'Wonder Woman 1984' on HBO Max: Is the Gal Gadot film a treat for your eyes on the small screen or big screen?
The film is clearly made for the big screen considering how the flaws receive heightened visibility on the small screen
Spoilers for 'Wonder Woman 1984'
'Wonder Woman 1984' is the second installment of the DC standalone series centered on Amazon Queen Diana who leaves her home Themyscira behind to save Earth from the Gods of Destruction who had wreaked a war. Portrayed by Gal Gadot, Diana works at the Smithsonian in the 1980s in Washington DC, with artifacts, on the side while saving mankind mainly. The movie centers upon how Diana comes in contact with an artifact blessed by the God of lies which grants wishes in return taking away the one thing that the wish maker cherishes the most.
As the wishes that get made wreak havoc around the world, Diana tries to find a way to keep her wish and her most cherished possession — the power of her lasso — safe. From the opening scene, which sees a young Diana in Themyscira race with older Amazonian women to prove their mettle, until the very end as Diana transforms after understanding a life-changing truth... despite how entertaining the film is, it just doesn't come close to a theatrical experience.
Of course, considering the situation across the world in this global pandemic, Warner Bros and HBO Max have done right by making the film available to the masses through their streaming services. However, the fact that 'Wonder Woman 1984' is just not something you would be able to enjoy on the small screens, not as much as you might like is a given. For instance, despite the limited action sequences in the film, the ones that are present are beautifully choreographed. This made Diana larger than life.
Who can forget that scene where she rushed to the enemy's side from the barracks in the origin story as she dodged all those bullets to some brilliant background score? The breathtaking moment is something that the film cannot duplicate and with the constraint of the small screen, even the few scenes that are present in 'Wonder Woman 1984' are diluted because of the differences in screen quality. How many of us have the best equipment to be able to enjoy the brilliant background score composed by Hans Zimmer? It is brilliant, by the way.
So now, as we stream the film, the larger than life character is just not large enough anymore and her leaps, the fantastic swing of her lasso, and the brilliant dodges that used to take our breath away are clearly CGI lies that we cannot fool ourselves into falling for. To hear Hans Zimmer's background score with your earphones plugged in is nowhere to close to the experience that it would have been in the theater, in the darkroom where a bunch of strangers would be awed and inspired by it. The collective catch of breath, the happy realization that we would have had just an hour into the film when we were reminded of Lynda Carter's 'Wonder Woman' or even that ecstatic moment when Diana realized that Steve Trevor was back just rolled one after another. While 'Wonder Woman' was an experience, 'Wonder Woman 1984' was an entertaining movie with many flaws that we just couldn't unsee.
Imagine watching the wide swings as she throws her lasso out or the floor-sweeping action scenes that are choreographed to jump out of the screen, all of it falls flat because the screen is not big enough. A few scenes especially seem to have suffered the most due to the unexpected OTT release. The first one is when Steve gets back to piloting the plane after all these years and is thrilled with all the exciting changes to a machine that only had the most basic functions when he was around. To avoid the sensors, Diana ends up using her powers to make the aircraft invisible and by doing so, she and Steve are able to fly through fireworks and an impressive looking sky that they view from their cockpit. The wonderous scene is not wonderful enough.
Then there is the scene where Diana comes to the realization that she needs to give up what is false, that she needs to give up Steve in order to save the world. This scene is all about Diana becoming self-aware, learn to shed all her unhappiness about having to give up the one thing that she had wanted — love — to be able to fly. This is figuratively and literally because we see Diana learn to fly as she remembers Steve's words about how he was able to fly and truly understand it. Also, this is the scene where Diana ends up donning the suit that originally belonged to Amazonian hero Asteria who had saved Themyscira from human attack.
Finally, the scene where Wonder Woman faces off with Cheetah, a CGI heavy interaction, and a stunt sequence that is set in the dark, loses its edge. So if you wonder what really remains... the heart of the film is intact. It has its flaws, including the villains of the film not working out too well within the narrative but it is entertaining.
'Wonder Woman 1984' can be streamed on HBO Max from December 25.