Film,  Uncategorized

REVIEW: Supergirl (1984)

Supergirl (1984)
Written By:         David Odell
Directed By:       Jeannot Szwarc
I opened the
Superman III review with the
question of following up two hit films. 
Well, the question today is similar: How do you follow up on Superman III?  The film was far from loved by the general
public and Reeve had cooled on coming back after the experience of making it so
now you are potentially without the actor who is the beating heart of your film
franchise.
Fortunately,
if you are the Salkinds you have a potential ace up your sleeve.  When they purchased the film rights for
Superman in the seventies they also purchased the rights to a related character
for just such a situation.  So, how do
you follow up Superman III? You make
Supergirl.
On the
surface, it appears that the Salkinds learned their lessons from the Richard Donner
film pretty well.  They sought out a strong director
in Jeannot Szwarc on the recommendation of Christopher Reeve (Reeve had worked
with Szwarc on the film Somewhere in
Time
) and after casting Helen Slater in the title role they cast Peter O’Toole
for the mentor role of Zaltar and Faye Dunaway for the role of the villainous “Selena.”  They also brought in Jerry Goldsmith for the
score, Goldsmith had scored Alien
and Star Trek: The Motion Picture
before this point and had been one of Donner’s choices to compose the music for
Superman.
“On the
surface, it appears…” Great weasel phrase, right?  If
the movie had worked it would be meaningless but if the movie failed, it would
allow me to basically throw all the blame right into the lap of the Salkinds.  Boy, oh boy does this movie fail.  It’s a valiant effort to be sure and you can
tell everyone is trying, Helen Slater has some presence and charisma and O’Toole
and Dunaway have turned up the volume as high as possible in their scenes but
there’s just nothing for anyone to do. 
The movie
starts off fine.  Zaltar, Kara and her
family live in Argo City in a pocket dimension powered by an artifact called
the Omega Hedron.  When Kara accidentally
loses the device, Argo City is on the brink of destruction.  Kara escapes to follow the Omega Hedron to
Earth and retrieve it while Zaltar is condemned to the Phantom Zone. 
Unfortunately,
once Kara arrives on Earth the plot is held together by the narrative force of “Well,
I guess this happens next.”  Selena finds
the Omega Hedron and decides to use it to conquer the world because… Why?  Kara arrives in a Supergirl costume and beats
up a couple of rednecks because of course she does.  She decides to go to a local private school
under the name of Linda Lee and ends up the roommate of Lucy Lane because
reasons.
Later, Kara
and Selena fall in love with and compete for the affections of a hunky
landscaper named Ethan.  By the way, even
after watching the movie for this review I had to look up his name on Wikipedia
that’s how little an impact he makes on you.  However, as a result I learned that the actor, Hart Bochner would go on to be
much more memorable playing “Ellis” in Die
Hard
four years later and direct the cult comedy PCU in 1994.
Things just
seem to happen for two hours and when Kara returns to Argo City with the Omega
Hedron after causing Selena to destroy herself you just sort of shrug and say “Okay.”
Like I said,
there’s so good things in this.  Helen
Slater and Faye Dunaway are both enjoyable and there’s a couple of fun
sequences but not enough to lift it up.  It’s
not even really bad enough to be fun bad, in the end there’s just not much
movie here.
I guess if
you’re a Supergirl fanatic or a completionist there’s something to watching
this movie, otherwise skip it and go watch the Melissa Benoist series and be glad
that someone is giving you a Supergirl adaptation worth watching.  I’ll even send you on your way: 
http://www.cbs.com/supergirl/
 

In the
meantime, come back tomorrow for
our next review in the
25 Days of Batman -v- Superman Celebration!

Just another guy on the internet.

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