Remembering Richard Donner: Prolific Director Dies at 91

Quite a few memorable names have been passing away throughout the last several years, but there have been a few that are highly noticeable and come as kind of a huge blow to people when they come up in the news. Every famous celebrity’s passing is a loss to Hollywood, there’s no doubt about it, but losing someone like Richard Donner means that people have lost a true icon that like many others is irreplaceable in a number of ways. While his cause of death hasn’t been revealed, the 91-year-old director/producer managed to affect a lot of people through his work and it’s fair to say that he’s bound to be remembered for a long time to come. This is after all the guy that had the kind of vision to bring us such movies as The Goonies, Lethal Weapon, Ladyhawke, Superman, The Omen, and many, many more. What’s really amusing though is to find out that initially, he wanted to be an actor when he started gravitating towards show business. He was encouraged to become a director instead, and as anyone can see, that was the right call.

Trying to collect all of his accolades and shove them into one article doesn’t feel possible, but talking about the movies that he helped to bring to life in such a big way feels like a great way to immortalize his efforts and can possibly speak to his style and his ability to create a story that people love. Lethal Weapon is a great example since, after four movies and one TV show that didn’t really live up to the legend, it’s still a great movie that a lot of people can’t help but enjoy. With rumors of a fifth movie on the way, one has to wonder if that’s still going to be the case with his passing.

But the look and feel of the first Lethal Weapon definitely changed as the movies went along, with the story taking on less of a dark cast as the stark and unrelenting feel of depression tainted the first movie in a big way, while a bit of hope was injected into the second movie, albeit with some added hardship. The third movie continued to increase that sense of hope, but there was still the shadow of things that had happened in the past, as well as a lingering sense of doubt that things were headed in a positive direction. By the fourth movie though things were finally clicking and the only real problem was that the main characters, Murtaugh and Riggs, were having to face the problems of those that have nearly outlived their time as they had to come to grips with their age, and the fact that the next generation was already there, ready to take over. By the end of the fourth movie though it’s made clear that the story would be in good hands if it was continued forward, though with a mention of a fifth movie that’s not so certain any longer. This series was great enough that it was felt that things ended on a high note, so hopefully with Donner’s passing nothing will go forward.

Another great movie, and of course it couldn’t go without being mentioned, is Superman since the man of steel has been a huge influence throughout the years when it comes to quite a few aspects of pop culture. Donner might not have created the character, but he definitely took Superman to new heights that he hadn’t seen quite yet. Back in the 70s, the effects weren’t all that great, but a lot of people still tend to feel that this version is still better than what they were given recently by Zack Snyder. Those might actually be fighting words between certain fans, but the undeniable fact is that the original Superman was great because what Donner did was new and exciting and people had no expectations heading into the movie. As of now, this character has become a bit of a joke as more than one person has attempted to direct a Superman movie and has appeared to lose the whole point of who the character is.

The last and certainly not the least popular movie to mention is The Goonies, which is a movie that’s near and dear to a lot of us since it helped to define our childhoods. The Goonies is the kind of movie that a lot of people enjoyed since yes, it was cheesy, it was corny, and it was definitely goofy, but it was a lot of fun since it allowed for the use of imagination on a scale that was absolutely amazing. To this day people still talk about this movie and do their best to get their kids into it despite the fact that the effects aren’t as great as many other movies. Richard Donner was without a doubt one of the greats in his field, and he’ll be missed.

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