Wonder Woman (2009 film)

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Wonder Woman
Ww film 2009 bluray.jpg
Blu-ray cover
Directed byLauren Montgomery[1]
Produced byBruce Timm
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on
Starring
Music byChristopher Drake
Production
companies
Distributed byWarner Home Video
Release date
  • March 3, 2009 (2009-03-03)
[2]
Running time
73 minutes
Countries
  • United States
LanguageEnglish

Wonder Woman is a 2009 direct-to-DVD animated superhero film focusing on the superheroine of the same name. The plot of the film is loosely based on George Pérez's reboot of the character, specifically the Gods and Mortals arc that started the character's second volume in 1987.[3] It is the fourth in the line of DC Universe Animated Original Movies released by Warner Premiere and Warner Bros. Animation.

The film is directed by Lauren Montgomery, who directed the second act of The Death of Superman and did storyboard work for Justice League: The New Frontier, written by Gail Simone and Michael Jelenic. As with all previous releases in this line of films, it is produced by acclaimed DC Comics animation veteran Bruce Timm.[4]

On August 11, 2015, Warner Home Video re-released the film on a combo pack, which includes a DVD and Blu-ray copy, a digital copy, and with the graphic novel it was based on.

Plot[edit]

In ancient times, the Amazons, a proud and fierce race of warrior women, led by their Queen, Hippolyta, battled Ares, the god of war, and his army. During the battle, Hippolyta specifically targeted and beheaded her son Thrax, whom Ares forcibly conceived with her and who fought for his father. Hippolyta then defeated Ares, but Zeus stopped her from delivering the death strike. Instead, Hera bound his powers with magic bracers so that he was deprived of his ability to draw power from the psychic aura of violence and death he could instigate, and only another god could release him. In compensation for their years of servitude to Ares, the Amazons were granted the island of Themyscira, where they would remain eternally youthful and isolated from Man in the course of their duty of holding Ares prisoner for all eternity. Later, Hippolyta was granted a daughter, Princess Diana, whom she shaped from the sand of the Themyscirian seashore and gave life with her own blood.

Over a millennium later, Diana is unsatisfied with her life of Themyscira and longs to explore the outside world. An American fighter pilot, USAF Colonel Steve Trevor, is shot down in a dogfight, and crash-lands his YF-23 on the island. He soon runs afoul of the Amazons, including the combative Artemis. Steve and Diana meet and fight, and Diana defeats him, taking him to the Amazons. After interrogating him with the use of the Amazons' golden lasso, Hippolyta decides he is not an enemy of the Amazons and as such, their tradition dictates that an emissary be tasked to ensure his safe return to his own country. Diana volunteers, but her mother argues that she has not enough experience in dealing with the dangers of the outside world; Diana is assigned to guard Ares's cell instead. Her bookish but kind-hearted best friend (and Artemis' actual younger sister) Alexa offers to cover her guard duty. Defying her mother, Diana covers her face with a helmet and participates in contests of strength, ultimately winning the right to escort Trevor home.

In the meantime, the Amazon Persephone, who has been gradually seduced by Ares, kills Alexa and releases him. With the additional task of capturing Ares, Diana brings Trevor in his repaired and now invisible jet to New York City, where he volunteers to help Diana on her quest. An investigation uncovers a pattern of violence created by Ares' presence that will lead to him given time, and the pair goes out to a bar while they wait. After some heavy drinking, Trevor makes a pass at Diana. They argue outside, but are attacked first by thugs and then the demigod Deimos. Diana subdues Deimos, but he kills himself to avoid interrogation. Diana and Steve find a clue on his body that leads them to a concealed gateway to the underworld guarded by members of a still-extant ancient cult of Ares.

Once they have arrived, Diana attempts to take Ares down, but he summons harpies that attack her, prompting Trevor to save her rather than stop Ares. Meanwhile, Ares performs a sacrificial ritual that opens a gate to the Underworld, where he persuades his uncle Hades, who has made Thrax his slave, to remove the bracers, though Hades does not tell Ares that the ultimate cost of removing the bracers would be his own death in combat. Later, Diana regains consciousness in a hospital and is furious that Trevor saved her instead of stopping Ares. Trevor argues against her abuse with his own criticism of the Amazons' self-imposed isolation and their generalizations about men, and reveals how much he cares about her.

