By Kieran Begu
The year is 1984, the blissful era of ridiculous hair-do’s, laughable fashion trends and the great boom of pop-culture.
The majestical Diana Prince lives in this changing world, hiding in the shadows. It has been 70 years since her fight in World War 1, and it has been 3 years since Wonder Woman took the world by storm.
Strictly speaking, not much has changed since the days at war. Diana remains an optimistic, shinning beacon of justice. Her first scenes involve her saving the day at a shopping mall, before cheekily winking at a young girl in total disbelief of what she has just seen.
Enter Steve Trevor. As part of some oddly contrived plot point, Trevor is able to rise from his grave without an ounce of his charm lost. He’s a fish out of water, imbued with an adorable naivety that helps audience ease into the changing world of the 80’s, just as Diana had done with WW1.
Cue a montage of Trevor stumbling around the city in awe. Gone are the days of poverty, the 80’s has watered America into a time of opportunity. The film will later revolve around the dangers of capitalism and instant gratification, albeit, to moderate success.
But retro shopping malls aren’t the only callbacks to older times. Wonder Woman 1984’s special effects look so cheap, so akin to something we’d see in Lynda Carter’s time that one has to wonder where the $200 million dollar budget went.
One scene sees Diana in a desert, flying around like Superman and ridiculously tearing down cars while Hans Zimmer’s overbearing theme plays in the background.
It’s supposed to be the ‘No Man’s Land’ scene, but it was precisely in that moment I realised this film was a train wreck.
For one, in typical Zimmer fashion, the striking, distinguishable electric cello that made Wonder Woman’s theme sound like thunder is replaced with a generic sound. What was volatile and full of identity was tripped to become soulless.
It also highlighted just how incoherent the script was. Characters fight and explosions go off with little sense of motivation. It is as if Micheal Bay replaced Patty Jenkins on the directors chair.
There are positives. The actors do a surprisingly fine job given the burden of the script and hold the ship from sinking.
Pedro Pascal swaps in his Mandolarian helmet for cheaply dyed hair, playing the insane megalomaniac with infectious energy. And while his fair could’ve used a little more restraint, he lights up the screen with each scene.
Chris Pine and Gal Gadot are like fireworks on screen. Their relationship is unfortunately scarce, but the time they spend together is magic.
And for all the criticism this film has copped for it’s special effects, Diana and Trevors date inside the fireworks was nothing short of visual splendour.
There are many, many fundamental problems with Wonder Woman 1984. The exposition is laughable, the story is convoluted nonsense. It is an unbearable misfire and an insulting downgrade from its triumphant predecessor.
But the reality is we don’t live in the peaceful utopia of the 80’s — we live in 2020. It’s a time where all our joys have been snuffed by Covid-19 and the world has been frightened.
Wonder Woman 1984 unabashedly, almost overbearingly wears its heart on its sleeve. In a time like this, that is more than welcome.