I've been wanting to see The Death of Superman Lives since before it was made. See, the film is about that aborted attempt to make Nicholas Cage the Caped Crusader and you know there had to be some fascinating stories that just begged to be told. Then one day I'm on my little Google machine and I come across this documentary and it was quickly added to my must watch list, which is like my Netflix cue but completely in my head and most of the time forgotten about due to various blows to the skull as a young lad. On to the movie.
The film that never happened was being pushed through a twisty perilous birth canal by a man we'll call Douche Magee. He was evidently a hair dresser who made a pact with a three eyed witch, got some cash, and made some movies you've seen. He's also the type of person anyone with a thread of creativity really really hates. He has a lot of money, which translates to a lot of power, which translates to many ideas being vomited from his mouth that he thinks are brilliant but have all the value of owl pellets. He's got to be the guy behind all the remakes Hollywood is for some reason obsessed with making. There's no other explanation unless the actual devil from actual Hell is finally calling in all those favors promised him. I'd watch that if someone would make it.
Kevin Smith, who wrote the first draft of the never to be Superman film, really wants to talk smack on the guy, you can tell because his hockey jersey is literally bursting with jokes. Normally I wouldn't trust someone's opinion whose laundry day resembles that of the Detroit Red Wings, but Douche Magee kept getting less and less respectable as the documentary went on. Maybe Kevin Smith held back cause he was worried that a phone call could be made and it would derail his career, or maybe because Mr. Magee also loves to street fight.
Some 500 times, apparently.
The real story was not this guy though, or even that Nicholas Cage and Tim Burton having conversations is one of those few times in my life where I questioned if English was really my first language. The real story was that I'll never understand how anything actually gets made in Hollywood. This documentary, possible without intending to do so, makes film making a painful looking process. You have some cool ideas by really creative people being dumbed down until they're completely unrecognizable and beyond rational comprehension. Then after they spend millions of dollars trying to figure out how to get a giant spider involved it the whole thing they just decide that "ya know, we're gotta put all our effort in this Will Smith sci-fi western to save us from certain financial ruin." This type of decision making is exactly why I won't let my cats open that massage parlor they're always talking about, no matter how many times they swear to keep it "totes legit."
The documentary is fascinating though and the folks behind it did a great job putting it all together as I was utterly enthralled by things other than Nicholas Cage's hair. I'm a sucker for anything that gives me a behind the scenes look at jobs I probably will never have. But what really struck me, and trust me how shocked I am to be saying this, is I really think the Superman film could have been good. That particular character has never really interested me in the same way that Batman does because he feels so one sided. He's a puritan as Clark Kent and he's a puritan when he's saving bus loads of children in peril. There's never any real emotional conflict that despite all he does to help humanity, he can never truly be human. He's not terribly bothered by being the last of his kind and we're not terribly bothered that he might snap one day and turn on us. From watching the documentary we learn that Tim Burton wanted to add that dimension to the character and that would have really upped my interest level.
So in closing, you should watch The Death of Superman Lives cause I liked it and my taste has proven to be rather stellar over the years. I guess I could have just opened with that and saved myself a lot of time.