Wonder Woman [Blu-ray] (2009)


Actors: Keri Russell
Animated, NTSC
Number of discs:
Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date:
March 3, 2009
Run Time:
74 minutes

Special features:

  • Two in-depth documentaries:
    - Wonder Woman: A Subversive Dream
    - Wonder Woman: Daughter of Myth (Historical Amazon Lore and its Evolution into the Modern-Day Wonder Woman Character)
  • Commentary by the Film's Creative Team
  • Bruce Timm Presents 4 Bonus Cartoons
  • Exclusive First Look at DC Universe's Upcoming Green Lantern Animated Movie and More




Since we've never counted ourselves as Wonder Woman fans, we didn't really expect too much of a full-length animated Wonder Woman movie even though all the previous Warner Bros. Animation efforts were of a consistently high quality.

To be honest our preadolescent longings were more, ahem, inspired by the likes of Thundra (late-'Seventies Fantastic Four) and Power Girl (Superman's wonderfully pneumatic Earth 2 cousin).

Because animation is so much cheaper and really frees up the action, this Wonder Woman takes as its source material the comics instead of the kitschy 1970s show. (It even has the invisible jet! Just how does she find that thing in a parking lot?) But the problem is that we've always found the print comics to be wordy and over-serious.

Thus we were quite surprised by this latest Bruce Timm-produced effort. Enough to almost make new converts out of us! This Wonder Woman flick is a truly fun, witty and exciting outing. The movie kicks off on the over-serious side of things as Amazon women warriors battle Aries, the God of War in ancient times. On the verge of victory the ancient Greek gods themselves interfere in true dues ex machina style and spare Aries' life. Instead of being beheaded, Aries will be held prisoner as an ordinary mortal for all time by the Amazons, who will now live in safety and seclusion from the outside world on a tropical island called, well, Paradise Island.

You get no points for guessing that Aries will of course escape and Wonder Woman must then stop him. But things really kick off when following an aerial dogfight, fighter pilot Steve Trevor (voiced by the irascible Nathan Fillion) crash-lands on the island and brings some unexpected humor to the proceedings. "Oh boy," Rogers remarks when he wakes up surrounded by scantily-dressed women in ancient robes. "I haven't had this dream since I was thirteen!" Fillion who played the roguish spaceship captain in Firefly is probably the most underutilized actor in Hollywood and would have played Steve Rogers just well in any live action movie. Give this man some more work, Hollywood!

The banter and the camaraderie interplay between Rogers and Wonder Woman (Keri Russell) work rather well and so does the occasional humorous touches. Even though it is fast-paced and action-packed, Wonder Woman works because of the clever dialogue and excellent voice talent involved. Oh, and the animation is pretty decent as well.

THE DISC: Is BLU-RAY the future? Should you invest in the new format now? Hard to tell. It might just remain a niche product forever sidelined like the Laserdisc was. Also, if you're of an older generation then I'm sure that some of format exhaustion has probably set in by now. After having bought Blade Runner on both VHS and DVD, the idea of buying it again on BLU-RAY isn't particularly appealing!

The good news is however that your old DVDs can still play on your new BLU-RAY disc player. But some issues still niggle: the long loading times of discs; how Hollywood is still enforcing the pathetic regional coding standards (luckily this disc will play on all players, but some discs - the recent Planet of the Apes BLU-RAY for example - doesn't); how it doesn't represent the same clear upgrade path as DVD did over VHS, etc.

Still, the format is getting cheaper by the day and if you have already invested in an HD TV and a BLU-RAY player (or a Sony Playstation 3) there is no reason why you should choose the two-disc special edition of Wonder Woman on DVD over the BLU-RAY disc. After all, the BLU-RAY disc is only one dollar more than the DVD version! One lousy dollar! For that you not only get the same set of special features, but you also get some extra ones not found on the DVD edition as well as a spectacular 1080p high definition transfer of the main feature. Sure, the additional extras are extraneous promos for previous DC Universe flicks such as Justice League ? New Frontier and Batman Gotham Knight, but you get four extra Justice League TV episodes featuring Wonder Woman instead of just the two found on the DVD. This alone is worth the extra buck you have to spend on the BLU-RAY edition. By the way, you also get a bonus digital copy supplied on an extra DVD disc.

Also included is a pair of documentaries about Wonder Woman - covering her origins in ancient myth and her official development in the comic books. Both documentaries on these projects are solid and informative covering Wonder Woman's pedigree from Gloria Steinem's famous endorsement to creator William Moulton Marston's combination of forward-thinking women's empowerment and genuine D&S fetishism.

WORTH IT? Yes! After years in development hell Joss Weldon's live action Wonder Woman project has finally bit the dust. And the next DC superhero to be made into a live action movie will instead be Green Lantern (a late 2009 release date has already been set). However this animated offering more than makes up for all that.

RECOMMENDATION: We're not the ones to suggest that you buy expensive BLU-RAY players and HD televisions during an economic recession, but with prices dropping daily the BLU-RAY format is becoming increasingly viable. If you're the type of movie buff who buys the two-disc special edition version instead of the vanilla one-disc editions, I'd seriously consider taking the plunge.

NOTE: Parents should heed the PG-13 rating. It will most likely upset small children and you'll also have to explain some of the more suggestive dialogue.



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