I walked out of Sucker Punch thinking I might’ve just seen a good movie. Couldn’t be sure though. I’d gotten extremely stoney beforehand. This was intentional. I wanted to give the visuals every chance to wow me and the best way to facilitate that is to go in so spooney you can barely follow the plot. I smoked six batties on the walk from the subway to the theater. My googly-eyed goal was accomplished, but the unfortunate side-effect is I don’t have a very firm grasp on the actual quality of the first hour or so of the movie. I was lookin’, not thinkin’.
I broached the subject at my trivia night and the crowd was incredulous. No, this movie was not good, they insisted. It couldn’t have been. Critics agreed. I was officially not sure enough of myself to comment on a movie I’d just seen. A weird place to be. Didn’t want people to think I was uncool, you know? So I’ve mostly kept mum.
But now your boy is ready to speak up, and I’ll start here: these girls are super, super hot. Like, crazy hot. I honestly wasn’t expecting that. The subway posters made them all look like teenagers, which isn’t my cup of tea (yet). In reality none of these girls are younger than 23, and the average age is 26. Girls in their twenties dressing like teenagers? Thats more like it.
Naturally, I had my worries that this would be a girl power extravaganza. Those worries proved to be unfounded. The female heroines are most often portrayed frightened and vulnerable. The fantastical action scenes featured in the ad campaign only account for a fraction of the film. Most of it takes place in a 20s-style brothel setting. And both of these are actually fantasy worlds inside the head of a newly interred mental patient in a 1960s asylum. It sounds more confusing than it is. A girl gets unjustly institutionalized and creates a fantasy world to cope with it. Pretty easy to follow.
I’m not gonna lie to you and say the plot or acting are good. They are not. Emily Browning in the lead role is straight-up unfortunate. Wooden, not particularly likable. Even her shy act wasn’t that convincing. Of the five girls she was easily the worst actress. Arguably the worst-looking too, which I only mention because a surprising amount of the film dwells on how much hotter she’s supposed to be than everyone else. Given that, I thought this actress was an odd choice. I’d be interested to hear from anyone else who saw this movie and has an opinion on her.
Most of the others were good enough, although I don’t see any stoneys being handed out here. Abby Cornish (hotter than shit) as Sweat Pea was probably the best, and even she didn’t exactly wow me. Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung* are fantastic, top-of-the-line eye candy whose characters are barely developed. They are meant to look amazing, and they do. They really, really do. Zack Snyder must have an eye for hot chicks. Lord knows he’s scoring points continually casting my girl Carla Gugino.
*Also known as Jamie from the Real World San Diego. I didn’t piece this together until the very end. She’s way hotter than I remember. At the time I was all about Robin(‘s fake boobs), and to a lesser extent Cameron. Now Robin is sobbing into an ashtray somewhere and Jamie is the most tantalizing eye-candy in a movie full of it. And she’s, like, a borderline successful actress? How did this fly under my radar? Every Real World cast member for the last fifteen years has been shamelessly trying to become an actor or actress and this girl actually did it? Hey, good for her. She seemed to humiliate herself a little less than the rest of her reality TV colleagues along the way. Maybe that was the key.
I think I might be a fan of Zack Snyder. I realize he hasn’t exactly killed it so far, but I think he has good works ahead of him. Watchmen was mighty fine (and I’m a nerdy fanboy of the graphic novel so I was ready to cross my arms and shake my head). I’m not a huge fan of 300 and its weird he directed that owl movie, but I’m willing to bet he’s trending up. His next project is the Superman remake with Christopher Nolan as producer. That is sure to be a success. And after seeing Sucker Punch, I think I have a good feel for his strengths.
He may not be an innovator, but I see Snyder as a guy who will consistently get the job done. His movies always look pretty cool. He makes interesting casting decisions rather than going for the big stars. You’ll see some familiar faces, and they’ll be faces you’re pleasantly surprised to see. The colors always pop and contrast well with each other. The soundtrack will be good, but not great.
To be clear, I don’t see Snyder ever winning, or deserving , an oscar. But I do see him directing movies I see and enjoy. Sucker Punch falls into that category. Great scenery of all kinds. The sets, the chicks, and the special effects. When I like the way a film looks I’m less inclined to sweat the other stuff. I guess thats what seeing this movie was: a lesson in not sweating the other stuff.
I’l leave you with this scintillating tidbit: This film lives up to its name. There is, indeed, a cinematic sucker punch, and it’s delivered by none other than Jon Hamm. If that doesn’t interest you, I don’t know what will.