THE SUM­MER MOVIE

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - DAVID FRESE

This sum­mer movie sea­son is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant to a lot of peo­ple, all be­cause of one movie. “Won­der Woman.” Here’s just one ex­am­ple: Be­fore she be­came an il­lus­tra­tor and writer, Amanda Con­ner wanted to be a su­per­hero when she grew up.

“I made some card­board bul­let­proof bracelets like Won­der Woman had,” she said. “I got my brother to shoot plas­tic pel­lets from his pel­let gun at me — I don’t rec­om­mend any­body do that. Then when I re­al­ized that wasn’t re­ally a ca­reer op­tion I de­cided to go into comic book art.”

To­day, Con­ner draws and writes for DC Comics, in­clud­ing books fea­tur­ing Har­ley Quinn from last sum­mer’s “Sui­cide Squad” movie.

Con­ner said “Won­der Woman” isn’t a once-in-a-life­time event — it’s once in two life­times.

“It’s one of those things I’ve been wait­ing my whole life for — my mom has been wait­ing her whole life for it,” she said. “My mother wanted to be Won­der Woman when she grew up. So it’s a long time com­ing.”

There has been some wail­ing and gnash­ing of teeth over this sum­mer’s movie slate. An­other “Trans­form­ers”? A movie about emo­jis? “Cars 3”?

And don’t even start with “The Nut Job 2.”

Maybe the sum­mer movie sea­son isn’t what it used to be. Maybe stu­dios are look­ing at re­lease dates out­side of the usual May Day to Labour Day win­dow.

Or maybe af­ter Rey and Jyn Erso in the two most re­cent “Star Wars” movies, Black Widow in five Mar­vel movies and Hermione in eight Harry Pot­ter films, Hol­ly­wood is — fi­nally — tak­ing the hint: There’s an­other kind of movie­goer out there.

And she’s ex­cited to see peo­ple like her­self on the big screen.

It has long been said that fe­male movie­go­ers will go see just about any­thing, but ask a guy to watch a film with a fe­male cast, di­rec­tor or lead and he’ll act like he just con­tracted cooties from a mid­dle school wa­ter foun­tain.

“I wish I knew how to fix that be­cause it doesn’t make any sense to me,” said Bar­bie Banks, di­rec­tor of the Cit­i­zen Jane Film Fes­ti­val at Stephens Col­lege in Columbia, Mo. “Women make films about all va­ri­ety of top­ics, not just things that in­ter­est women. But film is such a pow­er­ful medium, to have that sort of block­buster is a way to start break­ing this down.”

“Won­der Woman” comes out June 2. The DC Comics-based film stars Gal Gadot and is di­rected by Patty Jenk­ins. The film may have one of the high­est pro­files this sum­mer, but other film­mak­ers also have amped up the ap­peal to fe­male au­di­ences.

May 5 saw the re­lease of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” the se­quel to Mar­vel’s sur­prise block­buster about five space odd­i­ties and a pow­er­ful gem that can de­stroy a space sys­tem.

Di­rec­tor James Gunn wrote on so­cial me­dia late last year that he in­creased the se­quel’s fe­male roles well be­yond the in­fa­mous “Bechdel test,” i.e., do two or more fe­male char­ac­ters talk to each other about some­thing other than a male char­ac­ter?

“We not only pass the Bechdel test, but run over it and back up over it again and again in an 18wheeler truck,” he wrote.

“I am sick of sto­ries where there are a bunch of fully re­al­ized male char­ac­ters and one fe­male char­ac­ter, whose pri­mary char­ac­ter­is­tic is sim­ply be­ing ‘the girl’ or the per­son­al­ity-less ob­ject of some man’s af­fec­tions.”

To that end, he gave sis­ters Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gil­lan) their own mis­sion in the film and added a new weirdo who fits right in with the Mar­vel mis­fits.

“We have these fan favourite char­ac­ters of Drax, Rocket and Groot be­cause they’re all idiots,” he said. “My new char­ac­ter — who I’ve fallen deeply in love with — is Man­tis, played by Pom Kle­men­ti­eff, and she’s amaz­ing in the film, a truly mag­i­cal per­former; so, so funny, and just as strange as those other three.”

Also plenty strange, but prob­a­bly a shade more in­tense, is “Alien: Covenant,” which opens May 19. This is Ri­d­ley Scott’s sec­ond pre­quel (af­ter 2012’s “Prometheus”) to his 1979 space hor­ror clas­sic “Alien,” which gave us Sigour­ney Weaver as bad-ass space hero Ri­p­ley. The last woman stand­ing in this in­stal­ment is Daniels, played by Kather­ine Water­ston.

