Superman IV: The Quest for Peace Arrives On 4K Ultra HD

Superman (Christopher Reeve) in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, which is the worst Superman film ever and nearly killed the franchise, makes its arrival on 4K Ultra HD. The film makes its arrival as part of the Superman 1978-1987 5-Film Collection getting the complete upgrade to 4K as Warner Bros continues its 100th anniversary celebration.

After the wretched Superman III, take a good look around and see who isn’t involved with this mess: the Salkinds, Richard Lester, David and Leslie Newman. It’s certainly really for the best. Unfortunately, not even Christopher Reeve suggesting the story is enough to save it. Hell, Reeve would eventually regret his involvement in the film. Moreover, his later paralysis would also end any opportunity of starring in another Superman film. The film would have especially benefited from Dick Donner’s return. Alas, he didn’t and the film only suffered from there on out. While there were Superman series on the small screen, Kal-El wouldn’t return to the big screen until Superman Returns in 2006. Wisely, Bryan Singer also chose to ignore Superman III and IV, opting for a sequel to the Donner cut of II.

This is a film that sees the Daily Planet repurposed into a tabloid. I’m sorry but what?!? I do love that managing editor Perry White (Jackie Cooper) does the right thing by purchasing a controlling interest in the company. This subsequently forces David Warfield (Sam Wanamaker) into a minority shareholder position. When it comes to journalists and fighting back against hostile takeovers, you just love to see it!

Filmmaker Sidney J. Furie is certainly not responsible for all of the film’s problems. Because of financial issues,  Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus ended up acquiring the rights from the Salkinds. In any event, this would prove a gravely mistake. They were not really in the right position to produce a blockbuster on the scale that it needed to be. When a film’s budget ends up hurting its visual effects, it’s basically a disaster in the making. Would Dick Donner have made this film even better than the wretched mess it is? I certainly would like to think so but it is hard to say. We know from his Superman II film commentary that an offer was made but he did not take it.

One example of how the budget certainly hurts is the filming in the lead up to the United Nations scene. All you need to do is read Christopher Reeve’s memoir. Say what I will about the Salkinds forcing Donner out but there’s no way that they would take shortcuts in such a situation. When it comes to Midtown Manhattan, you do not film in England and think you’re going to fool the audience. It does not work this way–not now, not ever! Co-writer Mark Rosenthal even corroborates Reeve’s comments in the film commentary. It’s very telling when talent, director, and co-writer are fighting the producers to get it right but they outright refuse to budge. As such, this film was hurt from the moment that the Salkinds handed it over.

The penny pinching hurts the VFX budget especially. If you’re going to hire a cheaper crew, you’re going to get cheaper results. And again, it shows. Watching this film made me want to gouge my eyes out from the awful visual effects. Oh, it could be worse–it could be humans dressed as cats without any, well, you get the idea.

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace is the single worst Superman film of all time–a disgrace to the franchise, its creators, and most of all, the audience’s intelligence. The film is a lesson in what not to do while making a blockbuster film. No wonder that Bryan Singer set Superman Returns after the Donner films and forgetting this mess ever happened! Moreover, it’s a wonder that the Batman films weren’t halted after this.

Bonus Features

  • Commentary by Mark Rosenthal
  • Superman 50th Anniversary Special – 1988 TV special
  • Deleted scenes
    • Clark’s morning
    • Jeremy’s letter
    • Superman’s visit
    • Nuclear Man’s prototype
    • Metropolis after hours
    • Lex ponders
    • Flying sequence (extended scene)
    • Battle in Smallville
    • Battle in the U.S.S.R.
    • Nuclear arms race
    • Superman’s sickness
    • Red alert
    • By my side
    • Lark and Lacy say goodbye
    • No borders
  • Theatrical trailer

DIRECTOR: Sidney J. Furie
SCREENWRITERS: Lawrence Konner & Mark Rosenthal
CAST: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure, Jon Cryer, Sam Wanamaker, Mark Pillow, with Mariel Hemingway and Margot Kidder

Warner Bros. released Superman IV: The Quest for Peace in theaters on July 24, 1987. Grade: 0.5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.