Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wonderful, Wonderful

Confession time: I have seen NBC's unaired Wonder Woman pilot. I know, I know. It's someone else's property, and they did not wish for it to be seen. In my earlier blog post about what a Wonder Woman movie ought to be, I jokingly asked the Internet to send a copy my way, but I was joking.
A few months later, not by way of the Internet, a copy of said pilot found its way to me. I didn't even realize that I coveted it until it was there, right in front of me. A dozen questions whipped through my brain:
Why had NBC passed on it?
Was it that bad?
Why was it that bad?
Was Adrianne Palicki bad? (Surely not.)
Was it campy like the 1960s Batman?
Was it too serious?
Who was the villain?
Was there an origin story?
How did the costume play on-screen?
Was Adrianne Palicki bad? (Please, no.)
Was Steve Trevor in it?
Was Adrianne Palicki bad? (No, no, no...)

So, I caved. I watched it. I got my questions answered and I moved on.
Recently, with the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman in the next Superman movie, there has been some more talk on the internet calling for a Wonder Woman movie already, for crying out loud! (I'm paraphrasing.) It sounds like there's some trouble with CW's Amazon series, so I don't know when we're going to see Wonder Woman make it to either the large or small screens now. I was also inspired by this great piece from the Upworthy called 7 Moronic Things People Have Said About A Possible Wonder Woman Movie.
So, as an addendum to my Wonder Woman piece from January, I will give you my thoughts on the Wonder Woman pilot.
This was a pre-pilot version of the costume.
Shiny. Not in a good way.

Why had NBC passed on it?
Who knows? I can only say why I would have passed on it, and that was that it wanted to be a female Iron Man clone. As the story opens, Wonder Woman's not-at-all-secret-identity is that of Diana Themyscira, head of multi-million dollar corporation Themyscira Industries. (For the uninitiated, Themyscira is the island of the Amazons.) It doesn't really play, and it's a little too obvious that they're trying to ape the Tony Stark motif. the writing is a little self-assured and a little ironic. For example: Diana snaps at a production meeting about a Wonder Woman doll prototype that is a bit on the chesty side, but Palicki as Diana appears to be wearing a padded bra herself. (Possibly.)
I don't know. That dress looks a little unnecessarily enhanced to me.
 It's bad enough that comic book artists give Diana an unnaturally large bosom.
Do we need to do it in live-action as well? 

Was it that bad? Why was it that bad?
It really wasn't that bad. It also wasn't really good. You have to account for the fact that - even if the show had been picked up - this pilot was never intended for public consumption. It's meant to give an idea of what the show would be like. I disagree with some of the choices, but that's just my opinion.
Was Adrianne Palicki bad?
No, not at all. We're big fans of Miss Palicki here at the Superfluity, but I was fully prepared for her to be the reason that NBC passed on the pilot. I don't see how she can have been the reason. She looks the part, she's a fine actress, and she sold it - even some of the sillier lines. Adrianne was good. She should still be high on everyone's wish list for the next incarnation of Wonder Woman. She's top of my list.
The updated costume is a little less. . . Vegas?
Much better.

Was it campy like the 1960s Batman?
No, not in the least. If anything, it could have used a little more humor. As I have said before, I think that what makes Wonder Woman an interesting character, is that she is thrust into a world that is completely foreign to her: the world of men. More specifically: the world of men in which women are marginalized and objectified. How would Wonder Woman react to things like make-up, push-up bras, wage inequality. . . twerking? Wonder Woman becomes a way to poke a bit of fun at ourselves, and - at the same time - make us think. ::pulls out soapbox:: Women have had the vote for 93 years in this country, and statistics show that more women vote than men. Given the state of inequality that exists in America, one must conclude that a large percentage of women consistently vote against their own interests. Why? ::puts soapbox back under desk::
Was it too serious?
No, not really. It took itself a little seriously, but the action sequences were definitely fun. One caveat: Wonder Woman looked to have killed a few guys in the climactic fight sequence. This seemed unnecessary. Yes, she's an Amazon warrior, so she doesn't have the boundaries that Superman and even Batman have set for themselves, but it still felt gratuitous.
Who was the villain? 
The villain was Elizabeth Hurley as a health food mogul with dark ulterior motives. I don't think that just because the hero is a woman, the villain must necessarily also be a woman, but this didn't feel at all contrived. She was the brains of the criminal enterprise, and she had lots of beefy thugs to go toe-to-toe with Wonder Woman. It worked as a premise. It needed a little bit of fleshing out, but, again, this was a pilot story, and, as such, a little truncated.
Was there an origin story?
No, they skipped the origin story, and they got the ball rolling right away. Diana has a flashback memory - not among the Amazons on Themyscira, unfortunately - so I'm sure we would have learned more about how she went from being an Amazon princess to, well, Tony Stark.
Costume #1
Costume #2

How did the costume play on-screen?
Not bad. She actually wears two costumes: a less shiny version of the one that "leaked" to the internet and received such criticism and then later the more iconic costume. It was fun to see the more iconic costume, but, in my opinion, totally unnecessary. The first costume said "Wonder Woman" loud and clear. It would have been acceptable as the only costume used. Maybe the producers used the original costume as well, in case NBC didn't like the new design. I would lose the padded bra, though. Adrianne Palicki is sufficiently wonderful just as she is. (Was that creepy? It's hard to talk about someone's figure and not come across as creepy. Let's move on, shall we?)
My only criticism of this costume (and
I can't believe that I'm going to say this)
is it could be a little less cleavage-baring.
Was Steve Trevor in it?
Yes. Kind of. He was in Diana's flashback as a former love whom she left in order to pursue her crime-fighting/CEO career. He's a lawyer, and he shows up again at the end. Was he an Air Force pilot before? Who knows? That was something that we probably would have found out as the series progressed. If it had progressed.

A little better look at the classic-inspired
costume. Why does that guy look so unhappy?
Dude! Adrianne Palicki!

We love you, Adrianne. Sorry that I kept talking
about your boobs in order to illustrate
how your boobs weren't important.
Yeah, I get that a lot.
Overall, the Wonder Woman pilot was a miss with a great deal of potential. I think that NBC should have asked for a few changes rather than just throwing it out altogether. I would have abandoned the Tony Stark thing, gone ahead with an origin story, and played up the fish-out-of-water angle with our heroine. Palicki could strike a nice balance between the tough heroic warrior (she was one of the few saving graces of G.I. Joe: Retaliation, in my opinion) and the confused stranger in a strange land. (Check out her performance as the ditzy porn actress in both Women in Trouble and Electra Luxx.)

I'm glad that I saw the pilot, because the main take-away from it was this: Adrianne Palicki would make a great Wonder Woman.

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