Friday, August 30, 2013

Why Don’t We Have A Wonder Woman Movie?

Are producers scared of some overly high expectations that might come with such a film? 

Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images
Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images

I recently got into an argument over Wonder Woman.

To be fair to both myself and my friend, neither of us had meant for our discussion to escalate into an argument. Both of us were coming from the same place—that we wanted a Wonder Woman movie already, thank you very much—although she was, at least, more realistic about the obstacles standing in the way of such a project.

Actually, that’s not entirely correct. It’s not that I don’t understand how and why various attempts to bring the character to live-action have failed—it’s that I have trouble accepting them. Saying that the character’s mythological roots are too distancing from mainstream (read: non-nerd) audiences doesn’t hold water for me, given that we’re about to get a second Thor movieAnd those who complain that the character is too rooted in a past era are directed to watch Captain America: The First Avenger.

(MORE: Where Are All the (Good) Female Superhero Movies?)

No, according to my friend, the biggest obstacle to a Wonder Woman movie ever being made is that the character lacks the central narrative anything like those given to her DC Comics compatriots Superman and Batman, resulting in a superhero without a clear purpose or core personality. A strong argument, I must admit, even if I can point to how movies from Marvel Studios often cherry-pick those elements from comic-book histories to create a ”movie version” of a character that can engage new audiences.

And I was struck by another thought: Perhaps Wonder Woman is, too much of an icon for adaptation. Maybe the real reason we haven’t seen a live-action Wonder Woman is because she’s … Wonder Woman. Sure, on a story level, Wonder Woman is no different than Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and so on. But in another sense, Wonder Woman is just a little bit more charged than those other characters.

Wonder Woman, after all, is the female superhero to most people. The hardcore comic fans know that’s not actually true, and would possibly delight in telling you about superheroines like Captain Marvel, Power Girl or Valkyrie or any of their crime-fighting sisters. Even those who have never read a comic book could possibly, with a moment or two’s thought, come up with names like Batgirl, Black Widow or Storm from the X-Men movies. Of all of those characters, however, only Wonder Woman has anywhere near the iconic status of a Superman, Batman or Spider-Man.

(PHOTOS: Look Up in the Sky: How Superheroes Fly)

That raises the stakes for a potential Wonder Woman movie, in some way. If Man of Steel failed, it would’ve been bad news for Warner Bros and sad for Superman fans, but it wouldn’t have impacted the legion of other superhero movies out there in any way. Same with the next Thor or Captain America movies; they’re just films about those particular characters, with no real weight or importance beyond that. A Wonder Woman movie, however…? That comes with a little bit more baggage.

A Wonder Woman movie would be the  first to have a solo superheroine since 2004′s Catwoman, and would have to shoulder the same mentality that argues that, because Sucker Punch flopped in 2011, female-led action movies are too much of a risk for studios (That, despite the success of The Hunger Games). A Wonder Woman movie wouldn’t be seen as “just” a movie about Wonder Woman, but a movie for all female superheroes, under both a microscope for hidden meanings and the sheer, crushing expectation of creating something that is, well, worth what’s now become a noticeable wait for a solo female superhero movie.

What if the difficulty in making a Wonder Woman movie has nothing to do with actually making the movie, but instead is all about coming to terms with the pressures that come from who Wonder Woman is in the metatextual sense. Could it be that making a Wonder Woman movie is just… too scary for most filmmakers to want to attempt?

MORE: Why Superman Deserves More Respect

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dolly Parton to Expand Dollywood With New Resort, Roller-Coaster

Dolly PartonShirlaine Forrest/
Dolly Parton is all about big things. And her Dollywood is no exception.
The country icon has announced plans to expand her popular namesake theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., with ambitious new attractions that will include a grand resort.
Per USA Today, the resort is part of a massive $300 upgrade that will stretch over 10 years. And, in vintage Dolly style, the 67-year-old entertainer is going all-out.
The resort, which she's calling DreamMore, will feature 300 rooms and sit on 100 acres, right next to Dollywood Splash Country. To build DreamMore, Parton purchased 20 additional acres of land to add to her theme park's existing property.
The star is shooting open its doors in the summer of 2015, and she sees nothing less than grand: Plans include a lobby with a three-story window offering stunning vistas of nearby mountains. There will be lots of front porch spaces—a nod, Parton says, to her down-home country upbringing—as well as afishing pond and fire pits, where families can roast marshmallows.
Dollywood fans, however, won't have to wait until 2015 to get their new kicks at the theme park. Parton said the park will also unveil a "family-friendly" roller-coaster, called the FireChaser Express, in 2014. It's part of a larger bid to add more rides and shows to the park over the next decade.
Since she built Dollywood in 1986, Parton has been instrumental in revitalizing this once poor and downtrodden corridor of eastern Tennessee and boosting the local economy by creating jobs for many in the community.
Today, Dollywood reportedly employs about 3,000 workers who help her run a lucrative, multimillion-dollar operation that attracts 2.5 million visitors each year.
Big, indeed.