Friday, June 7, 2013

CLASSIC FILM REVIEW: Supergirl (1984)

CLASSIC FILM REVIEW:  Supergirl (1984) **½

"Supergirl" is something of a curiosity. It is neither as bad as its reputation would have you believe, nor as good as it could have been under the right circumstances.

Kara is a young woman from Krypton, in a place called the Argo City. When a special item that holds the power to the city is sent out into space accidentally, she follows it to Earth to save the city. Once there, she finds she has powers and begins a dual identity as Supergirl and Linda Lee. She discovers that she isn't alone in wanting the item she came for. A witch (an over-the-top Faye Dunaway) decides she can use it to gain great power. There's also a romantic subplot and some references to Superman.

By far the best thing about the film is Helen Slater's portrayal of the title character. She has an affecting, likable screen presence and handles the heroics pretty well. Aside from that, some of the scenes involving Faye Dunaway's witch and her sidekick (Brenda Vaccaro) are fun and Jerry Goldsmith provides a suitable music score.

The film was released in 1984, after the disappointing "Superman III" had failed the previous year. Christopher Reeve was actually supposed to have a cameo in this film, but he dropped out before filming. Who knows what impact his appearance would have had on the success of the film? There were also extensive cuts to the film when it was shown in the United States. Apparently many scenes were restored for a Director's Cut DVD a few years ago. As far as superhero movies go, this one is not terrible but the story was a bit goofy and doesn't make good use of its one hold-over from the Reeve series. That would be Marc McClure as Jimmy Olsen, who seems to be in the movie just to serve as a link to the more successful "Superman" features. In a way it is too bad that "Supergirl"doesn't quite work, because it's easy to picture Helen Slater reprising the role in a sequel or two with better stories.

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