your front foot and tap your

Are Ion Thrusters the Future of Flying Cars? Spoiler - Probably Not But... Hover Boards... Maybe?

Undefined Technologies Ion Propulsion Drone prototype 3D concept image. You may have heard of Ion engines or, more likely, Ion thrusters. NASA uses them on their spacecraft to help maintain a craft's position or to propel them through space.  Upon hearing that you might think they're big, powerful engines, but actually they are not. They work well in the vacuum of space but, once any kind of atmosphere and gravity is involved they'd be hard pressed to launch you off the ground if you strapped four of them to your lawn chair and yelled "up, up, and away!" I am no expert on Ion thrusters - they're basically magic that science has an explanation for. If you want to know the details, The Space Techie website has a layman's explanation .  Build Your Own Ion Thruster Earth based Ion Thrusters work a bit different to their  space based cousins by Ionizing the same air that we breathe to create thrust (an effect known as Ionic-wind ).  While they sound highly soph

Book Review: Brand It Purple by Ashley Knoote-Parke

Ashley Knoote-Parke. Image: Facebook It seems almost redundant to review  Brand It Purple  given you probably won't find a hard copy edition without digging into the second hand market. The book's author and publisher, Ashley Knoote-Parke, seemingly, disappeared off the face of the Earth around about 2015. Which is a story in itself. However, the book is still a very informative guide and, while not specifically targeted at women, many may relate more to a book written by an experienced female entrepreneur. Brand It Purple is a personal marketing and branding guide released in 2009 by then, star on the rise author, Ashley Knoote-Parke, an English born, South African expatriate, who made Adelaide, South Australia her home. There she started her own publishing company releasing a photographic, coffee table book of South Australian sights, along with books showcasing female, then male, entrepreneurs. As well she published 'Brand It Purple'. I came across the b

Robot Uprising Update: Robot Waiter, Fasta Pasta, South Terrace, Adelaide CBD, South Australia

On the second evening of my partner, Enigma, and I's weekend stay in Adelaide we decided to have dinner at Fasta Pasta . Strangely enough our hotel staff, at the Alba, had not mentioned Fasta Pasta as an option for an evening meal while their restaurant is closed for refurbishment, even though it is literally next door on the corner of South Terrace and Pultney Street. You may be aware that Fasta Pasta is an upmarket Italian restaurant franchise with its beginnings in Adelaide. Currently they have 19 restaurants Australia wide (with the majority in South Australia - we even have one in Gawler, our home town). I've never had bad food at a Fasta Pasta, and their food never looks like a franchise meal. You always feel you're at a restaurant that's a little bit more quality than your typical hotel/motel meal. Maybe it's because you don't see as much pasta based meals on an Aussie pub menu. Despite the name, it's not all pasta. I went with a basic plate of fish a

I'm Joining the Illuminati Brotherhood By Personal Invitation of Hiltom Rothschild... Wait, What?

How special am I to have finally come of age (53 years young) and am now eligible to participate in building the world alongside other members of the Illuminati Brotherhood... Yes I've received the call by way of an email, which I'm sure is real because I had to translate it from the Dutch language and it was personally written by Hiltom Rothschild, one of the non-existent members of the Rothschild family (or perhaps deep undercover because Google has never heard of them?). A Transcript of the email below: To: etourist From: Illuminati Brotherhood  Subject: Illuminati Broederschap (Illuminati Brotherhood) I am Hiltom Rothschild, a member of the Rothschild family, one of the 13 families of the Illuminati brotherhood. I'm here to let you know that you've come of age and are eligible to participate in building the 🌎 world. It is a calling and a privilege to honor him with pride and gratitude as not everyone will ever be chosen by the LIGHT, many are called but few are ch

Movie Opinion: The Michael Keaton Batman Trilogy - Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), The Flash (2023)

The Michael Keaton Batman Trilogy on DVD. Despite its questionable CGI, troubled star, and the turmoil surrounding the DCEU's future when it was released, 2023's, The Flash does give us a new, and probably final, installment in Michael Keaton's run as Bruce Wayne/Batman. With that in mind, this holiday season, I had a real itch to spend a day binge watching what is now The Michael Keaton, Batman Trilogy .  To give you some context, I own every Batman movie (except Pattinson's The Batman ) on DVD, and every DCEU movie up to The Flash. The ones I don't own are only missing because I haven't gotten around to buying them, and they're likely still available on a streaming service I'm subscribed to. I've had Keaton's first two Batman movies in my collection for the best part of two decades but I can count on one hand how many times I've watched each. The last time was more than a decade ago.  Before I watched them recently, if you'd have asked