With the highly-anticipated premiere of CBS’s new Supergirl TV series, I decided to dig up and rewatch a highly underrated gem: the 1984 feature film Supergirl.
What’s it about: After accidentally being responsible for the loss of the Omegahedron—a powerful orb which powers Kara’s entire city—Kara (Helen Slater) races out after it in order to retrieve it and keep her new home (since her original home, Krypton, was long ago destroyed) from being destroyed as well. She lands on earth and is quick to embrace her new surroundings as well as her newfound strengths and powers. She falls in with girls at a boarding school to disguise her true identity and eventually ends up facing off against a power hungry wannabe psychic who has found the Omegahedron and is using it to satisfy her own greed.
Who’s in it: Helen Slater, Faye Dunaway, Peter O’Toole, Mia Farrow, Peter Cook
When it came out: 1984
How come you haven’t heard of (or just seen) it: Unlike the movies chronicling the heroics of Supergirl’s cousin, Superman, this movie was a massive box office flop and was panned by critics and audiences alike. Despite having stellar actors like Dunaway, O’Toole and Cook, the film wasn’t able to impress anyone and its major failure led Alexander and Ilya Salkinds—who were responsible for the hugely successful Superman movies—to sell the rights to the franchise only two years later.
Why you need to watch it—immediately!
- Supergirl is actually so much more likeable and realistic than her cousin. She’s unafraid of her powers and embraces her otherness while simultaneously managing to make friends and lead a fairly normal life.
- Faye Dunaway as a ginger-haired, power-hungry, witch wanna be villain. ‘Nuff said.
- It’s wildly corny, but also so damn sweet at the same time. Not good cinema by any extent, but at least entertaining.
- Unlike the Superman series which only has Lois Lane as a feminist role model, Supergirl is full of badass women who are bold, brassy and beautiful in their own way. Dunaway’s Selena is a self-proclaimed goddess of sorts; her roommate/lackey Bianca doesn’t follow her around like a lap dog, but rather does it because she wants to. Lucy Lane, Lois’ tomboyish kid sister is as loud and unafraid as her older sis and totally unafraid to make the moves on the guy she likes. Supergirl/Kara/Linda herself seems docile and unassuming, but she isn’t afraid to bust out the big guns when necessary in between appreciating nature and falling in love for the first time ever.
- There are no damsels in distress! In fact, the main “damsel” is actually a guy on whom Selena casts a spell to make him fall in love with her. He, of course, accidentally ends up falling in love with Supergirl/Linda instead and is later rescued by her as well.
- Helen Slater. I just love her and think she’s so underrated and wish more people knew what a great actress she actually is!