Marter to the Movies: Sucker Punch

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Marter to the Movies:

Sucker Punch

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Within the first few minutes of Sucker Punch, I wanted to shed a tear for the production. Not because of its quality, which looked fine right off the bat. No, I wanted to cry because of some of the events depicted on-screen. It's a film that gets off to a saddening beginning, which I believe helps to work in its favor by the time it concludes.

There are not a lot of stills released for this film...

The opening scene shows us a much maltreated Baby Doll (Emily Browning), and her kid sister. Their mother has just died, and custody of them has been given to their stepfather. He's, to put it bluntly, not a nice man. Things happen under his watch, leading to the death of Baby Doll's sister. She gets blamed, and sentenced to serve a term in a mental institution. Unfortunately for her, her stepfather has paid what essentially amounts to a prison a large sum of money to have her lobotomized. She only has days left before the doctor comes to perform the procedure. She decides she's not going down without a fight.

This is when things start to get weird. Baby Doll very well might be insane, as a lot of the film happens within her mind. There are two stages in her mind: A brothel where she and a few other girls are forced to dance for customers, and a war field where she teams up with these same girls to fight off all sorts of enemies, ranging from orcs to undead German soldiers. In this second world, she finds the way she'll escape from the asylum; she needs to gather a few magical items and use them in one grand escape plan.

How she plans to capture these items requires some of the other people at the brothel. There are four other girls there, and while Baby Doll dances for some of the clients--apparently they are unable to take their eyes off her while she dances, although we never get to see her dance--the other girls will steal these items. While the theft is going on in the brothel level, the audience is treated to grand-scale action sequences with all of the girls wielding guns, samurai swords, mechs and airplanes. Never a dull moment, right?

I...really don't know.

That last question of mine seems to be one of the main things that director Zack Snyder wanted to answer, and make sure that he focused on, while creating Sucker Punch. He may have actually gone a tad overboard in making sure that the audience isn't bored. While the fight sequences are all interesting, and they are certainly all varied from one another, the enemies never seem to have much of an ability to harm any of the girls. There was a quote in the film about a child sitting at the edge of a sandbox while the other children play with his toys. The enemies in the film feel like toys. They get cut apart, gunned down and easily defeated without so much as a scratch on any of the female leads.

But the battles against them certainly are interesting. Baby Doll, armed with a samurai sword and a handgun, initially isn't up to the idea of taking control and actually fighting back against oppression. In the first 10 minutes of the film, you are hard-pressed to get a single word out of her. By the time she enters her second imaginative state--the one with big battlefields--she begins to take control. She becomes a leader of a squad, and has to act the part of a leader. If you want, you could say that Snyder mixed in a coming of age story within Sucker Punch, with Baby Doll having to mature far more quickly than she wants, as she is faced with difficult situation after difficult situation.

The entire cast...well, most of it.

The most important thing that Sucker Punch has to do is be entertaining. It is. Or at least, I can say that I really had a good time while watching it. The action scenes could best be described with the words "visual spectacle", as they look fantastic. Fans of Zack Snyder's work know that there will be a lot of slow motion used, and that is exactly what happens. It's still somewhat excessive, but because the film looks so nice, you usually don't even notice that it's being used; you like looking at the scenery so much that taking a longer glance at a particular shot is something that you want to do.

For what it's worth, (and in a film like this, the acting isn't that important), I thought that the leading cast did a fine job with what they were given. There's some heart behind each one of their performances, and in the emotional scenes of the film, that comes through. Given the extensive training that they all went through before filming began, (rumor has it they had to be able deadlift 210 pounds), they all look able to do some of the stunts that the film requires. The action all takes place in a fantasy world, meaning you don't have to be incredibly realistic, but the girls looked fit enough to wield swords and fight for extended periods of time.

Even though the most important part of an action film like Sucker Punch is its entertainment value, there's an interesting enough story going on behind the action scenes. Whenever Baby Doll stops dancing and we return to the brothel, we remember that there is a plot about the girls' escape going on, and it all flows back to you wonderfully. And without spoiling the ending at all, I will just say that it--and looking back, the rest of the film as well--will make you think, giving you a desire to re-watch it.

Sucker Punch is a good film for two main reasons: It's entertaining, and it has an interesting enough story to make the action sequences mean something. The acting is fine, the visuals are incredible, the plot will leave you thinking, and the action scenes are unique and fun to watch. Had the girls' been put in actual danger more often, then perhaps we would have an excellent film on our hands. As it is, Sucker Punch is one of those films that you'll either really enjoy, or really dislike. I fall into the former category, and I say to give it a shot.

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Good review. Damn man, you couldn't wait to see this one, could you? The movie opened a few hours ago...

This film seems to be exactly how I figured it was going to be, which only heightens my desire to see it. Hopefully my cold passes by Tuesday so I can see it on my theater's cheap ticket night.

I pretty much agree 100%. Also, what are the chances that we both see it on the same day (even if it did open today)?

You pretty much nailed it buddy. Honestly, if any of you guys want to see this movie, ignore what the critics are saying, and go see it. What appears to be a shallow and exploitative eye candy session really brings something imaginative to the table. Go into this movie expecting to see what it's showing and you'll have a blast.

I loved this movie. It was not, by any means, perfect, but I just had so much fun with it.

