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Dan Barrett is an industry commentator & TV critic. He does radio - 4BC & ABC GC and co-hosts the Screen Watching podcast. He's a former Mediaweek deputy editor and content creator for SBS.
Wonder Woman 1984 launches. And does alright.
ALSO: Cobra Kai release date shifts. AND: Tom Hanks speaks.
We’re now on the other side of Christmas. I hope you all had a grand time with family, escaping family, and experiences in-between. Did you get that bike you wanted under the Christmas tree?
My TV viewing has been very light these past few days - the couch is calling me today, however.
The big release over the weekend has been Wonder Woman 1984. My own thoughts on the film:
The film is a mixed bag, much like how I felt about the original film. Gal Gadot makes for a great Wonder Woman and her chemistry with Steve Trevor (as played by the best Chris, Pine) is what absolutely sells the film. I’ve never cared for the Steve Trevor character in the past (the best Wonder Woman comics I’ve read never needed her in a romantic relationship), but the on-screen Wonder Woman here works best as a two-hander.
Like the first WW film, WW84 suffers from being too long - in no way did it need to be two and a half hours. The movie is too flabby and lacks the focus to fully integrate its two villains, which reduces the dramatic stakes on both plots. A much tighter 110 minutes would have been a godsend - please Apollo, make this happen for the third film.
The biggest issue for me is the terrible action sequences. One of the most exciting shows on TV is Ninja Warrior. It’s not something I watch often, but it’s incredible watching people on those obstacle courses showing the strength and abilities of people. They’re real-life superheroes. I marvel at the screen every-time I see these feats of strength on screen. That doesn’t exist with any of these films. Instead, this action movie is filled with scenes of weightless CGI characters. Physics don’t apply to any of them as they fail to exert any effort whatsoever.
At least Patty Jenkins was lighter on the slo-mo action this time through. That trash is unwatchable.
Cobra Kai now has a new launch date for season 3. It’ll debut a week earlier on Netflix - Jan 1. Read: The AV Club
Why was Noel Fielding not part of this year’s Great British Bake-Off Christmas Special? Paternity leave. Read: Radio Times
Tom Hanks on the future of cinemas
Hanx is out on the promo circuit for his upcoming News of The World. He was asked where he thinks cinemas vs streaming is headed.
“You want to see them [franchise films] writ large, because watching them at home on your couch actually might diminish them somehow in their visual punch,” Hanks said. “But the sea change that has been brought by COVID-19 has been a slow train coming. I think there will be an awful lot of movies that will only be streamed, and I think it will be fine to see them that way because they will actually be built and made and constructed for somebody’s pretty good widescreen TV at their home.”
The biggest event over the Christmas break has been the release of Wonder Woman 84 into cinemas. My understanding is that it is the 1,984th film in the series.
Warner Bros has announced that a third film in the series is on its way from director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot to “conclude the long-planned theatrical trilogy”. Interesting language as it not only emphasizes that the film is planned for a cinema release, but also that the series is coming to an end. Source: Variety
Including domestic US box office and international takings, the film is currently sitting at US$36.1 million. Not exactly a smash, but in pandemic times, it isn’t a shameful dollar figure. Read more: Deadline
I’m interested to see the first week’s takings here in Australia where cinemas re-opened in August, but have remained largely empty . Will this film jumpstart attendance?
In the US, half of HBO Max’s retail customers reportedly viewed the film. Or another way of looking at it: The movie that cost several hundred million brought in the same viewership as an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
Of course, the reason Warner Bros moved the film to HBO Max is to boost subscriptions and usage of the platform. It reports an increase of 3x the viewership on platform. That’s not tremendous - but also, HBO Max is actually a really great streaming platform with an incredibly rich library of content. It doesn’t take a huge imaginative leap to suggest that once more people sample HBO Max, that should start to snowball mass adoption of the platform. An increased audience today will only grow daily use going forward.
Rotten Tomatoes currently has the film scored at 66%. That seems fair.
Pedro Pascal plays the film’s villain Maxwell Lord in WW84. But it’s not his first time in a Wonder Woman production - he was cast in the ill-fated David E Kelley Wonder Woman pilot. Read: TV Line
Collider asks questions about body theft by Steve Trevor. Read: Collider
Lassie: King of The Monsters
“Good TV” didn’t mean the same thing in 2020
Megan Garber at The Atlantic writes about the importance of TV in 2020 and the value of TV content beyond its quality:
Was a given show “good”? Was it “bad”? I didn’t care, really. Instead, I craved a slightly different definition of quality. I wanted shows that made me feel just a bit better about the world, through their kindness or their zaniness or their offering of nostalgia—shows that made me, physically isolated from so many of the people I love, feel a little less alone.