Tag Archives: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman (2009) Movie Review By Stephen McLaughlin

Wonder Woman 2009

Director: Lauren Montgomery
Writers: William Moulton Marston (creator: Wonder Woman), Gail Simone (story)
Stars: Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Alfred Molina, Rosario Dawson, Marg Helgenberger, Oliver Platt, Virginia Madsen

I think it’s fair to say that Wonder Woman (2009) was possibly a little overshadowed by the higher profile Batman: Gotham Knight due to its release in the midst of the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight Trilogy and although the more prominent live action film from 2017 grabbed all the headlines, I think it’s clearly obvious that the Warner Premiere produced animated Wonder Woman aided the plot and Patty Jenkins would be able to cherry pick the best of this 2009 release. If it were me, I would be using the animated version as my story board if this wasn’t already done as many of the sequences from the 2017 movie are here to see 8 years previously. That isn’t a dig at the 2017 filmmakers in anyway, just my opinion and observations.

Wonder Woman (2009) is about a modern man’s trespass (Steve Trevor) who survives a frantic mid air battle and crashes on the island of the Amazons and enables an imprisoned war god (ares) to escape and Princess Diana wins the responsibility to recapture him. Not surprising Wonder Woman (2009) is a well made film that is both energetic and thought provoking and personally I felt it deserved more recognition on it’s release. Those opening sequences drew me in from the beginning. I was intrigued how Diana came to be and her backstory. The bloody war from ancient times is won by the amazon women and as a reward from the gods the Queen Hippolyta is granted a child fashioned from clay. The amazons flourish in isolation on paradise island where Diana grows up into a fine young warrior. But a part of her seeks greater adventure outside the boundaries of the island. (Sounds bit like Moana here doesn’t it)

The Amazons hold a contest to decide who will escort Trevor back to the USA after discovering he is of no threat to them and during the contest we flit back and forth as an amazon traitor releases Ares from capture as Diana wins the contest and now as well as seeing Trevor off the island her main mission is to track down Ares who has a far more sinister plan in the work, one that could spell the doom of the world and the extinction of the amazons before it is too late with the help of Steve Trevor. 

I must commend the writing on this fine animated film. The Dialogue between the characters by Gail Simone, brings to life the story with it’s clever and witty lines that keeps with the spirit of the comic books but also has a level of maturity that you will almost forget you aren’t watching a live action movie. I’m nitpicking here but the one thing that I was a little let down with was the visuals and the animation. I’m not familiar with Moi Animation, the Korean studio who worked on many critically acclaimed works that I have to admit not nothing enough about. What struck me was that some of the fight scenes weren’t that dynamic as I felt there were too many cuts leaving the audience member dazzled and sometimes confused.

I was particularly impressed with the cast once more in my DC Animated Universe Marathon and I felt Keri Russell (Wonder Woman), Alfred Molina (Ares), Nathan Fillion (Steve Trevor) Rosario Dawson (Artemis), Oliver Platt (Hades) and Virginia Madsen (Hippolyta) were a strong ensemble of talent. These actors really just absorbs their characters and you forget the voices behind them are established live action actors who are so familiar. Nathan Fillon fits into his role perfectly and his delivery in the most natural way, sharing a tremendous chemistry with Russell. 

Overall I enjoyed Wonder Woman (2009) very much and I was satisfied with the work that went into bringing this character to life. My only gripe would be the animation at times and some of the characters looked too similar and in particular on the Island of the Amazons. Ironically, the best part of the film was set here at the beginning of the film and I loved the origins part of the tale. It wasn’t forced or drawn out and felt enough to understand what the amazons were and how Diana’s story of a more innocent nature contrasting with the ways of the modern world  and this works to develop her character from a naive and contained princess into a true warrior and finally a hero. Wonder Woman (2009) is a typically 75 minute film by DC and if you are enjoying it, it feels too short. But in this instance I think the storyline was simple and it worked just well.

Recommendable.

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Wonder Woman (2017) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

Wonder Woman

Director: Patty Jenkins
Writers: Allan Heinberg (screenplay by), Zack Snyder (story by)
Stars: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright

Plot:  When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, Diana, an Amazonian warrior in training, leaves home to fight a war, discovering her full powers and true destiny.
Running Time: 2 hours 21 Minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics  92%   Audience  88%

Why I Watched it: I can thank itunes for putting this on for .99 cents cause I’m not the biggest DC fan but I gave it a go.

