‘Sucker Punch’ is for suckers
Starring Emily Browning, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens
Masturbation. It’s a concept with which we are all familiar: self gratification. There is pleasure in masturbation, but it’s not a group activity—it’s not for the benefit of others. Sitting through “Sucker Punch” is like watching director Zach Snyder masturbate for two hours.
This is an awful, awful movie—the kind of cinematic fantasy that could have only been made by an obsessive-compulsive fetishist who stopped developing emotionally at 14. The film is a train wreck in every sense of the word: wretched writing, putrid acting and the kind of seizure-inducing virtual camerawork that will numb the mind in no time flat.
Zach Snyder is a soulless director who has amassed a fair share of apologists. His previous films (“300,” “Watchmen”) have been visual feasts, candy-coated sugary confections with no center. “Sucker Punch” is his empty, vapid, sexually frustrated, malevolent masterpiece. This could be the most intentionally awful film ever made. I say “intentional” because every frame of this was planned. Every choice was calculated. This is a movie from a director who had every crayon in the box to color with, and what he delivered is a colorful mess.
I was amazed how a movie that spends so much time assaulting the senses could be so utterly senseless. The plot is laughable. Baby Doll (Emily Browning) is committed to a mental institution after accidentally killing her sister. Her evil stepfather plans to have her lobotomized in five days. The harsh reality is too much for her to bear, so Baby Doll creates a fantasy world where she and the other patients are dancers at a brothel.
What? Seriously? So, right off the bat I’m supposed to believe that a girl suffers an awful tragedy, creates a dream world for herself, and in that dream world she’s a whore? Does that make sense to anyone? Of course not. Sense doesn’t matter for a movie like “Sucker Punch.” What matters is setting up scenes where hot girls can stand around in burlesque outfits.
In the fantasy world she created, Baby Doll learns that when she dances she can escape to yet another fantasy world. Here, she’s a sword-carrying, gun-wielding badass who can take on armies of monsters, dragons, clockwork soldiers and every other science fiction/fantasy cliché of the last century. Sure, it’s awesome to see giant battlefields and mechanized robots fight World War One biplanes and dogfights with fire-breathing dragons. But when these scenes are utterly meaningless and do nothing to advance the plot, it doesn’t matter. They could have had King Kong and Godzilla speed-skating on the rings of Saturn while Darth Vader has a light-saber duel with the Thundercats. If there’s no reason for it to be happening, it’s nothing more than something to stare at for a moment and declare “cool.”
Zach Snyder’s films remind me of conversations I had when I was 10. My friends and I would sit around for hours discussing geek hypothetical: “Who would win in a fight: Captain America or Batman?” Or we’d discuss the superiority of Transformers over the Go-Bots, or why the A-Team and GI Joe used guns and blew up stuff but no one ever actually died. Again, fascinating topics when I was 10. However, maturity essentially must set in. And though one can have an interesting discussion about whether a great white shark would win in a fight against an orca whale, we also learn to rationalize: Would it be worth two hours of my life? Snyder seems to be stuck in this place. His movies are immature, long-form music videos that lack cohesion.
The acting is abysmal, too. Emily Browning has practically no screen presence. Scott Glenn shows up at random times as some kind of Zen master giving Baby Doll and her friends a few lines of awful dialogue before a 10-minute battle begins. Like the entire movie, the supporting cast is made up of delicious eye-candy but ultimately has no point. Bikini girls with machine guns.
Nothing in “Sucker Punch” makes any sense. One of the major elements of the film involves Baby Doll’s seductive dancing, so powerful that it hypnotizes men and transports her to faraway places, and yet we never really see her or anyone else dance. When creating a fantasy world that involves burlesque dancers and brothels, it seems like a dance number would be in order. It’s this level of stupidity that I find fascinating.
I don’t know how films like “Sucker Punch” get made. Hundreds of millions of dollars were dumped into a vapid visual tour de force with no heart, soul or reason to exist.
Sucker Punch | Movie Trailer | Review