In 2005 Joss Whedon, the mastermind behind the iconic Buffy The Vampire Slayer, was sent to write and direct the first big screen adaptation of the one and only Wonder Woman. Sure, the most powerful woman in the world has been brought to life before on television, portrayed by the lovely and talented Linda Carter, but never had the Amazonian princess made it to the movies. Seeing what Whedon had accomplished with the girl power friendly Buffy Summers, it seemed as though he would be the perfect guy to finally make a Wonder Woman film. But after two years of work without any sort of finished script, Whedon left the project. According to an interview with AV Club, the powers that be at Warner Brothers didn’t like the outline he presented for the film. Said Whedon “The lack of enthusiasm was overwhelming. It was almost staggering, and that was kind of from the beginning.” Subsequent screenwriters have taken a shot, and while Wonder Woman continues to be viewed as a priority for the studio, it seems as though nothing is forthcoming.
While it would have been interesting to see what Joss Whedon would have come up with, it’s not surprising that Wonder Woman has had such a tough time getting her story off the ground. One of the main problems is that there just isn’t a defining villain or storyline that makes for a compelling Wonder Woman tale. Can you name anyone in Wonder Woman’s rogues gallery? Non-comic fans know who The Joker is, they know who the Green Goblin, Doc Ock, and The Sandman are. Me, I don’t have a clue who Wonder Woman’s arch nemesis is, and I read comics all the time. Add in the fact that on the surface Princess Diana appears to be a fairly one dimensional character, and it’s easy to see why few can muster up much enthusiasm for the film project.
And then I watched the recently released Warner Brothers/DC straight-to-DVD animated feature Wonder Woman. Cue angels and trumpets, because there’s your movie, right there, under our noses and on our tv screens.
Written by Wonder Woman comic scribe Gail Simone and Michael Jelenic and starring Keri Russel as the voice of Wonder Woman, the animated film tells the story of Princess Diana’s first meeting with pilot Steve Trevor, who crash lands on the Amazon’s island of Themyscira, which has been hidden from the rest of the world for centuries. Diana must bring Trevor back to man’s world, where she must also battle Ares, the God of War, who has escaped from his prison back on Themyscrira and is determined to rule the world.
As the Queen and I watched the 75-minute film the other night, I kept commenting to her “this would make an awesome movie!” And it really would. It had it all. Conflict between the sexes, conflict between the Amazons. A badass villain in Ares, with a special trip to Hell to mingle with Hades. Simone and Jelenic did an amazing job of making Wonder Woman’s world a compelling one to visit. In fact, while it may be the fourth in DC’s animated features (following Superman:Doomsday, Justice League: The New Frontier, and Batman: Gotham Knight), there’s no question in my mind that Wonder Woman is the best of them all. The voice work is solid, the animation is flawless, but it’s the story that makes it all worth watching. And who would have thought that about Wonder Woman.
For those that have been waiting for Wonder Woman to make it to the big screen, fear not, for the ingredients for a great live action film are all there in the animated feature; it’s just waiting for the right person to come along and give the Amazonian princess flesh and blood.