Ares and his dark army attack Washington, D.C.; Trevor and Diana arrive to battle Ares and are soon joined by the Amazons. While Ares manages to summon the Amazons long dead from the Underworld to fight their own sisters, his scheme is stopped by Alexa, a member of the undead host, who reveals to Artemis a chant which nullifies Ares's control over them. The undead then turn on Ares, but are destroyed by his powers, including Alexa, who makes peace with her older sister before passing on. Hippolyta kills Persephone in combat, but with her dying breath Persephone makes it clear that in shutting the Amazons away from the world of Man, Hippolyta has denied them the happiness that comes with love and a family.

Meanwhile, Ares' influence reaches the President of the United States, who orders a nuclear missile against Themyscira, assuming the island nation to be the source of the attack on Washington. This act of supreme aggression greatly increases Ares's power, but Trevor takes the invisible jet and shoots down the missile just before it hits the island. After taking a brutal beating at Ares' hands, Diana finally outmaneuvers and beheads him. As Trevor arrives back at the scene, Diana finally accepts him, and the two share a kiss, while Ares is condemned to the underworld to attend Hades as a slave alongside his son.

Later on Themyscira, in memory of Alexa, Artemis (with some difficulty) takes up reading. Realizing that Diana misses both the outside world and Trevor, and to make her happy again, Hippolyta gives her daughter the task of being a channel for "communication between men and women". Diana accepts and returns to New York, where she enjoys the company of Trevor. Their relationship comes with the understanding of her larger duties, such as when Diana sees Cheetah robbing a museum and she excuses herself to stop the super-villainess as the newly christened Wonder Woman.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film was originally advertised as having a storyline involving the Greek god Ares escaping Paradise Island in order to capture and control a mystic item called the Hand of Rage. He would then use the Hand of Rage to bring about World War III. This storyline was later dropped.

The film's casting director Andrea Romano explained that Keri Russell's casting as Wonder Woman was partly inspired by Romano seeing Russell's performance in the film Waitress.[5]

According to producer Bruce Timm, during post-production, many action scenes had to be edited after the first cut of the film received an R rating from the MPAA.[6]

Soundtrack[edit]

Wonder Woman (Soundtrack from the DC Universe Animated Original Movie)[7]
Wonder Woman (soundtrack).jpg
Film score (Digital download) by
ReleasedFebruary 23, 2010
Length54:00
Label
No.TitleLength
1."The Battle / Origins"8:52
2."Sparring"0:42
3."Ares Imprisoned"1:29
4."Dog Fight, Part I"1:48
5."Dog Fight, Part II"1:58
6."Crash Landing"1:06
7."Manhunt"2:01
8."Let The Games Begin"1:22
9."Persephone's Betrayal"1:08
10."Bracelets and Arrows"3:41
11."Computer Room"0:48
12."Alley Thugs"1:27
13."Deimos"2:58
14."At The Gates Of Tartarus"4:30
15."Cept Hemo Laudus ="1:01
16."Hades"3:35
17."Ospedale and Ares Rally"1:10
18."DC Battle"6:13
19."Ares' End"2:56
20."She Misses Him"1:00
21."A New Nemesis"0:37
22."Wonder Woman End Titles"3:03

Promotion[edit]

DC Comics gave out promotional light-up tiaras to those who attended the premiere of the film at WonderCon 2009.[8]

Upon the DVD release of the film, DC Comics arranged for several promotional packaging concepts to be released through different vendors. Working together with Mattel, they created a miniature action figure of the animated Wonder Woman that was packaged together with the 2-disc DVD sets sold through Best Buy's stores. Images of the animated Wonder Woman were made into sheets of temporary tattoos and packaged with the single disc DVD of the film that were sold exclusively through Kmart's stores. FYE and Suncoast retail stores sold pre-orders of the DVD with a promotional film poster containing a printed autograph of the film's director Lauren Montgomery. The two-disc special edition DVDs sold at Target stores included bonus Wonder Woman centric episodes from the Justice League animated series and its sequel Justice League Unlimited, two shows produced by Bruce Timm. Borders Book Stores offered an exclusive "Making of Wonder Woman" booklet featuring storyboards and character designs. Finally, a lenticular cover was created for the DVD cover depicting Wonder Woman shifting her position, sold exclusively through Wal-Mart stores.

