Monday, March 28, 2011
Sucker Punch – 109m - PG-13
The 14 year old boy in me was very pleased with this movie. It had everything I ever wanted to see in a movie at that age. It had sword fighting giant samurai monsters, orcs, dragons, and Steam punk robot armies… And badass girls in short skirts kicking ass and taking names. I was completely geeking out at the eye candy on the screen. It has some really wonderful shots of leaping and wire work and hard fighting action. As my wife and kids like to point out to me, I am old. I am not in this movie’s demographic so I am looking for more than just pretty in my movies. This is why it only garners a yellow light from me. Proceed with caution.
The story revolves around Baby Doll(Emily Browning), a girl who has lost her mother. Her evil stepfather(Gerard Plunkett)commits her to a mental hospital to get her inheritance. Inside the asylum, she meets other girls who are there who are all part of a dance therapy by Dr. Vera Gorski (Carla Gugino), who feels that through dance they can find a solution to their problems. “When you dance you control the world, there is nothing to be scared of you are in control.” We go from the main reality into Sweet Pea’s (Abbie Cornish) reality which is a cabaret/ brothel where the orderlies are mobsters who run the house. Inside this reality is where most of the story takes place. With the help of Amber (Jamie Chung), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) and Rocket (Jena Malone), Sweet Pea’s sister, they work on a plan to escape. This plan is given to them by Baby Doll’s guardian angel/wise man (Scott Glenn). The plan is to steal items from people while Baby Doll creates a distraction by suggestively dances for her therapy sessions. While Baby Doll dances we now get submerged in her reality that is over powered by fighting and hostility and only come back to the second reality once she gets done dancing. This movie combines an escape film with inception and a pinch of motivational film and as a concept it felt flat. Scott Glenn’s character was under used, he was mainly a device to hand out fortune cookie wisdom in a very formulaic (a la the Sphinx from Mystery Men) way.
This movie felt like an anime book. It was all sword fights with girls in school uniforms battling evil. Sure, there was a lot of eye candy, and maybe candy doesn’t need a reason, but movies should leave you with something more than an eye candy hangover.
Zack Snyder’s previous works include 300 and Watchmen, his typical style in cinematic fight scenes are apparent in this picture as well. The proportion of fighting in this movie is at least twice that of his previous films. Like all his work, this is a see-it-in-the-theater film, as it’s designed to be seen for all of its huge action and sweeping effects. The down side is it’s not really a big screen story. This seems to be an original work from the mind of the director Zach Snyder and co written by Steve Shibuya. It’s heavy handed in its attempt to stir the inner warriors in its viewers, and it seemed to have missed its target audience. If the message is that every young girl has the power in themselves to control their reality, you should probably not point this movie at a male dominated demographic.
I would suggest that Snyder needs to team up with a really good writer; his visualizations are outstanding but fail in its story telling. If he were to work with someone who can really weave a good story into his work I think they would have something that could redefine the term Blockbuster. Get this man a script Doctor STAT.
This week’s question is what kind of world is your imagination play ground? Mine would take place in the world where The Doctor is real and I explore all of time and space as his companion. Not a “companion”, companion. I mean that in a completely heterosexual kind of way. Nothing against that kind of companion, it’s just not my bag baby.