Thursday, March 20, 2008

Guilty Pleasure 2: Supergirl

In 1978, director Richard Donner unleashed on the world what I believe is his finest moment as a filmmaker, "Superman." 30 years later it is still possibly the greatest comic book movie ever made. "Superman II" arrived in 1980, and despite behind the scenes turmoil, including being partially directed by Donner and partially directed by Richard Lester, the end result was still a great follow-up. By 1983, however, the series was pretty much box office kryptonite after the disastrous "Superman III." But producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind had one more trick up their sleeve, a spin off film...1984's "Supergirl."

It seems that Kal-El wasn't the only survivor of the planet Krypton. In fact, quite a few Krptonians, including Superman's cousin Kara, are livin' la vida loca in Argo City, which exists in "Inner Space." What keeps the lights running in this place is a glowing croquet ball called the Omegahedron. When it goes missing, it's up to Kara to get it back. She follows it to Earth where it's snatched up by a wanna-be sorceress, Selina. When Kara isn't flying around looking for the thing, she's disguised as a mild-mannered student named Linda Lee (continuing the tradition of double L names in Superman) at an all-girls school in a small Illinois town where they apparently love Howard Jones music and eating at Popeye's Fried Chicken.

Helen Slater makes her movie debut as the title character, and she makes a good Supergirl. She was nominated for a Saturn award for her performance, but for all we know that could've been based primarily on the fact that she looked cute in a short red skirt and go-go boots. Seriously, her performance is good, but it's the veteran actors who ham it up. Faye Dunaway, Peter O'Toole, Mia Farrow...sure they don't have much to work with, but come on folks!

I've always had a problem with the sort of sci-fi / fantasy plot device they use here...there's some sort of magical object that spins and glows and we're all doomed if the good guys don't get it back. This is actually the same plot device they used last year for "Transformers." I suppose that film is not that different from "Supergirl." There you had a film that had a dumb story but was enjoyable because...well...who doesn't like giant robots fighting? "Supergirl" has the same basic dumb story, get the magic glowing thing, but is likable because...well...who doesn't like pretty blond superheroes, right?

There is a rumor floating around that Hollywood may have it's eye on making a new Supergirl film, but this one will always have a place in the "so bad it's good" file.

No comments: