ByJames M. Tate, writer at
Top Shark Cinema Writer at and Now a Movie Pilot Remora...
James M. Tate

Some big budget movies are bound to fail. At the same time, some failures could have been much better…

SUPERGIRL begins like its famous predecessor, SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE. Instead of Marlon Brando, who was David Lean’s original idea to play LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, we have the man himself, Peter O’Toole as Zaltar, the wizardly mentor of a beautiful young lady, Kara Zor-El.

The location is inner-space where colonies of Krypton survivors exist within a colorful, dome-like, dreamy location, a cross between LOGAN’S RUN and XANADU where Zaltar is jovially playing with a mystical orb – he hands it to Kara and the device flies off through the dome, headed straight for… The same place Kara ventures: A planet where her cousin already made a name for himself – that being, Earth.

As more bad luck would have it, the orb just happens to fly into the lap of a wannabe witch who needs only one thing to make all her powerful, villainous dreams come true. With this, Faye Dunaway’s Selena, along with her female Ned Beatty in the form of Bianca (Brenda Vaccaro), goes from a student sorceress to a powerful one… But that’s skipping ahead…

At the park where the orb landed has a newly transformed Kara, now donning a familiar blue spandex suit, becoming Supergirl: although for a little while she’s inconspicuous...

These are the best scenes as our lovely super heroine, changing her blond hair brown, holes up at an All Girl’s School that just happens to be semi-run by Selena’s nefarious counterpart, Nigel, played by Peter Cook, and her best friend becomes Lois Lane’s mousy sister, Lucy…

Kara blends in with the other girls while at a fun house turned private lair, Selena’s powers start taking shape… Her initial target becomes Kara’s future love interest and the main ingredient of what makes SUPERGIRL a complete howler.

Square-jawed Hart Bochner, known for playing bully jerks in BREAKING AWAY and THE WILD LIFE, is terribly miscast as a construction working stud, Ethan, put under an intense love potion spell by Selena that winds up being accidentally unleashed on Kara – a Sleeping Beauty to Selena’s Evil Queen with Ethan her dopey Huntsman.

The bizarre romance between Ethan and Kara (he's much too old) slows the pace considerably. Worthy side-characters Lucy Lane and Marc McClure's Jimmy Olsen (the sole connection to the original) are completely forgotten... Meanwhile, the only action sequences are a few boring and prolonged battles between Supergirl against Selena's wind-gushing spells.

Helen Slater is cute and beautiful, perfectly suited for the role but she deserved a much better vehicle. What began as an eclectic and creative adventure gets painted in a banal, colorless corner…Not even an 11th hour Phantom Zone meeting with Peter O'Toole can save us from the muddled mid-section that wrecked any potential.

Movie Score: **1/2 out of *****

By James M. Tate


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