How much pain and sorrow can one girl take? The better question is how much pain and pointless plot turns can the moviegoer take? Sucker Punch, as it was seen by millions earlier this year, was a very aggravating film that delivered scene after scene with seemingly pointless twists and turns. Nothing meant anything. Perhaps as an attempt to address those criticisms or perhaps in attempt to just sell more DVDs, the DVD release of Sucker Punch includes 17 extra minutes of intense and (but not crucial – in my opinion) footage. All it really adds to the film is more dialogue and action in a few scenes. It does make the film a bit darker, but not better in anyway.
Sucker Punch is set in the 1960’s, when asylums like this existed to lock up women who didn’t confirm to society’s expectations. Granted, some were mentally-ill, but others however were just outspoken or uncontrollable. The film centers on Babydoll, a beautiful girl who has entered the Lennox House insane asylum thanks to her cruel and abusive stepfather. Babydoll is plagued by grief and guilt and completely devoid of hope, yet she has a powerful tool on her side – an amazing childlike imagination that creates new worlds for her to inhabit. She can escape the pain of her past through fantastical worlds that create a visual playground for the viewer.
I think the main complaint that myself (and what seems to be everyone else that has seen this film) has had is that there is no connection between the multi-layered worlds. If something happens in one world, there should be a corresponding event in one of the other worlds, but that’s not at all how this film lays things out. We were also given pieces of information that we were just expected to believe without any sort of justification or backup. Nothing makes sense, because nothing means anything.
The overall message of the film is that there is always hope. There’s always the ability to overcome tragedy and pain. One just has to stop being a victim and stand up for themselves – which is a great sentiment. However, in this film, our female characters accomplish this mainly through seduction and showing off their thighs. This will definitely work for the boys (Hell, even I’ll admit these girls look amazing – but again it’s all apart of the visuals which is the only thing the film really has going for it). As far as the overall message for the girls though – it’s a little disturbing.
At the end, the viewer can’t help but think – despite the undeniably beautiful visual effects that are draped over a rather lackluster script – this movie is just something your mind wants to escape from as much as these characters want to escape the asylum. I venture to say it reminds me a lot of some of Warner Brothers’ other spring time releases including 300 and Watchmen (which also happen to be done by Sucker Punch director Zack Snyder). The focus in these films is without question the visuals (which look stunning on Blu-ray by the way). Freeze frame any scene of these movies and you’d have a beautiful work of art… if only they could have make the quality of these scripts as jaw-dropping…
Grade: B- (The visuals make it impossible to rate it lower)
Review By: Emma Loggins