- The Washington Times - Friday, September 22, 2017

Director Patty Jenkins‘ live-action blockbuster about DC Comics’ famed Amazonian Princess moves to the ultra high-definition format in Wonder Woman (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, rated PG-13, 141 minutes, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, $44.98).

Actress Gal Godot delivers an emotional and combat-packed performance as a super heroine demigod that fights for the allies in World War I.

Princess Diana’s (aka Wonder Woman) rescuing of American spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) triggers her allegiance after German troops looking for the traitor invade her homeland of Themyscira and kill many of her sisters.

Her mission ultimately is to find and kill Ares, the god of war who she believes is the key to stopping the mass slaughter and suffering.

The movie delivers as not only an origin story of her early years on the mythical island but also as a war drama — with an empowering theme of love and Wonder Woman’s vow to protect the innocent and make the world a better place.

Viewers also get some great action scenes as witnessed in her nearly one-woman attack on the enemy line in Belgium’s famous No Man’s Land, and a brutal fight between her and Ares.

The villains are equally notable with a disfigured female researcher named Dr. Poison (from the Golden Age of Wonder Woman comics and played by Elena Anaya) and a vicious German officer, Gen. Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston), working together to create supermen and hydrogen-based mustard gas to tip the war to the bad guys.

Chemistry between Miss Gadot and Mr. Pine is palpable throughout as Wonder Woman learns the good and bad ways of mankind from Steve during her visit to London.

The pair’s relationship, the satisfying story and Miss Godot’s infectious smile ascends the film from the normal DC Entertainment’s depressing slog seen recently in “Man of Steel” and “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and elevates it to one of the better and more entertaining superhero films of recent memory.

4K UHD in action: Despite the digital transfer having to upscale to ultra high-definition from a 2K master format, the disc affords plenty of detail to appreciate and trumps the Blu-ray version of the film.

Examples include every spark exploding between swords striking during battles, the glowing embers from bullets ricocheting off of Wonder Woman’s gauntlets, and the fine lines of her glowing lasso set against the textured uniforms of ensnared soldiers.

Also noticed was a cornucopia of freckles from a young Diana (Emily Carey) and age spots from Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and Antiope (Robin Wright), and the nearly crystalized puffs of cold breath released between snowflakes as Diane and Steve danced on a cold night.

The uptick in color saturation is very evident from the high dynamic range enhancements. It highlights the lush greens on Themyscira, fields of yellow wild flowers, a beautiful underwater shot of Diana saving Steve with a staggering blue sky behind her as she pulls him to the beach, and a nighttime boat trip on seas that look like a painting.

As an interesting note, the movie was shot using traditional and digital cameras. All of the early scenes of the war and London used Super 35 film stock and, according to cinematographer Matthew Jensen, the color schemes were inspired by the works of artist John Singer Sargent.

Best extras: The included Blu-ray copy of the film contains all of the bonus content and starts with a 16-minute overview of the production featuring interviews with most of the principal cast and crew including Miss Jenkins, Miss Gadot, Mr. Pine, Mr. Huston, and producer Zack Snyder. They discuss the film as honoring the roots of the character and explore the cinematography, costumes, weapons, production design and visual effects.

Next, my favorite featurette takes a 16-minute look at Wonder Woman and her relationship with two favorite colleagues from DC Comics’ Batman and Superman. Interviews with comics writers Greg Rucka, Jill Thompson, Paul Dini and Geoff Johns as well as artists Liam Sharp and Phil Jimenez lead the discussion.

The segment is also greatly supplemented by gorgeous sequential artwork from illustrators such as John Byrne, Jim Lee, Alex Ross, Mr. Jimenez (interview), Mr. Sharp and Cliff Chiang.

Also worth a look, director Patty Jenkins takes the spotlight for a five-part discussion on the film and spends roughly 25 minutes detailing the Paradise Island shoot in Italy, the beach battle, the major battle in No Man’s Land, Diana exposed to an industrialized world, and creating a photo of Wonder Woman and her team using a photographic technique from the 1850s.

Another 41 minutes of extras feature an epilogue with Trevor’s secretary Etta Candy getting the team back together for a secret mission to find a mysterious artifact, a look at the actresses’ rigorous training to become Amazons, an overview of the hundreds of women who brought the movie to life, extended scenes and a gag reel (it was fun to watch Miss Gadot laugh).

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