Monday, April 4, 2011

A Rare Review On This Blog

From the Urban Dictionary:

"Easily confused with a punch defined as a 'bitch move' a true sucker punch is quite a bit more complex than a simple unanounced attack.  It primarily involves a closed fist contacting the soft underbelly of a person (beneath the rib cage) at a high velocity, causing the ensuing force to press upward on the victim's diaphram, leading to a sudden expulsion of air from the victim's mouth and lungs. This opening blow leaves the victim open to various other attacks, often leading to what would be called 'bitch moves' because of the defenseless nature of the victim."

The reader may have heard that the film Sucker Punch is a terrible, awful film.  Don't believe it.  The film has a premise.  The viewer must buy the premise, or the viewer will be left out to lunch.

I predict that vast numbers would dislike the film because A) there is a really heavy-handed point that's made to conceal the deeper issue; B) certain plot elements seem unbelievable to macho-nerd elements when performed by women; and C) the nested elements of the setting suggest an unacceptable ulterior motive on the part of the director that will bother women.  Finally, the nested quality overall will mean that a substantial portion of the population will just plain not get it.

If, on the other hand, the reader can remember Heavy Metal magazine from its hey-day circa 1978-1982, in the period that featured Moebius, Caza, Berni Wrightson and Angus Mckie, when it served as better adventure fodder than the Dragon Magazine, the reader will be better prepared than most to enjoy Sucker Punch for what it offers.

But understand, this is a chick flick.  There's more than one woman character.  The women characters talk to each other for more than thirty seconds, and they talk about things other than men.  It thankfully dismisses chatter about having babies, but the motivations are women's motivations, not men's.  Although the women perform, battle or sacrifice as men would, a great many nerds will find it all somewhat disquieting ... even just wrong.  The movie was not made for nerds who are uncomfortable with their sexuality.

There is a great deal of porn.  Battle porn, sexual porn, film-maker porn.  But the slant is not traditional.  So many will disparage the porn as cheap, tawdry, purposeless and commercial.  Pay no attention to them.  The porn was made for other people.

So, if you have a traditional perspective on the world; if your perception of men and women fits comfortably into the mainstream; and if your experience with complicated film art forms is limited, then I recommend not seeing Sucker Punch.  You will seriously not like it.

Speaking for myself, I still feel like the movie was somehow jacked into my arm, and that I am writing this while high.


Martin R. Thomas said...

I'm one of the people who saw this movie and didn't like it. It's not because it features women as the lead characters. I frankly just thought the story-telling was disjointed.

I did think that there was a very good raw kernel of an idea in the film, but it wasn't fully developed enough to be interesting. And the fight scenes were sadly underwhelming mainly because, right after the very first one where it's just Baby Doll solo against the giant Samurai things, there is no sense of danger. She gets slammed around but then just stands up like nothing happened at all and fights back automatically. Once the viewer loses the sense that the good guys ("good girls?") can be hurt or fail, all sense of drama is lost and it became a little boring.

I know that later in the movie, there are some consequences for some of the characters, but it was too late for me by that point.

Cody said...

The impression I got sitting in the theater was that Sucker Punch was basically a vehicle for unrelated action sequences absent of context. It's true that the elements you mentioned were there but... not really.

I think what you've described here is the movie Zack Snyder thought he was making, but it's certainly not the movie that was made. There is a vestige of depth, suggested by the multi-layered nature of the fantasy and all that hogwash about "who's story is it?" The film teases at deep questions, like the nature of Baby Doll's mental state, or insanity in general, and it almost makes a statement about the role of women in society. But if it has anything interesting to say on these matters, it chooses to stay silent.

You point out that this is a chick flick in that women talk and they have women's motivations. I don't know if I fully understand these motivations. I don't think I fully understand any of the characters, for that matter, since none of the characters are, you know, characterized. Basically all we have is Baby Doll with her desire to break free (breaking free from a male-dominated culture can be seen as a feminist message, but I don't think breaking free from a place like that is uniquely a feminine motivation), and Sweet Pea and Rocket with the closest this film gets to a believable, meaningful relationship. The other two girls are only there to fight, cry, and die.

Like Martin said, there was a kernel of a good idea. But ideas are worth nothing if they get lost in the noise, which is precisely what happened with Sucker Punch.

SupernalClarity said...

I, for one, would like to thank you, Alexis: you're the first person I've heard praise the film since seeing it.

It certainly wasn't a perfect movie, and I think there are plenty of kinks that could have been worked out with a little more thought or effort. Unfortunately, no one seems to want to look beyond any of the superficial blemishes and see that there is more at play here. There are interesting themes touched upon, as you said, and some absolutely stunning cinematography besides, but too often these things seem to get lost behind the idea that it's just a poorly-conceived porn/action movie.

I may have to reference this post, now, when people aren't willing to believe my impression of Sucker Punch.

Eric said...

Very few people got this movie. You did.