Wonder Woman (2017) (Blu-ray film review).

December 22, 2017 | By | 1 Reply More

I have to confess from the start that I’ve been pretty much avoiding the latest batch of films based on DC Comics characters although have been told the ‘Wonder Woman’ movie is a good stepping in point.

Much of the story follows the various origin points of the comicbook version. Diana (from adulthood, actress Gal Gadot) is the daughter of Queen Hippolyta (actress Connie Nielsen) of the Amazons, who is reluctant to let her train for the Amazon military. When she is persuaded otherwise by her sister, Antiope (actress Robin Wright), insists she has to be better than all the rest of them. There is a hint that Diana was created, literally from clay, for a particular purpose. So far so good.

However, when a disguised World War One spy Steve Trevor (actor Chris Pine) flies through the Paradise Islands invisibility shield and crashes his plane in the sea, he is also being pursued by the a German navy force who are after the formula for a nerve gas he stole. Diana rescues him and the Amazon military go into action and also demonstrates that they aren’t immortal themselves. Oddly, in this battle, Diana hardly shows herself to be that influential in stopping them. Second oddity that should have been accounted for is the presence of men on the island doesn’t depower them which seems a wasted opportunity that was used in the source material.

Diana believes Trevor about the need to get him back to England with the formula, having listened to her mother get the truth out of him with the lasso of truth and cuts through the need for a contest to show she’s the best. I’m still puzzling over how human procreation can take 12 volumes when, at most, it would take a couple footnotes. It would have also been interesting had Diana shown that being created from clay that she hadn’t got a naval, a bellybutton to the rest of you. If nothing else, it would have shown Trevor that he was with someone who clearly wasn’t human or at least her momma could tickled her midriff to have given her a different mark.

Now, the Paradise Islands is somewhere in the Pacific, so how come Diana, a warrior supreme, stays asleep most of the voyage and Trevor manages to get a lift back for them both back as far as the Thames before waking her up. You would have thought that passing between two oceans, the Atlantic is hardly known for being a calm se, there would have also been an opportunity to have crossed more German naval forces.

Diana is also eager to go to war but persuaded by Trevor to get a disguise and aided by his secretary, Etta Candy (actress Lucy Davis), who is then entrusted to look after her sword and shield and showing how strong she is to carry them both without previous knowledge of their weight. Don’t forget, Diana as an Amazon is supposed to be super-strong herself.

It does seem odd that Diana doesn’t recognise Ares when she sees him. That’s spoiler territory. Anyway, they go with a team into Belgium to destroy the factory creating Maru’s version of mustard gas. I should give special mention to Ewen Bremmer as Charlie the sniper as always giving good value for money.

There are so many missed opportunities to show just how superior Diana is compared to the English politicians and military that is conveniently ignored as she seeks Ares as well as stop Dr. Isabel Maru’s (actress Elena Anaya) deadly nerve gas. All of this is mixed in with a desire to show her on horseback and in disguise. As much of this is to twister and spoiler so things aren’t quite as much as they seem, so ends the synopsis. For the rest you can watch the film.

The design from the outset is good and so are the actor performances. You can see the influence of comicbook artist George Perez throughout. However, the pace of the plot does stretch out markedly and the contrasts make them look like two different films. Surely with so much of the end story done at night, you have to wonder why it needed such a large CGI crew, although, granted from the extras, creating the Paradise Islands needed them. Dawn would have happened somewhere during the course of the end of this story or did late night parties start and end early in the night in those days?

There are some logic problems as well. I mean Diana was still created from clay and brought to life by Zeus but how? According to the history laid out at the beginning, the king of the Greek Gods was already dead after creating the Paradise Islands.

The Amazons have been preparing for war with Ares for a long time but as soon as there was even a hint of Aries reviving and out in the world, these warrior women are less than eager to go out in force to take him on. You would have thought being isolated from the world and preparing for so long that they would have stir crazy by then to see some action? Being isolated from the rest of the world, they also have no idea what else is out there or changed over the centuries. Why hadn’t anyone else got through in the meantime or were they killed if they had? Were they truly going to wait until Ares knocked on their invisiblity shield surrounding the Paradise Islands? Considering how easy it was for Steve Trevor to fly through it and then a German navy battalion to get their ship through, he wouldn’t even have to knock. Likewise, the Amazon army also got seriously surprise whacked by them and this is World War One not World War Two military. Did the Amazons really think being isolated from the rest of the world that it would stay primitive? This is a race created by Zeus to be great warriors. Surely they would have kept up with things.

Although this is a recounting of Wonder Woman’s origin, setting it in WW1 causes its own problems for a time-line. Diana stays on after her victory and then surely must have been involved in WW2. That being the case and surely a up-to-date savvy Diana with the present world, wouldn’t she have smashed the Nazi and Japanese military and ended WW2 very quickly. That is, of course, unless Ares popped up again. Even so, her power is on par with the Man of Steel although from a magic base so actually a little more powerful. This version of the DC Earth would be very different to any of the 52 realities. She would also make the likes of Batman redundant with a quick visit to Gotham. I mean, Diana has absolutely no weaknesses and looks practically unstoppable.

On reflection, I suspect WW1 was chosen to avoid comparison to a certain avenger from the competition but, even so, this just complicates things even more. I doubt if DC fans wouldn’t have cared that much let alone draw comparison. Considering that there have been other major world conflicts since, it’s hardly like there aren’t other choices. Sorry, I’m in full analytical mode.

I’m always fascinated by watching the extras for any movie. This one covers a lot of director Patty Jenkins direction and what she wanted to do. Seeing what is and wasn’t green screen also shows how much augmentation was carried out. It’s interesting to note that they wanted her to pre-date Superman by quite a few years.

Based off the 3 minute ‘Epilogue: Etta’s Mission’, they really should do a series based around her. Seeing the preparation for the Amazons and that 180 women were involved one can only hope more of them pop up in future.

Some of the extras are targeted at the fairer sex to remind them that they can become achievers in any field. Based off the Blooper Reel Gal Gadot really ought to be let loose in a screwball comedy.

Despite the criticisms above, the film is watchable and I watched it twice in a matter of days. It’s strength comes from the cast performances but from the mythos point-of-view, there has to be given some thought to reducing how much of a powerhouse Wonder Woman is because she’s clearly unstoppable in her present mode.

GF Willmetts

December 2017

(region B blu-ray: pub: Warner Bros. 1 blu-ray disk 141 minute film with extras. Price: (UK). ASIN: 50000241606)

cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen and Elna Anaya

check out website: www.warnerbros.com

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Category: Films, Superheroes

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

Comments (1)

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  1. avatar Julian White says:

    Aries? I presume you mean Ares (you use that name once) – or we are in a different story, possibly involving a Golden Fleece… (I’ve not seen the film.)

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