Here’s a weird one. A short pilot for a “Wonder Woman” sitcom. Ellie Wood Walker’s Diana Prince lives at home with her mother (Maudie Prickett), who wishes her daughter would just find a man.
The pilot consists mostly of their bickering, which isn’t unfunny–thoroughly modern Walker versus nagging Prickett. But once Walker changes into Wonder Woman, the pilot becomes very strange.
Yes, she’s a superhero, but she also sees herself as “beautiful.” At this point, neither Walker nor Prickett had called Walker homely; it’s unclear until the narrator explains.
Obviously, if the pilot had been picked up, it would have been a lousy show, but the idea is interesting. An otherwise completely confident woman whose superhero alter ego includes wish fulfillment unrelated to the “duties” of a superhero.
Walker is appealing until the plot twist. Prickett balances annoying and funny pretty well….
It’s a strange few minutes of television.
Directed by Leslie H. Martinson; screenplay by Stan Hart, Stanley Ralph Ross and Larry Siegel, based on a character created by William M. Marston; produced by William Dozier.
Starring Ellie Wood Walker (Diana Prince) and Maudie Prickett (Diana’s mother).
Posted in 1967, Color, Comedy, English, Fantasy, Short, USA
Tagged Ellie Wood Walker, Larry Siegel, Leslie H. Martinson, Maudie Prickett, Stan Hart, Stanley Ralph Ross, William Dozier, William M. Marston
When it gets to the conclusion, Wonder Woman finally distinguishes itself. Until this point, it has major problems—mostly acting, which I’ll get to in a second—and some great ideas. But there’s no balance between writer David E. Kelley’s thoughtful “reality” with a superhero and the day to day of Adrianne Palicki’s Wonder Woman. Until the finish, when director Reiner delivers a truly fantastic, exciting action sequence.
It’s completely unexpected and it works beautifully.
Except it’s starring Palicki and she’s bad. Sadly, she doesn’t even give the worst performance. Elizabeth Hurley gets that honor.
Rather good performancess from Tracie Thoms and Cary Elwes can’t save it. Kelley’s pointedly writing the role for a female actor with Christopher Reeve’s ability. Palicki can’t convincingly talk to a cat.
There’s no way for it to succeed with Palicki. And it’s too bad. Kelley’s got insight, just not the actor to deliver it.
Directed by Jeffrey Reiner; teleplay by David E. Kelley, based on characters created by William M. Marston; director of photography, Colin Watkinson; music by Chris Bacon; produced by Tommy Burns; released by the National Broadcasting Company.
Starring Adrianne Palicki (Diana Prince / Wonder Woman), Cary Elwes (Henry Johns), Tracie Thoms (Etta Candy), Pedro Pascal (Ed Indelicato), Justin Bruening (Steve Trevor), Elizabeth Hurley (Veronica Cale) and Edward Herrmann (Senator Warren).
Posted in 2011, Action, Adventure, Color, English, Fantasy, National Broadcasting Company, Sci-Fi, USA
Tagged Adrianne Palicki, Cary Elwes, Chris Bacon, Colin Watkinson, David E. Kelley, Edward Herrmann, Elizabeth Hurley, Jeffrey Reiner, Justin Bruening, Pedro Pascal, Tommy Burns, Tracie Thoms, William M. Marston
Kevin Conroy has been doing the Batman voice for, off and on, almost twenty years. If his work in Apocalypse is any indication, he’s gotten a little tired of it. At least there’s only one aspect of a phoned-in voice performance. Some of it might be the awful script from Tab Murphy (probably taken verbatim from the awful comic book by Jeph Loeb), but Superman-regular Tim Daly manages to be earnest–even with the absolutely dreadful animation.
Montgomery’s direction is occasionally okay–she did a fine job on the Wonder Woman animated (unfortunately she handles that character terribly here)–especially at the beginning, with a complex action sequence involving Supergirl arriving on Earth. It’s idiotically written, but choreographed well.
