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Monday, March 09, 2009

"Wonder Woman" DVD Review: Doing My Hero Right

To say that Wonder Woman was a big part of my childhood would be a major understatement.

My mom bought me her comics every month. I had the Underoos and the doll. I took blue construction paper and made bracelets for myself. One Halloween, my mom made me the most awesome Wonder Woman costume in the world that I still have. And yes, I watched the television show and then would run around the house spinning around just like Lynda Carter.

So when I heard that Wonder Woman would be the subject of a DC Universe Animated Original Movie, I was pretty excited. But after being a little disappointed with “Superman Doomsday” and “Justice League: The New Frontier,” I lowered my expectations.

However, I should have known that Wonder Woman would come to the rescue…

In short, “Wonder Woman” rocks. The animation is gorgeous, the cast is fantastic and the story is solid from beginning to end.

The story begins with the race of female warriors known as the Amazons living an idyllic life on Themyscira, a secret island paradise shielded from the corrupt “Man’s World.” But when that perfect life is interrupted first by the crash of fighter pilot Steve Trevor (Nathan Fillion) on the island and then by the evil plot of Ares (Alfred Molina), the god of war, Queen Hippolyta (Virginia Madsen) is forced to send an emissary to Man’s World. And, of course, Hippolyta’s daughter, Diana (Keri Russell), ends up being the Amazon for the job.

Detailing the origin of Wonder Woman while telling an interesting story in 74 minutes is not an easy task, but the movie manages to do it quite well. There are plenty of twists and turns—many of which you’ll see coming, but some are so good you won’t. I was a little concerned that the ending would be a little rushed, but it was perfect—and just begs for a sequel.

But what really makes the movie work is its humor. Nathan Fillion ("Castle," "Firefly," "Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog") is priceless as he wisecracks his way through dealing with Diana and the rest of the Amazons. I laughed out loud through many scenes, like when Steve teaches the Amazons the word “crap.”

However, since the movie is “Wonder Woman” and not Steve Trevor, I should say that Keri Russell is perfectly cast as our favorite heroine. Virginia Madsen gives just the right authoritative air to Hippolyta and Alfred Molina, Oliver Platt, and Rosario Dawson provide solid support.

It’s very important to note, though, that the movie is not for young kids. It’s rated PG-13 for a reason as in the first 10 minutes alone there’s tons of blood, lots of death, and even some innuendo.

I highly recommend the two-disc special edition so you can also see two outstanding documentaries: “Wonder Woman: A Subversive Dream,” which looks in-depth at the creation of Wonder Woman by William Moulton Marston, and “Wonder Woman: Daughter of Myth,” which examines the mythology behind the character.

If the long talked about live-action “Wonder Woman” movie ever gets off the ground, the writers would do well to check out this animated gem for some tips.

They’ve done my—and many other young girls’—childhood hero right.

Of course, who am I kidding? Wonder Woman is still my hero…

“Wonder Woman” is available in stores and online now…

"Wonder Woman" (c) Warner Bros. Ent Inc. "Wonder Woman" and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and (c) DC Comics. All Rights Reserved.