Saturday, March 26, 2011
MOVIE - Sucker Punch.
After I posted the first trailer for Sucker Punch, my buddy Blue and I agreed to go see it together. Earlier today, I called him.
"Are we still on for Sucker Punch tonight?"
"Okay, cool. Just so you know, it's been getting really shitty reviews."
"Yeah, like really shitty. And not even so-bad-it's-good, but like, so-bad-it's-bad. Still up for it?"
"I'd like to see it and come to my own conclusions about that."
"Agreed. I think even hearing that it's bad will make it easier for us to like it. Like, when someone tells you a movie is super-awesome and you go see it, it's hard to live up to those expectations and the movie doesn't seem all that good. If we go into this expecting shit, we'll have no alternative but to be pleasantly surprised."
We were not pleasantly surprised.
Sucker Punch actually starts out with a great deal of promise. There's a fantastic, wordless, five-minute sequence in which the foundation for our story is built that really invests the audience in the central character and her primary antagonist.
Then the antagonist disappears, never to return or receive his comeuppance, and we are only allowed to know the protagonist as Baby Doll. Ech. The lead is named after a style of lingere.
But that's okay! Exploitation can work, sometimes. Snyder quite capably made dudes in fetish gear awesome in 300 - maybe it can work here too!
Watching Baby Doll, Sweet Pea, Rocket, Blondie (the brunette) and Amber strut through fantasy war-time trenches with firearms strapped over bustiers, thigh-highs and garter belts is just...
I've never used this word on the blog, before. Ever. Every time I'm about to use it, I stop myself, 'cause I worry one of my readers may have a friend or family member who they feel is slighted by the term - I want you to understand the gravity I attach to using this word:
Now, to be fair, sometimes it looks awesome. Blue and I agreed, it looks awesome when it's happening in slow motion. When Baby Doll is beating up twenty-foot Samurai golems with a pistol and a Samurai sword in slo-mo? Awesome. When they're kicking the asses of steampunk mechanical Nazis? Awesome. As they're all walking along in slow motion, looking all freaky, bristling with weapons and strutting their stuff - it bypasses my bullshit detector and seems rather cool.
Then it returns to normal speed and I feel like an absolute asshole for sitting here, watching this movie. As soon as it stops being a comic book come to life, it's just insulting.
There are highlights among the cast. I've no idea who Jena Malone (Rocket - above) is, but Blue and I agreed, we just like her without being able to put a finger on why. Also, Carla Gugino is - as always - a pleasure to watch, but that's it.
Zack Snyder clearly thinks he's trying to be rather deep with his three-layer film, but it's not clever or deep or the least bit satisfying. The ham-handed symbolism, the blunt-force trauma foreshadowing, the absolutely pointless sexual exploitation that isn't even redeemed by being entertaining...
It's a shitty movie, and I felt guilty by association - just by viewing it.
I don't mind the action sequences - they're fun enough to watch, simply due to art direction and choreography - in the same way the original cut of Advent Children was worth watching just to see Tifa beat the shit out of Loz. If someone were to cut Sucker Punch down to a fifteen-minute movie of its three fantasy action sequences?
Sure, I'd watch that. Just to see a grown woman in a Japanese schoolgirl outfit beat the crap out of twenty-foot Samurai golems again. It's got a few moments of genuine spectacle.
Beyond that, this is a pointless movie which never allows even a shred of satisfaction during the experience, and an ending that lives up to its title - but the poor titular sucker is the audience, and Zack Snyder has just belted us across the collective face.