Thursday, December 07, 2006

Singer Likes Him Some Jesus in his Singerman

One of the MANY criticisms of Singerman was the repetitive, over-the-top Christ imagery in the film. We know there are obvious parallels in the tales of Jesus Christ and to a lesser extent Moses, with that of Superman. Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz took this up a notch in Superman: The Movie with how they chose to portray Marlon Brando's Jor-El. It was pretty subtle stuff, put into his dialogue about "sending his only son" and having Kal-El be the "light to show them the way." Nothing really obvious or "eye-roll worthy." You understood where they were going with it, but it didn't offend the senses or overshadow parts of the film.

Singerman on the other hand took this to unprecedented levels and had all the subtlety of sledgehammer to the groin. We seemingly got beat over the head with Stations of the Cross visuals at every turn. Half the time I was expecting Routh to say 'See! Just like Jesus!" which is a bit odd considering Singer is ya know, Jewish and all. For all those who think we were reading too much in to the film, Singer himself has basically just copped to the whole thing, and doesn't seem one damn bit ashamed about it either. Superhero Hype has up an interview Singer did with some guy named Stephen Skelton, who recently authored a book about the religous parallels in Superman lore called The Gospel According to the World's Greatest Superhero. If you can make it through him sucking up to Singer more and more with each passing moment, there's actually some pretty revealing stuff in the interview.

Skelton: Time magazine said, "Earlier versions of Superman stressed the hero's humanity…The Singer version emphasizes his divinity…He is Earth's savior: Jesus Christ Superman." However, I take a little bit of an issue with that. Certainly Donner's "Superman: The Movie" stressed the parallels to Christ, as you were touching on before we started the interview. Now, I think I know the answer to this. But do you see your version as different or similar in that regard? Doesn't it pick up from what Donner was doing and kick it up a notch?

Singer: It celebrates that notion. These stories are told in so many different ways. From Sunday School to pop culture. You're not saying that Superman is Jesus Christ. He's not. He's Superman. He's the last son of the planet Krypton; he's in love with Lois Lane; he has a human side. There's a lot of things going on here that are a product of comic fantasy. But if you're going to have lines like Marlon Brando saying, "I send them you—my only son." And there being spoken with absolute seriousness, then when you carry it forward and you have him return after five years, face an immeasurable conflict and then… I mean, it's all... I mean, if you're going to tell that story, you've got to tell it all the way. You've got scouring at the pillar, the spear of destiny, death, resurrection,
it's all there. And I remember sitting with one of my writers and we were
watching the visual effects of him [Superman] falling to Earth. And his hands
are extended and he falls to Earth in that very…

Umm Christ was put to death and accepted his fate for the good of mankind. Singerman ignored what his infinitely intelligent father told him about his home world, left on a whim not caring about the good of mankind, and then returned only to ruin the relationship of the person he allegedley loved but left without telling, and then fight a giant island. I don't see how telling THAT story evokes the need to beat us over the head "all the way" with all of the savior allegories he lists out? Superman wouldn't refer to himself as a "savior" either. He has the utmost humility, not a God complex. Singerman wasn't a savior, he was a jerkoff.
Skelton: It's the crucifixion pose; it's beautiful; it's fantastic.
At this point in the interview, you pretty much lose any respect for the interviewer.

Singer: "We're going to tell the story. If we're going to tell this story, some parts are going to be subtle. But this one is not." And we were in the theater, he was visiting the effects session, just looking what I was doing, and I just said, "Either we're going to tell it or we're not." Either we're going to have him float down kind of in [the position of the crucifixion]or not. And it's entirely plausible the way we left him in the scene, in the moment, that he falls in that position and then he falls out of it. But if there was ever a time to hammer it home, this is it. Visually, this is it. And what's wonderful is when you see it with an audience. And I worried, that there could be a snicker. But instead you could hear a pin drop.

Why? Why is it all or nothing? I dont get this. Far greater talents like Donner and Mankiewicz were content with leaving it to a few lines of expository dialogue and letting the audience draw their own inferences. Why must anything like this be "hammered home" anyway? Donner's Superman was given the type of characterization to do this type of thing and didn't even take it that far. Singerman on the other hand acts anything BUT Christ-like over the course of the film. So the imagery sticks out like a sore thumb. It's like the guy who acts like an idiot 6 days a week but then suddenly becomes pious at church on Sunday. You don't buy it. As for the "pin dropping," was this the infamous "friends and family" screening?

It's a rather long interview, and the rest of it is more of the same. The interviewer gushing and telling Singer how smart he is (we know he LOVES that), and then Singer explaining how all of his different scenes have some kind of religous subtext, when in fact most of them are pretty damn overt. It becomes all the more comical being that had he actually written Singerman to act like the actual Superman, some of it might have had some actual depth to it. But since his main characterization didn't reflect the one from the source material that spawned the religous comparisons in the first place, most of it is lost and is basically just hollow imagery that winds up annoying the audience and insulting their intelligence.


Anonymous said...

"Donner and Mankiewicz were content with leaving it to a few lines of expository dialogue and letting the audience draw their own inferences."

This says it all. If you listen to the commentary on the Donner cut dvd, Mankeiewicz tells us straight that the fortress speech was never meant to refer to only jesus. Singer heard the line, thought he'd be funny and blow it out of proportion from what it was originally intended to be.

I'll be back later to say more on what I think about Superman being forced into a christ role he's never played in the comics. He's a man first, despite being an alien. And whenever he was called an angel, he'd laugh. In fact in STM calling himself "a friend" is exactly what he'd say because he doesn't want to worshipped. Singer must not have heard that line and been too busy finding ways to copy christ images.

