Review by Zach Demeter "Bird Boy"
Packaging Type: Amaray Case
Subtitles: English, Francais, Espanol
Aspect Ratio: Original Aspect Ratio - 2.40 Widescreen [16:9 Transfer]
English: Dolby Surround 5.1
Francais: Dolby Surround Stereo 2.0
Commentary by Director Jeannot Szwarc and Historian Scott Bosco
There are a handful of superhero movies I never want to watch again in my lifetime. The first on that list was Batman & Robin, which is a given. A year or so ago, The Punisher, Superman III and Superman IV joined the list. Now, in less than ten minutes into the film, Supergirl has joined the ranks of…rank.
Some films I never went near simply from word of mouth. With the onslaught of Superman DVDs that came out this past year (and more recently, November 28th), it wasn’t hard to see that Supergirl would get another DVD release (although the 2-disc Anchor Bay release from 2000 appears to easily eclipse this DVD in terms of extra content), though I really wish it didn’t.
The film starts out sensibly enough, but once Supergirl gets to Earth everything goes downhill. How she knows so much about Earth immediately (and yet later asks what a “train” is), that her cousin, Clark Kent is Superman on Earth, how to work a type writer and a whole slew of other things that begin to peck at my brain as I try to make sense of what just the hell is happening on my TV screen.
The villain, Selena, starts out as an fledgling sorceress at the beginning of the film, but once the device that sent Kara to Earth is in her hands, she automatically knows what to do with it and what its powers are capable of. True, she learns more about it later on in the film, but the keyword to this story and its plot is “convenient”—whatever happens that doesn’t make sense happens because it needs to happen and that’s the only reason one can give these strange occurrences littered throughout the film.
I’ve seen some nonsensical movies in my time, but this movie really takes the cake. I will say that I was rather impressed with the flying scenes of Supergirl, as they looked, quite simply, that she was flying, though once it goes to green screen type work it’s obvious and instantly looks cheesy. I will also say that her rapid transformation into outfits that come out of nowhere makes about as much sense as the fruit roll up wraps Superman throws at Zod and crew in Lester’s Superman II. But, alas, the Superman mythos are apparently full of weird powers that make little sense. Still, the four changes of clothes that Kara magically appears with as she walks between trees is a very confusing sight to see.
The absence of Superman was quickly explained in this film (he’s away saving some inter-galactic planet or some such—great thing to announce on the radio so every super villain can come out of the woodwork), although Marc McClure reprises his role as Jimmy Olsen from the Reeve’s films. It would’ve been neat to have seen Superman in the end at least, but it’s understandable why he wasn’t in this film.
Given the choice, I’d watch this film over Superman III or IV any day, but I’d also sooner torch prints of Supergirl than watch it again. Fan or not, it’s just not something I want to lay my eyes on again anytime soon.
Single disc, amaray packaging with no slips inside—this release is cut down to the bare essentials, though surprisingly enough, the disc art is completely different from any art we see on the packaging. Menu’s are static with music over the main menu only.
Video looks ot have some work done to it, though I don’t know by which studio. It was clear and clean of a lot of flickering I’d expect to see from a movie filmed in the 80’s and generally looked pretty good for the most part. 5.1 audio was a bit dull though, even during the “exciting” portions of the film (though music came through loud and clear, especially the dramatic music cues, like when Kara fell in a pool of tar. Such drama!). The surround audio tracks are such a joke on some of these films as there’s really no immersion that you can feel when all the audios spitting out of the front channels.
Commentary by director Jeannot Szwarc and Historian Scott Bosco is provided and is informative for the most part, though if you aren’t interested in the film to begin with it won’t matter what they say. Bosco acts like an interviewer throughout and from what I can tell, having not heard the original commentary on the film on the Anchor Bay set, this may very well be the same commentary.
A preview for the Superman documentary and original theatrical trailer are included as well.
Again, this is a stripped down version of the Anchor Bay release, so should you want to really watch this film, I’d try tracking down that release. It seems to be out of print now, but it certainly packs more content than this flimsy release.