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35 thoughts I had while watching Supergirl (1984)

Contributed by
Feb 28, 2018

In recent years, the CW's Supergirl has revived the character for new audiences, turning Superman's cousin Kara Zor-El into a role model and a hero for people of all kinds to enjoy in the modern era. It can sometimes seem like she's a new character, but she was actually created in the 1950s, and enjoyed her own ongoing comic series at various points through the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Most importantly, for the case of this edition of Deja View, she was also the star of her own film in 1984. And oh, what a film it was.

Derided often for being hokey and low-budget, Supergirl currently holds a 7% score among critics on Rotten Tomatoes. As usual, I feel like people might have missed the point of this movie, which is that it is ridiculous—but that's what's so amazing about it. Honestly, if you can sit through two hours of Clark Kent stumbling over things and getting into slap fights with Lex Luthor and call it a classic, I'm not sure why you can't do the same for Supergirl.

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  1. Okay, well, first of all, the credits are 3.5 minutes long, and that actually is kind of tedious. Critics: 1, Supergirl: 0.
     
  2. Contrary to everything I thought I knew about the Superman franchise, we open up this movie by zooming in on a currently-not-exploded Krypton, and then the camera pans to a building (maybe?) that looks like someone threw a piece of white gauze over a Christmas tree. LOOK, THEIR BUDGET WASN'T GREAT, OK. We're going to have to let some little things go if we're going to enjoy this together—for instance, the special effects, the acting, and the plot.
  3. Everyone on Krypton walks around all, “Greetings, hello, greetings, how are you today, hello.” Kara runs into Peter O'Toole, who reads his lines as if he's playing Lawrence of Arabia. Say what you will, but this guy really gives his all no matter where he's at. He's actually playing Zaltar, who is a character that probably never will be seen again in this or any other franchise. He's a... sculptor? Kara is like, “What are you making?” and he replies, “A tree.” Nope. Try again; that is not what a tree looks like. Folks, you'd better buckle in now, because Kara asking dopey questions while announcing major plot points is going to be about half of this movie.
     
  4. Zaltar asks Kara a math question out of the blue, and when she doesn't figure it out immediately he replies that "creative minds often find them troublesome.” Kara nods in a way that makes you kind of feel like she might find a lot of fairly simple concepts to be “troublesome,” and he goes on to explain how numbers work. Kind of. Kara's supposed to be about 18 in this movie, but it's hard to tell because everyone talks to her like she's 5.
     
  5. Turns out Zaltar stole this thing that looks like...well, I probably don't have to mention what I think this looks like. But I'm pretty sure my girlfriend and I picked one up last week.

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  6. It turns out that this is a power source known as the Omegahedron (I know, right?!) and that it is the literal sole object standing between Krypton and the utter destruction I was fairly sure it had already met. Wait, so this one, tiny, highly stealable device is the only thing keeping you all alive right now? Kind of wonder how you've survived this long, but I guess it's because SCIENCE! Which my creative mind finds troublesome. The Omegahedron flies out the window and lands on, you guessed it, Earth (where flowers grow).

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  7. Peter O'Toole is still doing his best Shakespeare-actor and got damned if I don't admire him for it. Kara is like, "You know what always fixes problems? Stealing spaceships and flying them through an LSD nightmare until I reach Earth!" So that's what she does.
     
  8. Mia Farrow gets star billing in this film, but she plays Kara's mom, who I don't think even has a name, and all she does is ask a couple questions then screams and looks worried when her daughter bounces to ANOTHER PLANET. Peter O'Toole is like, "Boy, did I fudge that up. I guess you'd better send me to that gosh darned ol' Phantom Zone."
     
  9. For context, the Phantom Zone is similar to Earth prison, but only if you were sent into an inescapable dimension that also happened to be a barren wasteland. I have a lot of questions about the ethics behind Krypton's ideas on incarceration, but then I also have a lot of questions about Earth's ideas on incarceration so I guess we'll call it even until the movie ends. The point is, Peter O'Toole's ass? It's in the Phantom Zone now!
     
