Saturday, October 01, 2005

Revising history

So besides watching the Yanks lose game 1 of their final regular season series with the dreaded Red Sox, I also caught most of two classic movies on TV tonight: “Superman II” on ABC Family and “Knute Rockne All American” on Turner Classic Movies.

Now back in the summer of 1980, with the exception of “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Superman II” was just about the coolest thing ever put to film. Of course, that was 1980. Watching it now you can still enjoy it for the total cheese-fest that it is.

But when you do watch it – don’t watch it on ABC Family! I hate it when movies are unnecessarily altered, and that’s what they did here.

You all remember the big battle scene between Superman and the super bad guys on the streets of Metropolis? That whole sequence was an orgy of product placement, with billboards for everything from Coca-Cola to the Broadway show “Evita” getting smashed and tossed around during the fight.

At one point, a Marlboro cigarettes delivery truck gets caught up in the mayhem. Except on ABC Family, they blurred out the Marlboro logo!

Was this really necessary? Yes, I know, smoking is bad. I don’t smoke. I can’t stand cigarettes. But this just struck me as uncalled for. It looks stupid to see Superman climbing out of the wreckage of a blurry red and white blob that might be a truck. The way it’s blurred, you’d think it had one of George Carlin’s seven dirty words brazenly plastered on the side.

The fact is, people used to smoke a lot. People used to do a lot of stupid things that they didn’t know any better about. In fact, according to TCM, the Marlboro folks paid to have their product mentioned at least 20 times throughout the film. I remember Lois lighting up in “Superman: The Movie” (Supes uses his x-ray vision to tell Lois her lungs are healthy, but she should still quit anyway). Twenty mentions in “Superman II” seems rather gratuitous, and yet they must have been subtle because I don’t really remember them. Or maybe they’ve all been excised from my memory for my own good!

Am I over-reacting? Perhaps. I just think censorship sucks.

4 comments:

PLANET3RRY said...

Ursa: [watching an Army helicopter] Look. They need machines to fly.
General Zod: What bravery. Be nice to them, my dear. Blow them a kiss.

Superman II is a great movie. I can't recall seeing it in the theatre, but one of my good friend had all the premium channels and we watched it then.

Funny, how movies and television stick with us. Everytime I say Houston, I say it like Zod "Hoostin"

My other favorite line from the movie is at the end: "oh, I've been working out".

Reeve was so good at making Kent a big geek and superman sauve.

Roon said...

In the interest of full disclosure, I didn't see "Superman II" on the big screen either. But I did see the trailer when my mom took me to see "The Great Muppet Caper." I have a distinct memory of the shot with Superman crashing into the neon Coca-Cola sign.

I also remember that we also saw the trailer for "Stripes."

Aaron said...

Thank you George Bush...I mean FCC.

Roon said...

I don't think that's an FCC call. There's nothing indecent about cigarettes or the Marlboro logo. This was just a boneheaded decision by ABC Family.

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