Random Thoughts: So many critics bring up in their review about how this was directed about a women and being about a woman super hero and I think that’s great but it doesn’t make it a great movie because of that, I don’t care who directed it, man, women, what nation their from just direct a good movie, now I would love to see more woman directors get a chance at doing blockbuster movies but I can’t judge them till they do it.

What I liked: Speaking of the director Patty Jenkins I think she did a great job in two areas, one she isn’t known for directing action films and she shot the crap out of this, some of the best part of the film is the action, very well done and she also tried for the most part to get away from DC’s style over substance MO and yes there’s still too many slow motion shots but I thought it was shot very well.
I wasn’t sold on the casting of Gal Gadot but she’s very good here and she can strike that Super Hero pose like nobodies business and it helps that she’s very likable.  It’s her movie and she carried it well one of the reasons the film works so well is she wears this character very well and everything fits with her.  I also really liked Chris Pine, I say that cause I don’t usually like him to me he’s more smug than charming but here he finds a chemistry with Gadot and he’s comfortable with being the second lead and that’s tough for an actor who’s the lead in his own franchise.  The character had an arc and he wasn’t just thrown in as a romantic sub-plot.
One of the things that usually bug me about comic/super hero movies is the origin part and what hit me was we haven’t really seen Wonder Woman’s origin story told on the big screen. It worked for me gave her a decent set up.  The other thing with the film is that it looked great and sounded great, so hats off to the tech departments cause they hit it out of the park.

What I didn’t like: The whole Gods stuff kind of bothers me, I have to say I find it hard to cheer for a God, it’s what always bothered me about Thor, not that relateable  and also the whole fish out of water stuff just doesn’t ring true, Wonder Women says she’s study people and knows about men and women being together but when she goes into the world she doesn’t know why couples hold hands. As much as I liked the cast I have to say the casting of Danny Huston and David Thewlis was really lazy casting, heck Huston has played the same role in the X-Men franchise and really he brings nothing to the part at all, I like Thewlis and I won’t spoil his role but once you see it’s him you know and that’s half way through the movie.  They should have either casted against type or went with lesser known actors.
Here’s my pet peeve the film is too long at close to two and half hours, bottom line the film does drag and also they have all this time and instead of telling us where Wonder Women is from and how it’s been hide for this long and also how a pilot could crash right in their river/lake/ocean doesn’t make sense and it’s not explained instead they waste a could 15-20 minute battle that we have seen countless times and is boring, oh look Gods are fighting, yawn.  The film does some things really well and tries to break the mold a bit but then falls back on a very well worn cliche for their finish.

Final Thoughts: It’s a good looking film, and I really liked parts of it, very watchable and one of the better DC movies period.  Wonder Women did it’s job by setting up the character and giving her a voice.

Rating: 7/10

Wonder Woman (2017) Movie Review by John Walsh

Wonder Woman Review

Director: Patty Jenkins
Writers: Allan Heinberg (screenplay), Zack Snyder (story by)
Stars: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright

Warner Bros and DC have had a tough time in recent years trying to emulate the success of comic rivals Marvel in their continued attempts at growing a successful, cinematic universe. Man of Steel was a very decent film, but the subsequent releases of Suicide Squad and Batman vs Superman had failed to hit the heights, leading to an onslaught of criticism for both DC and the studio. This certainly hasn’t been helped by the amateurish indecision and confusion often displayed by the latter.

But I digress, this isn’t yet another DC bash fest. It’s easy to do that and it’s certainly the ‘in’ thing at the moment. Personally, I love DC and the plethora of fantastic characters and stories they have at their disposal. I want to see them get to grips and build momentum with their cinematic universe and they’ve certainly got some fairly promising releases coming up. The first of these new batch of films is Patty Jenkins Wonder Woman. Now, I’m going to admit that I wasn’t overly excited for this film (for the same reasons I’m not that excited for the Han Solo standalone) and watched it with some slight trepidation. I’m happy to say that it proved me wrong. Admittedly, it’s story wasn’t the strongest I’ve seen and there was some minor niggles in there, but I thought it was a well cast, taut and pacy affair.

It begins in Themyscira, the Amazon island home to Diana (Gal Gadot) and her female dominated group of fierce warriors, magically hidden from the outside world. It’s 1918 or at least it is when the film finally kicks into action following an enjoyable, short and intriguing training montage come backstory. Incidentally, I’ve seen quite a few people bash this segment of the film, but I thought they got it just right. It tells of Diana’s rise to demi-god warrior status, whilst also highlighting the plight of the Amazonian’s in their previous battle with Ares. That last part coming in the form of a neat moving, little painting montage of sorts. Yeah ok, it was maybe slightly rushed, there was some inconsistencies like the defiance of Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and then her sudden change of heart on the training issue. In short, they could’ve delved more deeply into it, but this film is quick paced and they did what was necessary.

