Customer Reviews: Wonder Woman
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on January 5, 2009
Warner Bros. Premiere have been putting out DC Universe animated features revolving around the Detective Comics characters. First came Superman: Doomsday based on the record selling comic book story in which Superman is actually killed, second came Justice League: The New Frontier based on award winning graphic novel's about the earliest beginnings of the Justice League, then Batman: Gotham Knight was animated with strong anime influence and told several stories set between the two latest live action films (Batman Begins and The Dark Knight). Now we can finally experience the animated DC Universe depiction of Wonder Woman's origin.

The plot is about the amazon princess Diana, on the secluded Island Themyscira, first meeting Steve Trevor, a pilot who crash lands on the island of no men. After fighting in a tournament against fellow competing amazons for the right to escort Trevor back to 'man's world' Diana dons the Wonder Woman outfit for her first time and heads on her first outing. As she tries to understand the world of man Diana must deal with the threat of God Of War Ares, who has escaped from a centuries long imprisonment and is looking to start trouble.

Voice casting includes Keri Russell (Famous for Felicity, and more recently Waitress, August Rush and Bedtime Stories) as the young Wonder Woman. Nathan Fillion (co-starred with Russell in Waitress) as Steve Trevor. Alfred Molina (Doc Oc in Spider-man 2) as God Of War Ares, Virigina Madsen (Co-star of Jim Carrey in Number 23) as Diana's mother Queen Hippolyta and Rosario Dawson (Seven Pounds with Will Smith) as Dianna's rival amazon Artemis.

There are three versions released. The Blu-Ray, the Two-Disc Special Edition DVD (with Digital Copy) and the Single Edition DVD. Features included with the Two-Disc DVD and Blu-Ray will be:

Disc 1- Commentary by the creative team, also as is customary with these releases a first look at DC/Warner's next animated feature project 'Green Lantern'.

Disc 2- 2 Documentaries- Wonder Woman: A Subversive Dream, and Wonder Woman Daughter of Myth: Historical Amazon Lore and it's Evolution into the Modern Day Wonder Woman Character. Also as usual with these releases two episodes selected from the Justice League series are included as Bruce Timm's favorite picks: To Another Shore and Hawk And Dove.

The feature itself has a running time of 74 min. and is presented like the other features in widescreen format. These features are PG-13 and this one works hard to earn that rating. There are nods to adult situations (often occuring in brief passing or to provide humor) as well as alot of action scenes and killing but only a few specific uses of blood. This is not something recommended for children but is perfect for preteens and teenagers. Still parent's are capable of using their own discretion.

About the quality you can expect if you haven't seen the other recent features, DC/Warner have been delivering top notch animation on these features rivaling that of Disney's straight to DVD releases and I think this one has the best animation yet. The stories are always well written and stay true to source materials that the characters are taken from. Another thing these new features have done well is providing alot of well staged action scenes and still delivering fine moments of character development/exploration that I haven't seen since Batman The Animated Series.

This is the first solo animated feature for Wonder Woman and I feel it portrays her with the dignity DC's third biggest icon deserves and the same respect she was granted in the Justice League series, which to me is the most believably she has been depicted thus far (if only because of her lack of exposure in this medium to date). I hope there will be some sort of sequels developed for this film as it was such a good starting point for the character that it seems a shame to leave off here when she has really only just begun her role as Wonder Woman as the feature reaches it's end.

Overall the animation was spectacular, the best Warner Premiere has done yet. The story while suffering some pacing issues (to be expected in a 74 min. feature trying to tell such an epic story), was true to the character and is overall well done and enjoyable. The score was worthy of a summer blockbuster and perfectly matched the epic tone. The voice actor's were for the most part spot on and made me believe the character's and think of them as seperate entities from the actor's voicing them. There is even a fair amount of humor and a bit of a love story mixed into the plot that only adds to the viewer's enjoyment. As well the DVD has a fair amount of special features that I found enjoyable to watch. I definitely give it 5 stars on blue spandex, especially for anyone who is a fan of well depicted heroines or Wonder Woman herself. Thanks For Your Time.
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on March 3, 2009
Created in 1941 by American scientist William Marston (with assists from his wife Elizabeth and their polyamourous lover Olive Byrne), Diana of Themyscira, Wonder Woman, has become one of the most famous heroes in comics. She is usually counted among the "Big Three" of DC, her owners, alongside Superman and Batman. This is, however, illusory in many respects; the character has never received even a fraction of the popular or creator attention of her alleged compeers (having, for example, to settle for a supporting role in Bruce Timm's own DC Animated Universe when the others got series of their own). This is the first new solo Wonder Woman project in any medium apart from comics in more than thirty years.

