Wonder Woman (Blu-ray) (2017)

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Released 20-Sep-2017

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Additional Footage-Epilogue: Etta’s Mission (2:41)
Featurette-Making Of-Crafting the Wonder (16:25)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-A Director’s Vision
Featurette-Warriors of Wonder Woman (9:53)
Featurette-The Trinity (16:05)
Featurette-The Wonder Behind the Camera (15:34)
Featurette-Finding the Wonder Woman Within (23:08)
More…-Extended Scenes x 5
Alternative Version-Alternate Scene (6:14)
More…-Blooper Reel (5:37)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2017
Running Time 141:15 (Case: 140)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Patty Jenkins
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Gal Gadot
Chris Pine
Danny Huston
Connie Nielsen
Robin Wright
David Thewlis
Said Taghmaoui
Ewen Bremner
Eugene Brave Rock
Elena Anaya
Lucy Davis
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Rupert Gregson-Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Atmos 7.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 7.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
French
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
Icelandic
Norwegian
Swedish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Diana (Gal Gadot) is the daughter of Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), the queen of the race of immortal Amazons who live on the island of Themyscira, an island hidden away from the world by Zeus since the time of the Olympian gods, principally so that Ares, the god of war, cannot find it. Diana is the only child on the island and grows up surrounded by her mother’s female Amazon warriors. Hippolyta does not want Diana to be taught to fight, but her aunt, the great warrior Antiope (Robin Wright), takes Diana under her tutelage as she grows up.

     In 1918 Diana’s world changes when she sees an aircraft crash into the sea near her island and rescues the pilot, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). Almost immediately, a German ship penetrates the fog around the island and German sailors invade; the Amazons defend their island on the beach, wiping out the attackers but not without taking serious losses themselves. They then question Steve, who tells the Amazons about the death and destruction of millions of people in the carnage of the four years of WW1. But he adds that now, in late 1918, an armistice to end the war is being negotiated however the German general Ludendorff (Danny Huston) wants to use a deadly poison gas weapon being developed by his chemist Dr Maru (Elena Anaya) to derail the armistice negotiations, prolong the war and kill more millions. It turns out that Steve is a British spy; he had stolen a copy of the new poison gas formula from Dr Maru in Turkey and had been on his way back to London when he crashed near the Amazons’ island. Diana is convinced that Ludendorff is in reality Ares, bent on prolonging the war. As only a god, such as herself, can kill a god, Diana decides that she will go to Europe with Steve, kill Ludendorff and end the war.

     When they arrive in London, a naïve Diana experiences the delights of “civilization”, learning about shopping with Steve’s secretary Etta (Lucy Davis), and ice cream. But when the British High Command decline to act on Steve’s information, he decides to take matters into his own hand. Recruiting his friends the con-man Sameer “Sammy” (Said Taghmaoui), sniper Charlie (Ewen Bremner) and smuggler The Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) they travel with Diana to Belgium determined to cross no-mans-land between the trenches and find and destroy Ludendorff’s weapons facility before he can perfect and release the gas. Heroics, death and a twist await them.

     Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, was a critical and commercial success; it was the highest grossing film of the US 2017 summer season and it has the more than respectable rottentomatoes.com scores of 92% (critics) and 88% (audience). One might suspect that it has been overrated given the low bar set by a number of superhero films (including, it must be said, most of DC’s other entrants). However, as one who is not overly a fan of the overreliance in superhero films of CGI, their formulaic and one-dimensional characters and basic plots, I would have to say that for most of its 140 minute running time Wonder Woman is a treat and its ratings justified.

     This is because Wonder Woman, for a superhero film, does a number of things differently. And it does a lot of things very well. For a start, the WW1 setting is unique, and interesting. This is also Diana’s origin story, so it can concentrate upon the development and character of Wonder Woman / Diana without having to shoe other superheroes into the plot or to fit her into a superhero “universe” (although the old photograph which starts and ends the film also appears in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)). Diana is also a delightful and human (despite being a goddess) character. She is enquiring, naïve, wide-eyed at the world, trusting, confused and compassionate, athletic and beautiful, and she is played to perfection by Gal Gadot; the scenes as she experiences 1918 London are priceless. Gadot also shares a good chemistry with Chris Pine making them a couple you can cheer for; the scene of them dancing in the liberated Belgium village as the snow-flakes fall could have been clichéd and maudlin, but it works.

     Wonder Woman also has more heart than is usual in a superhero movie plus sadness and drama as people unexpectedly die or are killed. But as it is a superhero movie it features some impressive action sequences, especially the battle on the beach between the Amazons and the Germans complete with horses, bows, spears and rifles. This is mostly staged for real utilising stunt people, wire work and stop and slow motion camerawork which work well with limited CGI effects. The action in Belgium is also decent, but as the film nears its climax CGI becomes more prevalent until, in the final battle between Diana and Ares (yes, he does exist), the bloated CGI dominates, taking us well away from the almost reality grounded action that preceded it. But I guess it would not be a superhero movie without a huge CGI climax! Another problem with the film is that the subsidiary characters, including Sammy, Charlie and The Chief, are pretty much clichés and not very interesting.

