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Here's the thing about this movie, its demanding. You have to be able
to let go, realize that it's stylized after a modern comic book (of the
adult genre), and just go with the movie. Let it take you on its ride,
which is a beautiful/wonderful thing.
You also have to pay attention. This movie is layered in metaphor and is way more cerebral than one might expect. You have to work to understand what's going on and part of that work is letting it take you away.
If you can do this, and your friends can do this, you will have hours of conversation afterwards about what it all means, what the metaphors mean, and what was actually happening in the 'prime' reality of the insane asylum.
If you can't do this you will probably think the movie is stupid, contrived, and pointless. But you would be wrong.
Oh...and beyond all that stuff above...the fight scenes are an absolute nerdgasm, a sci-fi/fantasy orgy of epic proportions.
Steam-punk Nazi Zombies... I came out of that movie feeling like I just had a threesome with Isaac Asimov and Anne McCaffery.
I absolutely loved it.
I personally enjoyed the film and I am a fan of Zack Snyder's previous
films (Watchmen,300,and Dawn of the Dead). The visuals were pretty much
stunning with very few exceptions, but they are easily forgiven and not
distracting at all. The acting wasn't anything "Oscar" worthy, but then
again it shouldn't be. The performances were very good for an action
film and I like it that way. This films definitely attracts the teenage
male demographics, who like action packed films filled with hot women.
This film, however is not for everyone. Some people might not like CGI,
some women might be offended that this film is very shallow, violent,
and very degrading towards women.This is definitely the type of movie
you'll either love or hate.
My only problem with the movie is that the story doesn't seem fully realized If you want to keep me interested you will need a lot more than 20 minutes of fantasy CGI sequences sprinkled throughout a 120 minute trek However go in this movie expecting to have a lot of fun! Overall the movie has stunning visuals, great action scenes, and worthwhile acting. I definitely recommend this movie to people looking to have a good time.
I recently saw Sucker Punch at an advance screening and thoroughly enjoyed it. To be honest, I am the target demographic here. I'm a guy in his twenties who plays video games and enjoys fantasy movies and action.... but this is a decent film overall. It appeals to my "sensible adult" side that appreciates a good, well written film, with great directing, great acting, and overall good cinematography. It also appeals to my "twenty-something male" side that loves sexy ladies, guns, killer robots, dragons, samurai and swordplay. The abundant CG is stunningly beautiful and doesn't feel overdone or become visually exhausting like some movies. This movie gets me. and I know that there will be a good number of people who dislike this movie, dismissing it as juvenile, or stupid. who dislike the amount of CGI used in this movie. I don't care... I love this movie for exactly what it is... a good movie that appeals to me in every way.
With 300, Zack Snyder has made it abundantly clear that his movies
dazzle they eyes, indeed they do, but his characters never engage the
audience in a personal and emotional level. And Sucker Punch is just
that. A visually dazzling collage of mental insanity taken to the
extreme with a fairly interesting premise that looks promising on the
surface, but never truly lets you sink your teeth into the inner
workings of the main character.
Emily Browning plays Babydoll, a blond bombshell who is placed in a mental institution by her cold stepfather, and is then seen trying to persuade the orderlies into lobotomizing her to keep her from giving details surrounding a tragedy in her life. However, Babydoll begins to create a dreamworld in which not only to pass the time, but to figure a way out of the asylum.
As if that makes any sense whatsoever, here are the main problems with Sucker Punch that's been plaguing modern cinema; no plot and character development. Barely any of the characters that the protagonist meets are developed. They're just static talking heads spouting out lines that are trying to hammer into the audience that they are more than just cliché's and cardboard cutouts. The acting feels stiff and artificial with no sense of tension or suspense. You never feel that the characters are in real danger of any kind. It just goes thru the motions and despite having a nice premise to go on, the film feels like a half-ass-ed attempt to be something new and fresh.
Sucker Punch has some merits. The special effects and action scenes are impressive. I did get a kick out of some of the battle scenes which are nicely choreographed and executed with lots of explosions. Watching it is sort of like looking at a silent film on steroids but minus the heart and soul of that bygone era.
The incredible aesthetic beauty and action choreography are a lot impressive than Snyder's 300. But the problem with Sucker Punch is that even in a fantasy film, or any action film for that matter, you have to put effort into making the audience care for your characters no matter how good looking the action and special effects are. You simply won't care who lives or dies in this film. At some point, you have to try to make the audience care. This film simply never does.
I think that I got my point across perfectly clear regarding this film. If it entertained you, fine, then it did it's job. The problem is is that there's nothing remotely remarkable about this film aside from the visual aspect of this film. If more time was spent fleshing out the story, characters, with a more coherent script, then this could've been a really good film. But since so much potential was utterly wasted, I have no choice but to give my grade and it's a D.
