Best Shots Reviews: 1984's SUPERGIRL Movie, Part 2

Still from "Supergirl"
Credit: TriStar Pictures
Credit: TriStar Pictures

PREVIOUSLY:

  • A new Supergirl TV series premiered. Newsarama asked me to recap the 1984 movie in celebration of this. I agreed. Here is part one.
  • Pain was experienced.
  • Also, Kara from the vaguely-defined “inner space” of Argo City lost the “Omegahedron” powering it and came to Earth in a space egg while Superman was conveniently off-planet, and the Omegahedron wound up with evil witch Faye Dunaway a.k.a. Selena a.k.a. Mommie Dearest, and Hart Bochner a.k.a. Ellis from Die Hard was the groundskeeper at the girls’ school where Supergirl was hiding out as “Linda Lee” and was roommates with Lucy Lane who was dating Jimmy Olsen from the Superman movies even though she’s supposed to be a teenager, and then Mommie Dearest slipped Hart Bochner a love roofie and he’s stumbling about tormented by a possessed tractor and THIS LOOKS LIKE A JOB FOR SUPERGIRL, SILHOUTETTED BY POPEYE’S FRIED CHICKEN!

We now rejoin our “story,” already in progress.

At one point, she flies by, and blows a bunch of straw in everyone’s eyes, and there’s shots of them reacting and wincing and I don’t know if she was trying to hide herself or this was just a bitch move.

Supergirl pulls the claw part with Bockner off…and then the damn thing just goes into a building and I’m pretty sure that would potentially destroy the building and kill the still unconscious Lucy and then Bochner falls in love with “Linda” at first sight through the potion, which does not auger well for the love interest deal.

Credit: TriStar Pictures

Hart Bochner, incidentally, was just shy of 30 when this was filmed and looked it, while Helen Slater was all of 18 and looked younger. God, things were creepy in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s.

Once she’s taken him to safety, Supergirl awakes Bochner, who per the vague terms of the Schlitz Roofie Love Potion, instantly falls for her and starts reciting Shakespearean poetry and oh I can’t even.

Credit: TriStar Pictures

Mommie Dearest is rather perturbed over this, and you know what? Faye Dunaway’s at least trying. She’s vamping it up, and doing her best even when the script has her practically pointing out the illogic of everything she’s doing.

So then she summons some invisible monster to take out Supergirl, who’s gone back to her dorm and is all aglow from her first kiss and it’s really sweet and oh right, your parents and everyone you know back home is dying.

Uh, and then the invisible monster attacks and literally changes into Supergirl by flying through a window and there’s a fight and no one at the damn school notices and she gets hurled into an A&W Root Beer vending machine and somehow beats it with electricity.

Y’know, there’s not a bad idea here with her at a school and meeting some friends her own age and being smart and athletic and standing out for the first time, but it’s kind of shuffled away with all the other dang plot points. Despite just needing to jump through a window to change before, Supergirl goes back to room without changing into regular clothes and gets hassled by a drunk dorm mother, which says some very disturbing thing about this school that apparently already employs a warlock as a math teacher. What is their policy for background checks.

During our cutaways to Mommie Dearest and Bianca, the magic box-thing used to keep the Omegahedron in keeps getting bigger, and Bianca rightly notes, “All I’m saying is you can’t go nuts over a landscape guy and some girl in a blue suit.”

This movie is the least interested in its plot of any superhero movie I have about ever seen.

So then Supergirl goes looking for the Omegahedron at the amusement park where Mommie Dearest hangs out and Bochner follows her (how?), literally with candy and flowers, and shaved, he kinda looks like Will Forte. Then there’s a whole attack with a Tilt-A-Whirl and bumper cars and she saves him and flies off and when he wakes up he wants Linda, not Supergirl, which is a good idea but little is done with this, and then Mommie Dearest randomly knocks him out with a long-distance coconut.

This provokes the line, “I can make the sky rain coconuts with pinpoint accuracy, but I still can’t control men’s minds.” Again, Faye Dunaway: Making soup with the broth she’s given.

Anyway, Supergirl reveals she’s Linda to Bochner by kissing him but Mommie Dearest has borrowed some magic chicken wand or something from Peter Cook and zaps him away and then also she has a giant mountain appear downtown and wait, what’s going on again?

Attempting to keep track of plots:

  • Argo City dying
  • Mommie Dearest wants to conquer world with magic or Omegahedron or whatever
  • Also wants to get it on with Hart Bochner
  • Also evil goat statue with Omega thing
  • Something something chicken wand
  • Peter Cook now looking like he survived one of his real-life binges, still not sure why he’s in the movie

So Supergirl flies to the mountain but gets imprisoned in a giant Swarovski Crystal and oh no it's a Phantom Zone rectangle and how does Mommie Dearest know about the Phantom Zone and then Supergirl’s hurled to some desolate alien world and then and then and then and then and then…

Credit: TriStar Pictures

Hold on. I need some booze.

