Friday, 21 July 2017

My niggles with the film "Wonder Woman"

I tagged along with my family to see Wonder Woman recently. I don't mind the premise of a film being complete nonsense as long as the film itself is internally consistent. This one wasn't, not by a long chalk.

The film is based on Greek myths:
1. They explain that Zeus created mankind in his own image. My daughter reliably informs me that in Greek myth, a Titan called Prometheus created mankind.
2. Wonder Woman is the daughter of an Amazon. She is called Diana. Diana was the Roman goddess of hunting, the Greek equivalent was Artemis. Even I knew that.
3. The mythological Amazons removed their own right breasts so they could aim their arrows better. The ones in the film all have both breasts intact.

Wonder Woman is superhuman, obviously, but not completely invincible. The Germans shoot at her torso/head, and she protect herself with her magic wristbands and a magic shield. At this stage, the Germans don’t do the obvious thing and shoot at her (bare) legs. In the fight scenes in the last half hour of the film, Wonder Woman is prancing about in high heeled boots. They make her legs look longer, but are not really practical battle wear for the mud of the trenches.

At the start of the film, an American spy steals a German aeroplane in occupied Belgium, flies off over the North Sea, through some thick clouds/fog and crash lands in the sea near the hidden island of Themyscira (where the Amazons live). The island is not hidden by a physical barrier, just by the thick fog/cloud. The German ship chasing him appears through the fog/cloud a few second later.
1. Why would you chase an aeroplane in a ship? You’d lose him from sight after a couple of minutes, he is flying at least ten times as fast as you and once he’s disappeared over the horizon, he could turn off in any direction.
2. As he and the ship had set off from Belgium, the island must be in the North Sea/English Channel, one of the busiest sea-lanes/coasts in the world, it seems unlikely that the island would have remained undiscovered for so long.
3. The American spy explains that the Germans who were chasing him are the bad buys and he is with the good guys. One of the Amazons accuses him of lying and points out that he is “wearing the same colours” as the Germans. Not really true – the Germans chasing him were wearing Navy uniforms and the spy is wearing a pilot’s uniform.
4. The German sailors attack the spy and the Amazons. The Amazons line up with bows and arrows ready and they shoot after their general gives the command “Fire!” This is meaningless in the context of an archery battle. The Amazons would have been waiting for the command “Shoot!” or something.
5. Later in the film, they refer to a notebook which the spy stole from the evil chemist. Although the book was underwater with the spy for a minute or two, the ink writing is still perfectly legible.

Lüdendorff is portrayed as the senior German general. He is determined to win the war by any means. He poisons Hindenburg who wants to capitulate. Wonder Woman kills Lüdendorff towards the end of the film. As a matter of fact(s), Lüdendorff was the junior partner of the two, he was very unsure of himself and was the first to wonder whether Germany hadn’t make a huge mistake starting the war and both survived the war.

When the spy assembles his crack team of oddballs to steal the poison gas, he signs up the chap from Trainspotting because he is a crack sniper. Although he carries a rifle with him during the fight scenes and uses the telescopic sight a few times, he never fires a single shot, despite their being times when it would have been the obvious thing to do.

Wonder Woman demolishes the steeple of a Belgian church in order to kill a German sniper hiding in it. The Belgian villagers all cheer, which seems a bit unlikely. Isn’t this sacrilege or something?

During the fight scenes, the band of misfits wander more or less unhindered through enemy lines and then blunder about on a German airbase causing havoc. They’d have been shot within minutes. Wonder Woman has an epic fight scene with Aries on top of a control tower without anybody trying to shoot her.

The poison gas is very poisonous indeed and one shell will kill everyone within a ten mile radius. Apparently the gas is highly flammable. The spy steals an aeroplane loaded with the shells/canisters and flies off. Once he has flow a mile or two, he fires one single bullet from his pistol which manages to trigger an explosion which sets off all the shells/canisters and burns off all the gas a few hundred metres above ground level, we assume harmlessly.

It is unlikely that one bullet would have been able to do that, even with luck on his side, he’d have to assume that some shells would fall to the ground and kill everybody along the Belgian coast, or at least that not all the gas would be burned off with mass fatalities. That sort of defeats the whole object, seeing as that is what the Germans were planning to do this anyway. The correct course of action would be to fly out to sea north-east as far as his fuel would allow, then land the plane in the North Sea (he has already had practice at this) and hope that it sinks (worry about the environmental catastrophe in a few decades time). This would have had the added bonus that he could have survived and got married to Wonder Woman (they fell in love somewhere along the way).

I had lots of other minor niggles, I’ll probably come back and add to this list later on.


Bayard said...

"3. The mythological Amazons removed their own right breasts so they could aim their arrows better."

A niggle with your niggle: From Wikipedia "Among Classical Greeks, amazon was given a folk etymology as originating from a- (ἀ-) and mazos (μαζός), "without breast", connected with an etiological tradition once claimed by Marcus Justinus who alleged that Amazons had their right breast cut off or burnt out. There is no indication of such a practice in ancient works of art, in which the Amazons are always represented with both breasts, although one is frequently covered." Also, if you found that your breasts were interfering with your archery (which they only would if you were using a longbow, which the Greeks didn't), it would be your left breast that would be in the way, unless you were left-handed. Try it and you will see what I mean.

Mike W said...

Were the warriors with two full breasts called Amazon Prime?


MrsW, used to shoot modern target bow when young. So in the middle of an ancient composite and longbow.No problem.You wear proper sports clothing etc. Once the discusssion moved onto variable; Breast size and height etc, I felt I was losing my scientific objectivity on the subject so have no firm conclusions to offer:)

As far as I remember in the ancient Greek world, Cretans supplied archer mercenaries.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, the one breast thing is an alternative version of a myth, ergo not provable either way.

MW, hehe.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, good point about left or right. Having looked at some pictures, it would appear that it is led boobie which might be slightly in the way.