Bottom Shelf: Supergirl

Bottom Shelf

Supergirl

by Sam Hurwitt

One of the fortunate side effects of all the Superman Returns hype in 2006 was the boom in related DVDs, from the Superboy series to the mammoth 14-disc Superman Ultimate Collector’s Edition with the Richard Donner cut of Superman II, featuring never-before-seen Jor-El footage finally released over Marlon Brando’s dead body.

Initially rumored to be in the Superman set but released separately last November was Supergirl, previously available in a pricey, out-of-print Anchor Bay two-disc special edition from 2000.

Somehow I’d missed Supergirl when it came out in 1984, and I had no illusions that it would actually be good, but I was unprepared for just how meandering and pointless it is. Superman’s cousin says to herself, “Hmm, my inner-space city is going to die in a few days if I don’t find the magic widget, so I’ll, um, dress up like a schoolgirl and go to classes and play pranks on mean misfit girls.”

Then there’s Faye Dunaway as what I guess is the villain, but it’s hard to tell because she doesn’t really do anything. “Muahaha,” says she, “I wish to rule the world so I’ll, um, make this gardener fall in love with me, and try to kill the schoolgirl he loves.” Give the gardener a love potion; that’s her plan to take over the world.

Also slumming it bravely are Peter Cook, Mia Farrow and Peter O’Toole, despite nothing making sense. There’s no explanation of what it means for Argo City to be in inner space instead of outer space, nor why it wasn’t destroyed with the rest of Krypton, and somehow Helen Slater springs out of her little spaceship already wearing her Supergirl suit.

Also, Supergirl likes to fly around horsies and sunsets instead of majestic landmarks like her cousin does. Because she’s a girl!

Still, somehow, better than Superman Returns.

The most disturbing realization was that the German trailer with the blond Ubermadschen in Spandex speaking auf Deutsch suddenly made everything 10 times hotter.

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