Okay, back.

Well, this sucks for her, she’s like five subplots deep and has no powers. She tries crushing a rock and her hand bleeds. I am pretty sure that is not how crushing a rock works, but I am not an expert on rock crushing.

You know, there’s a simple story in here. Goddess has to save her realm by coming to Earth, falls in love with a human, risks losing everything. Bam, that’s a story. Actually, that’s Xanadu.

So, Supergirl randomly falls into some green jello. Tries swimming in it, gets nowhere, slumps over all depressed….it’s like the jello of ennui.

Randomly, we are back on Earth, where Mommie Dearest has taken control of the cops, has Bochner in what appears to be a velvet suit, and there are student protestors from the girls’ school! My bafflement about this sort-of Kent State allegory is leavened by this great line: “Nobody messes with Jimmy Olsen!”

MEANWHILE: Why it’s Peter O’Toole, in his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat! He’s come to save Supergirl! And he has a spritzer! And repeatedly goes “Squirt!”

Mother of God, all logic goes out the window here. Zaltar is all bummed but Supergirl convines him to show her the singularity out of there, and meanwhile Mommie Dearest zaps everyone into flying monkey cages and Peter Cook groans at how clichéd this is and then also Lucy notes that he’s her math teacher. Even the people in this movie know it makes no sense.

NOTE: In the Phantom Zone, Zaltar notes there are bad guys “over the hill,” implying General Zod and all them are just off camera, like everything else cool from the Superman films in this.

There is also this line from Mommie Dearest:  “What the box wants, the box gets.”

So then there’s a “Quantum Vortex” because of course there is, and Mommie Dearest tries to stop Supergirl and Zaltar from escaping through the Cosmic Birth Canal with fireballs, and Zaltar falls down the Big Swirly Space Toilet or something, but at least he doesn’t have to be in the movie any more.

But dammit! Supergirl has escaped and tells off Mommie Dearest, going, “You treat everyone as though they were put on this Earth to serve you,” and Mommie Dearest is all, “More or less, I think they were," and then some goddamn demon that looks like Tim Curry in Legend only shrouded in mist appears and I swear, did they reshoot this to make it more like Ghostbusters? And then the demon stretches her all distorted like a piece of gum and then she hears Zaltar telling her to Use the Force or whatever, and she creates like a whirlwind that sucks up the demon and Mommie Dearest and even Bianca who didn’t really do anything except sit around with an unlit cigarette and sucks them all into a mirror in basically a Wizard of Oz meets Snow White climax.

Credit: TriStar Pictures

And then Hart Bochner gives Supergirl the Omegahedron, which how did he know to do that, and Jimmy and Lucy kiss which ewwwww.

And then Supergirl is all “I gotta go” and there’s some vagueness about explaining what happened to “Linda” and she flies off and Bochner watches, looking less like a man who’s lost his love than vaguely smug, all like, “Hmmm. I got to mack on Supergirl. Awesome blossom.”

And then Supergirl splashes into lake and goes back to Argo City and it lights up and  why didn’t she need the space egg and was it in the lake like Atlantis or something and then the movie just freaking ends.

And then they killed Supergirl off in the comics and brought her back like 15 different ways and then it took them 31 years to give her a big spotlight again and then I threatened the producers of this show with violence if I even hear the word “Omegahedron” on it.

THOUGHTS:

  • If you’re writing for a comic book site, try not to get too distracted by grad school and stuff and keep up with your interview transcripts, otherwise you will wind up owing your editor a recap of a movie like this. One to grow on!
  • Helen Slater is still adorable. Though she was kind of a better superhero in The Legend of Billie Jean. Fair is fair!
  • If Peter Cook and Peter O’Toole didn’t go binge-drinking together during the shooting of this film, and if there is no audio/video footage of their drunken camaraderie, that is surely the greatest lost opportunity from this film, aside from potentially invigorating a female-based comic film franchise.
  • That reminds me: Be like most of the world and don’t see Jem and the Holograms! But do read the IDW comic book. It’s awesome.
  • Man, I need to watch Die Hard again. Ellis is awesome. “Hans, bubbe…”
  • How much cocaine was snorted during the making of this? I am not accusing Helen Slater.
  • If they do a How Did This Get Made? on this, can I Skype in?
  • Hey, according to the IMDb, Helen Slater was in the last episode of Mad Men! That’s weird.
  • Remember: Special effects and action sequences only work if they kinda-sorta lead in and out of each other and you don’t have stuff just randomly happening.
  • Still better than Zack Snyder. I mean, I only wanted to beat my own brains in watching this, but I didn’t feel actively suicidal.

Is the new Supergirl TV series be better than this? SPOILER: Yes. A thousand percent yes.

Need more booze now.

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