As mentioned, Timm and co. have worked with the character before, on "Justice League Unlimited", an exercise which was frankly a disastrous adaptation of the character. Stripped of her personality and most of the important parts of her origin, with her villains and supporting cast either not there at all or bland ciphers, very little of what made the character great came through there. I was apprehensive approaching this DVD, because, while a huge fan of Timm's animation, his track record with Wonder Woman is not good. It was also hardly encouraging for writer Michael Jelenic to admit to not having known anything about the character before he was assigned to the film. I should say, some spoilers are to be found.

The basic plot, as has been outlined in the other reviews here, is in common with Diana's previous comics origin stories: Ares, God of War (Mars, in Marston's original version) is loose and out to destroy the world, and it is up to the champion of his rivals in the Greek Pantheon to stop him. The Amazons, mythical race of warrior women, hold a contest to determine who will face the threat, and Diana, defying her mother's wishes, enters and wins. Whether or not she is accompanied by Steve Trevor as a love interest varies; here, she is. Nothing revolutionary here, but there's no reason to radically change a solid and important story (which Timm and co. did in JLU).

The animation is beautiful; by far the best stuff in any of the DC DVDs they've done so far. The Wonder Woman design is appreciably Greek, athletic and powerful while still very beautiful (though DC's own artists have a hard time rendering this version of the design consistently on the posters and other promotional material; compare the covers of the single- and two-disk versions of this DVD) and many other characters, such as Artemis, are rendered more or less perfectly. The film can also be pretty funny, and it's pretty bloody, too; the battle scenes are close to flawless. This is easily the finest action yet depicted onscreen in DC's animated efforts, which is quite a high bar to clear. Bettering JLU, there's a more serious take on the character's mythology here, both in terms of the actual Greek mythology and Themysciran society, which in this case is inhabited by some actual characters with more than one dimension, rather than a bunch of drones lorded over by Diana's undeveloped mother.

And now we arrive at the parts of the story where the writers are asked to really interpret the character, and, once again, they trip (though on the whole I'd say not as badly). Sigh. I know (moreso than most, even) that Wonder Woman as a character has had a lot of different takes over her 70-year history, but in the broad scheme of things, there are in fact thematic elements that have been consistent from Marston onward. One of these, and really chief to the whole character, is that the Amazons are a superior and enlightened society who prize culture and the arts as high as martial prowess, love peace, and are meant to bring it to the wider world and save it. Get that through your skulls, Timm and co: superior society. Not "bloodthirsty Xena clones" and "strawman feminist". Because that's more or less what they are here, just like in JL/U. They're aggressively misandrist, to a point that they'e never been in the comics outside of abortions like Amazons Attack. If anything, they learn a valuable lesson on tolerance from Steve Trevor. They've got no philosophy or higher ideas here.

Speaking of Steve Trevor, he's back in his Silver Age form, ie, sexist cad. Why do writers keep thinking a feminist hero should fall in love with a cad who is constantly making jokey, piggish advances? I mean, if you want him as a love interest instead of the Perez version, at least go with Perez's take on his personality: Post-Crisis Steve was a competent, gentlemanly fellow.

On the subject of Diana's power levels; getting the thing that most people will talk about out of the way, she can't fly, which is lame (because creators are all obsessed with that stupid jet), but not insurmountable; the bigger issue is that her power levels are wildly inconsistent. When she first meets Steve, they get into a fist fight, at which he, in another unbelievable moment, actually holds his own for a bit, both in terms of martial arts proficiency and knocking her around. In other scenes (such as the clip they've shown online of her fighting Deimos), she's a mid-tier bruiser, throwing guys through walls and punching them across the room. Jelenic seems desperate to avoid any suggestion that Steve isn't Diana's equal in order to not offend male audience members, which is a terrible way to approach this sort of thing; Steve is not Diana's equal in combat in the slightest, nor should he have to be.

Setting aside these things (which, apart from power levels, are subjective, I suppose), parts of the plot/character-interaction are just baffling. Consider, after winning the Contest while in disguise to avoid her mother's ban on entering, Diana unmasks before the crowd and her mother, the Queen, who...has no reaction to this, whatsoever. That's a pivotal moment in the story, but Hippolyta just blankly offers congratulations. This has always been a key moment in the characters' relationship, but instead, there's nothing.

Timm's best work (ie, most of it) shows audiences the core of his heroes, what makes them unique and awesome as characters. Jelenic, the writer, mentioned something along these lines in his interviews: when talking about Hippolyta, he described her as "almost Wonder Woman, but she isn't, which leads you to the question of why isn't she Wonder Woman? What is is about her and Diana that makes Diana Wonder Woman?"

Jelenic never answers his own question. The war with Ares ultimately requires of Diana nothing that her mother couldn't have done, or Artemis (and not just because the Amazons all have the same powers here); absolutely anybody can use the Lasso of Truth here (indeed, it's Hippolyta's), and the defeat of Ares comes when Diana kills him with her sword.

Ooooh, nobody else could have done that. Except they can, and they do.

The contrast with George Perez's work in "Gods & Mortals" is just jarring here; Perez and later writers (such as Byrne, whose work on the character I find problematic in a lot of respects, did a lot of good in this respect) connect Diana's lasso with something inherent in her character, her devotion to Truth. When Perez's Diana faced down the God of War, she couldn't defeat him physically; instead, she realized that that wouldn't work, and instead she uses the lasso to show him that if he gets his wish to unleash ultimate war on the world in the nuclear age, he'll destroy the world, and thus all his worshippers, and, ultimately, he and the other gods will die too. That's something that nobody else could have done; that's why it was crucial that Wonder Woman save the world. Superman would have failed there; Batman would have failed; the rest of the JLA would have failed. It's Diana's wisdom (sufficient to outreason a god) and her special truth power that save the day.

I mean, it's great that they depict her as a great combatant, but that's the bare minimum for any superhero; we go a bit further here by having her and the other Amazons unapologetically use lethal force (suck on that, Geoff Johns), which is a bonus. But, fundamentally, the creators' answer here for what makes Wonder Woman cool and unique as a superhero is that she beats people up real good. The lasso is just an accessory that they use as fodder for jokes about people telling the truth a la "Liar Liar", rather than something that says something profound about her.

Maturity is more than just showing blood and making titty jokes; it's frustrating, when writers have laid the groundwork for a far more adult and intelligent Wonder Woman, one that wouldn't run afoul of any censor, Timm and his very talented associates seem incapable of taking us there.
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on January 5, 2009
This straight to DVD feature is the fourth in DC Universe/Warner Premiere's new line of animated features. They have released Superman: Doomsday, Justice League: New Frontier and Batman: Gotham Knight. Now we can experience Wonder Woman, a feature that finally gives DC's third biggest icon the attention and, for the most part, the portrayal she deserves.

The plot is an origin story about the amazon princess Diana and how a crash landed pilot named Steve Trevor and a run in with God Of War Ares finds her coming of age while proving herself to her mother and fellow amazons and becoming the Wonder Woman we all know and love. The story is well enough written, working hard to serve the spectacularly animated battle scenes. My only issue is that it doesn't serve the character's as much as it could and certain key moments end up getting brushed over as a result. Despite these issues and some weak plot points it is still entertaining and action packed from beginning to very end, which is what most will be looking for.

Voice's of the character's are provided by Keri Russell as the young Wonder Woman/Diana, Nathan Fillion as crash landed pilot Steve Trevor, Alfred Molina as the God of War Ares, Virigina Madsen as Diana's mother Queen Hippolyta and Rosario Dawson voicing Diana's fellow amazon Artemis. I feel all the actor's lend their voices to the characters quite well setting their own personalities aside to really play the part of the character's despite some cliche lines to be found.

This feature is rated PG-13 and it works hard to earn that rating. There are many nods to adult situations (most in passing or to provide humor), and there are many action filled battle scenes that show multiple killings though only specific shots of blood. That said I do find it odd that they took a more mature rating and only used it for more violence and risque jokes. It would have been nice to get deeper into the character's and have a more mature story to go along with the more graphic content but that's just a personal preference of mine and they did only have 74 minutes.

The production quality on these feature's has been steadily increasing with each one Warner and DC put out. The animation is truly amazing here with incredible directing details that only add to the overall quality of this feature. There are certain color filter's seemingly used at wonderfully chosen times as well as a level of depth and detail displayed that fans of these features have been waiting for. The sound quality is great with an epic score worthy of a summer blockbuster and sound mixing quality that adds more depth to the experience.

Overall the animation was spectacular, the best Warner Premiere has done yet. The story while suffering some pacing issues (to be expected in a 74 min. feature trying to tell such an epic story), was true enough to the character and is overall well done and enjoyable. The voice actor's were for the most part spot on and made me believe the character's. I was also surprised to find a fair amount of humor and a remnant of a love story mixed into the plot. Here's hoping that they will create some sort of sequels to this. I definitely give it 5 stars on blue spandex, especially for anyone who is a fan of well depicted heroines or Wonder Woman herself. Thanks For Your Time.
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on August 11, 2015
wow! I just got this today - the graphic novel, the blu-ray and dvd all in one great package. It's a beautiful, colorful hard cover book with the graphic novel and then the discs in the back cover - a real bargain for the price, especially for those of us who have followed the dvd's but not read the stories in the original. Now I can compare the story with the animated version, as so many fans discuss in the reviews. It's worth the double dip.
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on February 18, 2010
I only rented this movie because the lone copy of Planet Hulk was out at my local video store, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.

Being disappointed by previous DC releases like "Gotham Knight" and the crapfest that was "Superman: Doomsday" I had been putting off checking out the team's take on Wonder Woman. I'm happy to report that this is right up there with "New Frontier" in terms of quality.

Being an origin story, the movie does have it's share of tedious expository dialogue, but I found the performances and pacing of the story to be very enjoyable, along with a great script.

Nathan Fillion as Steve Trevor was the real highlight. Usually humor falls flat in these animated adventures with stilted dialogue coming from the editing process, but Fillion's delivery actually had me laughing out loud a couple of times.

Alfred Molina is also great as the villain Ares, really making the emotional moments of the character stand out just as much as the evil ones.

Keri Russel's readings were a little bland at times, but it sorts of fits the naive attitude of the character.

I would recommend this to casual fans of the character, very fun!
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on March 29, 2009
Most of the other reviewers have covered the highlights well, so I would only like to add that the graphics are awesome, the action is constant and this movie does justice to Wonder Woman. Pay attention to the PG-13 rating as some of the violence is a little unexpected and I think that it would catch younger children off guard.
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on March 15, 2009
Visually, the animation looks great on the Blu-ray version, clear and crisp. I thought this was an excellent retelling of Diana's origin story; it starts out with a bang, and it really establishes Diana's character and her universe. The only criticism I have is that personally, it took a long time for me to warm up to the Steve Trevor character, so it made many of the early foundational scenes with him drag. I really felt his character sucked the life out of half the movie. Once the pursuit of Ares really got going though, it was exceptional. I especially like the personification of Hades as a sort of Roman Jabba the Hutt.
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on March 6, 2009
I will begin by saying that I'm not a follower of the Wonder Woman comic books. My exposure to her character is limited to the Lynda Carter TV series, the Superfriends cartoons, & the Justice League animated series.

For starters, the animation is top notch. I was immediately drawn into the movie by the epic battle scenes, which were exactly that...epic. The voice casting was fairly well done. Virginia Madsen was spot on as Hippolyta. While I didn't exactly love Keri Russell as Diana, I didn't hate her, either. Her voice is strong enough but she seemed a little too monotone, to me anyway.

The storyline was good. The action scenes were balanced well with drama & surprising moments of comedy, which made me laugh out loud. I found Steve Trevor to be a little irritating & I can't see why someone like Diana would fall for him, which is why I gave the movie only 4 stars. Also, I don't believe they ever explained the invisible jet. I mean, if they've been essentially cut off from "man's world" for hundreds of years, where did the get the technology for the jet?

The special features include previews of the new Green Lantern movie, due to be released this summer, which looks very good. Previews of the Dark Knight animated movie, already released. Documentaries on the making of this move & the creation of the Wonder Woman comics. I found them very interesting. It also features two Justice League Unlimited episodes that star Wonder Woman: To A Distant Shore & Hawk And Dove.

Overall this is a great movie. I recommend it for adults & older children.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 7, 2016
- Wonder Woman (briefing Steve Trevor on Ares): "Imagine a god whose sole mission is to propagate terror, to incite eternal war and fan the flames of hate. A god who won't stop until the earth's populace, Amazon and outsider alike, lies murdered in a battlefield grave."
- Steve's response: "You smell good."

It'll be some years yet before the live action Wonder Woman movie comes out, so why not revisit the animated 2009 direct-to-DVD version? I'm partial to that iteration, seeing as how it's a loose adaptation of George Pérez's comic book reboot in 1987, namely the epic "Gods and Mortals" arc. I happen to think Pérez's interpretation was the most dynamic yet. He stressed the mythological aspect of Wonder Woman - the blood and guts of it - while honoring her status as a feminist icon. I love the emphasis Pérez placed on the dichotomy of Diana's push for peace while remaining very much the kickass warrior. Unlike the Lynda Carter version who wasn't allowed to punch the baddies, this Wonder Woman doesn't hesitate to get her hands dirty. She wrecks people and monsters!

Countering her knack for mayhem is her guilelessness. There's an appealing innocence about her, this never more pronounced than when she steps into man's world. The film's first act develops the mythology all over again, and it's a more comprehensive retelling. In times of antiquity, it chronicles Hippolyta and her Amazonian warriors' brutal campaign against Ares, God of War, and Ares's subsequent defeat and imprisonment in the bowels of Themyscira, his godly powers suppressed by Hera, rendering him unable to draw from the psychic energies of war. So, only minutes in, I guess we'd seen the last of the God of War, am I right?

Follows then the familiar origin story: Diana sculpted from clay by Hippolyta and given life by Hera; cocky USAF Colonel Steve Trevor crashlanding on the hidden island of Themyscira; the contest in the arena to determine the Amazonian emissary to the world of man (and Trevor's escort back). It's a fine script penned by Michael Jelenic and Gail Simone. The modern twists and turns they inject serve to keep tuned in we jaded comic book fans familiar with what creator William Moulton Marston wrought almost 75 years ago.

The cast of voices is strong, with Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion anchoring things as the two leads. Much of the humor springs from the battle-of-the-sexes banter between Diana and a womanizing Steve Trevor. Lots of gender jokes. See Steve flirt with Diana, to her bemusement. Also, see Steve try to drink Diana under the table, key word being "try."

Ever wonder how the Amazons end up with an invisible plane? Don't bother. It goes unexplained. On the other hand, it's neat that we find out why Diana's costume is splashed with the star-spangled colors.

Note that characters engage in frank, adult discourse. Be aware that the violence leans toward the more graphic. There are beheadings and impalements, and Diana, in all her innocence and compelled by the tugs of sisterhood, instructs a little girl at the park in the ways of swordfighting.

I can't tell you with any confidence why Wonder Woman isn't more popular. My best guesses are that 1) she's perceived as this bland, boring superheroine, 2) it's hard to relate to her origin story, and 3) it's super-hard for a woman to cross over in a patriarchal society. I've hopes for Gal Gadot. I hope she knocks it out the park. But while we're waiting, we could do worse than check out the 2009 animated movie. It's got blood and guts. It's crammed with action and with humor. It showcases Wonder Woman at her fiercest even as it presents, on even footing, her philosophy of peace and equality and sisterhood. But she'll kick your ass in a heartbeat.
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on February 23, 2009
When I first heard rumors of a Wonder Woman movie being written by Joss Whedon a few years back, all of my inner (and outer) geek squealed with delight. So imagine my disappointment upon hearing that WW had fallen through. Then along came this animated film. I wasn't sure what to expect. The voice actors have some serious credentials to their names, mostly big time film & t.v. stars. I loved the caliber of work done in the Justice League series but hoped for something a little more adult-friendly. And this is exactly what we've got. I've seen it mentioned that this film is rated PG-13 and that's exactly on the nose. The worst word is "crap" but there is some heavy violence with little to no blood spilt. Though I think some of the voice actors got a little overzealous with some of their (at times, cheesy) lines (Rosario Dawson AND Keri Russell), overall I felt that it went well. A co-producer of the film is Bruce Timm, of Batman & Robin fame (I thought I saw some of his handiwork in some of the art...)

The bottom line: I would highly recommend this film to any Justice League, Trinity, Bruce Tim, Batman & Robin animated series and, of course, Wonder Woman fans. It also bears mentioning that Gail Simone, alongside another writer, wrote the script and is the current writer for Wonder Woman as well as the past writer for the great series "Birds of Prey." I know I'll be getting my copy.
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