Argo City is the last surviving Kryptonian city. It is a city
of light where art and peace flourish. When Zaltar borrows
the Omegaheadron, one of the cities power sources, and promptly
looses it, Kara must journey though the void to earth. On
Earth, as Supergirl, her chances of retrieving the orb are
further complicated when it falls into the hands of Selena
a would-be witch...
directed by Jeannot Szwarc from a screenplay by David Odell
was released in nineteen eighty-four on the back of the successful
Superman franchise, though this was already up to its
disappointing third film.
Although connected to the original film by the inclusion of
Jimmy Olsen, played again by Marc McClure, the film was designed
as a stand alone project. This stance was further enhanced
when a cameo appearance by Superman was turned down by Christopher
Reeve. Slater was contracted for three films but, due to the
lack interest in the states (it was a big hit in Japan), neither
of the following two films were made. Jeannot had previously
worked mainly in television on some of the most prestigious
shows of the time, work which he continues today. Odell is
himself no stranger to writing fantasy as he had already penned
The Dark Crystal, the Muppet Show and would
go on to write the Masters
of the Universe screenplay.
The cast was an eclectic mix of known and unknown actors.
Helen Slater, who played the lead role, had never done a film
before - though she had some stage work behind her. Her performance
as both Linda and Supergirl benefited greatly from this, as
the innocent wonder that she portrays as her character comes
over as both believable and naturalistic. Peter O'Toole plays
Zaltar with all the confidence of a man who is doing the film
for the pay cheque, no Lawrence of Arabia here unfortunately.
In fact his performance received a Golden Raspberry Award
nomination. Mia Farrow puts in a little cameo performance
as Alura, as does Simon Ward as Kara's father Zor-El, though
bizarrely he doesn't look much older than Slater. Even Matt
Frewer, old Max Headroom himself gets a little cameo as Eddie
the truck driver.
arrival on earth is further complicated when she runs into
the comedy evil trio who have come into possession of the
Omegaheadron. Selena is played by Faye Dunaway with great
gusto. In fact Dunaway, Peter Cook (Nigel) and Brenda Vaccaro
(Bianca) all seem to be having great fun with their characters.
The comedic chemistry between Vaccaro and Dunaway goes a long
way to saving the film.
film is full of nice special effects and, if you ask me, Slater's
flying sequences beat Reeves's hands down. Given a chance
the film is very visually pleasing, some sequences struggle
to keep up with the expectations of today's audiences, but
it must be remembered that the film was made without the benefit
The screenplay did not stray too far from its original source.
In the original DC comics Supergirl had somewhat of a chequered
history, continuity was never her middle name. The best known
incarnation was as Superman's cousin. She first appeared in
Action Comics 252 and told the story of Kara Zor-El who had
survived the destruction of Krypton in Argo City. Following
the destruction of the cities inhabitants Kara is sent to
earth by her father Zor-El, where she blends in as Linda Lee
of the things that the box fails to tell you is that this
version is extended, with a running time of 120 mins as opposed
to the original 105 min. The film actually benefits from this
extension, explaining some of the films odd plot holes.
print is great and audio is 5.1. On the extras front we get
the theatrical trailer and a feature length audio commentary
from the director and Scott Bosco.
film has had a lot of bad press, sure it's not the greatest
film ever made but neither did it deserve the critical kicking
that it received. With the greater length a lot of the original
plot holes are filled in. It was never going to be as good
as the original Superman film but holds its head up
well when compared to Superman III and IV.
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