The American Superhero film, Wonder Woman, was released in 2017. Patty Jenkins is the Director of the film. In association with the Chinese Company Tencent Pictures and RatPac Entertainment, it was produced by DC Entertainment. The screenplay was written by Allan Heinberg and co-written by Zack Snyder, Jason Fuchs, Geoff Johns, and Heinberg. Gal Gadot is the protagonist and plays the eponymous role of Wonder Woman. The film is based on the First World War. The pilot crash set the storyline of the movie. It is during this time that Diana realizes that the outside was experiencing conflicts and violence. As a trained Amazonian warrior, she leaves the Themyscira to engage in the battle and it is during this time that she discovers her entire abilities and true destiny. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, Diana had undergone training to become an indomitable warrior. Wonder Woman is a classical Hollywood type of film and a blockbuster cinema type of film.
This paper provides a critical analysis of the Wonder Woman film describing the cinematic styles and movements portrayed throughout the film. The paper will entail the application of the slow-motion technique, the vivid use of color, and development of the sound effects, and how they induce emotions.
I love the vulnerability trait of the Wonder Woman. I think it is one of the best. In the Fairytale Island of stunning Themyscira, powerful and influential women sounded the central character. The females in this Island had enormous physical strength and expressed their emotions even though the feeling could at times expose a supposed weakness. Even though Diane was vulnerable when in the outside world, she overcame the harsh conditions and was very successful in her endeavors. It is unfair to look down on women when they show their emotions while the same is praised or excused when done by men.
The film demonstrates the art of practical effects. The director did not depend on digitally painted backgrounds or planet-sized explosions. TV films such as Mad Max: Fury Road is loved by most watchers since most crashes are done without the aid of computer enhancement. This film is a masterpiece because of the way it displays special effects an example including the final fight with Ares. The director finds ways to create an emotional story by utilizing the generic CGI stylized light and this serves its purpose. The mundane in most of the scenes appear fantastic. The production value of the movie is marvelous and looks absolutely stellar!
The fight scenes in Wonder Woman are glorious pieces of filmmaking. The director avoids minimizing the brutality of the fight. The Amazonian soldiers are gorgeous, well skilled, and graceful but the guns used by the German Soldiers dilute any advantage they have. For viewers, the death of the outstanding Amazons is painful to watch, heartbreaking, and unfair. This reveals how the film succeeds in creating an emotional and touching narrative. The violence and fights in the movie are enthralling since they are both emotional and at the same time striking (Abad-Santos, 2017).
The slow-motion technique is prevalent in this superhero filmmaking. The technique is used to illustrate the concept of time being slowed down different from the speed we perceive. The director uses the slow-motion technique to portray dramatic effect, desire, action, amongst others. In the film, Patty Jenkins used this style to convey the numerous effects on the two very pivotal scenes. The first one transpires when the Germans misstep across Themyscira, Diana’s home. In this scene, a fierce fight between the soldiers on the beach and the Amazonian warriors transpires. Diana comes into the first contact with the capability of humans to cause violence and destruction.
Diana witnesses an Amazonian soldier killed by use of a gun at 0:52. Jenkins brilliantly uses slow motion to convey to portray this moment. The technique helps the viewers to understand every action happening in the scene (Day, 2018). I believe that if real-time were used to illustrate the scene, viewers would have become confused about what to focus on, thus would lose concentration in the quick action sequences that follow.
Slow motion technique creates emotional appeals since the onlookers get to understand the happenings according to the protagonist’s point of view. Diana followed the bullet to the point where it hit the Amazonian soldier. At this point, Diana had never come across bullets and guns and never their killer abilities. Her curiosity helps her to understand that bullets can take away the life of one of her kind. In this scene, Diana realizes that the outside world is dangerous and she was not invisible (Long, 2017).
At 1:15, the famous No Man’s Land Scene is spectacular as it reflects what occurred before. The slow-motion technique in this scene illustrates how a bullet is shot directed towards Diana but instead of watching it, she refracts it away. Diana had mastered the tricks used by the outside world and overcome this challenge in a beautiful sequence (Day, 2018). This style is also used to depict power and grace. The bullet deflection in a slow-motion induces the notion of inspiration and hope throughout the Wonder Woman film.
