Movie studios, in response to decreased attendance, are releasing new films simultaneously in theaters and on online subscription channels. I watched the release of "Wonder Woman 1984" on HBOMax just after Christmas Day. Luckily, I didn't have to shell out money for the experience since I already have an HBO subscription, though I did pay for it in wasted time and disappointment.
The 2017 movie, "Wonder Woman," was a joy to watch. Gal Gadot in the title role was superb, as was the rest of the cast, it garnered positive reviews and a ton of money. The timing and pace were excellent, and the story line, spread over several decades, didn't get bogged down with unnecessary distractions. It had plenty of action, a formidable villain, and romance. Sentimentality was nicely balanced with hope for a better future. Unfortunately, "WW84" had very few of those qualities.
Gal Gadot does her best to carry the film. She insisted on doing most of her stunts, resulting in an injured spine. I'm a fan of Pedro Pascal, who was excellent in "The Mandalorian," but he and Chris Pine seemed like they would rather be doing something else besides this film. Pascal doesn't come across as a horrible, rotten villain, while Pine just seems tired and confused.
Since many of you will not be dissuaded by my opinion and will watch it anyway, I won't reveal any more details. Not that it would really matter, you'll still be upset afterwards. My purpose is not to provide a movie review but more to ask the question: why was this film set in the year 1984? Of all the years to choose from, why 1984? Was it a reference to George Orwell's book "1984?" Other than a few minutes of dystopian chaos caused by naturally selfish humans, I really didn't see a connection.
No, it seems that year was chosen to crack wise about the '80s questionable clothes fashions (especially men's wear), big hair, MTV, and cultural idiosyncrasies, such as jazzercise and hanging out at the mall. No mention of the big events of 1984: Indira Ghandi assassinated, Michael Jackson's hair catching fire, Bernie Goetz shooting some subway thugs, Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" commercial, or the Soviet boycott of the summer Olympics.
I can think of much more interesting years as a background for Wonder Woman movies. Alternative history could be explored with "Wonder Woman 9/11" set in 2001 or "WW/JFK" in 1963. Diana Prince is ageless, so she could show up in any particular year. She was involved in the first World War in the 2017 movie, why not have her help out in Korea in the '50s or the Vietnam War in 1968? I would argue that 1968 needed a superhero more than any other year I've lived through. Two assassinations, political and racial unrest, and unchecked crime that year would have required the entire DC superhero universe to fix.
Perhaps the next Wonder Woman movie (yes, there will be another) could be set in the second-worst year ever: 2020. Any number of ominous villains would be available to threaten the world: Putin, Steve Bannon, Mitch McConnell, Rudy Giuliani, Don Jr. and Eric Trump, the My Pillow guy; the list is endless! Plot scenarios abound with natural disasters, pandemics, armed conspiracy nuts, cyberattacks and murder hornets posing dire threats to humanity.
More likely, the choice of 1984 as the setting for the second Wonder Woman movie was based on a simple reason: That year's mundane events didn't detract from the movie's unbelievable plot. Taking into consideration all that happened in 2020, reality was perhaps more difficult to believe than an Amazonian woman with superpowers.
-- Devin Houston is the president/CEO of Houston Enzymes. Send comments or questions to [email protected] The opinions expressed are those of the author.