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A lot of people have complained that SUPERGIRL ($25) is a truly awful movie. Personally, I think it’s goofy, campy fun and nowhere as bad as SUPERMAN III (which comes off like a complete abomination, when compared to the first two SUPERMAN movie). SUPERGIRL is like a comic book brought to life, and on that level the movie is quite enjoyable. Everything in the film is larger than life, so it impossible to take anything in the film too seriously- after thirty seconds of Faye Dunaway’s scenery chewing performance as the evil sorceress Selena, you’ll know what I mean.

The plot of SUPERGIRL involves the Kryptonian city of Argo, which was saved from extinction by a resourceful scientist Zaltar (Peter O'Toole), who used the power of the Omegahedron to transport Argo into inner-space before Krypton exploded. Unfortunately, Zaltar’s carelessness causes the Omegahedron to be lost, dooming the city to eventual oblivion. Kara (Helen Slater), who just happens to be the cousin of the only other Kryptonian to journey to Earth follows the Omegahedron to her cousin’s adopted world, where she emerges as Supergirl. However, before Supergirl arrives on Earth, the Omegahedron falls into the hands of the evil Selena, who plans on using the potent Kryptonian power source as a way of achieving worldwide domination. In addition to the unintentional laughs, SUPERGIRL also features the comic stylings of Brenda Vaccaro as Selena’s sidekick Bianca and Peter Cook as fellow sorcerer Nigel. The cast of SUPERGIRL also includes Mia Farrow, Simon Ward, Marc McClure, Hart Bochner, Maureen Teefy, Robyn Mandell, Jennifer Landor and Diana Ricardo.

Anchor Bay Entertainment has done an amazing job with their DVD release of SUPERGIRL. Utilizing the 124-minute international version of the film, Anchor Bay serves up the film’s first wide screen presentation, which has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 monitors. In its full 2.35:1 dimensions, SUPERGIRL proves to be an eye-catching movie with an interesting production design respectable special effects work. The film element used for the transfer is nearly perfect, which makes the presentation look especially good. For the most part, the image is sharp and nicely detailed. There are moments where the cinematography has been filtered to give the image soft focus, but even these sequences provide a stable picture and good definition. Colors tend to be fairly vibrant and flesh tones appear natural. There is no evidence of either chroma noise or bleeding during the film’s entire running time. Blacks are faithfully recreated and the picture delivers a healthy level of shadow detail. Digital compression artifacts remain in check thanks to solid dual layer authoring.

For this release, SUPERGIRL sports a brand new Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. Although there are some frequency limitations in the 1984 sound elements, the new mix is surprisingly engaging. Sound effects are effectively bounced around the entire soundstage, including into the split surround channels, which certainly raises one’s sonic enjoyment of the film. Jerry Goldsmith’s terrific score probably receives the biggest boost from the Dolby Digital encoding; the music is enveloping and sounds fuller than it has in the past. The new mix has a rather potent bass channel, which really solidifies the entire soundtrack. English captioning has been provided on the DVD.

The interactive menus make use of full motion video, animation and sound for their comic book interface. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection, as well as some cool supplements. Director Jeannot Szwarc, and Special Project Consultant Scott Michael Bosco provide a running audio commentary of the DVD, which fans will find more than worthwhile. The track includes a lot of information about the project, including how the film would have differed if Christopher Reeve had not pulled out of the production. Also on the DVD is The Making Of Supergirl, which runs 50 minutes and gives one a rather complete look behind-the-scenes. Other supplements include U.S. and Foreign theatrical trailers, U.S. television spots, storyboards, a still gallery with roughly 100 behind-the-scenes images and cast biographies/filmographies.

If you are a fan, you can’t go wrong with Anchor Bay’s excellent DVD release of SUPERGIRL. Die-hard fans will want to pick up Anchor Bay’s limited edition release, which also includes a second DVD containing the 138-minute director’s cut of SUPERGIRL.




DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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