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Life Through the Lens: Be careful what you wish for…

“The truth is enough.”

***

The thunder peeled an ominous warning as the darkness throttled all hope … but the White family sat snuggly in their little house. As long as the door latches and the windows sit tight, a warm fire is all you need to escape and enjoy. Herbert and his father played a rousing game of chess (accompanied by tickling and high-fives, I’m sure) while the Mrs. crafted.

In out of the storm came Sgt. Major Morris, come to tell stories of exotic India … and to saturate the living room rug. As the friends got-to-talking, a fog began to overtake the guest.

‘I said, ‘I’d like to go to India someday,’ chap!” yelled Mr. White while snapping his fingers.

“Don’t say that,” growled Morris. “Stay here … where it is safe.”

Well, the White family was OBVIOUSLY intrigued now. With the help of a little nagging and a little whiskey, they were able to get Morris to open up.

“It’s because of that blasted thing!” he yelled as he slapped a foreign object on the table. Crusty. Shriveled. And I’m not talking about Mrs. White’s biscuits. Now, I don’t know about you, but I can spot a mummified monkey’s paw a mile away.

“A spell has been placed on that-there paw. Three men can make three wishes … and, my God, they come true! But it is a curse, I’ll tell you. Every wish has a price to pay. The first guy used his third wish to beg for death … I used mine to … I can’t bear to say out loud. I can’t stand to see this withered thing for another second. Its evil keeps me up at night!” With those words, he chucked it into the open fire.

Mr. White immediately grabbed it out of the fire; the possibilities were just too great to watch it smolder. With many-a-warning, Morris left the Whites with the odious-omen and exited into the storm once more.

“You should wish for a better wife,” chimed Herbert as Mrs. White chased him around the room. “Or at least one who doesn’t look like a mummified monkey’s paw herself!”

“My life is pretty perfect,” mused Mr. White. “What would I even wish for?”

Herbert suggested money to pay off the house, and with that suggestion the wish was made: “I wish for a prettier wi … I mean $272.58.” The wish now official, the Whites went to bed.

The next morning seemed normal-enough. The Whites went about their business, often chuckling at last night’s drama. The afternoon brought a strange visitor to the front door – with Herbert at the work, who could it be? If it was a one-pawed monkey, I’d be out the back door!

It was a representative from Herbert’s employer. “Is everything OK with Herbert?” Mrs. White insisted.

“I was sent to tell you he is … um … crushing it at work. And by ‘it’ I mean himself. He crushed himself. He’s dead. As a gesture of goodwill and absence of liability, here is $272.58.”

Mrs. White demanded that the second wish be to bring Herbert back from the dead … but a lumbering, gnarled zombie was not what she meant! The final wish was used to un-undead him. Back to the grave for Herbert.

Be careful what you wish for … you just might get it!

***

Wonder Woman 1984 begins with Diana (Gal Gadot) as a young girl. She competes against older Amazonians and holds her own but is disqualified for cheating.

Flash-forward to the year 1984. Why? I don’t know. Seventy years have passed, and Diana has been just hanging out, I guess. She works for the Smithsonian. Why? I don’t know. We are introduced to Barbara (Kristen Wiig), a new employee at work, who idolizes Diana … because she can walk in heels? We are introduced to a mysterious object, as well: a stone that grants wishes. Why not.

Finally, we are introduced to TV businessman Max Lord (Pedro Pascal) who wants the stone … so he can show his son he isn’t a loser? Barbara wishes to be like Diana, Diana wishes for her dead lover to return, and Max wishes for more wishes … hey, that’s cheating! Now we have body-snatcher, a catwoman-knockoff, and power-hungry nose-bleeder running loose! Whatever will we do?!

Folks, this movie is trash. Here is my analogy: this movie is a box of Lucky Charms. It is dripping with cheap pathos: shallow goodness and fun colors and bargain humor. It is a big corporation’s attempt to push more marshmallows … that’s all! It won’t sustain you – it won’t better you – it will only leave you with an empty bowl in the end.

Director/writer Patty Jenkins is relying too heavily on tired tropes. It is the same plot, same drama, same characters, and same action as its predecessors. The movie is too long (at two and half hours) … WAY too long. It meanders through countless 80s jokes, empty emotional-appeals, and trivial-turmoil. I honestly believe it took place in 1984 for the easy jokes. Diana, to me, is a cardboard-character: everything she does is two-dimensional and rigid. Even her “love” for Steve is epically without personality. The villains were contrived: one wanted to be pretty (when all the while she just needed a new outfit) and one wanted to be cool for his awkward son (when no little boy gives-a-rip how big his dad’s office building is).

Gal Gadot is mediocre in this role: it affords her opportunity to smile and run around … but when it comes time to act, she falls short. Her crying scene at the end is difficult to watch. Chris Pine gives it his best shot, but his role is basically just quips about the 80s. Kristen Wiig is a strange casting: her amazing humor is virtually wasted. Pedro Pascal is decently menacing … but ultimately dismissible.

It is a film that will please some but leave most bored.

Wonder Woman 1984 can currently be seen in the theater or on HBOMax.

***

REPORT CARD: Wonder Woman 1984

Grade: D

Comment: Empty Hollywood distraction

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