One of the most fascinating unmade Hollywood movies has to be Superman Lives, a 90's Superman movie which would have starred Nicolas Cage as the DC hero and would have been directed by Tim Burton of all people. The Death Of Superman Lives is a crowdfunded documentary which finally gives us a better idea of what that film would have been like.
This is, of course, not the first time a documentary has spilled the beans on a film that never was: very recently we had Jodorowsky's Dune and, a while back, Lost In La Mancha which focused on the making of Terry Gilliam's Don Quixote. With interviews from the likes of Kevin Smith, Tim Burton and eccentric producer Jon Peters, director/interviewer Jon Schnepp, through valid questions, nifty animated visuals, previously unseen test footage and artwork, translates a project which was often dismissed as a silly idea and a deserved failure into a comic-book movie epic like no other. After the underwhelming Superman Returns and the joyless Man Of Steel, the thought of a Nic Cage Superman movie packed with H.R. Giger-esque monsters, Tim Burton's unique art style and Christopher Walken as Brainiac sounds like a missed opportunity by Warner Bros. to really think outside the box and deliver one hell of an experience.
To give you an idea: we got Wild Wild West instead.
The creativity that went into creating the world of that unmade movie is impressive to say the least as we see Superman's costume go through a ground-breaking evolution from blue rubber to electric and transparent, to a darker and more traditional look. More cool ideas include Cage's Clark Kent as more of a hipster nerd, a Kryptonian skull spaceship, Kevin Spacey still playing Lex Luthor and an unparalleled scale. Watching this well made documentary makes for a bittersweet experience when, by the end, you realise what could have been and what never was. It does give us some interesting insight into the talent that's out there, how a concept comes together and the way in which the box-office and marketing can affect the decisions studios and producers make for the worse. The film sadly doesn't include an interview with Nicolas Cage, which would have made the whole thing complete, but it still works well as it is.
The Death Of Superman Lives was crowdfunded mostly through Kickstarter and the result is a treat of a documentary which finally answers a lot of the questions for those who heard about this project since the 90's and always wondered about it. The beautiful concept art and the growth of the suit are worth it alone but I recommend you seek out this movie and give it some support.
After all, who's to say we won't get an animated feature of Superman Lives one day?
I can dream, can't I?