For the Love of Pop Culture: I’m rooting for the crocodile

Greetings, Gothamites!

This week I forwent my regularly scheduled Disney movie because I felt like an extra helping of cheesy b-grade horror in the form of Piranhaconda. And I finally finished Firestarter then dove right into the next book in Stephen King’s bibliography — Cujo.

For those of you unsure what’s going on, you can check out the first post here for all the goss!

Without further ado, here is my week of reliving the things I love …

 

DCUAOM – Wonder Woman (2009)

There’s a lot to love about Wonder Woman, but there are also a lot of things that try too hard or feel too clunky to really call this an excellent example of the DCUAOM collection.

Let’s get the bad out of the way first. 

The opening title and end credits feel out of place stylistically and look like they were created by an 8 year old with Windows Movie Maker. 

The dialogue in some areas is very clunky and has no flow to it.

There is so much misandry that it feels forced and unnecessary. My favourite Wonder Woman stories are ones where she is understandably disdainful of the outside world but doesn’t display outright hatred for it. In Wonder Woman it feels like any time she can make a spiteful comment, she does. And they’re not usually clever to boot. 

Another characterisation that didn’t sit well with me was Hades. I love love loved Oliver Platt’s voice work, but I felt that Hades was drawn more like Dionysus than the God of the Underworld. He doesn’t feel anywhere near as menacing as the version of Hades in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Even the Disney version is more sinister.


Hades in Wonder Woman (2009)

Hades in Justice League Unlimited

Hades in Disney’s Hercules

Now the good. Despite the clunky dialogue, there are plenty of humorous moments to make up for it and particularly adult jokes that would fly over the heads of the little ones faster than an invisible jet.

The story is engaging from start to finish. And I think this is why the misreads and clunky dialogue bother me so much, because they pull me out of the story. There’s even a scene with Diana parking her invisible jet that is reminiscent of the cloaked Klingon ship being landed in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home which makes me chuckle every time. I often park at a shopping centre and say “Everybody, remember where we parked.” And people often look at me like I’m cray. I digress.

Even though I don’t love how Hades is portrayed, I do love that the overall animation style is almost identical to that of Justice League Unlimited. 

All in all, I enjoy Wonder Woman but it isn’t one of my all time favourite DC Universe Animated Original Movies. A good story for fans of the Princess of Themyscira but it has quite a few pot holes to watch out for along the way.

 

B-grade movie – Lake Placid (1999)

Okay, okay … Lake Placid isn’t strictly b-grade. But its sequels sure as heck are, and I was planning on watching all of the films in the series until I realised the new DVD player doesn’t love DVDs from other regions. Anywho. Regardless of its “grade”, Lake Placid is one of my all time favourite natural horror films. 

There are so many great one liners and sarcastic comments being thrown all over the place in Lake Placid. Betty White gives some of the best deliveries for hysterical lines in cinematic history. Oliver Platt is brilliant in his role as the eccentric mythology professor. 

Bill Pullman, Brendan Gleeson and Bridget Fonda make their sarcastic triangle look like a sporting event you hope never ends. Which literally never happens for me with actual sport. 

The plot is about the same as most in the genre: “Boy meets giant man-eating creature. Boy is eaten by giant man-eating creature. Boy and girl team find a way to stop giant man-eating creature.” But it’s the execution of Lake Placid, its realistic sniping dialogue, the hilarious slapstick moments and the contrast with the sudden giant crocodile moments that make it a brilliant film.

 

Bonus b-grade movie – Piranhaconda (2012)

Basically, everything I said in this review still stands nearly five years later. 

The thing that cracks me up every. damn. time. is the fact that people don’t just get eaten and don’t just bleed … they vanish in a puff of blood. It’s the most morbid magic trick ever. 

Now, I did watch this with someone who isn’t used to this level of cheesy b-grade natural horror. And I think they were significantly traumatised by the event. So I would recommend Piranhaconda viewers go in with an open mind and an empty stomach.

 

Stephen King – Firestarter (1980)

After several weeks, I finally had a chance to immerse myself in the world of Charlie McGee and what a world it was. (And by “a chance”, I mean “it was too darn hot to do anything other than lay in a dark room and read”.) I must admit that Firestarter is one of the Stephen King books I haven’t read before and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. 

In Firestarter, King has created another brilliant young girl thrust into having powers she doesn’t quite understand. But that’s about where the similarities with Carrie end. And maybe a couple of mass killings. 

I love the reason behind Charlie’s powers. I also really enjoyed reading things from the perspective of the shady government agency characters who have more depth than is usually afforded for shady government agents. 

Firestarter is a great read and, while some of the references may not have stood the test of time, the story certainly has. 

 

How has your week in pop culture been, Gothamites? Let me know in the comments or reach out on Twitter. 

– CJ

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