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Supergirl (1984) - Blu-ray Review

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Supergirl (1984) - Blu-ray Review

4 beers

Supergirl is not a great movie.  But something AWESOME happens when you watch it repeatedly. The damn thing clicks. This is what happened to me while moving into my new house and it was the only blu-ray on my person.  There is a magic spell that is unleashed. Maybe it is due to the Omegahedron itself.

I don’t know, but – and this is maybe after the fifth time of watching Warner Bros new international cut of the movie on blu-ray – it all started to work for me.  The first time though, I laughed and I groaned.  I actually remembered a lot of the movie.  The Superman mythos, especially under the watch of Alexander and Ilya Salkind, was my childhood jam and this film, even if it was a British production (which still adds to the film’s weirdness), was its first official spinoff.

The magic & the madness; it all came together in a rock ’em schlock ’em B-grade flick that is largely – and I kid you not –  Slater flying over stock footage as she eventually comes to blows against .  Composer Jerry Goldsmith sends us straight into orbit, though, with his take on Supergirl’s theme song. 

Whether it’s the sheer lunacy of it all (because the damn thing makes no sense regardless of whatever version you see) or the performance from Helen Slater as the wide-eyed wonder kid who self-identifies herself as cousin to Clark Kent, the movie is more comic than it is heroic.  Maybe it is the A-listers in this flick that turn in some pretty awful performances.  From Faye Dunaway to Mia Farrow and Peter O'Toole, sometimes – as Huey Lewis put it – bad IS bad.  The flying effects show their age (just like they did in 1984) and, because it does stray from a linear plot, this film is a sprawling comic book catastrophe.

 

"Whether it’s the sheer lunacy of it all, or the performance from Helen Slater as the wide-eyed wonder kid who self-identifies herself as cousin to Clark Kent, the movie is more comic than it is heroic"


 

BUT – and this is a big one – there are some interesting things at play here throughout David Odell’s script.  Odell wrote both Masters of the Universe and The Dark Crystal, so there is quite a bit of magic.  Whether it is the innocence of Kara Zor-El/Linda Lee/Supergirl (Slater) or the constant battling between her and a witch named Selena (Dunaway), the carnival ride that is 1984’s Supergirl is, at the very least, highly imaginative.  Insane, yes, but definitely creative.  The problem is – because it sets up new rules and then doesn’t really commit to them – this sprawling comic book tale is really hard to take in. 

Somewhere, we are told it is innerspace itself, a small portion of Krypton – called Argo City – lives on.  This is all do to the wisdom of Zaltar (O’Toole), a sort of mystic sage who feels he is above the law, and he’s all about showing the Omegahedron (and its abilities to transform objects into real things) to a very curious Kara.  But when the Omegahedron is sucked out into space and finds its way to Earth, it is Kara who goes after it – transforming into Supergirl on the way to Earth – and only she can bring it back.

She just wasn’t counting on running into an evil sort of woman who would like nothing better than for the whole wide world to be of her rule.  And she’s not pleased that there is a flying girl who wants to rob her of her sudden power.

Supergirl (1984) - Blu-ray Review

Co-starring Marc McClure as Jimmy Olsen, the only returning cast member from the Superman series (although Christopher Reeve was set to appear before he bowed out) and Maureen Teefy as Lucy Lane, Supergirl was immediately hit with horrible reviews upon its release.  And, yes, those reviews are all deserved.  This is a movie for a select few, even if it was ahead of its time for being a woman-centered super hero tale; it is hard to recommend.  That being said, it does have a certain amount of charm sewn directly into its lead’s costume skirt.  It’s innocent and full of wonder.

It is also deliriously insane, giving us a warlock, a witch, and a school groundskeeper who becomes the object of Supergirl’s steel blue eyes, all inside a movie which sees Supergirl herself being trapped in the Phantom Zone.  And then the ultimate sacrifice is made, sending her back to finish what she started. 

Fly the friendly skies once again thanks to Warner Bros’ extra special release of Supergirl, containing both the Director’s Cut and the International Version of a movie that, while not great, is certainly worthy of another viewing.

Supergirl (1984) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
150 mins
Director
: Jeannot Szwarc
Writer:
David Odell
Cast:
Helen Slater, Faye Dunaway, Peter O'Toole
Genre
: Action | Adventure
Tagline:
She has all the power of the universe, but she still has to learn about love.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I'm considering nothing less than world domination."
Theatrical Distributor:
TriStar Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 21, 1984
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
July 24, 2018
Synopsis: After a power source for the community of Krypton survivors is accidentally whisked to earth, Kara-El (Helen Slater), cousin to Superman and niece to Jor-El, chooses to go to earth to find it, and bring it back.

Upon her arrival, she becomes just a powerful as her cousin, but encounters dangerous battles and unexpected obstacles when a mean spirited woman (Faye Dunaway) who practices rituals of the occult takes the power source for herself, and uses it to cause destruction and attempt zenith human status.

Supergirl (1984) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Warner Bros.
Available on Blu-ray
- July 24, 2018
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (BD + DVD copy)
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

With a robust DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack to enjoy Jerry Goldsmith’s score and a 2.39:1 aspect ratio, Warner Bros presents Supergirl on blu-ray for the very first time.  The movie, including saturation and color levels, looks good.  Black levels are solid, too.  Special effects are a bit wonky (they were at the time of the release) but the grain level is good.  Loaded with juicy details, this is an atmospheric release that doesn’t shy away from the sunlight.  It has dark layers, yes, and those shadows are well-defined and crisp but the new transfer does not disappoint.  Some shots, due to the era of the day, are fuzzier than others but the image is reasonably well defined with crisp contrasts and solid textures. Colors are solid, with reds being a standout. Blacks are, too. Surprisingly, there's enough fine detail on display to make this seem revelatory. The era-ready color palette looks terrific, too.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Commentary with Director Jeannot Swzarc and Project Director Scott Michael Bosco.

Special Features:

Ported over from the DVD release, the supplemental items aren’t new but they are solid.  Fans get a 50-minute Making Of feature, the International Cut of the movie, and the Director’s Cut of the movie which may or may not improve the film.  You decide.

  • International Cut
  • Director’s Cut
  • Making of Supergirl
  • Trailer

Supergirl (1984) - Blu-ray Review

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