  10. Cut to Faye Dunaway, who is chilling and drinking her glass of champagne with her hook-up Nigel in a park when the Omegahedron just falls into her lap. Without really thinking on it too long, she's ditches Nigel and drives off, leaving him in a public park, carrying... a tigerskin rug? Wait, where did y'all get that?
     
  11. Supergirl lands, discovers flowers, etc. She flies around a while before landing in A CITY, and stands still while a truck drives straight at her. Here's my thing: even if you were from another planet—if a truck drove at you, you would know to move, right? Kara doesn't. Kryptonians are kind of like Dodos, from what I can tell. They extinct themselves.
  12. Selena (aka Faye Dunaway) is hanging out with her friend Bianca in the... abandoned amusement park... they just happen to live in?! They throw a very queer-coded party, as queer-coded parties in movies almost always indicate some evil is afoot. Nigel shows up and Selena rambles about how she's going to TAKE OVER THE WORLD, which is such a weird plan to have. Why? So much trouble.
     
  13. Supergirl is a student, suddenly? She walks into a principal's office, and he does what basically everyone does in this movie and just screams his head off at her. He asks what her name is, for which she shockingly has no answer, so she looks at a photo of Robert E. Lee on this guy's wall and says, "Linda Lee!" WAIT. WHY DOES THIS GUY HAVE A PHOTO OF ROBERT E. LEE ON HIS WALL. Also, bad choice, Linda! But this is the 1980s, when you could just walk in anywhere, and tell everyone, "I'm this person, and I know this other person, so clearly I'm who I say I am," and you would be set.
     
  14. So, then we meet Lois Lane's little sister, Lucy Lane, who is completely different in this movie than she is in the comic, but it literally does not matter.
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  15. I have a quick point to make here. We all talk a lot of smack on Clark Kent for his disguise being just a pair of glasses. But we can never give him any guff ever again, because Linda Lee's costume is brown hair. Just brown hair. Brown. Hair.
     
  16. Selena's boyfriend Nigel is a teacher at Kara's school, but I'm still trying to figure out where he got that tigerskin rug. He yells at Kara and puts her on the spot with an algebra question, but she just spouts off the answer no problem. He's mad because teen girls shouldn't be able to answer questions, then Lucy tells Kara something along the lines of, "Don't be smart, or no one will like you."
     
  17. Lucy talks about how she's dating "a neat boy from Metropolis named Jimmy Olsen," and good God. Of course Jimmy Olsen, who looks like he's 30, would be dating a teen girl that lives in the suburbs. OF COURSE HE WOULD.
     
  18. This scene is where we meet Ethan.
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  19. Ethan is a groundskeeper. That's all.
     
  20. Selena creeps on Ethan pretty hard, but then to his own misfortune he for some reason has business at the abandoned amusement park(!) she lives in(!), so he swings by. She invites him in (like a creep), and asks him if he has a girlfriend. Ethan says, "I'm currently enjoying a single status in my personal life," which is an amazing way to answer that question, and kind of sums Ethan up in a nutshell.
     
  21. Selena roofies Ethan with magic, casting a spell that specifies when he wakes up, he'll fall hopelessly in love with the first person he sees. I wonder how that could possibly go wrong? He wanders off in the midst of a dream that looks kind of like an Alice Cooper stage show. Meanwhile, Kara goes to catch up with Lucy and her friends. Lucy invites Kara to a party her friend is throwing, and this is where you know for sure it's the 1980s, because she says, "He's the guy with the tattoo." THE guy with THE tattoo. It's 2018 and we've all got full sleeves now, Lucy.
     
  22. They're hanging out at a Popeye's, where all the young kids like to party. It's important that I bring this up, because there is about a five-minute sequence that is just a huge commercial for Popeye's. Product placement was shameless in this movie, up to and including Supergirl saving the day in front of a sign that says, "GOTTA LOVE THAT CHICKEN!" This is the planet you're trying to save, Supergirl.
     
  23. Ethan almost gets crushed and Supergirl saves him, which is basically their dynamic for the entire duration of this film. Actually, the gender role reversal is kind of great. But, he sees her in her Linda outfit, and it's all over, folks. He is in love, "with all my heart forever!" He grabs her and kisses her, and Kara doesn't know how to handle it so she flies off. As one does.
     
