Written by: Daniel McDonald
In 1980, a little known, little seen film about a Summer Stock Theater Company in 1951, starring Frank Langella, (DRACULA) Thomas Hulce ,(ANIMAL HOUSE, AMADEUS) and Glynis O’Conner (ODE TO BILLY JOE- what the hell happened to her?) with an interesting title that has stuck with me as clear as a bell for 37 years THOSE LIPS, THOSE EYES opened to better than average press. I saw the little romantic comedy, enjoyed it for what it was, and pretty much forgot about the film, but for some odd reason, not that damn title.
Today I saw an absolutely… (yeah I’ll say it) WONDERful film, quite possibly the best of the year thus far, that had those 4 words constantly running through my mind. The almost supernaturally beautiful Gal Godot and the ever matinee idol charms of Chris Pine (ohh those lips, those eyes) are just two of the powerfully stunning visual wonders (oops, there I go again) in WONDER WOMAN. Introduced to us cinematically a year and a half ago in the vastly underwhelming BATMAN V SUPERMAN, Godot’s portrayal made a few ripples in the industry, but didn’t exactly have me drooling for her upcoming solo project.
Then came the highly negative advanced screening buzz, saying basically that unless major re- shoots (some of which happened with a 5-month pregnant Godot) were ordered, this high priced, female directed (Patty Jenkins whose resume included the very good MONSTER, which won Charlize ATOMIC BLONDE Theron an Oscar) gamble could be Summer 2017s biggest disaster.
Well after a testosterone- fest that included frighteningly underperforming clunkers like THE WALL, THE LOST CITY OF Z, LIFE, KING ARTUR, LEGEND OF THE SWORD, BAYWATCH, THE CIRCLE, CHIPS and a few female train wrecks (sorry folks, had to go there) like SNATCHED, along comes a film that underused adjectives such as epic, majestic, masterful, kinetically charged, visionary, romantic, highly emotional, colorfully evocative are being used to describe.
The Island of Paradise where a young Diana secretly learns to master the incredibly physical warrior skills of her sister Amazons is a visually sumptuous feast of coastal Italy (cinematography by Matthew Jensen going hand in hand with editing by Martin Walsh are just two of many elements including the director Miss Jenkins and the film itself I feel are absolutely OSCAR worthy) that, in lesser hands could have been CLASH OF THE TITAN 2. The establishment of tone between breathless fantasy and bruising reality, brought to mind the terrifically enjoyable CAPTAIN AMERICA films, but the completely unforced, natural and humorous sense of girlish innocence and brilliantly executed girl power (a very well balanced narrative created by Allen Heiberg and seasoned veteran Zach Snyder) brings wonderfully cinematic elements together with such ease, that in addition to State of the Art action sequences ( truly amazing ) a supporting cast that actually supports, wonderful period recreation that is pure eye candy, an absolutely charming chemistry between Gadot (on her way to massive career success) and a “never been better” funny, charismatic Chris Pine, FX that truly are ” special”, you may find, as I did (very much like LOGAN) tears in your eyes, a smile on your face and total fan satisfaction in your heart….I. J. S.