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

The film is directed by Lauren Montgomery, who directed the second act of Superman: Doomsday and did storyboard work for Justice League: The New Frontier, and 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.

Plot

Centuries ago, the Amazons, a proud and fierce race of warrior women, led by Queen Hippolyta (Virginia Madsen), battled Ares (Alfred Molina), the God Of War, and his army. During the battle, Hippolyta beheaded her son, Thrax (Jason Miller), whom she conceived with Ares, and then defeated the God Of War himself. Zeus (David McCallum), prevented them from killing Ares. Instead Hera (Marg Helgenberger), bound his powers with magic gauntlets so that he was no more powerful than a mortal and that only another god could release him. In compensation, the Amazons were granted the island of Themyscira, where they could be 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 (Keri Russell).Years later, an American fighter pilot, Steve Trevor (Nathan Fillion), is shot down and crash-lands on the island and soon meets Diana. Steve and Diana fight and she defeats him, taking him to the Amazons. Hippolyta decides he should be returned home, Diana volunteers, but is assigned to guard Ares's cell. Diana defies her mother and wins the right to take Trevor. Meanwhile, the Amazon Persephone (Vicki Lewis) releases Ares.

With the additional task of capturing Ares, Diana brings Trevor to New York City where the he volunteers to help. An investigation uncovers a pattern of violence created by Ares presence that will lead to him given time, the pair go out to a bar while they wait. After some heavy drinking Trevor makes a pass at Diana. They argue outside, and are attacked first by thugs and then the demigod, Deimos. Deimos kills himself to prevent being interrogated, they find an clue on his body that leads them to an temple guarded by the worshipers of Ares.

Once there, Diana attempts to subdue Ares, but he summons monsters that snatch and threaten to kill her, prompting Trevor to save her instead of stopping Ares. Meanwhile, Ares performs a sacrifice to open a gate to the underworld where he persuades Hades, to remove the gauntlets. Later Diana regains consciousness and is furious that Trevor saved her than stop Ares. Trevor argues against her abuse with his own criticism of the Amazons' isolation and their generalizations about Men.

Ares and his army attacks Washington DC. Trevor and Diana arrive to battle Ares, and soon joined by the Amazons. Meanwhile the President influenced by Ares' power, orders a nuclear missile against Themyscira. This act of supreme aggression increases Ares' power, but is killed by Diana when Trevor takes the invisible jet and shoots down the missile.

Later on Themyscira, Hippolyta realizes that Diana misses both the outside world and Trevor. She charges her daughter to become a diplomat for the Amazons. Diana accepts and she returns to the world of men where she enjoys the company of Trevor and assumed a secret identity as Diana Prince. However, their relationship comes with the understanding of her larger duties such as when she sees The Cheetah robbing a bank and she excuses herself to stop the supervillainess as Wonder Woman.

Voice cast



Production

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.

Promotion

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 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 spin-off 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-Martmarker stores.

Reception

From its previews at Wondercon and New York Comic Con to its DVD release Wonder Woman received mostly positive reviews and has an 86% freshness rating at Rotten Tomatoes, based on 7 reviews. Harry Knowles gave a positive review of Wonder Woman on his website Ain't It Cool News. Knowles enthusiastically lauded director Montgomery and the surprisingly brutally violent action scenes.

Jim Vejvoda of IGN praised the film's humor, action, and vocal performances, singling out the "perfectly cast" Fillion. 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. Reviewing the film for Comic Book Resources, Josh Wigler gave a positive review, but criticized the unexplained inclusion of Diana's invisible plane. An explanation was ironically 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."

The level of violence in the film - both Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor are shown killing human adversaries in several sequences, and several beheadings in battle also occur - garnered some criticism. Chris Mautner, reviewing the film for Comic Book Resources, remarked, "It is just me or does it seem more than a bit...unnecessary?"

According to The-Numbers.com, Wonder Woman ranked #5 in DVD sales from its release of March 3 to March 8, 2009. From the total units of 106,342, it made $2,040,703 in sales.

Novelization

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 (Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor killing guards, for example) featured in the film.

Soundtrack

It has been confirmed that the film's soundtrack would be release sometime in the early 2010.

References

  1. DC Comics promotional document published by Newsarama
  2. http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/WF/dcuam/wonderwoman/
  3. Keri Russell To Voice Wonder Woman For Dvd Feature - Newsarama
  4. The World's Finest
  5. Comics Continuum - Wonder Woman:DAVID MCCALLUM AND MARG HELGENBERGER
  6. http://www.newsarama.com/tv/080726-comiccon-dc-animated.html
  7. http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/news.php?action=fullnews&id=224
  8. Wonder Woman Review: Harry says that the new animated WONDER WOMAN is a wonder! - Ain't It Cool News
  9. Vejvoda, Jim. "NYCC 09: Wonder Woman Review" IGN. Retrieved on March 18, 2009.
  10. Wonder Woman Review - UGO Movie Blog
  11. Wigler, Josh. NYCC REVIEW: "Wonder Woman" Comic Book Resources. Retrieved on March 18, 2009.
  12. The World's Finest "Wonder Woman" Reviews
  13. Bloody Amazons Ahoy!, Robot 6: Comic Book Resources, March 12, 2009, accessed July 30, 2009
  14. http://www.the-numbers.com/dvd/charts/weekly/thisweek.php
  15. WONDERVERSE-The Wonder Woman Universe Fan Site


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