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I was just starting to write this out as a response to ying_ko_4 about the Supergirl movie, but I saw I was making a bigger point instead of just responding to his post (and, I suspect, I was coming close to going over the limit for response length), so I figured I should put it in its own entry.  Besides, I'm sure there's a few readers wondering what there could possibly be to not only enjoy in the movie, but that I could find enjoyable.

First of all, you have to keep something in mind -- as much as I can appreciate the art of movies, I am not a movie snob.  I can enjoy great acting and directing and enjoy B-movies and exploitation films, too.  Such films can be good.  What's the dividing line?  Passion.  A desire to make something good, even if you don't have the resources.

James Cameron has scored a major hit with Avatar.  And yet, if you listen to him talk in interviews, he refers to movies as "product." No kidding, he used it quite frequently when discussing Titanic and why he made the story choices he did.  The story was made to work, but based on external factors the audience would react to, not how the story and characters and situations shaped it.  I know lots of people loved Avatar, and that's great.  I could only sit there, marveling at how cliche everything happening was, from the whole "great white father coming to save the natives" to the relationships.  Consider that, for all the advanced technology, the humans didn't really have anything all that powerful that couldn't be overcome by the native Na'vi.  The main bad guys were just cliches -- a corporate type just looking to exploit and a war monger military type.  No depth, all you needed to know was you were supposed to boo and hiss at them.  Now, the movie at least kept moving (it's actually amazing how it sort of zips along despite nothing ever really being in doubt and it could have easily lost an hour of running time), but the fact is, it was designed by a committee, a committee of public opinion.

Now, let's take a look at Ed Wood.  God, I loved Ed Wood.  Well, I love the person.  He didn't have the money.  He didn't have the talent (oh GOD he didn't have the talent).  But, like the Tin Woodsman, he had heart.  He genuinely wanted to make something good, even if he didn't ultimately succeed.  A lot of the things he did are just things every other B movie maker did and still does.  I firmly believe that, had he spent a little more time and effort, Plan 9 From Outer Space would have been a perfectly acceptable B movie.  Not great, but certainly acceptable.  It's this difference that makes me enjoy the Corman version of The Fantastic Four with its B movie feel and $1.4 mil budget far more than the mercinary big budget features with Jessica Alba.

So, Supergirl.  What does that have to do with that movie?  Supergirl certainly needed some work.  But for what it was, it was a perfectly acceptable superhero movie.  I sometimes think part of what threw crowds was that the villain was a sorceress.  Only us comic book geeks know that the Super family is weak against magic (this was used to great effect in the Justice League cartoon when Superman fought Captain Marvel).

I think what really makes me enjoy the Supergirl movie is Helen Slater's Supergirl.  Supergirl was a hero.  She screwed up and she went to fix her mistake.  Despite being ill-prepared and massively overpowered by her nemesis, she didn't quit, even braving the dangers of the Phantom Zone to save the day.  Helen Slater is a heroic Supergirl.  By way of contrast, Lauren Vandervoort plays a come-fuck-me-now Supergirl on Smallville.  Slater's take is a character you want to root for, to see her succeed, who doesn't dodge her mistakes and responsibilities, but owns up to them and does the right thing.  Which is something they don't show often enough in the comic.  But I digress.

I can certainly see why people think the Supergirl movie was so bad.  But it's like Phantom Planet for me -- it occupies a soft spot in my heart that, depsite every instinct telling me I shouldn't be wrapped up in it, I watch and enjoy it anyway.  And I have no explanation or rationalization, it's just how it is.

There you go -- probably the only appreciation piece for the Supergirl movie you will ever read.  ;-)


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 14th, 2011 05:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I think.

I had a chance to buy the DVD when it came out and decided not to. Because I just don't much like it. I thought Slater was flat and wooden. I concur with your analysis of the Smallville SG, but I think that's as much a product of the writing and not the girl...besides, if she is going to 'redeem' herself and grow into a hero, she needs to start from someplace not so good, right?

Enjoyed the read, if not the movie. ":-)
Mar. 14th, 2011 11:29 pm (UTC)
"Enjoyed the read, if not the movie."

Best that could be hoped for under the circumstances....


You mean, you aren't going to give me shit for liking Corman's FF movie?!? I'm asking because that will make you the first person I've ever talked to to let that one be!

