Just ended up watching a dvd documentary that I bought on a whim as it caught my attention on a recent visit to Target. It's called "Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman"
And an incredibly enjoyable documentary it is. Narrated by Kevis Spacey. it goes all the way back to the origins of the Superman character, to the point when he was developed to be .. mean. Then we are taken thru a journey of evolution as Superman evolves into what is one of the most important and relevant pieces of Americana in entertainment. The documentary explores every way the character of Superman has been portrayed thru the decades.. in comic books, radio, movie, TV and other media. Tons of video clips from the past... many of which I had never seen, explode on the screen to show us where the man of steel has been and where he is headed. We learn a lot of secrets and many unknown facts of Superman's glorious career...including his lowest of lows, to the highest of heights, no pun intended.
I was not prepared for the soul and sentimentality of this well crafted documentary. For example.. during the Christopher Reeves era, we see a photo of Mr. Reeves and his wife, so young and full of life, and to think they both are now gone at such a young age, it's simple heart-breaking. Likewise the suicide by the original Reeves, George is another insightful portion of the documentary.
Another highlight is seeing some of the original stars that were involved with the early Superman tv program who are still with us today. If I am not mistaken, the original actor who played Jimmy Olsen in the 50's is now featured in a cameo in the new "Superman Returns" movie as a bartender. At least I think it was him in the clip. We also get perspectives from Margot Kidder, and many other stars from the more recent Superman efforts, such as Lois and Clark, and Smallville. Seems to me there was no stone unturned for this project. However... one person who played Superman before is briefly mentioned here but not seen... John Haymes Newton, who was the original Superboy in Disney-MGM produced series "Adventures of Superboy". He was later replaced by Gerard Christopher when the production moved to USF, who does take the time to give his two cents here as well. Even Adam West (TV's Batman) adds his comments to this engaging documentary. Amazing coincidence here don't you think.. George Reeves, Chritopher Reeves, Gerard Christopher... Hmmm...
Finally as an added pleasure.. we get to see some footage from early screen tests and bloopers from "Superman: The Movie". Somehow..."Grease"s Rizzo (Channing) doesn't quite cut it as Ms Lane. I also got a chuckle when this fact was presented... "Superman has been one of two of the most marketable characters in American history, the other one being Mickey Mouse of course..." And yes.. I believe it. You either see a Mickey or a Superman logo on any given tee.
All in all, at 1 hour 50 mins in lenght, this is a documentary that will teach, reach and amaze. I know I was.
TDLFAN says.. 5*****. Retails for around $9.99 and it's worth every penny I paid for it. Surprising to me since I am just a casual fan of the franchise and not really a fanatic, but I honestly enjoyed this documentary a lot, and recommend it.