I originally wrote a review the day after I saw Sucker Punch. I panned
it. To me my initial feelings were rather lukewarm at best.
But then I gave it some time.
And as I went through my days afterward my mind would wander back to the story and think about the visual food for thought.
Yeah, the girls are hot. Yeah, the action is over the top, but if you look at the emotional landscape that is being explored in a more literal fashion via the action then yeah, this is a pretty cool idea.
Sometimes films come along that are a "sucker punch" in terms of originality. The general public usually reacts negatively to it which leads to poor box office results. But later on the audience has had a chance to digest what was given and revisits the film and breaths new life into it.
My prediction is that such a situation will happen with Sucker Punch. It'll probably not recoup its initial budget at the box office. People will flood the IMDb forum with reasons why it did not work. We will probably see about a few dozen threads at least where people will vent their reasons why they hate the film and why you too should not see it.
But given some time it will recoup via video sales and other distribution deals.
Because it's still a solid story. The style of the movie is an Otaku's wet dream, but overall result is still the same: it does surprise and give ample food for thought.
Think of it as stylized parable about repression, personal will and sacrifice. Because sooner or later after all the negative backlash and reviews blow by those emotional messages will be all that will be left.
And people will remember it for that reason.
"Sucker Punch," the latest barrage on the senses from writer-director
Zack Snyder ("300", "Watchmen") is his first film that's based on his
own source material. And it proves to be quite stunning definition of
pop filmmaking. In a triumphant marriage of style and tone, Snyder has
created his own "Kill Bill" by going deep down into the rabbit hole. A
glorious pastiche of colour, CGI and kinesis, "Sucker Punch" even
through its obvious flaws, has set a new bar for graphic storytelling
that attempts to transplant the purity of imagination onto the cinema
Essentially cohering around a simple premise -- hot chicks kicking ass and taking names, the film's bravura opening charts Baby Doll's (Emily Browning) institutionalisation by a wicked stepfather after her mother's death and her introduction to the asylum where damaged young women are sent to be kept away from society. She meets the people-in-charge, Blue (Oscar Isaac) and Dr. Gorski (Carla Gugino) as well as the other girls in the institute: Rocket (Jena Malone) and her sister Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Amber (Jamie Chung) and Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens).
The story that follows Baby Doll reveals a larger canvas of a clever narrative conceit that coincides three realities together ("Inception" comparisons, tread lightly); the first being the asylum, the second is a burlesque brothel run by Blue and trained by Gorski and the final and most resplendent one is Baby Doll's hyper reverie focused on destroying the forces of evil -- be it shogun titans, zombie Nazis or killer androids. The darker the reality preceding it, the deeper and more risky the wormhole of fantasies go. There is a real sense, despite its tremendous parade of visual set-pieces that Snyder wanted a narrative strong enough to endure the weight of spectacle, and in many respects he has. He uses the age-old device of character quests to propel the plot, peppering it with familiar consequences until he doesn't. The flow culminates in an intriguing final act that sets it a mark higher than anyone would have expected, or even needed from a film that already proudly wears its stripes as pure escapist entertainment.
Snyder goes the way of Tarantino in appropriating and amalgamating artistic and stylistic influences from the most conspicuous of genres and mediums. Within the real world or whatever the relative equivalent of what exists in this film's dark and twisty tone, the film uses templates in the vein of sexploitation female prison grind-house features from the 60s and 70s like "Love Camp 7", "99 Women", "Caged Heat" and the grandmother of them all, 1950's "Caged". As the film progresses into its action-oriented enterprises, it quickly recalls the dizzying array of cut-scenes from video-games and punk anime-style design in how it encompasses the digital environment. Snyder's thematic goal is to situate the idea of imagination as a coping mechanism for terror, a concept seen recently in "Pan's Labyrinth" and "Tideland". The landscape of the mind is uniquely realised here by Snyder, who etches a remarkable amount of detail into each CGI frame, an hyperbolised celebration of artifice and invention that is at once magnificent and exhilarating as it is compelling and spellbinding.
Werner Herzog once posited that the dearth of new and unique imagery that do not reflect the times we live in will be the death of civilisation. If anything, "Sucker Punch" truly defines the generation of filmmaking we exist in -- a sophisticated and passionate emblem that delivers an overload of sugar high through the ideals of creating and maintaining a creative medley of pop-culture influences, bridged together with keen commercial sensibilities. Suddenly, Snyder holding on to the helms of the next Superman film makes more sense than it ever did.
Nearly every review you read for this film will say the same thing,
it's a 'love or hate' movie, and there's a very good reason for this.
