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Wonder Woman (Blu-ray Review)

11 Mar, 2009 By: John Latchem

Wonder Woman

$19.98 DVD, $29.98 two-DVD set, $34.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violence throughout and some suggestive material.
Voices of Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Alfred Molina, Virginia Madsen, Rosario Dawson, Oliver Platt, David McCallum.

Wonder Woman is one of the so-called “Big Three” of DC Comics superheroes (along with Batman and Superman), so her lack of a big-screen adventure is something of a head-scratcher.

Of course, other than Batman and Superman, most members of the Justice League have been given short shrift in that regard. So these animated direct-to-video adaptations of the various characters offer their best chance to shine, for now. Some of these movies are the perfect testbed to gauge interest in a potential live-action version.

Wonder Woman starts with an incredible battle of ancient Greek Amazons warring with the legions of the god Ares to win their freedom. As a reward, the Amazons are granted eternal life on the island of Themyscira, where Queen Hippolyta molds the clay of the Earth into a daughter, Diana, who grows to become Wonder Woman.

The film cannot sustain the quality of the opening scenes, as bits and pieces of the Wonder Woman mythology (such as the invisible jet) are literally introduced out of nowhere. But the movie does a decent job modernizing the story while maintaining most of the classic elements with which fans of the superheroine are familiar, especially its connection to Greek myths. This movie is practically a continuation of the works of Edith Hamilton.

The highlight of the film is Nathan Fillion (Serenity), reuniting with his Waitress co-star, Keri Russell, who voices Diana. Fillion steals the movie as the voice of Steve Trevor, the pilot who crashes into Themyscira and forces the Amazons to reconnect to the modern world. He’s practically an animated version of Capt. Mal Reynolds, which will no doubt refocus speculation on what Joss Whedon could have done with a live-action version before the project was yanked from his hands in 2007.

The real value of the disc is how it puts the history of the character into context, beginning with the circumstances that led to her creation in 1941 by William Moulton Marston, the psychologist who invented the lie detector.

Marston wanted to present a superhero who could become an inspiration for young girls, and the featurette chronicles Wonder Woman’s parallel development with the women’s movement. When Hugh Hefner shows up to add his two cents, we can be assured that the producers have covered all the bases.

Also included are an informative commentary and an exciting preview of the next DC Universe animated film, Green Lantern: First Flight.

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