IGNORE THE CRITICS

This movie is worth seeing. Hell, even if you just see it for the soundtrack, do it.

you forgot about the hot babes. especially amber (the asian chick) and the main girl (baby doll). so hot. pleasant to watch. awesome bad guys too. i liked movie.

yep, music was friggin great too. I would go as far as saying the music was better than tron, except for the Pixies cover, that was lame.

nice review. i, too, loved this movie, despite a few shortcomings, as noted in my not-review: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.273106-Sucker-Punch-opinions-no-spoilers-please#10543282

DeadSp8s:
you forgot about the hot babes. especially amber (the asian chick) and the main girl (baby doll). so hot. pleasant to watch. awesome bad guys too. i liked movie.

yep, music was friggin great too. I would go as far as saying the music was better than tron, except for the Pixies cover, that was lame.

i actually liked Rocket the most...

i, too, thought the cover of Where is My Mind? was kinda lame. so lame, in fact, that it took me forever to even recognize the song, despite the fact that i was listening to Surfer Rosa just this morning...

oh, and although i almost found Babydoll attractive, her lips ruined it for me. collagen implants ain't sexy, yo!

Jamboxdotcom:
nice review. i, too, loved this movie, despite a few shortcomings, as noted in my not-review: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.273106-Sucker-Punch-opinions-no-spoilers-please#10543282

DeadSp8s:
you forgot about the hot babes. especially amber (the asian chick) and the main girl (baby doll). so hot. pleasant to watch. awesome bad guys too. i liked movie.

yep, music was friggin great too. I would go as far as saying the music was better than tron, except for the Pixies cover, that was lame.

i actually liked Rocket the most...

i, too, thought the cover of Where is My Mind? was kinda lame. so lame, in fact, that it took me forever to even recognize the song, despite the fact that i was listening to Surfer Rosa just this morning...

oh, and although i almost found Babydoll attractive, her lips ruined it for me. collagen implants ain't sexy, yo!

rocket was the worst, imo. baby doll had some sexy lips! aaaand you cried? plot was so lame, i was all like "whatever."

Edit: i was upset when

DeadSp8s:
rocket was the worst, imo. baby doll had some sexy lips! aaaand you cried? plot was so lame, i was all like "whatever."

well, the upside here is that we now know that you and i will never vie for the affection of the same girl, hehe. thank goodness for variety, eh?

Jamboxdotcom:
oh, and although i almost found Babydoll attractive, her lips ruined it for me. collagen implants ain't sexy, yo!

I don't think they're implants. She had the same size lips in A Series of Unfortunate Events, and she was like 12 back then, I think.

This might be one of the few movies that I'll actually bother with going to the theater for. That giant samurai droid - or whatever it is - sure is reminiscent of Brazil though.

AvsJoe:
Good review. Damn man, you couldn't wait to see this one, could you? The movie opened a few hours ago...

It wasn't so much that I was dying to see it as it was that my schedule allowed for me to see it on release day.

Glad I went though.

Jamboxdotcom:

DeadSp8s:
rocket was the worst, imo. baby doll had some sexy lips! aaaand you cried? plot was so lame, i was all like "whatever."

well, the upside here is that we now know that you and i will never vie for the affection of the same girl, hehe. thank goodness for variety, eh?

lol, this is true. good luck finding a rocket of your own!

I was tossing up whether to see this or not. But after reading that I would have to say I am taking my friends and going to see this as soon as I can.

irequirefood:
I was tossing up whether to see this or not. But after reading that I would have to say I am taking my friends and going to see this as soon as I can.

Glad I could convince you! :)

I have seen this twice now. The first time was a lot better than the second time. That said both were really fun.

I honestly cant believe how poorly the critics are rating this. (ok I can believe it but still), This is one of the best works of art that combines high octane action with a deep intricate story that keeps you guessing since pans labyrinth.

To the critics out there. Are you really just not smart enough to grasp the undertones? Sad.

I'll watch it at some point but it looks way too much like they want to make the characters badass and make the film really edgy and cool for young people or something... (like a few action films do...but this one doesn't look right still.)

I loved it. It felt like Snyder took all my interests and balled it up in a little present for me. I understand how it would seem like the girls easily blast their way through the action scenes but for me it just heightened the juxtaposition of how helpless they are in the larger scheme of things. I did have just a couple of qualms about the end but seeing as how I don't know how to hide them I will spare the spoilers.

My husband hated the movie of course, but he is in a different position than I am. He felt the action drew on too long to the detriment of the more real aspects of the film. I kinda agree with him but I also felt it was intentional because of how little time the characters had to do everything.

I was looking forward to this for months and it was worth it. I think that might be the highest praise I could give anything.

I'm seriously looking forward to the movie, but theres one thing I havent been able to figure out from the plot so far.

How does faffing about in their dreamworlds actually assist them in escaping from the asylum in the real world? Like, do they gather clues or magically manifest tools or what?

I hated this movie with a passion. It's like they sat down and watched a few straight-to-DVD Japanese films, and then ripped them off completely.

Gentleman_Reptile:
I'm seriously looking forward to the movie, but theres one thing I havent been able to figure out from the plot so far.

How does faffing about in their dreamworlds actually assist them in escaping from the asylum in the real world? Like, do they gather clues or magically manifest tools or what?

Hmm there was a bit of a story in this movie?

Thought it was gonna be nothing but visual eye candy.

Might watch it when it comes out on blu ray or something.

 

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