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Greetings, kids! Welcome to your in-depth preview and review of what I've come to know as THE MONSTER, this giant Superman package that arrived on my front porch in late November 2006.
It's literally taken me a week to do this review. Is it because I'm lazy? No. Is it because I dread it? No. It's because honest, I thought I'd be able to get through just this, the first movie, in the space of a few days.
"WRONG!" (Luthor voice)
It took me a sum total of approximately 10 hours just to get through the first four discs, and that's without watching all of the Fleischer cartoons, which I've seen so many times it's not even funny. Well, okay, I watched a few, but only because of the transfer, and for old time's sake.
I won't be rating every single feature with a number (that'd take forever), I'll just elaborate my portions through words.
Since this is the first article in a series, I was asked to take a look at the packaging as well as the contents, so I'll get that out of the way first.
It's a bit clunky, but by and large it's very user friendly. There are few ways to passable package fourteen discs with any kind of flair, particularly for the mass market, and this set does nicely. The Monty Python set (the only one with a comparable number of discs that I own) is at least four to five times this size, and has a cumbersome box for each disc in the sixteen disc set.
This set has a series of plastic "pages" with a disc on the front and back of each, almost like a see-through CD wallet, with a picture of the new Superman, Routh, on the end, in a picture we haven't really seen much of, him changing out of the Kent suit into the familiar red, blue, and yellow. At the front, we have the Daily Planet, and a little tucked fold with a series of booklets.
The first, a booklet that explains what is on each disc, is superbly put together, a detailed listing of everything involved that believe-you-me is going to make this review a whole lot better. It also helps you pick and choose very quickly where to go first and what you'll enjoy the most. I'd forgotten that the Mole Men serial was in here, and I didn't realize there was going to be an audio-only track to Superman: The Movie, despite extensive coverage on Steve's part and a pretty dedicated following on my own part. That's how thick with stuff these discs are.
There are a couple of booklets with studio ad vomit, but it's very easy to deposit them into the garbage, which I did immediately upon opening the set.
There's a comic, which I've read before, but which is still neat to throw in there. I'm not sure why they did it, but I'm glad they did. Any free comic action is good times. They put in the first appearance of Rampage (at least, as I recall it is), drawn by Byrne and looking very much like the 80s comic it is. Why did they choose this issue? I don't know. I might have chosen an epic Luthor and Superman battle, or something more contemporary. It ends with a series of modern and recent covers, including the Mxy hidden pictures one, one of my favorites of recent memory. It's a slick little booklet, and even if the choice of an issue is kind of odd, like I said, a cool addition.
The disc wallet is housed in a shining cardboard box that details the movies contained. The cardboard box then fits into a plastic lenticular 3D cover with Christopher Reeve's character flying up through the S. Comically, this was upside-down when I opened mine, so I found him crashing downward. It's still really neat. On the back is a static picture of Routh, a dynamic picture of him over Metropolis.
This slip cover goes over the wallet, which then fits neatly into the tin, which opens from both the front and the back.
One funny thing about the booklet listing is that it's formatted like a news story, so you look at the front and there's an article about Superman, but it shows the movie Superman and it's a movie Superman collection, but it's a story about Superman stopping a Lexcorp train as it goes out of control, whereas Lexcorp is nowhere near any of the movies (alas, I say).
It's great packaging, and a lot of fun. Better than most sets. The clunk is more than made up for by the cool factor.
So far, so truly good. I mean, I pay ten bucks to go see a two hour movie in the theater, this is about ten hours for seventy bucks, so it's already almost paid for the entertainment time, and I still have ten discs to go.
I hate re-issues, and usually refuse to buy them on principle when I've already bought a set, as I have with the Superman movies, but there's so much in these sets I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I didn't get comped this set, I bought it, and that's because of what it's offered me, which so far has been a really great experience. I recommend it.