In the No Man’s Land fight scene, the Wonder Woman enters into the battle committed to protecting the people around her from the German bullets. The hero under fire enthuses her allies to come and save the villagers under attack. Her golden lasso plays a very essential part of ensuring that Diana fought with bravery and courage (Walden, 2017). In contrast to the fights in Man of Steel and Batman and Superman, this film demonstrates extremely personal violence and fighting. The Wonder Woman is focused on saving the world but not fighting the alien forces. As the film progresses, she changes her priorities. Diana is now committed to taking away the lives of the source of such evil.
The use of the visual style, particularly the conscientious use of color in Wonder Woman is intriguing. The changing color palette in the film helps to tell a dynamic story. It adds depth and creates a distinct dimension to the plot. The use of color paints two differing pictures of the hellish universe where the Wonder Woman is born and the pleasant paradise where Diana grew up. Compared to the Wizard of Oz, the experience of watching the movie is similar when reversed. The film displays the all-female utopia and the occurrences in the battle-embroiled nations, which are assigned a liberal dusting of the muted clan.
The story of how Diana transforms to become the Wonder Woman is enabled by the juxtaposition of vibrant and muted colors. The director applies the cyan palette to depict the key themes of the film demonstrated within Themyscira and the outside world. The director uses color to portray the natural beauty of Themyscira and at the same time establish the warmth of the sun and the bronzy, lush green and the aquas, healthy skin tones of the Amazons, and the cyan of water.
On the other hand, the film adopts a lot of overcast light to put a heavier emphasis on cyan when illustrating London and the Front. In the world beyond its invisible border, the film uses more blacks, browns, and deep greens. Compared to the Themyscira, the environment is very unlike since it is not as colorful (Renee, 2017). The director uses these colors to demonstrate the palpable sense of the environment without making it appear too oppressive. For instance, the black skies of London are depicted to show how the burning of coal had polluted the environment in London and other parts of the world. The outside world is painted with dark colors while the Themyscira is all bright and cheerful.
The most dominant colors used in the Wonder Woman film include red, blue, and gold. The protagonist’s armor is red in color and it occupies her entire torso. The red color helps to draw the attention of the viewers before the gold accents. The battle of Ares is dominated by orange and red color. Red signifies fighting in battles as well as passion and love. In the scene where Diana talks of how she believes in love, she is wearing deep red clothes as the red armor is displayed covering her heart. On the contrary, gold color conflicts with red but it is not very influential in the film.
Blue, on the other hand, dominates Themyscira. It is deep and rich and signifies a sense of peace, tranquility, and serenity. Steve Taylor, for instance, refers to this place as Paradise Island. The blue color also reflects the character of Diana. During the trench scene where Diana and Steve arrive at the forefront, the sky clears up suddenly and becomes reveals a much brighter blue when Diana climbs up the ladder in her full Amazonian regalia. Furthermore, in the gala scene, Diana steals a blue gown and this is not an accident. The bright color of the gown differentiates the dimmer and darker room she enters into that makes her similar to others but the bright color signifies Diana as the warrior of Themyscira.
The film, Wonder Woman, so naturally, yet touchingly uses the color technique to its advantage. As the film commences, viewers are placed in the city-island inhabited by the Amazons, Themyscira. The colors used to illustrate this place are bright, balanced, lush and evokes a utopian space. The discovery of the outside world by Diana is painted as dark, colder, and muted (Renee, 2017). The bright colors are used to show how Themyscira was peaceful while the dark color juxtaposes the outside universe as the world at war. The film director uses the color to portray the Wonder Woman as a literal beacon of light, and a bearer of hope and inspiration. Even though the color is applied in a subtle way, it helps the film to integrate a deeper layer of meaning via its palette and hues.
The arrangement of sound throughout the Wonder Woman film plays a very significant role. The playing sound plays both physical and narrative roles. The director of sound in the film ensured that the very high-end sounds very avoided in the movie. Previous studies have established that lower frequencies are more effectual compared to very-high frequencies and introduce physiological and emotional effects on humans. Tranquil music, for instance, was designed for the Amazonian paradise. The sound director also incorporates the Mediterranean ambiances with songbirds from Australasia, Asia, and Amazon. The paradise has plenty of white peacocks and this leads to the integration of modified peacock sounds. The sound of sheep and goats in the film is slightly manipulated and pitched to ensure that the animals do not sound ordinary.
