Zack Snyder treads on extremely thin ice and survives. Fishnets, exposed midriffs of Emily Browning and attractive lingerie keep SUCKER PUNCH afloat. Snyder who clearly proves himself as a near perfectionist with his visual treats and CGI addiction raised the bar on himself with SUCKER PUNCH. I am certain if he brings the same game to theaters in 2013 with MAN OF STEEL we are in for a whole new Clark Kent Experience. LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS, WATCHMEN and more specifically 300 are a few of Snyder’s great works. The success of SUCKER PUNCH therefore is not much a surprise.
Undoubtedly a very boyish movie this is. A plot that switches between 3 realms. Reality, fantasy and fantasy within a fantasy. (Now where have we heard something quite similar before? A dream within a dream within a dream!) Baby Doll (Emily Browning) who is mourning her mothers’ death with her younger sister faces her step fathers’ fury when he finds out that his late wife has left all her possessions to her daughters in her final will. In a failed attempt to save her sister Baby Doll ends up shooting her step father and killing her own sister. Baby Doll then is taken to the Lennox House for the Mentally Insane by her step father who falsely accuses her of being mentally unstable. It is here that she meets Blondie ( Vanessa Hudgens), Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone) and my favorite Amber ( Jamie Chung).
This is where Baby Doll finds her escape to the land of fantasy where the mental house turns into a brothel and all the girls are dancers. This is also where she finds yet another realm within the fantasy that takes the 5 girls to fight cyborgs, fire breathing dragons, dead German soldiers from World War 1 and even creatures that seem to have escaped Mordor. This is also where baby doll first meets her personal guru; the wise man (Scott Glenn) in an ancient Chinese temple.
SUCKER PUNCH is everything that can be done right in terms of visual effects and CGI. SUCKER PUNCH puts certain superheroes to SUPER SHAME! The only thing that comes nearly as close to the visuals in the movie is the powerful soundtrack. As for the performances, none seem to be moving or none does deserve a standing ovation. The movie needed the girls to look pretty and fill in onto the highly artificially developed graphical frames. Although they are not nod worthy, they are commendable since everything does feel real and quite attractive from where I am seated. The only question that was thrown at me was this. Yes and this was directed at me by the female audience. In what sort of world would a girl’s fantasy have her fighting Dragons in fishnets and cheerleader out fits and even at times revealing lingerie? The answer is not complicated rather a very simple one. In a very imaginative mans world this is how battles are fought.
Final factor that makes this movie stand out is the relation it has to the world of Play station and XBOX. The feel of a gaming realm gives it an even sharper edge. It’s not horrible as SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD. In stead this is text book of how a video gaming feel could be related to a movie.
So many good things go on in this Snyder production with one flaw of the plot. Nothing too unique. It felt SHUTTER ISLAND minus the lead male and plus 5 lead females.
Nothing More Nothing Less
Title: Sucker Punch
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Starring: Emily Browning, Vanessa Hudgens, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Jamie Chung, Carla Gugino, Oscar Isaac, Scott Glenn and John Ham