Friday, June 9, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman
(DC Films / 141 Minutes / PG-13)

In only its first few days of
release, the film already is
a blockbuster. And across
the board, it'being hailed
by critics and smart people
as magnificent cinematic
achievement. But, as "they"
say, nothing is unanimous.

I'm not implying that director Patty Jenkins' newly-released superhero action film, Wonder Woman, is the dopiest or most numbing movie ever. I'm merely suggesting that The Green Lantern now seems a little less lame.

Perhaps if the two and half-hour running time had been hacked down to a buck and change, the silly storyline and the WB-caliber performances might have been easier to embrace — the near-45-minute backstory was gratuitous, and by the time Wonder Woman (Diana) and her army captain love interest (Steve) corned that German henchman in the alley (somewhere around the halfway point), I too was willing to choke down a dose of cyanide.

Elena Anaya as Doctor Poison
makes Wonder Woman (almost)
worth the price of admission.
Despite the spectacular, state-of-the-art special effects and the mouth-watering, airbrushed sex appeal of lead stars, Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, the Lasso of Truth compels me to confess that the plot was weak — to the point of feeling insulted. As a result, I found it rather difficult to muster much interest in, or concern for, any of the film's cardboard-like characters — except for one. Played superbly by Elena Anaya, the character Doctor Poison was easily the most intriguing aspect of the film. Plus, with that high and tight schoolmarm bun and freakshow mask concealing half of her face, "Ms. P" was considerably more alluring than the Amazon princess. Hmm — a movie based on Doctor Poison NOW that's a flick I could get excited about! And I'd be totally open to coming aboard as a project quality control consultant.

In sum, while Wonder Woman is kinda mundane, it's also fairly "safe." Sure, there is obviously a good bit of cartoonish violence, but the language is tamer than the rating might indicate. And despite a smidgen of innuendo, any actual nudity is minimal and in the background. Hence the PG-13 rating is pretty spot-on. But although it didn't resonate with me personally, I do "get" the film's mass appeal.

-Christopher Long
(June 2017)

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