Tuesday, April 19, 2011
This has got to be the most difficult post I've ever written. This is literally the third time I've started this article, having trashed what I had written twice because it was too charged. Reviewing this film is actually hard work. I just hate it so much.
Okay, third time's a charm. Wish me luck, guys. Forgive me if I cut right to the chase and get to the heart of the matter here.
Sucker Punch is a movie about a girl who gets sent to a Home For The Criminally Insane And Criminally Sexy where she is surrounded by hilarious caricatures of chauvinist pigheadedness and impossibly beautiful porn stars who are introduced to the audience with that most tasteful of girl-on-girl action, the Catfight.
But wait, it gets better. For no fucking reason (I mean literally, for no motherfucking reason whatsoever, no relevance to plot, particular metaphor, anything) it shifts to an imaginary setting where instead of a nuthouse it's a brothel and they are all burlesque dancers and the creepy warden is suddenly a greasy moustachioed pimp.
Babydoll (our heroine) is told that she has to dance to entertain guests and when she dances, she does this dance that is so mindblowingly sexy that the audience is never actually shown. Instead it cuts away to these dumb fucking filmclips from Zack Snyder's Personal Playlist while Babydoll and her fellow inmates are transported to some hackneyed ripoff of every anime ever made where they are suddenly gunslinging samurai babes who have to kill everything ranging from giant robot samurai to steam-powered clockwork nazi soldiers to robot gunmen from outer space to pirate ninja vampire klu klux klan jester mimes. Okay I made that last one up. But I didn't make up the others.
There are going to be two schools of thought here, the first one thinking "OH MY GOD, NOW I HAVE TO SEE THIS MOVIE!!" and the other half thinking "How the hell would that work as a movie?" I'm obviously in the second camp and I'm trying to answer the question days later. Hint: Zack Snyder does not have the answer.
There are so many things wrong with this it isn't funny. First of all, the fantasies-within-fantasies that Babydoll has when she is dancing serve even less purpose to the main story than the burlesque thing. At least the Burlesque side story apparently mimics what is happening in real life; but in Babydoll's fantasies, she is kind of "imagining" what it must be like to achieve the very simple objectives her friends are performing (looking at a map, stealing a lighter) by turning them into high-flying, actionpacked adventures that might appeal to a mentally deficient and extremely immature twelve year old boy, but I don't understand how these are her fantasies and not Zack Snyder's.
It's virtually impossible to ascertain what period the film is set in; it could be modern day but some of what the characters are wearing would suggest a few decades earlier. In any case I guess it's just naturally assumed that throughout her childhood, Babydoll has had access to an incredible library of action movies, video games and over-the-top anime series because that appears to be all she dreams about. In some cases the rip-offs are all but shameless; two that come immediately to mind are the fact that the robot nazis look EXACTLY like the Helghast from Killzone 2 and another being that the ENTIRE SCENE with the dragon has been lifted right the fuck out of Lord Of The Rings: The Twin Towers. The effects aren't even that good; I mean, they're okay, but considering that's what this film is all about, those brainless segments, they really aren't the effects powerhouse I was expecting. There are a couple of particularly tragic shots where Zack insisted on a ridiculous closeup of something like a Samurai Sword or whatever and you can actually tell that the girl is a CG model; or the scene in the train where the blue lens flare is actually so strong and omnipresent that it distracts the viewer from the action.
They even pull KOOL POZEZ whenever they land on the ground because they know Zack Snyder is watching.
The dialogue in this movie is average at the best of times, but I found much of Babydoll's to be fatuous. Of particular note is her first meeting with the creepy old guy who tells her what to do where half her lines are mumbled "what?"s, "huh?"s and a few "uhhhh, what?"s, while her slack face is drained of any acting talent; I am half convinced these are simply shots the cameraman took by accident when Zack Snyder was trying to explain the plot to her that wound up getting used in editing.
The worst sin of this movie, in my opinion, is something that has become a very, very bad habit of Zack Snyder's, and that's including everything he can from Zack Snyder's Personal Playlist. Imagine you are on a bus or a train. Someone is right next to you with an iPod and they have your most hated song playing at full blast, to the point where you can actually hear the lyrics, but they're all distorted. You really want to tell this guy to fuck off, to take his shitty music elsewhere, you want to take his iPod and stomp it into the fucking ground. That is exactly what watching any film by Zack Snyder is like.
If your idea of a good movie is one where a blonde teen flips sideways through a storm of gatling gun bullets being fired by a ten foot samurai mech warrior while a loud, screaming guitar solo blares in the background, then see this film. It's been made for you. If, on the other hand, you think it sounds like one of the plots the autistic kid came up with from Real Ultimate Power, then perhaps you ought to give it a miss.