If you haven’t heard of this until now, you may be asking yourself what exactly is this? Well, for the uninitiated, or the unsweaty, this documentary is an in-depth telling of why the failed movie “Superman Lives” never made it to your nerdy screen. This story behind the movie is filled with a lot of drama and corporate navigation, but it is also all about the nerdy love for Superman of those involved with the production. Jon Schnepp, the king of the sweaties, took it upon himself to tell this story and put rumors and suspicions to rest. So, let’s take a look at what he and his team were able to accomplish!
Following Jon on social media, I know how hard they all worked to edit this movie into the masterpiece that it is. What makes it so masterful however, is the way they use each different interview to help tell the same story. It’s rare that you hear Jon pose the question to the interviewee, yet you still get a cohesive and understandable story. It’s hard, especially for documentaries, to tell you a story without narration or a moderator asking questions and explaining footage. Jon let’s the footage stand on its own and allows people to help tell the story that is The Death of “Superman Lives”:What Happened? As much as I love hearing Jon’s input, it was refreshing to see a documentary be so confident in the material it gathered, to let it talk for itself.
Jon helps address all of the rumors and horror stories we’ve heard about this production. If you haven’t heard about it, he does a great job of explaining what the initial thoughts on the project were before his film as well. However, after acknowledging the overall negative tone associated with this movie, he dives deep into the why. Instead of searching for why it was bad, he searches for why it failed and let’s the negativity and positivity present itself within that context. I feel like documentaries, good ones at least, always focus on telling the story and getting the viewer from point A to B, while letting you decide if A was better than B or vise versa. Jon never tries to refocus any of the interviewees in order for them to tell just the bad or good, but inquires about an activity or situation. This helps let the interviewee organically recall the emotion involved with the event or situation, thus giving us the good and bad, but while also giving us another piece of the puzzle.
When telling a story about a failed project, usually the people involved don’t necessarily love talking about it. Jon tirelessly fought for interviews with the biggest people involved despite the difficulty in scheduling and the trust that comes with telling someone a story. He was able to land some huge names and also included people that are usually left out of the limelight such as set production designers and concept artists. The range in who he interviews helped give an extremely clear and full image of what exactly did happen to this movie. The different people whether it be Kevin Smith, Tim Burton, Jon Peters, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Dan Gilroy, Grant Morrison, or Sylvain Despretz, each brings such a unique flavor to the table that it is easy to decide which stories you want to believe. It is also interesting in seeing how each person recalled events differently depending on where they were on the totem pole during the production. So often, documentaries are so focused on persuading you, they don’t give you the perspectives of opposing sides. With TDOSLWH, it allows each person to give the perspective they have without trying to convince the viewer that one of them was right and the others were wrong.
Whether it be in front of the camera or behind it, you can feel the passion that was involved in not only making this documentary, but the joy in making this failed movie. So often, people do things because it’s their job or it’s a payday, but not these guys. The production team behind Superman Lives was full of passion when making the movie. It was rare to see Nick Cage so enthused about anything. Even Tim Burton, who was creatively invested in this project. It’s nice to see how each person just wanted nothing more than to make this movie. Even Jon Peters, who was a producer, really wanted to make this movie. He is someone who is not necessarily as invested in the character, but fell in love with the product they were creating. One of the greatest moments in the documentary was Kevin Smith’s suggestion of Tim Burton. Even though Tim Burton’s involvement meant Kevin getting kicked off the project, Kevin was just so ecstatic about getting to write a draft for the film.
You can also feel the love and hard work that went into making this documentary. Even if I had no exposure to Jon Schnepp, I would still be able to feel the respect and reverence he had for each individual. You could tell that he truly believed in telling this story and telling it unbiasedly. As for his team, you can see the work and dedication in the footage as well as the amount of extra content that was included with the purchase of the content.
What Didn’t Work?
This documentary was superb. Duh.
This really was one of my favorite documentaries of all-time. It was a story well told and by a man and team that were honest and transparent in its telling. There is no better approach to a documentary, and Jon and co. did it with great precision. I hope they take on other geeky stories and decide to make a documentary on that as well! You really should go buy this, and give Jon some love on social media! Check him out on Twitter @JonSchnepp, on Collider Videos, and on his website TDOSLWH.com.
As always be sure to let me know what you all thought in the comments below. Did you see the documentary? Did this convince you to see it? What did you think of it? Please be sure to follow me on Twitter @HaneyCasey, Moviepilot.com/haneycasey, and my website slackernerds.com. Thanks for reading guys!