Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


SUPERMAN 3. (1983). Director: Richard Lester.

In this entertaining if very silly movie the Superman series has basically been refashioned into a comedy showcase for the undeniable talents of comedian Richard Pryor. In this he plays August Gorman, who after a term of unemployment finds his niche working with computers for a company owned by Webster (Robert Vaughn) and his sister Vera (Annie Ross). (Webster also has a "psychic nutritionist" named Lorelei who acts like a bimbo but turns out to be more intelligent – relatively – than anyone supposes.) After Gorman manages to cleverly steal a large amount of money from Webster’s company, Webster has him use his "talents" to control the weather and then to try and destroy Superman himself. ("I ask you to kill Superman and you can’t do that One Simple Thing!" rants Webster.) Lois Lane has little to do in the film – appearing only at the beginning and end – with Lana Lang (Annette O’Toole) taking center stage in scenes taking place in Smallville. An imperfect recreation of Kryptonite turns Superman "evil" and sexier (he even sleeps with Lorelei, it is suggested) until he has a big battle with himself in an auto junk yard. At one point Superman uses his breath to freeze an entire lake and melt it on top of a nuclear plant that’s on fire. (It’s a question why he doesn’t use his freeze breath to lower the temperature in the reactor room.) The climax has Superman tackling a huge super-computer built to Pryor’s specifications. Christopher Reeve and O’Toole are fine in the film with Pryor getting most of the running time and running with it in fine fashion.. Vaughn is quite hilarious as Webster, and Ross nearly steals the picture as Vera. The effects are first-rate and while there are dumb moments, this is basically good-natured, likable nonsense, if little for the intellect.
Verdict: Fun if you're game. ***.

No comments: