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WONDER WOMAN

SYNOPSIS:
Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, raised on a sheltered island paradise and trained to be an unconquerable warrior. But when an American pilot crashes off their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside men in the war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers...and her true destiny.

Review by Louise Keller:
It's a winner! Every bit the Amazonian warrior princess, Gal Gadot leaps onto the screen in a smartly written girls' own superhero adventure with an appealing mix of action, romance, humour and spectacular effects. The film is directed by a woman - Patty Jenkins - best known for her 2003 film Monster, that won an Oscar for its star, Charlize Theron. Wonder Woman is an ambitious work in many ways in that its fantasy elements are transposed into 1918 wartime, marrying comic book action with a reality with which we are familiar. Gadot - statuesque and athletic - retains her femininity and spirit as Diana / Wonder Woman, standing tall on those long, long legs, as she tries to rid the world of Ares, the God of War in this saga about good versus evil.

After a brief prologue set in modern day Paris, we are transported to the timeless, mystical Island of Themyscira for the backstory. It's a misty cerulean fantasy setting where we meet Diana, daughter of Hippolyta, protective Amazon Queen (Connie Nielssen), who becomes trained as an Amazon warrior by her aunt (Robin Wright).

The story begins in earnest with the crash landing arrival of American spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) who works for British Intelligence and who Diana rescues. Pine, impossibly handsome with hypnotic pale blue eyes has sex appeal to spare. There's good chemistry between Gadot and Pine. Pine may have made a name for himself in major blockbusters such as this, his recent outing in Hell and High Water (2016) shows there is more to Pine than just a pretty face.

The scenes in which Diana Prince gapes in wonderment at Steve, the first man on which she has laid eyes are very funny, complete with double entendre. Her knowledge of intimacy relies on biology schooling; after all she was sculpted in clay and brought to life by Zeus, father of the gods.

I enjoyed the light-hearted early London sequences, when Steve takes Diana shopping - to find a more suitable (and less conspicuous) wardrobe to replace her sculpted mother of pearl metallic outfit. Then it's time to embark on the mission to the Western Front along with a disparate group comprising a liar, murderer, smuggler and spy. The aim is to dismantle the dastardly plans of a German general (Danny Huston) and a scheming chemist with facial deformities (Elena Anaya) intent on chemical warfare. David Thewlis as Sir Patrick from British Intelligence, plays an important role in the exposition.

The slo-mo action sequences are spectacular and suitably stylized for the film's comic book origins, with its roof top sequences, building demolition and a fiery climax. That is when Rupert Gregson-Williams's fabulous music score is at full flight. Throughout, Gadot (a former Miss Israel) flashes her eyes and displays integrity as she uses her indestructible bracelets, projectile tiara and flings her magic lasso. Her kung fu, kick boxing and jiu-jitsu training come in handy. Since audiences were introduced to the Wonder Woman character in the 2016 Batman Vs Superman, it was clear Gadot would be the perfect choice for the role, epitomising the strong female character replete with femininity, physical strength and goodness.

There is something refreshing about Wonder Woman and towers above many of the recent superhero movies. Sure, it's overlong at 141 minutes and would benefit from a nip and a tuck. It has integrity and conviction - and a fabulous leading lady in Gadot, who is sure to be an inspiration for the continuing success of the franchise.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

WONDER WOMAN (M)
(US, 2017)

CAST: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, Ewen Bremner, Lucy Davis.

PRODUCER: Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder and Richard Suckle

DIRECTOR: Patty Jenkins

SCRIPT: Allan Heinberg (story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg, Jason Fuchs; characters from DC)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Matthew Jensen

EDITOR: Martin Walsh

MUSIC: Rupert Gregson-Williams

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Aline Bonetto

RUNNING TIME: 141 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow (Warner Bros)

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 1, 2017







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