  24. Selena is pissed, and sics a thunderstorm monster after Linda Lee. Bianca is kind of the only person that makes any sense in this movie, so she's like, "Why are you so worried about a teenager, what is your deal right now?" Selena has one of the best lines of the movie here, saying, "THE NAMING OF NAMES IS NOT NECESSARY," which is my new response when anyone says, "Hi, nice to meet you, what's your name?"
     
  25. Selena declares, "WHO IS SHE?" when she sees Supergirl. Uh, she's Supergirl. Can you not see the costume? It's... she's Supergirl. I'm just saying. Selena keeps yelling and Bianca interrupts her to say the only logical line of this entire film, which is, "I think you're blowing this whole thing out of proportion." She goes on to say, "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread," to which Selena responds, "I'm no angel."
     
  26. Um, did you just call yourself a fool, then? Supergirl goes after Selena, and shows up at the amusement park ready to box.
     
  27. At this point? It's time for Ethan to show up again, too. Obviously

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  28. Do you understand what I mean when I say that Ethan shows up speaking in aggressive poetry? Because he really tries to speak in love poems while shoving flowers and chocolate in Kara's face. He rambles about how obsessed he is with her, and she's like, "You don't even know me," to which he responds, "I do!" but then asks what her name is. Ethan. Buddy.
     
  29. Selena and Supergirl have a fight in the amusement park, which could be way more awesome if the budget had been about three times what it was—but it's still sort of cool. Ethan gets stuck and almost dies in the bumper cars. This guy. Supergirl saves him by just taking off with the entire bumper car he's in, while he passes out like the damsel in distress he is.
  30. Supergirl flies him toward a beach, and he starts to wake up, and yells, "Hey, put me down!" while she is literally in the process of putting him down. He demands to know: "Who are you? Where's Linda?" Once again, I will never again mock Lois Lane for not realizing she was talking to Superman in glasses. Ethan gets hit in the head by a coconut—but it's okay, it's just his brain.
  31. Selena tries to convince Nigel to come help her track down Ethan and Supergirl, and Bianca has yet another great line with, "Oh, Nigel, the way to a woman's heart is through the elimination of her rivals!" Nigel agrees to help, because he is an idiot.
     
  32. Back on the beach, Ethan is under the impression that he needs to save Linda Lee, but Supergirl basically tells him, "Linda is fine and she doesn't need you, you utter tool." Of course, they progress to making out, but Selena teleports him mid-kiss to her bed, wrapped in chains. How does a good day get even better? Ethan sucks, though, so he's like, "Bahhhhh." Selena enchants him again, and imprisons Supergirl in the Phantom Zone. L O L.
     
  33. Remember who else is in the Phantom Zone? PETER O'TOOOOOOOLE. He's all messed up and jaded and tired even though he's only been in there, what, five minutes? He's all, "There's no way out! Anyway, look at my pottery. It's a horse." Supergirl's having trouble even determining what any of those things are at the moment. She gets out of the Phantom Zone, but, of course, Peter O'Toole is the mentor, and mentors must always die tragic deaths—even in Supergirl (1984).

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  34. Lucy and Jimmy and Nigel all get tossed into weird bird cages while Ethan eats popcorn. Supergirl pops back in all mad. "Selena, you're evil! You think everyone was put on earth to serve you!" Selena responds: "More or less, they were." You know, I like her. She's perhaps a bit too ambitious, perhaps a bit misguided, but I like her. She and Bianca get sucked into a mirror, but why? Bianca was literally the only practical person in this entire movie. Nigel was more evil than Bianca. Hell, the high school principal was more evil than Bianca. Well, bye, I guess.
     
  35. Okay, so Selena and Bianca are imprisoned, Nigel for some reason isn't, Jimmy is making out with his teen girlfriend, Ethan and Supergirl say goodbye, and Supergirl flies back to Krypton. Everything is status quo af right now, and I guess that draws this movie to a close. *epic music plays while Supergirl flies away*

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