Anonymous said...

Oh and I have to say overt and hollow are excellent choice of words to describe the "parallels."

Quickly I'll just say his actions don't represent any christ I know.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading around the web and it's just really sad how many are willing to let Singer get away with what he's done simply because it's superman done with today's computer fx (and they weren't even that good in the movie...)

The man obviously is clueless about who superman really was in the donner film and the comics but pepole don't care it seems... What kind of garbage is this? All those comics made after donner's movie that have evolved superman into who he is today are now trash to these people. :( Some say "donner's superman IS the only superman"

Since when was hackman's wig sporting lex the best lex? People think that since there was no otis, singer's movie was more serious but in fact it was less serious and less plausible than STM from very basic story terms. All one needs to do is look at how smart lex is when he locks superboy in a kitchen cabinet.

I just don't get these people... Singer's superman couldn't be more off target but beside the normal bunch of studio people online hyping the film and sequel, there are actually people who think his film truly represents superman the way he was originally created and it's ridiculous... Thanks for doing this blog, SSS. It's nice to know some people out there still remember there's a comic book that superman's been in for decades long before donner's movie came along.

jay said...

'It's the crucifixion pose; it's beautiful; it's fantastic'.

'And what's wonderful is when you see it with an audience. And I worried, that there could be a snicker. But instead you could hear a pin drop.'

Golly , I have to say the moment does stand out for me in the film ,as the cg supey does look awfull.

I think thats why the audience are stunned . The side shots of Brandon are cool , but the full on
'cross' shots yikes ! He reminds me of my old action man toy falling through the sky . Cool clouds though .

I do like the film particularly i think for the design ( I will leave out the dreadfull suit )but for me I would prefer the 'religious' allusions to have be on a more subtle level , much more on Donners Superman .

Anyways I love reading your blog , it nice to see a different take on the singerman crisis on Infinite worlds .

Anonymous said...

I think SSS and others can not see the big picture. Singer is a genius you people just are not educated.

Anonymous said...

"I think SSS and others can not see the big picture. Singer is a genius you people just are not educated."

Ahh, the juvenile mindset of the "Apologist" at work. "You poopy-heads are dum-dums cuz you don't like the purty pictures like me do".

Fuck off, shit for brains.

Anonymous said...

The above post proves my point. Lets take a quick poll does anyone who hates this movid have a college degree.

Anonymous said...

Maybe most don't but I'm pretty sure they can spell movie.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe most don't but I'm pretty sure they can spell movie."

OK, that was a good

Anonymous said...

SSS sees "the big picture" and cuts through Singer and WB's bullshit. If you're duped by Singer's bastardization, perhaps you're the one of lesser intelligence.

Anonymous said...

so i had a typo. :-P Once again we have had not one college graduate that hated the movie. I win!

Anonymous said...

"so i had a typo. :-P Once again we have had not one college graduate that hated the movie. I win!"

You win at being a loser, nancy-boy. Post a link to your degree, or fuck-off like I told you to already.

God, is it just me or are these "Apologists" getting dumber by the minute? And they were pretty dumb to begin with...

Anonymous said...

Singer's over-the-top portrayal as "SuperChrist" reminded me of how sixth graders write reports on a subject they know nothing about: they saturate the paper with every possible quote or reference about the subject without integrating or synthesizing the information in any way. They just list facts but add no value.

By the way, I am Jewish and it makes me laugh that Singer (who is Jewish) felt a need to totally go "wrath of Khan" about a subject he really knows nothing about: Jesus. Strange, because he made the exact same mistake with heterosexual relationships and having/raising children.

I guess Singer's real genius is fooling WB and enough apologists into thinking he really has some brilliant imagination.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh you guys are just jellous you just don't get all the big ideas expressed in the movie. :-)

Anonymous said...

The closest Singer has ever 'come' to Jesus was some meeting some Mexican guy of the same name in a West Hollywood bath house.

Anonymous said...

Some say "donner's superman IS the only superman"

Personally i really love the Donner films and Sure Luther dosnt where wigs. But i still like Hackmans Luthor. But i agree that Superman has change alot since then and it would be nice to see a version closer to todays Superman. Superman Returns isnt anywhere close to the Superman of today or even yesteryear for that matter. Plus the Jesus stuff was way overboard. Why cant we start over and make a movie that closer to todays comics. Plus whats so worng to get someone in the comic community to wirte the script.

Anonymous said...

Singer is a FAG and Superman Returns was gay.

Anonymous said...

"I think SSS and others can not see the big picture. Singer is a genius you people just are not educated."

A genius huh? If by genius you mean that he's so unoriginal a director he steals from not only his own movies but other films as well (including a song from "The Hulk"), then yes, you are correct. Singer is a genius. And the correct frazing would be, "you people are just not educated." Otherwise you could drop the "just." English 101.

I'm currently a University student, but my Uncle a University Professor saw the movie, and hated it. Watch Superman the Movie, and I guarantee you will have some small inkling of the problems with this film. If you think that THIS is a genius piece of work, then you are a few cold ones short of a six-pack. I'm also a director, an actor and a writer and I can tell you right now the things this film is lacking: realistic dialogue, intriguing characterization, consistent and original storyline, coherent editing, coherent narrative, realistic performances, nuanced performances, character growth, character depth, conflict, a character we can get behind, a beliveable ensemble cast, a believable world, realistic special effects, a stirring romance, a sense of thrill, excitement, INNOCENCE, wonder, and heart. All of these things are NECESSARY to tell any broad, mythic, comic-based story. BTW, your shoe is untied.... gotcha.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I almost forgot on that last post.