Tag Archives: WW I

Wonder Woman

Movie:  Wonder Woman

Rating 4 Stars (Out of 5)

Rating:    Long, long ago, there was a dust-up among the gods, and Ares killed off the other gods.  But before he kicked the bucket, Zeus set up the isolated island kingdom of Themyscira  as the home of the Amazons.  It is protected by mysterious barriers that make it difficult for outsiders to penetrate, so the Amazons, ruled by Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), live an idyllic life in isolation and without the annoying presence of any men in their world.  The Queen’s daughter, Princess Diana, decides at an early age that she wants to become a great warrior, and in time becomes the most skilled warrior on the island.

Then one day the sound of an engine in the sky startles the Amazons, and for the first time their kingdom is penetrated by a WW I fighter plane that crashes off the coast.  Diana pulls the injured pilot, Captain Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) from the craft and saves him from a watery grave.  Unfortunately, Captain Trevor is hotly pursued by a German vessel that finds their way to the Amazon homeland, and Princess Diana learns of the War To End All Wars being waged in 1918 Europe.

Diana, with Captain Trevor, is off to Belgium to stop the trench warfare being fought by the Germans and the Allied armies.  The war seems about over, but Germany is trying for a last gasp victory by developing a super lethal biological weapon from Dr. Maru (Elena Anaya), aka Doctor Poison.  With support from Germany’s General Ludendorff (Danny Huston), the war is about to take a very nasty and toxic turn.  Unless of course, Diana and Steve, along with a motley support crew of Sameer the spy, Charlie the marksman, and an American Indian chief, can somehow intervene and save the day.

This is a great action movie, and very well done.  Recent DC comic movies have not done as well as the Marvel films, but Wonder Woman is a home run.  Gal Gadot is marvelous, as beautiful as she is talented in an action role.  She has the goods to carry the film, and Chris Pine is all the ladies could ask for in a leading man.  The movie does not make the mistake of burdening the audience with endless action sequences to show off their CGI special effects, although the end of the movie indulged itself a tad much in that regard.  All in all, terrific fun.  Can’t wait for the next installment of Wonder Woman!

Mini Trailers:  Diana meets Capt. Trevor – “Wow, you’re a man!”  “Yeah, do I look like one?”  “Who are you?”  “I’m one of the good guys.  Here come the bad guys!”

Diana – “You are a typical example of your sex?”  Steve – “I am…above average.”

Diana to Queen – “If no one else will defend the world from Ares, I will.  I must go.”

Steve – “Welcome to jolly old England.”  Diana – “It’s hideous!”

Diana to British High Command – “Where I come from, generals don’t hide in their offices like cowards.”

Sameer seeing Diana in action – “I’m both frightened and aroused.”

Steve showing Diana the trenches – “No Man’s Land.  This battalion has been here a year and they’ve barely gained an inch.”

Steve to Diana – “It has to be me.  I can save today.  You can save the world.  I love you.”

Gal Gadot:  The last two years Alicia Vikander was wanted for every film.  Now Gal Gadot, the Israeli actress, is the new “It Girl” in Hollywood, and is in great demand for new projects.  If you haven’t seen her she has been in 4 of the Fast and Furious flicks, and last year killed in her Keeping Up With The Joneses role.

About Time:  Wonder Woman has been around in the comics since 1941.  About time she made it onto the big screen as the leading lady.  You go, girl!

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The Water Diviner

 

 

Movie:  The Water Diviner

Rating:  4 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   Joshua Connor (Russell Crowe) has a singular talent that comes in handy in the Australian Outback; he’s a water diviner.  Using two metal rods, he finds where water is running under the ground, and digs wells to irrigate his isolated ranch.   Along with his wife Eliza (Jacqueline McKenzie) and three sons Arthur, Henry and Edward, they eke out a living.  Then WW I comes along, and the three sons join the army to do their patriotic duty.  Tragically, all three young men are reported as killed in action the same day in 1915 at Gallipoli, and their parents are devastated.

In 1919 the war is over, and Joshua vows to go to the battlefield to recover his sons and bring them home for burial.  But over 100,000 men were killed in the eight month battle, and the site is off limits except for Allied soldiers and a few Turkish soldiers tasked to assist in identifying likely locations to dig for bodies.  Connor gets to Istanbul and is immediately rebuked by British authorities for coming to Turkey, and ordered to return home.  Connor defies these commands, and finds himself in a small hostel run by a Turkish family, and tries to befriend a young widow named Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko) and her young son.  With their assistance, Connor wangles a ride on a boat to Gallipoli, and manages to stay and search for his sons due to the intercession of Major Hasan (Yirmaz Erdogan), a sympathetic Turkish army officer.

The majority of the movie revolves around Joshua Connor’s search for what happened to his sons.  There are a number of flashback scenes showing the brutal reality of trench warfare in WW I, where troops were ordered to make suicidal assaults into the teeth of deadly machine gun fire.  Those few who made it into enemy trenches resorted to killing with knives, rifle butts, rocks and fists.  It was fighting reduced to the most basic and inhumane levels.  The film won the Australian version of the Academy Awards, and was the first directing effort by Russell Crowe.  It is a compelling film to watch, and I highly recommend it, especially to those viewers who have an interest in history.  A secondary story involves the Turkish people who ended up on the losing side of the war, and provides some insight to their conflict with the Greeks that extend to this very day.

Actress To Watch:  Olga Kurylenko has developed into a very fine actress.  She was eye candy in mediocre films such as Hitman and Quantum Of Solace,  then showed some of what she is capable of in the Starz television series Magic City.  In this film she gives a solid performance as a war widow struggling to raise a son and avoid being forced to remarry per the customs of her society.

Dialogue Nuggets:  Eliza to Joshua – “You can find water, but you can’t even find your own children.  You lost them!”

Priest to Joshua – “You haven’t been to confession in over four years.  You’re all but lost to God!”

British officer explaining why they are trying to identify bodies – “This is the first war anybody has given a damn.”

Turkish soldier – “Why should we help this one father?”  Major Hasan – “Because he is the only one who came looking.”

Joshua Connor – “I was so bad at courting.  She only married me out of impatience.”

Major Hasan – “You want to fight?  We are still at war.  Join the Nationalists!”