Wonder Woman (2009, 74 minutes)
Plot: There is a LOT of plot packed into this short feature, but the gist is Aries has escaped a centuries-long imprisonment at the hands of the Amazons, with the aim of plunging the worlds of man and Amazon into chaos and war. Diana, with the help of Air Force pilot Steve Trevor, must stop his evil plot.
Source Material: Unfortunately I’m not as well-read on my comics literature as Austin (nowhere near), so I can’t comment on how faithful this is to source material. What I can say is it seems to know the mythology it is based on rather well (while skimming over some of the… nastier elements).
Animation: WOW, this is probably some of the best animation I’ve seen in a direct-to-video project. The fights are spectacular and well choreographed, the cinematography is bright and colorful where it needs to be, and dark and grimm where appropriate. The shot staging unmatched by ANYTHING in the DTV world, and indeed most things on television. I don’t hesitate to say that this is theater-grade animation.
Script: Wow, this hour-long script seems to master packing it in. It manages to cover all the fine points of its own self-contained plot while still managing to hint at the MUCH larger mythology that Diana and the Amazons come from. The first 9 minutes alone is probably one of the best quick origins I’ve seen anywhere. It includes a ton a action, masterfully interwoven with all the information we need to get started. The main thread of this film is the unification of the long-hidden Amazon world and the “world of man”. To call this a battle of the sexes would be oversimplifying, as well as doing the intricacies of the story a great injustice. Again, this would fit in a theater setting without flinching. I’ve never read a comic by Gail Simone, but after this movie, I might seek out some of her stories.
Voice Acting: The voice acting, if I am forced to nitpick, is the only area I would say needed more work. It’s not terrible, in fact it’s perfectly serviceable, but it could’ve maybe used a bit more enthusiasm. Nathan Fillion and Keri Russell are strong as the leads, but Alfred Molina wasn’t quite… evil enough.
Final Verdict: Very strong overall, probably my favorite of any of the DCAU movies I’ve seen (granted I haven’t even seen half of what Austin has seen, especially at this point. Great animation, very cinematic, awesome fight scenes, strongly paced, this film gets a 5 out of 5 from me.