SXSW 2012 Documentary 'Wonder Women!' Campaigns For DC Heroine's Arrivalby: Posted:
The indie-riffic Austin, TX music-and-movie festival South by Southwest - or more ubiquitously, SXSW - has come again, this year making a case that it's high time Hollywood bring the Amazon Spirit of Truth to the big screen.
The documentary "Wonder Women!" screened to packed houses during the festival, reports The Huffington Post, focusing on what's kept William Moulton Marston's 1941 DC Comics legend Wonder Woman off movie screens through the years. Interviews such as ones with iconic feminist activist Gloria Steinem and TV's own 1975-1979 "Wonder Woman" Lynda Carter try shedding light upon what's held her back while characters like Batman and Superman get hit-and-miss adaptation after adaptation.
"How many really sub-characters in terms of the male, like Thor [have been made into films?" wondered director Kristy Guevara-Flanagan after a Tuesday screening. "The trilogy is Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, and she has yet to get due."
As The Huffington Post points out, efforts have been made. As you may see below, they can't all be called "good" efforts." Sometimes, the right people actually get behind the project, but aren't given much with which to work.
For example, once attached to a long-in-Development-Hell proposed "Wonder Woman" film have been no less than co-writer of Christopher Nolan's smash "Batman" trilogy David Goyer and "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" creator and director of this summer's "The Avengers" Joss Whedon. The "Buffy" mastermind would've even cast "How I Met Your Mother" beauty Cobie Smulders as his lead.
It seems that, as was the case when he originally brought what eventually became the "Buffy" TV series that was a seven-season WB/UPN hit before 20th Century Fox, Whedon just couldn't get on the same page with his studio.
"I in no way want this to be a slam on Warner Bros. but the fact of the matter is, it was a waste of my time," Whedon said. "We never wanted to make the same movie; none of us knew that."
More recently, "Drive" director Nicolas Winding Refn has proposed his own vision, featuring busty ginger "Mad Men" bombshell Christina Hendricks donning the star-spangled bustier.
"[Hendricks is] mature, which I think Wonder Woman has to be, because it's a very complex character," Refn said. "You know, the whole Wonder Woman concept is 'What if women were more powerful than men?' And I certainly can't come up with a more ideal choice to play that, both consciously because she's very smart but also because of her sensibility and her physicality, so - for me - she's the perfect choice . . . I certainly don't know anybody of both sexes who doesn't find her extremely attractive."
Sadly, what may have been the perfect feature "Wonder Woman" script has probably already been "filmed" - in a manner of speaking.
In 2009, Warner Bros. released straight to DVD a "Wonder Woman" feature based loosely upon George Perez' 1987 "Gods and Mortals" comic-origin reboot. And as writing goes, it couldn't have more solidly pegged the character. It's loaded not only with action, but character development and wraps up with Diana ultimately accepting her new-found destiny and remaining with the mortals as their protector and truly the "Spirit of Truth." With the right casting and the right director - such as, say, Whedon - this could've been the one that finally did right by Wonder Woman with a full-length, live-action theatrical feature.
And lo, what hath Hollywood wrought instead?
Well, for starters, there was an infamous NBC pilot by David E. Kelley that someone actually paid him to shoot. I would explain it, but I've something much, much better - and much, much funnier. Geek-culture hub That Guy With The Glasses some months back featured a cross-over review by British movie critic and "Bad Movie Beatdown" host Mathew Buck (a.k.a., "Film Brain), comic book historian and host of "Atop The 4th Wall" Lewis Lovhaug ("Linkara") and 12-year host of the internet radio show "Radio Dead Air" and TGWTG series "What The F*** Is Wrong With You?!" watching a bootleg rough cut of the pilot. It features a murderous, Dirty-Harry-with-breasts Diana Prince/Wonder Woman tangling with hapless thugs and a smug Elizabeth Hurley. It's violent, abrasive and far, far funnier than anything I could possibly describe.
In short, it's a must-watch, but don't drink anything while enjoying it.
For a more grounded history on the character, check out this fine overview by Linkara himself, made prior to his own multi-part review some years back of the failed Wonder Woman epic arc "Amazons Attack."
Sadly, these two videos combined should sum up quite well why it's maybe time Hollywood simply stop trying.