     Wonder Woman was an unqualified success for DC, Diana holding up her head in competition with the Marvel superhero universe. It is an excellent superhero film and, indeed, a pretty good, entertaining film, period. DC can do some things right: although best not talk about Justice League.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Wonder Woman is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     Detail is very sharp, good enough to see the deficiencies as some of the CGI tiny figures fly through the air, while every line on the Amazon armour or dirt mark on the uniforms in the trenches is clear. However, in line with many recent films the colours have been manipulated; the scenes on the island are bright, even excessively so, with the blues, greens and golds vibrant. In contrast, London has a muted brownish palate while the trenches and Belgian scenes are dull grey, including uniforms (although Diana’s blue dress in the chateau dazzles). Blacks and shadow detail are excellent, skin tones natural, contrast and brightness consistent. Marks and artefacts are not present.

     English and Italian subtitles for the hearing impaired are available as well as French, Dutch, Finnish, Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The principal audio is English Atmos 7.1 (which defaults to Dolby TrueHD 7.1) and there are French and Italian dubs in Dolby Digital 5.1 plus an English descriptive audio using a female voice (Dolby Digital 7.1).

     I am not set up for 7.1 audio but even in 5.1 this is stunning. During quieter moments there is the ambient sounds of running water, the wind, waves, voices and passing crowds while the action is enveloping; during the beach battle there is the thunder of horses’ hooves, gunshots, the impact of arrows, spears and bullets, the thud of bodies. In the Belgian no-mans-land action scenes there are machine guns, explosions and impacts; during the climax around Ludendorff’s facility and the Ares v Wonder Woman battle everything is just chaos around the entire sound stage with the crash of impacts, eruption of the tarmac, destruction of buildings, explosions and the crackle of the gods’ electric bolts. The subwoofer was active adding rumble to the gods’ battle, explosions, destruction and the impacts. Through all this the dialogue was clear and easy to understand, pointing to a good sound design.

     The original score by Rupert Gregson-Williams is suitably stirring and epic.

     There are no lip synchronisation issues.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Epilogue: Etta’s Mission (2:41)

     An extra scene where, after the conclusion of the war, Etta gets The Chief, Sammy and Charlie together for a secret mission.

Crafting the Wonder (16:25)

     A fairly standard “making of’ covering the reason for making Diana’s origin story, how Wonder Woman fits into pop culture, Gal Gadot in the role, the look of the film, weapons and armour, sets and locations. It includes a decent amount of on-set behind the scenes footage including green screen and stunts and drawings plus comments by director Patty Jenkins, cast Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielson and Danny Huston, five producers including Zack Snyder, the DP Matthew Jensen, costume designer, armourer, set decorator, two modellers, production designer, location manager, visual effects supervisor and an executive of DC Comics.

A Director’s Vision

     Director Patty Jenkins discusses a number of the key sequences and locations. The various sections include concept art compared to film footage, on-set footage, previs, visual effects with split screen to the finished film, storyboards. The sections are:

Warriors of Wonder Woman (9:53)

     Shows the four months of training undertaken by the diverse group of women, from different backgrounds and with different skill sets, required to create the army of Amazons. Lots of footage of the women training plus comments from a number of them and their trainers.

The Trinity (16:05)

    An extended look at the character of Wonder Woman and her place alongside Superman and Batman in the DC Universe and the Justice League comics and film. Consists of stills of the comics, some Wonder Woman film clips and comments from a wide range of DC artists and writers involved in the comics, DC executives, Gal Gadot, Patty Jenkins and a couple of producers of the film.

The Wonder Behind the Camera (15:34)

    How the filmmakers sought gender equality in the film, in front and behind the camera. This extra focusses on a group of young female aspiring filmmakers visiting the set of Wonder Women and speaking to a variety of women working behind the camera, including a production designer, costume designer, hair and make-up personnel and visual effects supervisor.

Finding the Wonder Woman Within (23:08)

     Taking Wonder Woman’s character as a starting point a range of people from different backgrounds and ages (mostly women, but not exclusively) give their definitions of Grace, Courage, Wisdom, Wonder, Inequality, Power and Possibility.

Extended Scenes

     Selected individually, the scenes are:

Alternate Scene (6:14)

     Walk To No Man’s Land (1:04)

Blooper Reel (5:37)

     Goofing about and stuff ups; I loved the take spoiled by a horse trying to eat a prop tree.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region All US Blu-ray of Wonder Woman has slightly different language dubs and subtitle options but the extras are identical.

Summary

     While by no means perfect, for most of its running time Wonder Woman is a fun, entertaining, family friendly adventure film, grounded in a reality unusual for superhero movie. It is colourful, sad, funny and dramatic with action that is exciting, but bloodless, and characters we can care for. I am not a great fan of superhero movies although with the massive box office returns I guess I am in the minority, but I enjoyed Wonder Woman a lot until the CGI swamped the characters. Also, in an era of superhero movies linked into “Universes” you can enjoy Wonder Woman as a stand-alone film.

     The video and audio are just what they should be from a recent big budget action film. The extras are decent, resulting in an excellent Blu-ray package, although a commentary would have been good to round things off.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, May 07, 2018
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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