Sucker Punch

Release Date: March 25, 2011
Director: Zack Snyder
Screenplay by: Zack Snyder, Steve Shibuya
Cast: Emily Browning, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Abbie Cornish, Oscar Isaac, Carla Gugino, Jon Hamm, Scott Glenn

When 20-year-old Baby Doll loses her mother she knows instantly that she has to protect herself and her little sister from their stepfather. But things don’t go as planned: Baby Doll’s sister is dead, she has a gun in her hand and her stepfather winds up committing her to a mental institution. Upon her arrival at the facility, her stepfather underhandedly has her signed up for a lobotomy. It’s immediately clear that the institution is run by corrupt handlers and Baby Doll begins her plans to escape.  She uses her imagination to escape the reality forced upon her, depending on her strong imagination to lead her through the challenges that lie ahead.

Sucker Punch is a movie with so much imagery and metaphor that it’s possible for an unprepared viewer to get lost. One thing that is for sure, Zach Snyder has provided us with another visual feast. Some directors get cursed by previous films, this might be the case with Snyder. People were expecting exactly the same film as 300 or Watchmen. But Sucker Punch is its own type of film. It’s a fantasy film first and foremost, but it’s also part musical. Without the soundtrack, this movie wouldn’t have made as big of an impact. The opening scene is set to a beautiful rendition of Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) that switches from quietly haunting to industrial and powerful as the scene unfolds. I was hooked. I don’t think I’ve seen a movie lately that grabbed me so entirely right off the bat.

People who are saying that the story line is weak have obviously forgotten what it’s like to be an adolescent, where escapism becomes part of an everyday reality. I think it’s this connection to the main character that makes her so endearing to the audience, knowing that at some point we all want to close our eyes and run away to a world that we control (that just might be filled with dragons, giant, fighting samurai statues, and all of our best friends fighting beside us.) It also deserves notice that Snyder was forced to cut much of the film out to receive the PG-13 rating, much to his disappointment. He’s quoted as being currently in production on the director’s cut DVD/Blu-Ray. I can’t wait, because it was noticeable that there were parts left out, but not enough to really affect my opinion of the movie.

At it’s deepest core, this movie is about empowerment.  Baby Doll takes an impossible situation and grabs the bull by the proverbial horns by not giving up or giving in. She puts up a good fight too. You’ll have to watch the film to see if it pays off. If you have any interest in seeing this movie, I suggest seeing it now while it’s in the theater, it won’t be the same at home on the small screen.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Jenna

Part-time student, full-time media whore, fan of all things Asian.

14 Responses

  1. Julili says:

    4.5 stars? Really?
    Well, I’m gonna see it on Friday and meet Snyder for a Q&A, any questions?

    • amy says:

      @Julili, lol. Yeah 4.5 xD

      Question… how important is style on a film? And how do you keep it in-check in order not to overcome your characters and story?

      • Jenna says:

        @amy, Some people *might* have felt that the style overwhelmed the story in this one, but I think without all of the strong visual effects it wouldn’t have been truly an escape into the imagination. Because it’s meant for her to be in a double fantasy – so it has to be even more over the top.

        • amy says:

          @Jenna, heh – I wanted Snyder to answer this not you! xD He better not have the same answer to the question, or I’m going to feel cheated.

    • Rodrigo says:

      @Julili, Yeah, 4.5 stars was the thing that stood out to from the review, considering most critics are slaughtering the film as if it was Transformers 2.

      You should ask Snyder why he casted Malin Akerman and Billy Crudup for Watchmen and if he had other alternatives or not. I felt they were the weakest part of Watchmen, opposite of how the comic book portrayed their characters. And also the soundtrack choice inside the film, half the songs used on Watchmen felt awkward. Feel free to ask those if you want to.

    • Jenna says:

      @Julili, If you can, ask him “Were you upset about the scenes that you were forced to cut out for the PG-13 rating” and if so, “Which was the most difficult scene to cut” Also, when he expects the Director’s Cut DVD to come out. *I’m excited*

  2. Jenna says:

    Since everyone is confused by my high rating let me say a few things. One thing you have to remember is that the 4 1/2 star rating is coming from an artist. I am a very visual person. So when a film has great art direction and I can admire the sets, the details in the computer animation and even the costumes, it’s a win-win for me. I am also a huge fan of Bollywood and Tollywood. Both of which are known for their bright colors, great music and slightly over-the-top story lines and drama. So this kind of film fits right in to my ideal. It’s fun, stylish, and the music is very central to the story. Like I said to someone else, that Sucker Punch is really a musical, it just forgot to tell everyone. I also tend to really like movies that have female lead characters in action roles. (I adore the entire Resident Evil series, and grew up addicted to Buffy) Sucker Punch took all of these great things I love and put them all in one movie. So it was kind of like a big happy dream for me to watch. It’s not for everyone, but I sure loved it. I’d even pay to see it in the theater again.

    • amy says:

      @Jenna, well… I do love visual films. This is gonna be like me liking Alice in Wonderland all over again xD

      Anyway… and I do like Jena Malone in most things she does.

      I have read a lot of conflicting opinions on whether Sucker Punch is girl power or fanboy exploitation – Why do you think that is?

      • Julili says:

        @amy, fanboy explotation for sure.
        It’s like he took the Japanese essence of fanservice and made it in to a Western thingy.
        I kind of liked how the every scene has a connection to some other movies.
        I sensed some hat tipping towards Kill Bill and LoTR.
        The movie didn’t make me feel empowered as a woman mostly cus the story felt flat. Their guide was trying to be a Dumbledore/Gandalf but no, the quotes were not inspirational. Pity cus this movie could have been all kick-ass story wise but sadly wasn’t

  3. Julili says:

    Well I was a bit bored.
    Could be cus I have heard so much negative stuff about this movie. I was prepared not to be amazed… lol
    Visual are good, story not so much.
    I felt that Baby Doll was a bit dull (sorry for the pun)

    • Jenna says:

      @Julili, That’s too bad. I really on heard about negative reviews, I didn’t actually read any. I try not to read reviews of movies before I go see them, that way I can form my own un-biased opinion.

      • Julili says:

        @Jenna, Yeah I know but this time around it was like a wave of so much bad reviews it was hard not to read any.

  4. Rodrigo says:

    This is what I think of Sucker Punch after watching it: it is stylish, action-packed, has gorgeous women kicking ass, features great music… and still manages to be boring somehow.

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