Last night I watched the new Wonder Woman animated movie. As usual, Bruce Timm and his merry minions dont let us down its exciting and fun, and a far cry from the dreadful tv series of my youth. (Plus, terrific music by Christopher Drake: I didnt want to start the film because I was enjoying the music on the menu screen so much.) [Note: MILD SPOILERS follow.]
Heres a trailer, though as its just a bunch of quick clips from fight scenes it makes the film look more formulaic than it really is:
(Ironically, as those who recall WWs origin story can attest, the trailers tag line Some heroes are made this one was born is precisely, literally false.)
Heres a more representative clip. Thats Keri Russell as WW, Nathan Mal Reynolds Fillion as Steve Trevor, and I believe the Timm himself as the mugger:
I like takes on Wonder Woman that remember that shes essentially a badass pagan warrior from an Iron Age culture whos not afraid to maim and kill (hence I also liked her portrayal in Justice League: The New Frontier a great flick until the last couple of minutes when we have to listen to a harangue from the fascist-lite JFK), so I was particularly fond of this exchange from the new film:
Wonder Woman: Whats wrong, little one?
Little Girl: They wont let me play pirates with them.
Wonder Woman: And why not?
Little Girl: Because Im the girl, and they need someone to save. Its okay. I dont even know how to swordfight.
Wonder Woman: Neither do they. In battle theyd be slaughtered instantly. Would you like me to teach you how to swordfight? Theyre using the horizontal cut. But in close as they are, the thrust is a better move as its more likely to cause real injury and less likely to be blocked by your opponent. Do you understand?
Little Girl: Uh-huh.
Wonder Woman: Now go. Unleash hell.
(Oddly, although the girl then sends her male playmates scattering with a sword attack, she doesnt actually use a thrust! A screw-up by the animators? Or an incompetent attempt to mitigate the bad influence of the preceding dialogue?)
Another of my favourite scenes is actually truncated in the movie and explained only in the audio commentary. Apparently the original plan was for WW to complain about the impracticality of high heels when shes in her civilian identity; then later when shes fighting the baddys henchman they both smash into a clothing shop and she grabs the nearest object a high-heeled shoe and jabs the heel into her opponents eye, thereupon remarking that maybe these shoes arent so impractical after all. This sequence was shortened in the final film for time constraints, so that while WW still jabs the guys eye with a shoe heel and then glances briefly at the shoe with interest, theres no longer any dialogue on shoes either pre- or post-jabbing.
On the down side, the films attempts to deal with feminist and gender-relations issues are often, predictably, rather inept. (Newsflash to scriptwriters: it makes no more sense for someone from an Amazon culture to say we may be warriors, but we are also women than it would for Leonidas of Sparta to say we may be warriors, but we are also men.) But the film has some virtues from a feminist perspective too; this post by Sarah Warn (who likewise picks up on the dumb we are also women line) does a good of scoring the films hits and misses (there are plenty of both) in this area.
Incidentally, fans of Ninotchka may find this bit of dialogue familiar:
Wonder Woman: Must you flirt?
Steve Trevor: Its only natural.
Wonder Woman: Suppress it.
In the original:
Ninotchka: Must you flirt?
Léon dAlgout: Well, I dont have to, but I find it natural.
Ninotchka: Suppress it.
I knew I wasn’t the only to hate that JFK thing thrown in there at the end of New Frontier. I think they did it for the tie in of his policy name.
It’s in the original comic too; the connection with JFK was always an intended part of the title.