SUPER POWER GAINED FROM WATCHING THIS MOVIE: The Ability to Pop One From Watching Cartoons
The Greek god from U.N.C.L.E., Felicity the Ass-kicker, a former Browncoat turned cartoon jet pilot, Maya bakes Wonder Babies on the beach, Doc Ock playing for the other team, Bender the Demon Thug, and the return of the original warrior princess and sexiest butt-kicking Super Friend.
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The warrior women Amazons, led by Hippolyta (Virginia Madsen), make war with the monstrous armies led by Ares (Alfred Molina), the God of War. When Hippolyta defeats him, the goddess Hera (Marg Helgenberger) gifts her and her people with eternal life on a paradisiacal island where, to the objections of Zeus (David McCallum), must keep Ares imprisoned. Centuries pass and Hippolyta wants a kid and in the absence of sperm banks and turkey basters, she magically molds a child from clay and lightning. That child grows up to be Diana, princess of the Amazons, and as the years pass the young woman yearns to leave her island and explore the world of the outside, specifically the modern world of man. Her mother and compatriots Artemis (Rosario Dawson), Persephone (Vicki Lewis), and Alexa (Tara Strong) try to dissuade her, citing the inherit evil of men. But the modern world drops in on the Amazons in the form of Steve Trevor (Nathan Fillion), a jet pilot who is shot down over the island, and he develops an instant attraction to our buxom superheroine-to-be. Diana has made her choice: she wants to leave the island, but first she must win a competition to demonstrate her warrior skill and courage. This leaves enough distraction for the treacherous Persephone to release Ares from his prison and wreak havoc upon the new world. Diana kicks ass and wins the competition and so she and Steve depart paradise in her invisible jet to search for Ares. Meanwhile, Ares has infiltrated the lair of Hades (Oliver Platt) in the hopes that his Uncle of the Underworld can help restore his powers. The pair strike an insidious deal with one another which enables Ares to launch a Cheney-esque level of hellish war upon Washington, D.C. While Diana adjusts to men’s lies, seduction, and body odor, Ares’ armies converge on the capitol and play kickball with Lincoln’s head. In the final showdown, Diana confronts the full force of Ares’ evil – a world erupted in war and destruction – and when it’s all over, Wonder Woman will realize that it only marginally came close to that of the exiting administration.
Wonder Woman, the original queen of the superheroes, has had a tough time of it in adaptations outside of the comics. In the 1974 Wonder Woman TV movie, she played by Kathie Lee Crosby and was an ordinary spy hunter fighting Mr. Roarke. In the Superfriends cartoon, she was a dull automaton who swung her rope and played second fiddle to Bats and Supes. In the 70s TV show, she was a sexy Nazi smasher in the first season, only to become a run-of-the-mill action figure in subsequent seasons when the show switched networks. But in this latest DC Universe direct DVD release, Wonder Woman is a strong, self-assured, and heroic figure of evil-god-ass kicking power, courage, and truth to oneself. This is the Wonder Woman I personally have longed to see portrayed, not only a symbol of female empowerment, but a character that embodies the best qualities of superheroism while not sounding corny, sentimental, or patronizing. Sure this may sound simple or old fashioned, but really, haven’t we had enough of the angsty, flawed, ultra-violent, self-loathing hero for once? The movie is well-written, paced, and plotted, as have all these releases been in recent years. The voice actors were all really good, particularly Russell and Fillion who enjoy an almost Leia/Solo type of wisecracking romance. Molina and Madsen in particular take what could have been bland dialogue and make something special and epic out of it. And although the animation wasn’t groundbreaking, there’s plenty of exciting action and fight scenes that approach cinematic quality. My only quibble with this film, as with both Marvel and DC’s direct to video releases, is that they’re too short. Is there a specific reason they all clock in at less than eighty minutes? This version of the Amazing Amazon lays the groundwork for future adventures and as long they maintain the level of wittiness, epic feel, and action-packed superheroics as this offering, Wonder Woman will keep shining, dispensing justice, and giving all a stiffy.