There’s more. The res­ur­rected corpse in Tom Cruise’s “The Mummy” (June 9) is an un­dead and very un­happy queen, and Luc Bes­son’s “Va­le­rian and the City of a Thou­sand Plan­ets” ( July 21) fea­tures Cara Delev­ingne as the ti­tle char­ac­ter’s equal part­ner.

“Atomic Blonde” (July 28) fea­tures Char­l­ize Theron as an un­der­cover agent sent to Ber­lin dur­ing the Cold War. It has been de­scribed as a fe­male “John Wick,” which starred Keanu Reeves.

Banks said she likes “Atomic Blonde’s” premise of an un­apolo­getic fe­male as­sas­sin.

“She doesn’t have this typ­i­cal sto­ry­line about how she be­came this as­sas­sin be­cause of some man or some­thing bad hap­pened to her,” Banks said. “I think hav­ing films that don’t have this twist of, ‘Well, she was a mother and she lost her baby’ or ‘She was scorned by a man’ help be­cause she’s just this char­ac­ter. That’s just who she is.”

Banks says the sum­mer re­lease she’s most en­thused about is Sofia Cop­pola’s “The Be­guiled” ( June 30). The Civil War-era film stars Ni­cole Kid­man as the head of a pri­vate school for girls who takes in an in­jured Union sol­dier (it doesn’t look like it ends well for him). And while Banks’ tastes are more in the realm of in­de­pen­dent film, there’s no deny­ing the ap­peal of “Won­der Woman.”

“Not only is she a strong char­ac­ter, but she’s that way be­cause of the other women in her life,” she said. “I think that res­onates with fe­males be­cause we tend to have our lit­tle squads that raise us up and keep us go­ing and act as su­per­heroes in our lives.”

Shana O’Neil, a Cal­i­for­nia writer who goes by @GeekGir­lDiva on Twit­ter, wrote last week on for Fan­gr­rls on Syfy Wire that she’s wor­ried the stu­dio doesn’t re­al­ize how im­por­tant “Won­der Woman” is. As ev­i­dence she cites the film’s mar­ket­ing or lack thereof.

“‘Won­der Woman’ fi­nally gets her own movie and the movie mar­ket­ing ma­chines for DC and Warner Bros. haven’t seemed to have chugged to life,” she wrote. “Where are the TV com­mer­cials and prod­uct tie-ins (yes, I know about Dr. Pep­per, other ones please)? Bat­man and Su­per­man both had their own break­fast ce­real, so where’s my Won­der Woman ce­real? I’ve seen toys but no toy com­mer­cials.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for DC En­ter­tain­ment and Warner Bros. de­clined re­quests for in­ter­views on the topic. But O’Neil’s con­cerns do bring up an in­ter­est­ing ques­tion: If the movie isn’t mar­keted heav­ily be­cause of fears it won’t do well, does that be­come a self-ful­fill­ing prophecy?

“That is 100 per cent ab­so­lutely my fear,” O’Neil said by phone the other day from Cal­i­for­nia. “‘Won­der Woman’ is 75 years in the mak­ing. But also it’s a stand-alone film with a fe­male su­per­hero and a woman di­rec­tor, and we’ve seen in the past where things like this have not been mar­keted well . ... When I have to Google when this movie is com­ing out and it’s com­ing out June 2, that’s weird.”

Even with­out a huge mar­ket­ing blitz so far, El­lie Ann, a Jo­plin, Mo. based writer, said there’s plenty of ex­cite­ment for the film in her house.

“I just want to cry, it is so amaz­ing to see a movie cen­tred around a fe­male su­per­hero,” she said.

“I’m ex­cited to see how they por­tray fem­i­nin­ity vs. power. I want to see her kick some ass. I’m just ex­cited to raise my daugh­ters in this time. There are so few women por­trayed in the me­dia, and it’s chang­ing.”

CLAY ENOS, WARNER BROS. PIC­TURES

“Won­der Woman,” star­ring Gal Gadot, may sig­nal that Hol­ly­wood is fi­nally fig­ur­ing out there is an­other kind of movie­goer out there.

BEN ROTHSTEIN, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ni­cole Kid­man is Martha Farnsworth, who runs a girls’ school dur­ing the Civil War in “The Be­guiled.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.