TV Party Tonight! #35

TV Party Tonight! #35

Wednesday, 04 October 2017

Wonder Woman



Is anyone surprised Wonder Woman turned out to be such a success this Summer? I know, I know, the movie studios claim this was a bad Summer for movies, which they equate to lower-than-expected profits on their movies. They even blame Rotten Tomatoes for pointing out that most of the Summer movies have been shit, not on the fact that they themselves put out shitty movies. But Wonder Woman? This movie made almost $900 million worldwide. We have a bona fide hit here. And why is that?


Well, the stakes were very high for Wonder Woman. First, it was the continuation of the DC universe movie explosion headed by Zach Snyder. Suicide Squad was a dud, so everyone was hoping Wonder Woman would set the franchise back on the right path. Second, Wonder Woman was supposed to be a female-centric movie, directed by a woman, and a failure could harm the brand, the franchise, and the future chances of women-directed action movies. Third, with all the superhero hoopla over the years, some being rehashed over and over again (ahem, Spiderman?), why has no one given Wonder Woman a chance? Batman vs Superman (or, BvS) was an introduction, yes, but hardly Wonder Woman’s story.


But now, the movie is a home run success, with a sequel planned (even Warner Bros wasn’t planning that) with Patty Jenkins set to be the highest paid female director.


First let’s set the record straight and at least show you, dear reader, that we have not exactly drank the kool-aid. People have fallen in love with Wonder Woman, yes, but have they ever bother to consider whether it’s a good movie? The fact of the matter is that Wonder Woman does very little with this genre that is new. In fact, it’s almost a carbon copy of the modern superhero movie.It’s a story we’ve seen told over and over again: scrappy superhero newcomer has to overcome the great big bad and, spoiler alert, despite the odds does so when we conveniently learn about their untapped abilities. Oh, and love has something to do with it.


Second, we have to talk about Gal Gadot. She’s pretty, she can deliver on action scenes, and she looks good in the Wonder Woman outfit, but did anyone care to ask if she can act? She simply cannot. The consequences is that grand statements and monologues are awkwardly delivered and sound like cue-card reads. This is both a distraction and a major setback to the movie. Third, the characters in Wonder Woman are hopelessly one-dimensional and we don’t get to know them in any real depth. Diana herself is often reduced to Crocodile-Dundee-zation where she basically reacts to the things around her and is supposed to reflect society’s mirror back at us: yes our clothing is funny and our priorities are fucked up.


So, with that out of the way, what exactly is the appeal of Wonder Woman? Well, the more obvious strengths of this movie is its tone. Unlike BvS, Wonder Woman sets and keeps an uplifting almost playful tone throughout the movie. It’s a movie about innocence and virtue and we understand why we like the good guys and hate the bad guys. Another is that the action scenes are simply phenomenal. As previously stated, Gadot’s strength is action and with a skilled team working on this project, the results can be pretty stellar. Look at the entire Veld sequence if you don’t believe us.


The blu ray of Wonder Woman has over two hours of bonus features including very informative making-ofs, featurettes, bloopers, extended scenes, and an odd segment featuring poets (which I could not wait to be over). Although a director’s commentary would have been great, these features offer plenty of insight and behind-the-scenes information on the movie.


So yes, only a fool would not admit that Wonder Woman has its flaws, but let’s focus on its strengths. It’s a gorgeous movie, with plenty of action, that grows more and more fun with each viewing. The bar has finally been set, and we’re waiting to see what Jenkins and her team will do for the sequel.


Inside the film:


  • Director Patty Jenkins points out that it was important to set this movie during the first World War, when the first wave of feminism is about to happen. This way, Diana who has been raised by women as an equal serves as an ambassador of sorts in our world.
  • That scene in Veld where the photograph was taken was done in the old-fashion old school way, using an actual daguerreotype. No instagram filters were used.
  • More on that photograph: it was the first thing done in the production of Wonder Woman. Zach Snyder was on set for the occasion, the photograph was taken and Snyder went off to make BvS, while Jenkins went on with Wonder Woman.
  • Anyone else wonder why the women on paradise island have Israeli accents? Maybe exclusively to try and match Godot’s?

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