Sucker Punch (2011) Short Review

My full review could read “It sucked”, but that would be a little unfair. Just a little, mind you.

The movie opens and I swear I was watching a new version of Aerosmith’s “Janie’s Got A Gun” only set to an inferior cover of the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by… someone. And the cover tune sounded like a ripoff of the Marilyn Manson version, only less creepy and more girlish.  The protagonist… um, no… Okay, the (20 year old)  girl that is prominent in the opening of the film and is never named except that they start calling her Baby Doll, has it out (in slow motion) with her step-daddy  in a large mansion after her mommy dies. Immediately the Step-Daddy terrorizes Baby Doll and her younger sister who ends up dead. She’s then taken by the step-daddy to an insane asylum for young hotties who only dress in their skimpies. Even when they’re doing janitorial work or helping in the kitchen. On top of that, the sleaze that runs the place abuses them further. Apparently all of these girls have been locked up to cover up the child molesting deeds of fathers and step fathers (and the asylum is known to all of these types as a place to tie up loose ends).

The setting quickly jumps from the dismal sanitarium for young women setting to a slightly less dismal dancehall/prison/nightclub setting where the girls are at their skimpiest to a third reality where the girls where armor and weaponry and fight fantasy creatures. This might’ve blown the top of Freud’s skull off with the women in a combination of lingerie and battle gear which I suppose is what was being aimed at. In the first reality, I guess horrible things are forced upon the girls (and never shown), it manifests as a dance in the second reality (and never shown) and they fight creatures in the third reality to mark their resistance to being put upon. That may sound interesting to you, but believ me, how it’s carried out is not. Never have half dressed fantasy women been so boring. All of the still frames on this post are sexier  and more interesting than anything than anything that occurs onscreen.

Snyder really mixes his message by trying to cast blame at the audience for women being forced to parade around and be seen as sex objects… by forcing the women to parade around and be seen as sex objects.. to dance beats. He also tries to make it an empowerment movie, so that no one will accuse him of exploitation or misogyny. The film has no weight to it at all. The characters don’t have distinguishable personalities and even their costumes often resemble one another depending on what part of the film it is.

There are some small bright spots in the film. There were some neat looking people/creatures in the movie. The design of the samurai creatures was neat, although their interaction in the story was no more than a minor, random appearance in a video game. Other creatures like the dragons felt generic. I wanted to like some of the characters. I have liked Emily Browning since she was in the failed would be franchise “Lemony Snicket and A Series of  Unfortunate Events” (I liked it).

She just continues to pick terrible directors to work with. She and the other girls in this film aren’t given things to do and act as much as they just have to pose the right way in front of green screens. Carla Cugino  acts with a Polish accent in this. I still wonder why she wa doing a Polish accent. Was the fact that she was from Poland have anything to do with anything?

The most interesting part of the film might be as the credits roll and we get  the music video performance that the characters were ‘training’ for in the film. If this had been a musical it couldn’t have done anything to make this any worse. I think Snyder ended up making one long 2 hour MTV style music video and who the Hell can watch a music video of a groupo that you aren’t necessarily a fan of for TWO HOURS without napping?

You can say that this is Snyder’s attempt at one of those girl slanted Japanese animated films. if that’s the case, he may have succeeded because those don’t make any sense, are poorly written, and focus on exploiting women under the pretense of empowerment. There are a lot more skirts being blown up than in this film, though. I guess dressing them all like trollops was enough for Snyder. He co-wrote this, which will explain why he was fine with this large steaming pile of drek. There are scenes of endless fighting, gunfire, stabbing and explosions where nothing at all is advanced in the story.

The Zack Snyder cinematic idioms are becoming more mind numbingly annoying,  more wretched, more disgustingly nausea inducing with each new movie he’s involved with. It was still ugly, but the smokey green screened backgrounds of Snyder’s “300” seemed somewhat creative at the time. Little did I know, that, like Tim Burton I would be getting that exact same look for the rest of his career. It no longer seems like an artistic choice, but a compulsion. Pair that with the endless slow-motion “keeeeeewwwwwlllll” inducing geek moments in every single scene of his films… combine that with the increasingly fetishistic aspects of his films… combine that with the posing nad there is LOTS of posing… with the movements synched with the drumbeats of whatever pop song he’s dropped over the frames…

Combine all of that and you no longer have the promising filmmaker that  once directed an adequate Dawn of the Dead remake. What’s worse, though, is the more films I see from Snyder, the more apparent the flaws of that film are.  He didn’t really ‘get’ what the original DOTD film was about.

He only understood what was on the surface. Although I liked his Watchmen to some degree, he changed the meaning of the story with his tampering. This was not purposeful in nature because he did his best to stay true to the source material. The problem is that he was proud of himself for getting the references to pop songs, but still didn’t understand the meaning of the story fully.

I think Snyder thought he was being clever as to what the Sucker Punch is. Apparently he thinks no one else has seen One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (an obscure little movie for certain). I’m just glad I didn’t pay movie theater prices to watch this. Then I would have felt suckered.

1.5 of 5 and the 1.5 is entirely for the FX team.

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