Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, December 29, 2006

Look,up in the sky...it's a bad movie!

One of my Christmas DVDs was the 1984 film Supergirl,which stars Helen Slater(who was also the leading lady in The Legend of Billie Jean,another poised to be a hit but was a miss movie)as the Maiden of Steel. I hadn't seen this movie in years but still held fond memories of its'lameness. Was it as bad as I remembered? Fortunately for the likes of me,it was even worse.

Our story begins in Argo City(sort of a Kryptonian suburb that looks like a hippie commune gone sci-fi)where Kara,our soon-to-be Supergirl,longs to go to earth to meet her famous cousin. Due to a mishap with bored city founder Zaltar(played by Peter O'Toole,who I swear seems to be on the verge of macking on Kara in every scene they're in),she leaves her home to search for the omegahedron that gives Argo City it's power. I love the word omegahedron;it's one of those terms that you just can't work into any regular conversation like"Hey,while you're at the store,pick me up an omegahedron on sale,would you?".

Argo City is in some sort of pocket dimension so Kara enters our world by flying out of a lake,fully clad in Supergirl gear,complete with red booties. How she managed to get that outfit when she went off on her quest in some cross between a muumu and a nightie is beyond me.

Speaking of muumus,the omegahedron lands in the french dip of a wannabe witch named Selena(played with big hair and even bigger shoulder pads by Faye Dunaway). Here in this scene,Selena is canoodling with Nigel(Peter Cook,who you really feel sorry for in this flick),a warlock who teaches high school math at an all-girl's school that our heroine winds up at. Dunaway has an inborn instinct for campiness which is given a great platform to showcase her stuff:

Selena starts sprouting off about taking over the world but winds up trying to seduce a local landscaper named Ethan(the generic Hart Bochner,who's pretty much a Ken doll for the ladies to fight over)who falls in love with Linda Lee,aka Kara due to a misfired love spell. Linda Lee shares a dorm room with Lucy Lane(Maureen Teefy) and they hook up with Jimmy Olson at one point. Marc McClure plays Olson(as he has done in most of the Chris Reeve Superman flicks)and really doesn't add much to the plot other than being someone for Lucy to gush over.

The whole Ethan thing leads to Selena's first confrontation with Supergirl at the abandoned amusement park where the wicked witch lurks with henchwench Bianca(Brenda Vaccaro,another celeb casualty)as Ethan is menaced by scary bumper cars:

Later,Supergirl gets trapped by Selena(who revvs up her bad mojo skills by swiping a magic stick from Nigel)and gets a one way ticket to the Phantom Zone:

All this malarkey leads to the big finale where Supergirl saves the day(I don't consider that a spoiler,it's pretty much a given to anyone over five years old)but many questions abound:how does Supergirl switch to Linda Lee mode by just walking past some trees? In the comics,she dons a brunette wig but here she seems to have magical powers. At one point,she leaps out a window as Linda and morphs into Supergirl midway,what gives? Also,this current DVD version is the "European cut" which has extra scenes of Supergirl discovering her new abilities and Selena doing evil magic on a party guest. Why was this not good enough for American audiences the first time around?

Faye Dunaway is well known for her refusal to talk about her work in Mommie Dearest(one of the greatest camp performances in cinematic history)but I wonder if anyone ever asks her about Supergirl. Some of the lines she utters and faces she makes during this supersilly film are awfully awesome:

I hear that a Supergirl remake is being planned. No stars are officially connected to the project(they might think twice after seeing the star power sucked into this bad boy) but the production values should be on a much higher level than what was used here. So,am I eager for snother shot at this? Sure,why not. It can't hurt. As for the original,it does have some merit. It makes for excellant MST3K fodder and if someone like Uma Thurman does a lousy superhero flick(My Super Ex-Girlfriend will have to do alot to top the craptasticness of this movie)can cheer up after a viewing of what their clunker could've been:


Anonymous said...

Supergirl was oh so very, very bad. I had to force myself to read this post. It still hurts.

lady t said...

I share your pain but some of mine comes from laughing so hard at Faye Dunaway's wardrobe.

PJS said...

I've always thought of Supergirl as sort of a sequel to Mommie Dearest. She's basically still doing Joan in this one...

Anonymous said...

Dunaway looks horrid as Selena