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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Adventure > Comedy > Romance > Wonder Woman 1984 4K (2020/DC Comics/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

Wonder Woman 1984 4K (2020/DC Comics/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B Sound: B+ Extras: C+ Film: C+

Despite fine showings from women in the superhero genre from Regina King in the Watchmen TV series, Captain Marvel, Mera, Black Widow and many others, Wonder Woman still manages to be the most popular of all the superheroines, which comes from a lot of hard work and the near miracle of Gal Godot being perfectly cast as the current era version of the Paradise Island native. She just keeps getting better and better and is one of the things that saves Patty Jenkins' all-over-the-place first sequel to the first hit feature, Wonder Woman 1984 4K (2020) with a mega-budget and plenty of ambition.

The film starts with a flashback sequence to when Diana was a child back home on the Island, taking place in a competition where she learns a valuable lesson that helps her later. Forward to the year of the title and she is now working at a museum helping them with artifacts that she has an 'amazing knack' for figuring out the origins of, plus some great stories she 'read over the years' to be a big help to the place. She even reaches out to a new employee (Kristen Wiig, who is better here than she is getting credit for) who also knows about artifacts. She is insecure, isolated and could use a friend.

But before all this, a desperate shyster (Pedro Pascal, channelling Kenneth Mars a bit in the best way) is desperate for his oil scheme to produce profits, but manages to hunt down a special crystal that happens to be at the museum, so he suddenly becomes a big donor to get his hands on it. Turns out it can grant a big, single wish to anyone who holds it, but the cost is higher than anyone realizes... though Diana knows something is wrong.

She gets sidetracked when out of nowhere, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine back in full form) suddenly reappears and cannot remember how he got there., Diana does not realize why yet, but she is deeply in love with him and has missed him terribly since his natural passing years ago. Turns out they had a serious romance relationship that apparently happened in his later years and Wonder Woman disappeared for a while. Godot and Pine are great together again, with their wonderful chemistry and no matter what does or does not work in the film, they are the crux of it and the best reason to see it.

Unlike the relationship being only treated like a friendship in all the animated versions, a serious adult-level relationship in the Cathy Lee Crosby telefilm and as two separate Trevors whom Diana cares much for in the Lynda Carter series, this explores love and loss in the middle of the action and is a surprise in the middle of such a huge commercial film. Fortunately, the starts are solid actors and I wish even more time was spent on this aspect.

On the other hand, the comedy is a little overdone, a few child in jeopardy moments are initially problematic until the script offers an interesting twist later on about it all, the portrayal of the year of the title is decent, their version of Ronald Reagan is more bizarre than expected though and for every good decision the makers make, they make two unwise or bad ones. Thus, I can now see why the 2.5 hour entry has had such mixed reviews, as it seems to be trying to complete some kind of special demographics checklist (female fans, fan boys, various age groups, etc.) and the makers lose control of the film more than they should have. Still, Godot looks dynamite throughout, plays her as a little more vulnerable than expected (not a bad thing) and the makers never cut any corners on this one budget-wise.

I cannot say much more without ruining what does work, but to does eventually go way over the top when it did not need to and it could have used a few more action sequences. Otherwise, despite some disappointments and odd things that just do not work, it is still worth a look, but be ready to deal with more than a few down moments.

Before I get to the tech performance and extras, I wanted to deal with Wiig's work here. Though she is never called Cheetah, that is who she plays, the most well-known of Wonder Woman's villains, though in recent years, the character was changed from a sort of Catwoman variant to one that partly becomes the animal it is named after and that is the version we get here. When I heard Wiig was being cast as the character, I was thrilled because she looks like the character from years ago before I ever knew she existed and she is right on the money here, yet as we post this, she actually received the dreaded Razzie nomination for bad acting for her work here. After all the junk I have suffered through in this past first full year of the COVID crisis, those who voted for her obviously missed a ton of junk I know I suffered through and they are way off.

Funny enough, she reminded me a little bit of Jamie Foxx's fun work as Electro in a recent Spider-Man film that also got some of the same criticism as Wiig. Like Wiig, Foxx was delivering the character just fine and within the logic of the film, yet still got criticism that usually smacked of 'cheap shot' comments. Not only did Wiig do exactly what she needed to do here, but did the twists and transitions of the character better than she is obviously getting credit for, then this is the same year the great Glenn Close has received a Razzie and Oscar nomination for the same performance. The critics are off, I have not heard of any major fan complaints and I doubt any actress could have done a better job. I hope she comes back!!!

Now for the playback quality. As noted, Warner spares no expense for the DC movies any more than that other studio (ha ha) does for their comic book line-up, so it is no surprise that the 2160p HEVC/H.265, Dolby Vision/HDR (10+; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image looks pretty good, all shot on Kodak's incredible Vision 3 full color negative film in both 35mm and 65mm sizes. Of course, we get a ton of digital work, but it matches and the film's superior quality fo0rces the CGI gang to work at a higher level.

The framing here is in 2.35 X 1 for most shots and we get some 1.90 X 1 for the IMAX/70mmm footage. Sometimes color is amazing, but Jenkins and Director of Photography Matthew Jensen, A.S.C., do not go bonkers with bright, vibrant colors all the time, instead doing that where applicable and doing touches of it on otherwise more laidback color ranges. They make sure the costume design benefits best and the result is a little more visually complex to pull off than it appears. This disc is definitely taking advantage of the 12-bit color exclusive to Dolby Vision, though some shots were better to me than others.

The 1080p digital High Definition image is not bad and watchable, but no match for the 4K by any means as the older Blu-ray format cannot handle the depth, detail and color range here, including how her golden lasso glows gold when in use.

Both discs have the same state-of-the-art lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for older systems) soundmix. Because there is not enough action, the sound possibilities are not as consistent and powerful as they could be and some of the over-the-top sequences cannot be saved by any sound mix. However, dialogue, sound effects and other sounds are usually very clean, clear and realistic enough. It is worthy of the last film, but I liked its sound design a little better.

Extras include Digital Copy, plus the following group of extras than are often fun on the regular Blu-ray and include The Making of Wonder Woman 1984: Expanding the Wonder, Gal & Kristen: Friends Forever, Small But Mighty, Scene Study: The Open Road, Scene Study: The Mall, Gal & Krissy Having Fun, Meet the Amazons, Black Gold Infomercial, Gag Reel and a Wonder Woman 1984 Retro Remix that tries to recreate the opening of the Lynda Carter series with footage from the film, plus some animation and even live action additions that are amusing.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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