Friday, May 24, 2013

Wonder Woman 2.9: The Man Who Made Volcanoes

Airdate: 11/18/77

Professor Chapman, a former government physicist, has “changed his mind” and gone mad, plotting to destroy the world by activating dormant volcanoes across the globe until world peace is achieved. Diana trek to Mexico where his base is located, along with representatives from the other volcano-stricken countries, China and the USSR, all of whom think the US is behind it all. It’s up to WW to act as diplomat, negotiator and human laser shield, all rolled into one, to stop this nefarious plot from being realized.

Strange, often-silly outing succeeds neither as high camp or literate, reasonably credible drama (the two poles of possibility, it seems, with this show). Roddy
McDowell is Chapman, whose bespectacled, over magnified eyes are the best part of his performance, which commits the unpardonable sin of dullness. The Chinese and Soviet agents are extra characters that don’t really have a reason to be here except, I suppose, to promote the allegorical message that humans will always fight each other, even in the name of peace. Whatever.

High point here is the new opening- no longer animated but now live-action, coming after a cold open, juxtaposing action highlights together with superimposed titles. Biggest letdown: the theme song is mostly instrumental (save for the chorus of “Wonder Woman”). Oh well, all things shall pass.

Oh, let’s not forget the walls closing in scene, where WW must do a quick change and bash in the bricks to escape. Reminiscent of the sludge-wall in the Cathy Lee Crosby TV movie, and likely inspired by the trash compactor scene from the then-huge Star Wars. (Ahem, that’s just Star Wars not Episode IV).

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