"Sucker Punch" is not the film you were expecting, whatever that might
have been, particularly if you were expecting a hyper-masculine affair
a la "300". If anything it is hyper-feminine; at its core this is a
movie about women struggling against the evil male influences in their
lives. That doesn't mean it isn't loaded with action - it really is,
and it is beautiful, but if you're looking for an easy watch, this
isn't for you. In terms of sheer originality, this movies narrative
style is right up there with classics like Pulp Fiction and Memento,
but there is a downside to this - you need to keep an open mind. If you
can't watch this movie, at least once without - and this may sound
weird, but you'll get what I mean when you watch it - demanding to know
exactly what is going on, right the hell now, it will lose you, and it
won't get you back. But if you can keep an open mind, right till the
end, at the very least it will give you a lot to think about
On the other hand, don't go thinking that is all it has to offer. It is visually stunning in a way that makes director's like Michael Bay and (dare I say it) James Cameron, look like blind toddlers with a handy-cam strapped to their heads. As for the music, it's not often I'm afraid of giving spoilers for a movies soundtrack, I'll say that much, and every track fits the movie perfectly.
I'm going to shoot myself in the foot here, but when it comes to this movie, don't listen to the reviews, and just go see it. I really think time will tell with this one on that front. I can't promise you'll like it, but I can promise you'll remember it 6 months from now, and how many movies can you say that about?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In a world filled with mindlessly violent movies and flimsy plots with
practically nothing to substantiate the actions of the characters, I
went into this movie looking for mindless violence and girls-with-guns
escaping reality and an asylum and not much more.
What I found instead was apparently missed by a lot of other people out there. I read reviews that said this movie was soulless and pointless sexual fantasy. I don't know what movie they saw because that wasn't this movie.
This movie wasn't about a girl escaping reality by setting up a fantasy within a fantasy and using those fantasies to escape an institution in reality. This movie was about a young woman who had accepted a hopeless fate, but is saved by someone she eventually calls an angel told from the angel's point of view. This is not Babydoll's story. Yet she still brought down the beast.
This movie was not about a boy's fantasy about girls in short skirts and fishnets holding big guns and a really cool sword. For one thing, boys tend to like bloodshed. Girls tend to like looking awesome. (Please note, I am using the phrase "tend to like" on purpose. I do like bloodshed on occasion and I am a girl. I know those of the male set of the species who also like to look awesome. I'm making a separate point here.) There is very little bloodshed in this movie. The steam-work soldiers did not bleed. They're already dead. The other creatures, the robots, the dragons There's practically no blood shed within the fantasy. There is a highly sexual look to the movie. Babydoll is sexually objectified by her stepfather and the orderlies and the guards. Is it any wonder that her first reality-escaping-fantasy is a brothel? And then, within that fantasy, she uses her ability to dance provocatively to render the men motionless, thoughtless, and incapable of noticing anything else around them. It's called a power trip. Every woman wants to be sexy. Every woman wants to be that capable of holding every man's attention that completely. It was Babydoll's way of using that sexual objectivity as a weapon. And that weapon carries into the next level of her fantasy, becoming a handgun with cartoonish animal charms dangling - taking a weapon and adding a distinctively feminine touch to it - and a really sweet katana engraved with intricate and delicate designs.
This movie was about heroes and self-sacrifice. It was not about women in lingerie holding weapons. It was about using everything you have to fight for freedom - and that your freedom is not the only freedom worth fighting for. This is not Babydoll's story. It may not be yours. But it's still worth telling.
Oh yeah, and one more thing: If someone fights for your right to breathe free, fight for the next person's right. You won't know whose story this is until the end.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film could not be more appropriately titled. I was a "sucker" to
pay good money to see this slop, and I felt like "punching"
writer/producer/director Zach Snyder for putting me (and many others)
In addition to Snyder's ("Watchman," "300") "point-the-camera-and-get-away" direction, there's the horrid acting (a term I use more than loosely) of Emily Browning and others. Add to that the convoluted storyline and not-so-special effects, and you easily have one of the worst movies of the year.
What small plot this picture has features Babydoll (Browning) as a much abused stepdaughter placed in a "Shutter Island"-type 1950s mental institution. There, she meets a group of equally terrible actresses and begins her flights of fantasy. Browning seems to have one expression, a sad-sack, dopey-eyed, head-cocked look that makes Anna Faris' thespian abilities look like Katharine Hepburn's.
With this group, she delves into an "Inception"-like world of multi-layered dimensions, fighting giant killer robots, massive zeppelins, German zombies from World War I. These scenes are all one big CGI mess that - to some, I suppose - are going to appear impressive, but when all is said and done give the (intelligent) viewer one large headache.
Meanwhile, an oriental-like wise man (Scott Glenn, "The Right Stuff," "Hunt For Red October") waxes philosophical about finding a map, a key, fire, a knife and other mundane items which are supposed to make this film somewhat deep. Glenn, by the way, only was considered for this role because David Carradine had passed away.
To waste any more words on this slick piece of garbage would only serve to justify Snyder's pathetic vision of titillating teenage males by enticing them them with nearly bare-breasted, violent adolescent girls with guns and martial arts skills.