Critical reception[edit]

From its previews at WonderCon and New York Comic Con to its DVD release Wonder Woman received mostly positive reviews. According to the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 82% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 11 reviews, with an average rating of 7.09/10.[9] Harry Knowles gave a positive review of Wonder Woman on his website Ain't It Cool News. Knowles enthusiastically lauded director Montgomery and the surprising brutality of the action scenes.[10] Jim Vejvoda of IGN praised the film's humor, action, and vocal performances, singling out the "perfectly cast" Fillion.[11] Jordan Hoffman of UGO.com gave a positive review, commenting on the film's great dialogue and the mature use of post-feminist themes in relation to perceived chauvinism.[12] Reviewing the film for Comic Book Resources, Josh Wigler gave a positive review, but criticized the unexplained inclusion of Diana's invisible plane.[13] An explanation was left out as Timm and Montgomery felt it was too convoluted and merely a pseudo-scientific explanation. The World's Finest cited a few inconsistencies but said overall it was "easily the best DC Universe Animated Original Movie title to date."[14]

The level of violence in the film – in one sequence, Steve Trevor is shown killing human adversaries while Wonder Woman uses extreme force, and several beheadings in battle also occur – garnered some criticism. Chris Mautner, reviewing the film for Comic Book Resources, remarked, "Is it just me or does it seem more than a bit...unnecessary?".[15]

According to The-Numbers.com, Wonder Woman ranked No. 5 in DVD sales from its release of March 3 to 8, 2009. From the total units of 106,342, it made $2,040,703 in sales.[16] The film has currently earned a total of $8,655,606 from domestic home video sales.[17]

Novelization[edit]

An adaptation of the film, entitled simply Wonder Woman, was published in January 2009 by Pocket Star Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (ISBN 978-1-4165-9873-2). Written by S.D. Perry and Britta Dennison, the book follows the film's plot faithfully, but it omits some of the incidental violence (Steve Trevor killing guards, for example) featured in the film.

Cancelled sequel[edit]

Bruce Timm expressed interest in making a sequel of this film, like a sequel to Green Lantern: First Flight, but ultimately the project was cancelled due to the slower sales of the film.[18][19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "World's Finest". Worldsfinestonline.com. March 26, 2008. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
  2. ^ "Newsarama article". Newsarama article. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
  3. ^ DC Comics promotional document published by Newsarama
  4. ^ "The World's Finest – DC Universe – Wonder Woman". Worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
  5. ^ McLean, Tom (July 27, 2008). "SDCC '08 – DC Animation Panel". Newsarama. Retrieved June 5, 2010.
  6. ^ Denmead, Ken (March 3, 2009). "Wonder Woman Comes To Animated Life". Wired. Retrieved June 30, 2010.
  7. ^ "The World's Finest". Worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
  8. ^ "DC Comics Giveaway at WonderCon". About.com. Retrieved June 30, 2010.
  9. ^ "Wonder Woman (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  10. ^ "Wonder Woman Review: Harry says that the new animated WONDER WOMAN is a wonder! – Ain't It Cool News". Aintitcool.com. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
  11. ^ Vejvoda, Jim. "NYCC 09: Wonder Woman Review" IGN. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
  12. ^ Hoffman, Jordan (February 8, 2009). "Wonder Woman Review – UGO Movie Blog". Movieblog.ugo.com. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
  13. ^ Wigler, Josh. NYCC REVIEW: "Wonder Woman" Comic Book Resources. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
  14. ^ The World's Finest "Wonder Woman" Reviews
  15. ^ Bloody Amazons Ahoy!, Robot 6: Comic Book Resources, March 12, 2009. Retrieved July 30, 2009.
  16. ^ "DVD Sales Chart – Week Ending Jan 16, 2011". The-numbers.com. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
  17. ^ "Wonder Woman (2009) The Numbers Listing". The Numbers (website). Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  18. ^ Marnell, Blair (April 27, 2010). "Green Lantern And Wonder Woman Animated Sequels Aren't Happening, Says Bruce Timm". MTV. Retrieved September 7, 2010.
  19. ^ "Come Think With Us – Think Mcfly Think – Exclusive Interview With Bruce Timm". Thinkmcflythink.squarespace.com. April 25, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2010.

External links[edit]