Style over substance wins in the battle for Snyder’s imagination…
Where to begin with ‘Sucker Punch’? Well, it’s a Zach Snyder movie all right, as a skilled director of action there’s not many who are better, but as a story teller standing on his own two feet, this time in his first original screenplay we perhaps see where his talents are best served; because ‘Sucker Punch’ is an elaborate muddle of a movie, that while not being without some fantastic eye candy from ‘The Theatres’ dancing girl ensemble, giant time and world shifting fantasies; the creation of overblown make-believe leaves little emotional connection when reasons for why are so vague.
‘Babydoll’ (Emily Browning) is one messed up teen who inadvertently kills her little sister while protecting her from her abusive step father, she is sent to the ‘Lennox’ mental institute while we hear the reinterpreted tones of The Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams are made of this’ (get it?), one of the many rock pop re-dux tracks throughout that supplement both the ‘real’ and ‘fantasy’ action.
On arrival she is adjusted into ‘The Theatre’, Dr Gorski’s (Carla Gugino) alternative mental health programme designed to take her and the other female inmates to a place of fantasy that is better than the reality of the loony bin.
So begins a series of outlandish but brilliant fantasy battles, four in all, to try to acquire four items to aid an escape from the asylum, all via the medium of dance! Yes, Baby doll’s gift is to mesmerise the screws of the madhouse into hypnosis through the shuffling of her hips while the other girls try to procure said items, all the while being away somewhere? Battling giant samurai, steaming WWI monsters, Orcs, Dragons and future-world war robots, it’s pure fantasy from the mind of Snyder and hard to believe that it’s from the mind of a truly mental teenage girl.
And here lies the biggest issue with ‘Sucker Punch’. As a meaningful, emotional tale it’s completely void, none of the fantasy you see really connects with the supposed real world events or would surely ever be in the mind of ‘Babydoll’, which leads to question, whose fantasy is this anyway?
What does make ‘Sucker Punch’ worthy of viewing is Znyder going through his full repertoire of shifting, panning, zooming, slo-mo and speed up brand of action that is brilliant and dazzles even if it is all completely incomprehensible and dismembered from any kind of reality when even the reality doesn’t feel real, as the dynamic styling synonymous with Snyder never ceases creating complete disconnection and disbelief for anything.
Even while watching without connection, without really caring; ‘Sucker Punch’ somehow entertains in its ambitious fantasy, all the while wondering that this should have meant much more.
‘Claratsi Rating’ 6.5/10
Watched on Sky Movies