• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Wonder Woman

TITLE: Wonder Woman

YEAR: 2009

GENRE: Superhero/Comics and Animation

Probably the toughest superhero to create in a live action format would have to be the queen of all female superheroes, Wonder Woman. Hollywood has been trying as of late, but continual casting issues has brought this production to a standstill and now fans have to wait until 2015 at the earliest for a live action film on the heroine. Most of the problem has been casting a female that can fill the red, white and blue bustier both figuratively and literally and can actually act. In the meantime, the film department at DC Comics was wise enough to release an animated film based on the origins of Gloria Steinem’s favorite comic book character. Simply titled Wonder Woman, this animated superhero production could be the best modern release available from either DC or Marvel.

Back in ancient days a race of Amazonian Women defeated the war god Ares (voices by Alfred Molina) and is charged by the gods to keep the monger prison on the island of Themyscira. While performing a military exercise, Air Force pilot and career womanizer Steve Trevor (Nathan Fillon) is forced to crash land on the isolated world and inadvertently releases Ares as a result. The Amazons know they must round up the angry god, so they hold a quick contest among themselves to see which Amazon is most worthy to venture into the male-dominated human world to bring the god back into their prison and to return Trevor to his world. The contest is won by Princess Diana (Keri Russell), much to the dismay of her warrior mother Hyppolyta (Virginia Madsen). Trevor knows that the powerful yet naïve to his world Diana will need his assistance to guide her through his society, so he sticks around for the fight. But will the two polar opposites be able to survive without killing each other?

The best aspect of Wonder Woman would be the voice casting which is as excellent as one will find in any animated film. Russell is fabulous as the stoic yet determined Diana and Fillon is excellent as the slick pervert Trevor, and there is some type of chemistry between the two that makes the film work so well. It also helps that the script is multi layered and has an impressive combination of comedy and personal conflict. There are many male/female related jokes throughout the film; for instance, a scene where Diana explains the end of the world scenario to Trevor, which goes completely over his head and he responds with a simple “You smell nice”; or at the very beginning of the film when Hippolyta and Ares meet on a battlefield and Hippolyta cracks that she hopes that Ares is “more skilled” on the battlefield than he was in the bedroom. I also enjoyed many of the side characters throughout the film especially Alexa (Tara Strong) who plays an Amazon who would prefer studying philosophy than performing on the battlefield and Artemis (Rosario Dawson) who is dedicated to the cause of Amazonia and has a strong distrust of anybody with a penis. Another aspect of the script that makes Wonder Woman such a quality film is the writers thought enough to add a few serious elements about the relationship between men and women which at times is surprisingly thoughtful. The animation is nothing to write home to Mom about however it is quality work, but in this case it is the storyline and quality of characters that make Wonder Woman work on a higher level than most of these animated films.

As for the live action version of this series, my suggestion would be to simply scrap it and make a higher budget animated film using the voice actors from this production. Wonder Woman is an excellent origins story that will excite the viewer while creating some chuckles at the same time. Film geeks who want to dig a little deeper will find some commentary about the “men are from Mars and women are from Venus” social issue that might be fun for debate after the movie ends. Wonder Woman is an excellent addition to the DC Comics animated film library, and I am sure that Lynda Carter would approve of this quality production. Keri Russell may not be able to fill out the outfit like Carter once did, but she has the character and subsequent attitude in spades.

* * * * 1/2

–Mark

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