I loved Sucker Punch, the latest movie directed by Zach Snyder. Critics do not. Reading some horrible reviews, I'm gonna try to defend my newest obsession and hopefully give a unbiased review. Keyword is hopefully.
Sucker Punch is a completely original idea of Snyder's. Which drew me in. A movie about 5 girls in cosplay outfits fighting steam-punk Nazis, while they are actually in an insane asylum they are pretending to be a brothel? I had to check this movie out. Baby doll, the main heroin, is sent to the asylum by her step dad. In an effort to cope with the overall shittyness of this place, she imagines it's a high-end brothel, and that her impending lobotomy, is her virginity being sold to some high-roller. She befriends Rocket, who is the new love of my life, and her sister Sweet Pea. And two girls, Amber and Blondie, who are there to do background stuff, fly planes and the like. Obviously Baby Doll wants to escape, so she hatches a plan to steal 4 items and break out. Getting the items requires her to dance, and instead of seeing her dance, we get to see a video game like scene where the girls complete some mission to get said item.
Alright, enough background info. Taking a line from MovieBob's review, this movie seems at first glance to be trying to push as many buttons as possible to attract as many viewers as possible. A mix of steam punk, anime, video games, kung fu, burlesque, comic books, and cos-play.
The fact that this movie takes place between multiple realities and is video-game like makes the obvious references to Inception and Scott Pilgrim. let's take those down right now. Inception is stupid, go into a dream, to go into a dream, to go into a dream, but wait! It was all a dream... or was it? Sucker Punch shows us that the dreams, are dreams. They are a means of the heroins escaping their harsh reality to a place where they are finally in control. Sucker Punch is showing that reality is what you want it to be; Inception used dreams as a metaphor for, well, whatever you wanted them to be. (Note: I enjoyed Inception, it was a fun ride, but had a retarded premise and seemed to want to confuse the viewer.)
Scott Pilgrim was a video game like movie that I love. A shallow examination of Sucker Punch might leave it labeled as "Scott Pilgrim but with more girls". Not even close. Look at Scott Pilgrim. A movie about a dopey kid who is fighting for the girl of his dreams. 7 evil exes trying to kill him, a boss fight, he earns points, bad guys drop coins, and he gets a 1-up at one point. It's very light hearted, funny, and a love story for nerds. Sucker Punch is fairly depressing, no outright references to video game tropes, any that show up can be attributed to other genres. Baby Doll labels the 4 items needed on a chalkboard, gets her weapons, and fights samurai/demon things. None of these are straight "gaming" references. If you have seen the movie and are brain dead you might say to me: "But Mike, they have to fight a boss to get the item they need". Oh, you mean the object is important and is guarded? That's true in any genre. The simple fact is, Sucker Punch takes all the aspects of these genres and blends them into one. Which is simple considering Video games, anime, sci-fi, and kung-fu all borrow from each other at some points. They work together well, and with a great director, they can be made into something amazing.
Baby Doll, Rocket, and Sweet Pea are surprisingly well developed. Baby Doll has been dealt the worst hand by life, her mom dies, her step-dad goes crazy and she accidentally kills her sister trying to protect her. She doesn't speak for the first 30 minutes of the movie. Not until she decides to break out. She is determined to break out or die trying. Acting as the motivation the others need. She shows them they have the weapons they need to fight, and fight they do. Baby Doll does more in her actions than words, her expressions and overly cute appearance work together to make her a great character.
Rocket, again the love of my life, is the younger sister to Sweet Pea. She ran away from home and wound up in the asylum/brothel. She is very excited about the escape plan, and is the only one who talks to Baby Doll when she first arrives. She isn't happy about being held there, and does what she can to make her life more bearable, like stealing chocolate. She is shown in the battles as fairly weak, while she kick ass, she gets overpowered and needs to be rescued. She wants to be as strong as the others, but can't, and yet she still fights for what they want. Oh, and she is incredibly sexy.
Sweet Pea is bitchy, but for good reason. She takes the roll as the older sister. She is strong, she kicks ass in the battles, is the best dancer in the whore house, and she refuses to let the other girls take the more dangerous missions. Looking out for them, against the plan at first because it might get them all killed. She left home, because she needed to protect Rocket, not because she her life was terrible, and anytime Rocket gets overpowered she is there to bail her out.
