Superman IV: The Quest For Peace appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. Probably the most attractive of the four Christopher Reeve movies, Quest consistently looked pretty good in this Dolby Vision presentation.
Sharpness was usually positive. A few minor examples of softness occurred, and most of those stemmed from visual effects shots. As a whole, though, the movie offered a fairly crisp and detailed image.
Moiré effects and jagged edges presented no problems, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws weren’t an issue, and grain felt light but natural.
Colors looked rich and vivid. The hues felt well-rendered, and HDR added range and impact to the tones.
Black levels were deep and dense, and shadow detail seemed to be appropriately heavy but not excessively opaque. HDR brought extra punch to contrast and whites. The transfer wasn’t quite impressive enough for “A”-level consideration, but it earned a solid “B+”.
Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack offered a mixed bag. While the soundfield opened up matters, it also came with issues.
In particular, foley elements popped up in inappropriate places and felt unnatural. The mix accentuated these effects too heavily so they distracted.
Other odd effects occurred as well. For instance, the United Nations scene featured applause from the left and front but not from the right, even though the clapping should emanate from all sides.
At least music showed good spread around the spectrum, and some effects blended well. Nonetheless, the too loud and weirdly locate foley turned into a problem.
Audio quality worked reasonably fine, though. Dialogue was fairly warm and natural, and I detected no problems related to edginess or intelligibility.
Effects varied due to those awkward foley elements. Other components came across as pretty accurate and rich, though.
Muaic fared best, as the score appeared lively and full. Given its age, this never turned into a bad mix, but its awkward moments left it as a “C+”.
Note that apparently the Atmos remix used the wrong music cues at times. I admit I don’t know the movie well enough to discern the times this happened, but I wanted to mention it.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray from 2011? The Blu-ray featured a blah stereo track, so even with its drawbacks, the 4K’s Atmos acted as an improvement.
The Dolby Vision visuals brought the expected format-based improvements, and that meant superior colors, accuracy and blacks. The 4K acted as a step up over the Blu-ray.
As we move to extras, we open on the 4K disc with an audio commentary from co-screenwriter Mark Rosenthal. He provides a running, screen-specific discussion. The track looks at the story and its development, deleted sequences, budgetary issues and the many problems that affected the production, cast and characters, sets, locations and effects, and a mix of other production concerns.
Most commentaries offer an annoyingly rosy view of events. That certainly isn’t the case for Rosenthal’s chat. He gives us a uniformly dark view of the production as he details the issues that ensured Quest would be a mess.
However, lots of complaining doesn’t ensure a fine commentary. Indeed, at times Rosenthal’s grousing becomes a little too much to take, as he’s so relentlessly negative about the production.
Perhaps a movie as crummy as Quest deserves that, but I still think the negativity grows somewhat tiresome. In addition, Rosenthal goes silent quite a lot, and those gaps make the track move more slowly.
Don’t get me wrong: there’s more than enough interesting material here to make the commentary worthwhile. I just wish it offered a more dynamic and less crabby look at the flick.
More extras appear on the included Blu-ray copy. In addition to the film’s trailer, we find 15 Deleted Scenes that fill a total of 31 minutes, two seconds.
We see “Clark’s Morning” (1:25), “Jeremy’s Letter” (0:33), “Superman’s Visit” (1:09), “Nuclear Man’s Prototype” (5:27), “Metropolis After Hours” (2:31) “Lex Ponders” (1:33), “Flying Sequence (Extended Scene” (2:35), “Battle in Smallville” (2:49), “Battle in the USSR” (1:12), “Nuclear Arms Race” (2:08), “Superman’s Sickness” (0:59), “Red Alert” (5:24), “By My Side” (0:20), “Clark and Lacy Say Goodbye” (0:58) and “No Borders” (1:49).
Since apparently 45 minutes of footage was sliced from the original director’s cut, I guess we don’t get all of the footage here. Nonetheless, we find most of it, and it’s interesting to see.
That doesn’t mean these clips are actually good, of course. Indeed, most are just as terrible as the footage in the final cut.
Among the more intriguing elements, we see Luthor’s first attempt at Nuclear Man, a strong but moronic dude the flick plays completely for laughs. Luthor gets a lot more screen time in these shots; he’s not nearly as much of an afterthought.
Most of the other scenes tend to expand upon existing sequences and simply flesh them out a little better. At least we get some resolution to the opening notice that the Kent farm is for sale, but the “No Borders” ending with Supes and Jeremy in space is completely idiotic.
They make the story moderately more intelligible, but I expect that the movie would remain pretty terrible even if they’d been retained. It’s nice to see these scenes as a curiosity, but they can’t redeem this atrocious film.
Originally found on the 2006 Superman II DVD, the Blu-ray places a 1988 “vintage special” here. Hosted by Dana Carvey, Superman 50th Anniversary runs 48 minutes, 10 seconds and offers comments from Reeve, actors Kirk Alyn and Jack Larson, mentalist The Amazing Kreskin, musician Lou Reed, journalist Jimmy Breslin, consumer advocate Ralph Nader, and artist John Byrne.
Hal Holbrook appears as the lead in “An Evening with Superman”, and we also get characters played by Fred Willard, Carol Leifer, Jan Hooks, Peter Boyle and others, all of whom pretend to live in Metropolis or otherwise have a connection to Supes.
“Anniversary” plays things mostly for laughs. Even the speakers who don’t appear in character act as if Superman really exists and reflect on his work and existence.
This motif starts as silly and doesn’t improve from there. I like the compendium of pieces from the various movies and comics, but the goofy premise makes this a less than useful program. A more straightforward view of the subject would have worked better.
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace becomes an unmitigated dud that does nothing other than taint an already sullied franchise. It manages to make Superman III look good by comparison, but that turns into its only substantial achievement. The 4K UHD presents very good picture and some useful supplements but suffers from erratic audio. This becomes a fairly positive release for a terrible film.
Note that as of May 2023, this version of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace appears only in a “Superman 5-Film Collection”. In addition to Quest, it brings 4K editions of Superman, Superman II, Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut and Superman III.
To rate this film, visit the prior review of SUPERMAN IV