Diana’s idyllic existence on Themyscira comes to an end almost immediately after a final training battle with her Aunt, General Antione (Robin Wright), when a mysterious plane manages to break through the magical barrier before crashing into the water right in front of her. It’s almost like fate is calling her forth. This leads to a sudden intense battle between pursuing German soldiers and the Amazonian’s. The result of which (there’s a spoiler in there that I won’t give away) gives Diana the encouragement needed to step into her ‘Wonder Woman’ persona. The identity of the pilot is revealed afterwards as Captain Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), an American spy working for British intelligence who possesses a diary that could potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives. His harrowing insight into the horrors of WW1 and the deaths of innocents all but makes Diana’s mind up. She and Trevor make their way off the island with the reluctant blessing of the Queen and seek to save humanity.

The two make their way to London (very quickly, too quickly) where they meet stony resistance from the British intelligence services and military, even after warning of a new hydrogen based gas being developed by Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya) and General Ludendorff (Danny Huston), which could swing the war back in Germany’s favour and kill thousands before peace can be brokered. There’s some real good comedy moments in this part of the film that deserve a mention and I had a good chuckle at. Afterwards, Diana chastises said military leaders and Steve for their meek impetus on the matter, and the latter flustered, volunteers to take her to the front with a small group of others to bring the fight to both Poison and Ludendorff. This ragtag group, completed by a drunken (how original) Scotsman called Charlie (Ewen Bremner) and Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui), a Moroccan secret agent, set out for German occupied Belgium together. They’re joined over there by Chief Napi (Eugene Brave Rock), a Native American (Lord knows why he’s there?) trader that’s in it for profit.

One of the areas where this film excels for me is in its development of Diana’s character into Wonder Woman. She leaves the insular society of Themyscira completely oblivious to the customs or norms of wider humanity and all the little naiveties and perplexed questioning which stem from this are perfectly portrayed by Gal Gadot. By the end of the film, she’s learnt a great deal, embraced love and empathy fully and is very much transformed into Wonder Woman. She’s not the greatest actress, but she does a great job and despite concerns she looked perfect for the role. Alongside her in this origin journey is Trevor played by a fantastic Chris Pine. This guy is on fire at the minute and he’s one of my favourite things about this film. There’s an argument to be made for him perhaps overshadowing Wonder Woman at certain points and stealing her glory, but I don’t really buy into this. I thought the two played off each other beautifully and had great chemistry together.

It wasn’t all positive though, I did have some niggles. Firstly, the fractured nature of the films villains. They could’ve picked one and stuck with it, but instead we get three and none of them are particularly memorable. Ludendorff seems to be the main villain for three quarters of the film whilst never actually doing anything. Doctor Poison hangs onto his coat tails, relying on a face prosthetic and social awkwardness to look ominous. Then there’s a twist at the very end which reveals the true Ares. This seemed unnecessary and a hastily added way for them to have a final show off for Wonder Woman against an opponent that would provide an actual challenge. The second niggle is a pet hate of mine and that’s actors speaking with corny accents in English dialogue. This film is littered with this especially in German scenes. What made this all the more grating was that they had Diana speak in proper foreign language. Why? Thirdly, the overuse of slow-mo in fight scenes. It was better than King Arthur’s terrible attempts, but still way overused.

Visually, I thought the movie was stunning. There were some dodgy points, especially in the finale, but it was mostly superb. The early parts in Themyscira were beautiful, as were the trenches/no mans land and the early 20th century London looked authentic. I also loved the period costumes, especially Pine’s gear. That coat deserved a mention in the credits it was that good. I wasn’t too impressed with the soundtrack however. It just didn’t strike a chord with me for whatever reason and for the most part it was unmemorable.

Overall, I loved this film. A Wonder Woman film has been a long time in the making and, whilst it’s not my favourite character of all time, I can understand the importance of getting a strong female superhero out there. Was it perfect? Hell no. It didn’t need to be though. To quote the haggard gimp of a prime minister we have, it just had to be ‘strong and stable’. It was that and some. Patty Jenkins did a great job marrying comedy and action together to produce a highly enjoyable film. Special mentions to David Thewlis and Etta Candy too, both of whom I failed to mention. The latter in particular provided lots of good comedy relief and was excellent. I just pray now that Justice League, the Flash and Aqua Man can continue in the same vain and that DC can start genuinely rivalling Marvel. Any road, this is well worth a watch for anybody into this genre.

Rating: 3.5/5