You know, it's kind of appropriate that I saw this movie on April Fool's Day, seeing how I felt like I got a sucker punch after watching it.
Zack Snyder has been doing films for about seven years now, most of them being either remakes or adaptations. People remember him most for his style of using slow motion for the big action moments like we saw 300, sometimes it was cool to watch but on occasion it drags the film down. So seeing how his newest film Sucker Punch is one of his original ideas, not previously based on a comic book, will it be as entertaining or as thrilling like his other films? Let's find out.
The film first stars Emily Browning, the star of the films I can't recall of watching. Her name is never really said but she is given the nickname Baby Doll, after being sent to Lennox House of the Mentally Insane after she is blamed for the death of her younger sister. This all happens at the very beginning when her mother dies, leaving everything to the two and having their stepfather get nothing. When he and Baby Doll arrive at the asylum, the stepfather bribes Blue Jones, the head of the orderlies, to forge the lead doctor's signature to have her lobotomized so the police can't interview her and get her side of the story. However the doctor who performs this procedure isn't here and it will be five days until he comes back. I should note, that if you do decide to attend this movie, all the women in this asylum look like they're from a Victoria's Secret catalog and they are wearing tiny skirts to show off their legs, which I think isn't hospital approved. So to cope with all the trauma and drama, Baby Doll opens up her imagination to a world she can escape to. So what does she go? To a brothel run by the mob, filled to the brim of women in more revealing clothing. I think Snyder picked up tips on writing women from Frank Miller. Anyway, as she goes about the routine of a brothel girl, she finds out that she is here for someone known as the High Roller who will be arriving at the brothel in five days. Hmm, sounds a bit familiar. To prepare her, is put in a dancing class led by Madam Vera Gorski, played by Carla Cugino who happened to be in a previous Snyder movie The Watchmen as the Silk Spectre where she wore a lot less clothes than she does in this one. So it's an, improvement? As Baby Doll goes about her dance, we go into her imagination yet again, but now she is going about as a school girl wielding a katana and a gun that has little tassels like the ones girls have on their cellphones. So just to make things clear, its a girl imagining herself imagining...anyone else feel a deja vu for Inception? Before she receives these weapons she is met by a mysterious old man, played by by Scott Glenn, and he is the Morpheus of this movie. He tells her that she must find five things; a map, fire, a knife, a key, and the last one is a mystery, that only Baby Doll can find. To help her on this mission she befriends other dancers at the brothel and all plan to escape with Baby Doll.
Now the big question of the day is, do I even care? The answer, not really. This movie is a big mess of lacking character development, a story too big for this movie to handle, and characters and dialogue that are poorly written. I'm sure with a lot of tweaking this film would be pretty awesome and have me on the edge of my seat with a big dumb grin, but it didn't do that. All it did was made me huff and puff at the constant in-and-out of setting change in the movie. Essentially this is three films that all had a head on collusion with each other and just got mashed up. Zack Snyder should have just stuck with one kind of story, instead of this trifecta of bad storytelling. I also hated that during everyone of Baby Doll's "dances" (and its in quotes because we never really see her dance) we transition to the other imagination, the exact, same, way. A slow motion extreme close up to Baby Doll's head and we spin around and around, it was ok for the first time, but it happens four, count it, FOUR TIMES. There must have been a better way to do this.
The thing I did enjoy about this movie were the visuals. Zack Snyder loves to have some kind of stunning visual effects in his films and he is now stranger to the green screen. One of my favorite moments in the film takes place during Baby Doll second dance it takes place during WWII, everyone seems to be using modern weapons and the Nazi's have developed the means to reanimate their dead with steam-punk and clockwork technology, so yes there are Nazi Zombies in the film. Who doesn't think thats pretty bad ass? The visuals do seem like they would fit more in an anime media but I do believe thats where Snyder got some of his inspiration for everything.
Overall, this movie is bad. Is it horrible to see? No not really, but I would not recommend seeing it in the theaters, as you might be wasting the money if you do. What hurt this movie the most is what almost all action movies suffer from is that they took style over substance. I would just wait for it when it comes out on DVD and see it with a group of friends and see what they think.