The 12-ish Gifts of 2020: Wonder Woman 1984 UPDATE

For those of you who read my post about how Wonder Woman 1984 eased my grief at not being able to go home this holiday because it captured the Washington DC essence so much better than SO MANY films–well, now I’ve got backup. The Washington Post published an article today entitled:“Wonder Woman 1984’ is a bad DC Comics movie — and a surprisingly good look at D.C.”

The author and I don’t agree about the movie overall, but I’m not a big DC Comics movie fan in general, so that’s not surprising. But I believe he states more effectively than I did about why it is a great DC resident (past or present) film. If you’ve seen the movie, please read his full article here:https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/04/wonder-woman-1984-is-bad-dc-comics-movie-surprisingly-good-look-dc/

But if you haven’t, let me quote some of his observations about the film’s connection to our Capitol city:

…“Wonder Woman 1984” is at its best when most rooted in its location. Unlike many Hollywood productions, the movie uses actual D.C. locations for both interior and exterior shots. Watching Wonder Woman stride through the iconic Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s entry and take a resurrected Steve on a tour of D.C.’s Metro system gave the picture a genuine Washington flair so often absent from movies like this. Big setpieces that take place on actual Washington streets in sight of the Capitol — and overhead during the city’s annual fireworks extravaganza — as well as the use of more intimate locations such as the Watergate’s apartment complexes, help make the movie’s use of places such as the Reflecting Pool feel natural, rather than hastily added to remind audiences where they are.

This fealty to D.C. geography allows natives to give the occasional gaffe, like the suggestion of a Silver Line (or a Green Line!) in 1984, a pass. And it makes clear how obvious and often other productions try to get Toronto or some other bland locale to stand in for D.C.: “WW84” joins “Breach” as one of the rare movies to get the geography — the look and the feel and the traffic — of D.C. just right, and as such, to present the city as a distinct place, rather than an unimportant one.

I participated in something this weekend in which one of the question was our pet peeves, and one of mine is how badly so many so many films try to pretend they took place in Washington DC. So I guess I’m just posting this in defense of my pet peeve. Still, I like this movie because it shows that DC is a home and neighborhood and an ordinary place for those of us who live or have lived there, which doesn’t get conveyed in so many movies.


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