Then again, I said I liked Supergirl and Corman's FF. If I said I liked Shaquille O'Neal's Steel, chances are you wouldn't let me off so easily. ;-)
Mar. 15th, 2011 01:30 am (UTC)
I saw part of the Corman FF and yeah, it was silly and loopy and not even close to a decent movie...but it had a charm to it. It was sort of like a bulldog. Ugly enough to be kinda cute.

I never watched 'Steel' so I'll withhold judgment. I further plan on not watching 'Steel' so you're safe from me.

Goldsmith's score for the SG film was terrific. It's probably one of my favorites.
Mar. 15th, 2011 01:49 am (UTC)
"I never watched 'Steel' so I'll withhold judgment. I further plan on not watching 'Steel' so you're safe from me."

Steel is not good, but it's not bad enough. It has some problems, not the least of which is Annabeth Gish's character in a wheelchair. It is intended to be inspirational, but is handled so hamhandedly, it comes across as condescending.

On a scale of badness from 1 to 5, I would give it a 2. It's bad, but it doesn't fly off the rails and like a The Giant Claw or a The Brain From Planet Arous. It's just kind of meh, and misses its chances to be entertaining.
Mar. 14th, 2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
"I concur with your analysis of the Smallville SG, but I think that's as much a product of the writing and not the girl...besides, if she is going to 'redeem' herself and grow into a hero, she needs to start from someplace not so good, right?"

I would disagree on this. Supergirl in the comics (at least, originally. We'll leave the modern dorking around with her character out of this just to save time and aspirin. You read my posts, so you've read my complaints and there's no reason to drag them out again) was simply good. Unlike Batman, Huntress, and others, she wasn't inspired to be a hero because of some tragic event. She could help, and so she did. It may not be as deep a character arc, but then again, you are talking about the Super family. They are ostensibly supposed to be Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts. It's supposedly part of her character's ethics.

And while you are right that the writing determines character more than the actress, the actress was cast to project the writer's intentions. Not saying it's Vandervoort's fault, just that she's more a symptom than a cause. I mean, it's not like she can demand changes. They'll simply replace her with some other blonde they can cross-promote with Maxim or something.
Mar. 15th, 2011 01:35 am (UTC)
You're comparing apples to oranges and not being fair in the process. You want to talk about the SG we grew up with, fine. I'm there with you. I've got huge piles of SG comics (the 70's and 80's series...plus a lot of the Adventure comics as well. You're right about how she was then.

But, that's not the same character that's in Smallville. Has the same name, a bit different backstory, doesn't wear a cape, and is blond. There the similarities end.

She's a new take on an old character. The SA SG wouldn't work today. Sadly, nobody would buy it. So, I stand by my original analysis/statement/words/pile of poo, whatever you want to call it and say the SG on Smallville is a product of the writing. The chick they got to play her meets the needs of the character as written by the series writers...which works in that setting.

Mar. 15th, 2011 01:53 am (UTC)
I would like to point out that my dad loves the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes movies. Loves 'em. Considers them the definitive takes on the character. To the point where he refuses to even think about watching the Jeremy Brett episodes because no one will ever compare and he refuses to change his mind.

I mention this because I started writing a post continuing along the lines of my interpretation of Supergirl and my refusal to yield, then I stopped.

And I thought, shoot me for a duck, I've become my father!

I've said, sooner or later, we all become hypocrites. Here's yet another example of my own. * rolls eyes *
Mar. 15th, 2011 12:54 pm (UTC)
Taken by themselves, the Rathbone/Bruce Holmes movies are fun. And there are many Sherlockian's who feel that Rathbone played a great Holmes. The stories, by and large, were silly and insipid. I am a great fan of The Master, so I prefer the Brett rendition on TV, and have read the Canon numerous times, as well as a raft of pastiches...

I don't know that we all become hypocrites, Pete. What I think happens is that at a certain point we stop considering new things, new ideas and ways of doing things. I know I'm guilty of this, as I won't watch the BBC's latest Holmes TV show. Because it isn't set during the late 19th Century...even though people whose opinions I respect tell me that the show is good, and that I would enjoy it, I just can't seem to get excited about watching it.

And we all become our fathers at some point in time. Just a part of life, I suppose. Don't be so hard on yourself. You're a good guy...honest.
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