Tuesday, April 12, 2011

movie review: Sucker Punch

Sucker Punch: Surprisingly un-shit

I’m not much of an action movie or anime fan, so I was slightly dubious about going to see Sucker Punch. Especially when I’ve heard so many bad things about it in reviews and on gossip sites slating Vanessa Hudgen’s first removal from the Disney world. I did not hold high expectations. For any of it. It’s surprising I would even pay to go and see it, considering my tendency to download everything, but something about it tempted me. It looked shit but fun. I can handle that.

The first thing is, a few comments on the Stuff review likened the premise to Inception. Let’s get one thing clear, likening this movie to Inception is like comparing Requiem for a Dream with [insert name of generic stoner movie here. Let’s say, High Times. That sounds like one.] Yes, they both use different levels of cognition to portray an idea, but that is where the similarity ends. Sucker Punch is more, Inception for Dummies. The ideas cross paths, but the hot chicks in sailor moon outfits, dragons, giant ninjas, and excessive make up tears the remaining threads of a comparison.

Despite this, it wasn’t half bad. If you don’t go in with high expectations, you will find yourself pleasantly surprised. And despite a few reviewers statements of “incoherence”, “lack of storyline”, and “plot holes galore”, I found the story to be quite simply this:

Baby Doll finds herself in an insane asylum for troubled (and of course, ridiculously attractive) young women. She wants to escape before she gets lobotomised. Pretty sound reasoning so far. Director Zack Snyder uses a series of levels of metaphors as her “coping mechanism”. So she imagines herself in a similarly bad situation, hostage to a guy-liner clad dance parlour owner. She dances like no other apparently, but you never see it, because performance anxiety (or perhaps, lack of actual dancing talent) removes her from the club scene and into a series of fantastic battle scenes, where her accomplices help her complete each part of her escape plan.

The critics who point out “plot holes” of how the plan is actually executed are missing the point. If we wanted to watch a bunch of dirty girls misbehaving in a mental hospital we’d rent Girl, Interrupted and be done with it. It’s the battle scenes that take this film into the world of high-action anime. And it’s fun. I found myself laughing at a few of the set-piece fight scenes, but I suspect that’s what Snyder wants you to do.

The plot holds together well enough to create a story and the fantasy creates an atmosphere where you don’t have to take it too seriously. Easy watching.

My only gripe was the soundtrack, which although very fitting, was a series of covers of great songs remade to appeal to today’s youth; ie, shit. And a little too obvious. The only enjoyable song was a brilliantly underused Bjork track. The rest was a bit cringy for my higher taste.

All in all, I liked it. It’s easy to follow, visually opulent, and fun. This is one you can judge by the cover.

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