Take my advice here; unless you're a confused young women with anger and appearance issues, or a horny 14-year old boy, avoid this movie like the bubonic plague. No matter what kind of money you save by doing so, eventually, you will thank me for it.
After absorbing myself in the world of Zach Snyder's "Sucker Punch" for
a while, including one viewing at IMAX, one in my local theater, and
multiple listens to the soundtrack, I felt the unusual calling to dump
my thoughts out regarding this haunting, beautiful, polarizing, and
From the first trailer I saw, I'd been anticipating the release. Usually this is bad, as it means my expectations are built up and it will take an outstanding performance to meet those expectations. Turns out, Sucker Punch is everything I'd hoped it would be, and more. Some would say that in art we see what we want to see, though maybe it's true also that we see what we are prepared to see. Here's what I saw and felt about the film, why it resonated with me and why many people didn't like it: Within the first five minutes, I knew I was in for a treat. The film opens with an excellent cover of "Sweet Dreams" by the film's lead actress. The initial scenes are otherwise silent and the storytelling is all visual. Yes, you're about to experience a film that is basically a 120-minute music video. But that's not all. It's also an action extravaganza AND it's cerebral to boot.
Right out the gate, from as early as the opening sequence (where we enter through a state and later rain on a car window forms the movie's title), this film announces that you should shut off your disbelief. It's fantasy at all levels and doesn't have to make sense to entertain or ask provocative questions, both out loud and suggested.
Thank goodness for the fantasy elements as had this been a movie about an escape attempt from an abuse-steeped asylum, it would have been immeasurably depressing. Snyder's vision protects the audience from what Baby Doll, Sweet Pea, and the rest were experiencing in the "reality" of the film probably more effectively than Baby Doll's fantasies protected her from those horrible experiences. As it is, the film is sad enough in its portrayal and suggestion of certain negative themes like incarceration, lobotomies, aggression, rape, corruption, and betrayal. On the other hand, it's also a film that is both empowering and moving.
In contrast to the dark themes, we also have several positive themes like the individual's search for freedom, teamwork, giving, love, forgiveness, risk, and courage. This film likely upsets many viewers because it doesn't exactly have a happy ending. (An approach which tends to spell failure at the American box office.) I enjoy the apparent contradictions it presents to the audience. One popular debate is whether the film is empowering to women. I think this debate in particular misses the point of the film, and takes too much at face value, but it does show how polarizing the movie is.
The conversation, both internal with yourself and external with others, about what is portrayed in the film can be difficult for one to consider, which is likely why it's a turn-off for so many. The critics may be upset by the questions it provokes about themselves. Cognitive dissonance encourages them to just forget all the issues, label the film a piece of garbage, and move on. Other viewers were likely upset by the film's darkness - it certainly made me uncomfortable, but that doesn't mean the movie was bad. For those of us looking deeper, there are all manner of important questions provoked.
People are being abused. What are you doing about it? Is reality a prison? If reality is a prison, as the trailer for the film states, what does that make you? Why are you here? Are you here to be "corrected" or to escape? Do you want to be free, or should you just shut up and let the guards continue to take advantage of you and the other prisoners? What will it take to escape? Are you willing to risk your life in the quest for freedom? Is Sucker Punch really just a action-extravaganza with no plot (as many critics would suggest), or is it a subtly and cleverly presented art film about your evolution and self-empowerment? The film even asks a series of provocative questions out loud in the final narration. I'm a panentheist, and I don't claim to know what Zack and Deborah Snyder believe, but my interpretation of the final narration is that it is reminding people of the divine dichotomy. We are individuals, but we're all connected to all-that-is. The world's horrors and beauty were created by us, collectively. What we see around us is a reflection of our collective beliefs. The contrast exists so you can continue to choose what you want. Will you consciously choose to evolve, expand, and therefore grow all-that-is? The film explains this by announcing that you have all the weapons you need and encourages you to "fight". Leave the realm of living life by default, and begin working towards freedom. Gather your tools (map, fire, knife, key) and don't forget the fifth element - love. Prepare yourself to lose everything and gain the perfect victory.
The fight is not with swords and guns against horrible monsters outside you, but inside yourself. It's your task to vanquish your fear. That will set you free internally, which eventually will help free you (and the rest of us) externally. You may not make it out alive, but all-that-is will benefit from your efforts.
Sucker Punch wasn't a mind-blower like The Matrix, but it was an entertaining, well-made action film with an intellectual layer and depth, for those who were prepared to receive it. I left the theater with conflicting feelings about what I'd seen. I liked that. It's a stunningly beautiful and poignant film. It was exactly what the trailer promised and more. Oh, and the soundtrack is pretty great, too! Consider me a fan.
4.5/5 for the theatrical version. I'm looking forward to the director's cut.
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