Monday, March 4, 2013

Mini movie review: Sucker Punch

My first thought upon finishing Sucker Punch was incoherent.  No, my thoughts weren't incoherent; that's what the movie was - an incoherent, lightweight piece of throwaway entertainment.  I could see what writer/director Zack Snyder was trying to do: a young girl (they made her 20 years old so they could sexualize her without making it completely creepy) gets institutionalized after her beloved mother dies and she attacks her skeevy stepfather and accidentally kills her beloved little sister.  In the mental hospital, she creates a fantasy world to escape into - a brothel where the beautiful, young whores must dance for their customers - and in her fantasy, she creates another fantasy world where she and her sisters-in-bondage kick all kinds of ass.  The three worlds all intersect and impact each other and by the end, the heroine helps one of her friends escape the brothel/mental institution but sacrifices herself via lobotomy because she can't bear what she did to her sister.

As you might surmise, Sucker Punch is just a big mess, all style (and it is fairly gorgeous to look at) and very little substance.  I can understand the girl (whose only name we learn is "Baby Doll" ugh) creating a fantasy to escape into - see Pan's Labyrinth for a successful example - but why for hell's sake would she choose to escape into a brothel?  Her quest in the second, ass-kicking fantasy goes on too long: guided by mystical Scott Glenn, she must find five items to help her escape.  Five is too many, Zack - three would have been plenty.  But no, you could tell Snyder was thinking, "Let's have her fight giant demon samurai.  And then steampunk Nazi zombies - that'll be great!  And after the Nazi zombies, how about orcs and a couple of dragons? Ooh!  And after the dragons, a speeding train caper!"  It's just too much.  Not to mention that Emily Browning as Baby Doll is stiff and uncomfortable-looking; we never get to see her actually perform her magic dances that entrance her audience/allow her to enter the second fantasy world.  It's just as well.  She has more personality AFTER the lobotomy.

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