supergirl poster

Review: Supergirl (1984)

by Meredith Grau — lalalandhistory.blogspot.com/

.

Best Bad Quote:

“What’s a dingleberry?”

.

After three successful films in the Superman franchise had hit theaters, it only made sense to give the ladies a shot a comic glory. The solution: Supergirl, a “comic” glory, indeed. The hint that this film would not be as interesting nor as complicated as the intricate mythology of the Superman series was in the title. It is “Supergirl” not “Superwoman.” Yet after watching, one feels that “Supergirrrrrrl” would be much more appropriate.

.

Despite following the tested formula of talent + absurdity of the preceding films, there are red flags everywhere– red flags as bright as the red cape Kara Zor-El (Helen Slater) dons when she seamlessly transitions into Supergirl without even changing her clothes. No, she doesn’t even have to rip off her shirt Clark Kent-style, who is her cousin, BTW. Kara’s clothes just seem to grow from her skin at will. The blandly cast Slater, while being the pinnacle of the spandex, eighties beauty– who could have put on some slut make-up and been one of the Girls, Girls, Girls in a Motley Crue video if she were more interesting– plays the heroine as a doe-eyed moron. (At least she improved in The Legend of Billie Jean, where thanks to Pat Benatar, she at least came with a better soundtrack).

.

In this sad case, Supergirl isn’t super at anything but sucking. The only reason any problems surface in the movie is because she causes them. First, she screws over her friend Zaltar (Peter O’Toole, who either portrayed his character as chronically drunk or actually was) by foolishly playing around with the “Omegahedron” that he just borrowed/stole. This object, as it turns out, is a small, glowing, ball battery that powers the Inner Space colony of Argo City in which they live– other inhabitants being Mrs. Zor-El, the always blissfully vacant Mia Farrow. In a matter of seconds, nitwit Kara busts a hole in the galaxy, loses the Omegahedron, flees to Earth to get it back (instead of letting someone capable handle the job), and conveniently misses the part where Zaltar is excommunicated to the “Phantom Zone” because of her actions. Bitch. Consequently, O’Toole is palpably missed for the majority of the movie, as he is very nearly the only thing awesome about it.

.

Luckily, another dose of awesomeness is given by Faye Dunaway as the villainess Selena– a greedy witch who typically wants to rule the world. The Omegahedron lands in her very accepting hands, and with her BFF Bianca (Brenda Vaccaro– Aaron, explain), she camptastically does her worst as the best Queen of Evil ever. However, she is still a woman, so “evil” in her case is casting potions to make men fall in love with her and throwing totally wicked Wiccan parties at the theme park she uses as a house. While Bianca cleverly points out the multiple holes in the plot, which the film is actually smart enough to do, good ol’ Supergirl decides that instead of saving her people back in Argo City–  who are, by the way, running out of air– she will take on the identity of a college student named Linda Lee and see just what being a human girl is allllll about.

.

Thus, while her alien friends die, “Linda” untangles the mysteries of how to wear a bra, how to handle mean girls, and what exactly a “hunk” is. We also get to see her inappropriately touch a poster of Superman, though maybe inbreeding is okay in inner space– this could be the explanation for those oh-so-vacant expressions of hers…

.

Finally, after an hour of being a dip-sh*t, she realizes that she should do something productive, but she doesn’t throw down her Popeye’s biscuits until after her dorm-mate, Lucy Lane (guess who’s cousin she is) tries to save the day herself and is hurt in the process. The rest of the action involves the general battle of good versus evil, except in this case the deets are feminized, so of course the main issue that Selena and Supergirl battle over is not the Omegahedron but the aforementioned gardner ‘hunk’– Ethan, played by the slimy coke-head from Die Hard. The film unfortunately does not get any bonus points for this amazing association. Instead, the audience learns that Hart should have stuck to “dying hard,” because his attempts at acting generally cause him to look like a retarded donkey getting jerked off.

.

If a feminist took the film seriously, she would probably be pissed for reasons including but not limited to, “Why is it that Superman could handle Metropolis, but Supergirl can’t even keep things chill in a small campus town where the biggest threat is that she may be forced to save her beau from playing bumper cars”– not an exaggeration– and “Why must a female superhero’s call to action be ‘Keep yo’ hands off my man, bitch!’ instead of ‘Give peace a chance!’” At least the remedial special effects entertain, such as the use of ketchup as blood and a mind-blowing, acid-trip illusion where there are far too many Faye Dunaways to handle!

.

Despite all this, I have to say that the tongue and cheek of the film saves it from itself– something not even the triple threat combination of Kara/Linda/Supergirl could do. No one in the cast takes it seriously, except for Slater, which makes it all the more funny, because the joke is clearly on her and not the audience. If you want to see awesome actors like O’Toole go through astronomical words like tic-tacs, or see what Faye Dunaway’s drag queen would look like if she raided Ms. Cleo’s fancy closet, or you quite simply love the ‘80s as much as any of its survivors, then this is definitely the movie for you– and I am super, super serial right now.

.

Rating:

3 out of 5 Inbred Aliens

.

supergirls_20 supergirls_20 supergirls_20

.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply