"In a secret corner of a warehouse here, the biggest star of one of the biggest movies of 2006 was hidden away all of last summer. Outside eyes were not welcome and sunlight was blocked out to avoid its aging effects. But on one rainy day in June, the star's keeper allowed a rare visit. "Not a lot of people get to see this," she said with a conspiratorial whisper as her key clicked open the lock.
The Fortress of Solitude, Superman's Arctic headquarters, is carefully designed to remind audiences of the one that Donner shot. The Kent farm in Kansas has the same layout too. John Williams' theme music from the original is used lovingly in the new one. Even Marlon Brando, who played Superman's father, Jor-El, is heard in "Superman Returns" — the late actor's voice speaks words of wisdom to Routh, just as it did to Reeve. (There will be a dedication to Brando in the film's credits.)
Singer, asked about the puzzling attention to phantom details, shrugged and said that this movie will live or die by its marriage of the heroic unreal to its real-world setting. Superman has been wearing the cape for a half-century, but it can still fit — and the ideal can still make everyone look to the skies.
"Things have moved on, people have moved on," Singer said. "Lois Lane has moved on. Superman is the same, but the world is changed. And that's what makes the movie interesting."
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