The music is great, each song is set to a scene very well, with every aspect of the film enhancing it. Really don't have much more to say, moving on.
This movie looks good. cinematography is top notch here. It shows that Snyder really knows how to make each scene look good, and be memorable. If film was a language, he would speak it fluently.
Alright, now to do what I wanted to do in the first place. Get up on my soapbox and shout at the people who dissed this movie.
Mr. Scott. Hi! My name is Mike, how's it going? My favorite thing you said is "All of these might actually be the same place, as filtered through the mind of a young woman..." Yes, they all are in fact all the same place, you sound stupid using the word "might".
You also said "As they scheme and scream and suffer, the actresses go along with Mr. Snyder’s pretense that this fantasia of misogyny is really a feminist fable of empowerment." Um, no. You don't have much ground to stand on here, and you made this point stand out more with alliteration and big words. They suffer because this movie isn't a happy one, and the feminist empowerment crap is something you threw in because you saw a group of girls fighting against guys. This story could have been told with a group of 5 guys in the same basic premise. Hell, any assortment of genders would have worked. How is it feminism? Blue, the head orderly, is taking bribes to hold people unlawfully, preform unnecessary surgeries, and may be raping these girls. Is it really an act of feminist empowerment to fight that?
One last thing, you mentioned that we need to sit back and watch as these women are hunted and tortured like a slasher flick. Not even close. Honestly, they are hunted because they are plotting to escape, and they don't even start getting tortured till the end. Honestly, any action taken against them is because they either, got caught trying to escape, or because someone had something to gain by hurting them. Alright, anything else I have to say to you I'll cover with the others.
Oh, and you spelled "nothing" wrong in the last sentence.
Peter Travers, Based on your review, you watched this movie with the hopes that you would see some boobs and some blood. Disappointed by your lack of gore and nudity, you took it out on the movie. Baby Doll is not a shell of a character, in fact I think an emotionally scarred female in an insane asylum who wants to escape is a pretty deep. Not the deepest, but good. I mean she carries the scared little girl off until she is believes that she is, in fact, strong enough to fight back.
" At night, Blue helps the High Roller (Jon Hamm, fire your agent) turn Lennox into a brothel where Babydoll can dirty-dance for the delectation of male creeps."
I really hope this was a typo, you did notice that it only turned into a brothel when we saw the place through Babydoll's eyes right? It was a means of coping with life in the horrible place they lived in.
"Are the girls real or figments of Babydoll's imagination? Trust me, you won't care. Not after they do useless Rockette dance numbers and natter on like rejects from Sex and the City."
Did you watch the movie at all? They are all shown in the beginning, dancing was never shown, and I imaging rejects from Sex and the City to prattle on about relationship issues and how they are dealing with being middle aged.
"Do the fantastic five vanquish their male exploiters? No, but they fantasize about it."
If by fantasize, you mean actually attempt to, but fail. Then you are right. If you actually watched this movie, the you should have been able to tell that when the fantasy scenes start up, it's a different way of showing how they got the item they where trying to get. I'm sorry that the cutting between realities confused you. Of course based on how accurate your review was, I suggest next time you don't want to sit through 2 hours of a movie that doesn't interest you, do your job instead of asking someone who saw the movie what it was about.
I would give this review merit, if it actually accurate to the movie. You, however, wanted guts and tits. Of course, next time a girl manages to keep her clothes on in a movie, maybe you could actually watch the rest of it. Just a tip.
Lisa, I actually enjoyed your review. I agree the action is nonsensical, I liked that though. You watched the movie, and it wasn't for you. You made that clear. Kudos.
Really, I don't know why you were sent to review this movie. I'm not too sure of your age, but based on your comment about Young Frankenstein, and your picture, I assume you are around 40-50. You are not the target audience.
I fear that you took the nonsensical action a little to poorly though. Take it for what it is, nonsensical. I could prattle on about how the scenes are metaphors for their struggle, but I got the point and can't argue it much harder.
Well, that about does it for me. Till next time.