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Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Map. Fire. A Knife. A Key.

BEWARE: POTENTIAL SPOILERS

Last night, we watched Sucker Punch. It was good. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I am impressed with the story, the ideal behind all the orgasmic special effects and over the top scenery.

As roughly two hours of entertainment it fills the gap pretty decently. There are flaws, to be sure. Some of the fight scenes do drag on, but upon a deeper reflection of what they represent in Babydoll's psyche, I can forgive that.

Stylistically, I'll give Zack Snyder props. I wasn't that impressed with Watchmen, and in my opinion, Sucker Punch is a better movie. (Come on, clockwork soldiers in trench coats that bleed steam?) Furthermore, the emotional engagement lacking in Watchmen came through better in Sucker Punch, and that's a good step forward for Snyder. You can be as stylized as a photo shoot for Vogue, but if the film does not at any level connect with an audience you're going to have trouble.

The story is admirable. I'm particularly sick and tired of ra-rah movies where everything gets blown to shit without consequences. Sure, a lot of things were sliced and diced in SP, but in the end, Babydoll made the ultimate sacrifice. (Potential problem: she did let herself get lobotomised, in effect rejecting the burden of having to live with the guilt of accidentally killing her sister, and getting two of her inmates killed... On the other hand, getting lobotomised was the only way for Sweet Pea to have escaped..?) And the tiny twist in the end was satisfying, coming from a director who is not known for being subtle. It was a nice touch to find out that the story I was watching was actually the story of someone else.

The major flaw, I think, with SP is that, once Babydoll retracts into her own mind, we never see the real asylum again. I think an interplay between the two worlds (or three, of you count Babydoll's bouts of retraction within her mind another level down) would have hooked the movie together better. By the time the viewer returns to the real asylum near the end of the film, it feels like a bit of a sucker punch (ha) back into a reality we haven't seen for nearly 90 minutes.

It's girl power in short knickers and even shorter skirts, set in highly fantastical environments and shot to look like Zack Snyder's own personal comic book. It bleeds special effects. If none of this bothers you, and you're not looking to think too much during the film, it's a pretty good way to spend a rainy afternoon. Likely, you'll consider the whole thing more seriously once it's over. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

1 comment:

markdeniz said...

Great review, Lynne, some good points there and an excellent evaluation of the flaw in the film.