Besides Daly, the voice work is pretty lame. Andre Braugher is terrible as the big bad guy, who looks like he should sound like Darth Vader but instead sounds like Frank Pembleton. The animation on that character, Darkseid, looks unfinished and just plain cheap.
Summer Glau might be good as Supergirl, but it’s hard to tell, since the character is so reprehensible. She’s vapid and materialistic–I’m shocked no one at Warner has thought of making an animated “Simple Life” for the character.
Apocalypse fails at really simple stuff–the big joke of having Ed Asner play an ugly woman doesn’t work when the animation is so bad it’s unclear she’s supposed to be female.
These Warner superhero cartoons are just getting worse and worse.
Besides Daly, of course.
Directed by Lauren Montgomery; screenplay by Tab Murphy, based on comic books by Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner and characters created by Bob Kane, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, William M. Marston and Jack Kirby; edited by Margaret Hou; music by John Paesano; produced by Bobbie Page and Montgomery; released by Warner Premiere.
Starring Tim Daly (Clark Kent / Superman), Kevin Conroy (Bruce Wayne / Batman), Andre Braugher (Darkseid), Summer Glau (Kara Zor-El), Susan Eisenberg (Wonder Woman), Julianne Grossman (Big Barda), Rachel Quaintance (Lyla) and Edward Asner (Granny Goodness).
Posted in 2010, Action, Adventure, Animation, Color, English, French, USA, Warner Premiere
Tagged Andre Braugher, Bob Kane, Bobbie Page, Edward Asner, Jack Kirby, Jeph Loeb, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, John Paesano, Julianne Grossman, Kevin Conroy, Lauren Montgomery, Margaret Hou, Michael Turner, Rachel Quaintance, Summer Glau, Susan Eisenberg, Tab Murphy, Tim Daly, William M. Marston
They really should have cast Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman. Never thought I’d be typing those words–even if it is just voice casting–but Dawson is so much better than Keri Russell, whose Wonder Woman comes off as dependent on Nathan Fillion’s male for everything down to pseudo-feminist banter. Russell’s voice defers and doesn’t suggest any authority–well, except the script also bestows Fillion’s character kung fu on par with the Amazonian goddesses (are they goddesses, it’s never clear), which confuses things even further.
But Wonder Woman is still pretty good, even if its sexual politics are all trite platitudes. The most honest moment comes at the end, when it’s suggested men, even acting under the best of circumstances, need to be coddled by women into believing they, men, are still capable of offering something to the “weaker” sex. It seems completely unintentional, since only a few scenes before the whole problem with the world is boiled down to warrior women stepping away from it. You know who should have written Wonder Woman–Lily Tomlin. Was she too busy? A Wonder Woman movie written by a feminist icon, one who’s had time to reflect on the movement… would have been spectacular. Instead they turned it into a… pardon the expression… neutered Disney movie.
Well, neutered but still with lots of killing, sexual innuendo and almost a curse word.
It’s a pleasant surprise to be sure, but would have been as a feminist reaction to the Disney Princess “franchise.”
Directed by Lauren Montgomery; screenplay by Michael Jelenic, based on a story by Gail Simone and Jelenic and the DC Comics character created by William M. Marston; edited by Rob Desales; music by Christopher Drake; produced by Bruce W. Timm; released by Warner Premiere.
Starring Keri Russell (Diana), Nathan Fillion (Steve Trevor), Alfred Molina (Ares), Rosario Dawson (Artemis), Marg Helgenberger (Hera), Oliver Platt (Hades), Virginia Madsen (Hippolyta), Julianne Grossman (Etta Candy), Vicki Lewis (Persephone) and David McCallum (Zeus).
Posted in 2009, Action, Adventure, Animation, Color, English, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, USA, Warner Premiere
Tagged Alfred Molina, Bruce W. Timm, Christopher Drake, David McCallum, Gail Simone, Julianne Grossman, Keri Russell, Lauren Montgomery, Marg Helgenberger, Michael Jelenic, Nathan Fillion, Oliver Platt, Rob Desales, Rosario Dawson, Vicki Lewis, Virginia Madsen, William M. Marston