Monday, 30 September 2013

What Went Wrong?: A Woeful Wonder Woman Washout

Start this critique off by watching this little gem: 
This is another one of those things that I've been following obsessively for a few months now. I have Nathan Fillion to thank for that, after he tweeted the first promo image of cosplayer Rileah's costume for this project. I was pumped. Being something of a medieval history buff, especially in the area of arms and armour, I was excited to see some thought being put into interpreting Wonder Woman's garb via her Greek mythical background. The costume looked practical for once, something that could actually serve a hero in battle instead of something that she might be caught in walking sidewalks at midnight on East Hastings. I checked out the studio that was making this happen, Rainfall TV, and was suitably impressed. I decided to keep an eye on this endeavour, and two as often as I could spare them.
Rainfall's promotional images

Rainfall released the video this morning, and I'm still crying a little inside. 
Here's my rant constructive criticism on Comic Vine
It looks like we're all agreed (mostly, at least) that they did a solid job with the costume design. We finally get to see a practical Wonder Woman outfit that still holds true to the original aesthetics. I think that's really cool. But let's not kid ourselves about this being some off-the-cuff fan-made video. No, it's not a licensed DC product (you can tell, because it hasn't caused open war on the internet yet). But the production studio, Rainfall TV out of Los Angeles, can do better than this. They have done better. This project's been hyped on Twitter and their site for months at this point and the promo shots they release were superb. But in the end they churned out a poorly rendered FX demo reel with no story. It's a bit of a letdown.'s a massive letdown. I thought we had something here.
On the upside, we now know it can be done: it's possible to put Wonder Woman on the screen without her looking like a hooker. There's just enough Greek armour in that costume and enough badass in those Amazons to make Themyscira believable. All that's lacking is for those of you who haven't already, check out Scott Lynch's proposed shot-breakdown for the opening scene of a Wonder Woman film ( Read it, and visualize Rainfall's aesthetic (minus that godawful flight scene...), and then join us in kicking DC's tires until they wake up and realize that this is something that's both doable and desired by superhero enthusiasts at large.
Scott Lynch, my disappointment is on your shoulders. If your written vision for a Wonder Woman film wasn't so mind-blowingly beautiful, I might have been perfectly happy with the computer generated plot-less schlock I sat down to this morning. Alas, you set the bar too high. All that remains is for us perform whatever superstitious ritual involving lumber or intertwined digits you choose to put stock in and wait until such time as Grant Morrison releases his graphic novel. With luck we can sit down with a soothing beverage and immerse ourselves in the master's work, eventually emerging content in the knowledge that someone still gets this character. I won't pretend that I understand Wonder Woman, but I like to think I can tell when such an iconic female hero is being done justice (pardon the pun, if you can), and this recent video isn't it.

It's likely Morrison will publish another socially-conscious masterpiece, as is his wont. He will raise the bar yet again, and DC will cower a little lower at the prospect of having to portray a woman with any sort of substance on the screen. Voices will be raised in a cry to have Joss Whedon write the movie, not understanding that he is contracted to Marvel until 2015 and will likely never work for DC. The cycle will go on, and I'll find myself blogging sorrowfully about this every eight months or so.

I apologize in advance.

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