The sound recordings on the waterfalls at Themyscira avoid the high-end hiss and white noise but adopt the low-end roar and rumble of the waterfalls. Compared to London and the scenes of the First World War, the sound of paradise is quiet and peaceful. The sound of cars, boats, and crowds is overplayed when Diana meets Steve to illustrate the sensory information in the outside world. There is an obvious sequentiality in the gun battles throughout the film. The sound engineer ensures that the amp up the sense of the propelling slow-motion bullet. Moreover, the sounds associated with the military machines during the war are intimidating and frightening. The atmospheric sounds during the war ensure that the viewers become aware of the war (Walden, 2017).
The use of sounds effects in Wonder Woman helps to illustrate the powers vested on the central character. In a bid to recapture the Belgian village, the director adopts the Guy Ritchie-style fight as the protagonist takes on 25 soldiers. In this scene, Wonder Woman uses her all powers: her bracelets, the lasso, her shin guards, and her shield. Inside the room, the main character dances and her movement are depicted from real-time to slow-motion then to real-time again. She repels bullets, smashes guns with her back, and uses the shield to slide and do slow-motion kicks. The scene is choreographed in a magnificent way and it reveals the combination of the subdued slow-motion sounds with realistic sound.
The low whispering voices used in the film help the filmmaker to add a sense of personality to the lasso. The sound director maintained the sizzling but induced watery and less high-end to pitch it down. The film demonstrates the blood-flow sound that has a slow rhythm that makes it fascinating. In an interview, Mather, the sound director of Wonder Woman claimed that this effect makes it feel visceral. Some of the multitude elements added to the lasso included the recordings captured during the grinding of two stone slabs against each other like a mill, in a circular motion. Due to the rotation of the stone slabs, the film produces an undulating sound that appears like a voice.
The similar sound effect was also demonstrated in Harry Potter films when the filmmaker attempted to ensure that an inert object is perceived as a character without necessarily having to make it sound a bit sci-fi. The film integrates all these elements to make the production super amazing. In the scene where Steve is interrogated by the Amazonians, the director decides to raise the volume during a discomfort but it is let to fade away when the truth is revealed. When Steve fights the truth, the buildup of the sound becomes even clearer and continues to rise. The sound helps to illustrate that the rope was useful to the Amazonians in a subtle and meaningful way.
Compared to other DC movies like Spiderman and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the soundtrack in Wonder Woman is unpredictable, down to earth, and less supernatural. In other DC films, the director opted a sound design heavy track. The music in the film helps to reveal the emotions of the characters and the filmmaker achieves creating an emotional narrative in a unique way. The director avoided designing high sounds and this ensured that the viewers were bereft of pace and momentum at the end of the heavy scenes. The soundtracks and the arrangement of music throughout the film are done in a remarkable and outstanding approach.
As demonstrated in the essay, Wonder Woman film is remarkable and outstanding. The director succeeded in creating a leading character who could feel compassion, love, fury, and power in equal dimensions. The adept balancing act shown in the film made the movie among the best ever DC films.
Abad-Santos, A. 2017, June 2. Wonder Woman is a gorgeous, joyful triumph of a superhero film. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/5/30/15709572/wonder-woman-review-gadot
Day, B. 2018, January 14. Superhero Filmmaking: Wonder Woman and Slow motion. Retrieved from https://bamsmackpow.com/2018/01/14/wonder-woman-superhero-filmmaking-slow-motion/
Long, K. 2017, December 18. Wonder Woman’s Cinematographer on Capturing the Dynamic Essence of Diana Prince | The Credits. Retrieved from https://www.mpaa.org/2017/12/wonder-womans-cinematographer-on-capturing-the-dynamic-essence-of-diana-prince/
Renee, V. 2017, June 28. Watch: How ‘Wonder Woman’ Uses Color to Tell a More Dynamic Story. Retrieved from https://nofilmschool.com/2017/06/watch-how-wonder-woman-used-color-tell-more-dynamic-story
Walden, J. 2017, June 19. Sound- Wonder Woman’s superpower. Retrieved from https://postperspective.com/sound-wonder-womans-superpower/