Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Sucker Punch Review


Sucker Punch 

Zack Snyder has had mixed success in his filmography. Gaining fame for 300, he has been quick to show that he is a director who uses a more stylistic approach to film-making. This was further reinforced with his average adaptation of the influential Watchman graphic novel. Whilst many have praised his films, I have always been a bit apprehensive towards his work. Style and cinematography have significant roles in cinema. From the likes of Hitchcock to Ridley Scott, camera-work, editing and lighting, used right, can create great atmosphere and tension. However, like Bay, Snyder has opted for CGI and ‘slow motion’, therefore accumulating the weaknesses and flaws that comes with that style of directing. And the problems are clear in Sucker Punch. Everything is just bad; story, characters, acting, dialogue, even the CGI is unimpressive. It’s a huge mess that suffers from the lack of variety in Zack Snyder’s directing. 
The plot follows Baby Doll (Emily Browning) and her tragic imprisonment in a mental asylum after accidentally killing her sister. She is to be lobotomised in 5 days, thus she hatches a plan to break out using ‘a map, fire, a knife, and a key’. With help from her fellow female ‘nut jobs’, they enter various dreams or trance sequences to seduce the guards and take the items. It’s all set up in a sort of ‘video-game’ structure with levels and end bosses. All it needs is a health bar and an inventory. 
It’s simply a giant mess, with weak character development and an ending that doesn’t make sense.  The dream sequences attempt to dazzle with full-blown action scenes featuring nazi-zombies and robots. But they soon become dull, uninspiring and stupid. The ‘Japanese school-girl, samurai’ sequence, while initially ludicrous, goes full blown lunacy when giant, samurai ‘demons’ are introduced with rocket launchers and mini-guns. The same goes for the implementation of ‘mechs’ in the WWI-esque battle with the ‘Nazis’(?)  Oh..........and there’s a dragon. It’s all ridiculous and over-blown, to where it simply gets boring. The time period of the film is also all over the place. There’s 50/60s noir and fashion intertwined with 80s music, which has been modernised through the various terrible covers. As well as getting the time periods confused, Snyder also fails to convey his intended “empowerment of young females” and women in general. It’s hard to see that when the actresses are dressed in lingerie and skimpy outfits, whilst ‘escaping’ to a burlesque/ brothel environment. And if that statement was intended to attract a strong female audience, then the marketing team and Snyder seemed to miss the point. In the end, it plays into the cinematic tastes of young teenagers who play too many video games and love Bay’s Transformers.
Acting-wise, it’s not good but it looks pretty. Emily Browning who impressed in Lemony Snicket’s: A Series of Unfortunate Events, fails to do anything here, except look fantastic. This is the same for the majority of the actresses who fail to bring any background or personality into the film. Abby Cornish, who gave a great performance in Limitless, nowhere near reaches those levels. Instead she is wooden, and plays the cliché apprehensive, bossy character. The dire High School Musical series has been Vanessa Hudgens claim to fame and she digs herself into a deeper hole in Sucker Punch. Her basic performance fails to impress, and being released in the same year as Beastly, her career needs a fresh start. The rest of the girls are never truly developed; Jena Malone’s character has a substantial part to play, but she doesn’t perform well. Scott Glenn is absolutely terrible in this picture, playing a ‘mentor’ or guide for the girls within the dream sequences, he spurts off confusing advice, morals and god-awful lines. It’s crystal clear that acting, plot and dialogue took a back seat, therefore allowing style to take over.
As with all of Snyder’s work, CGI and special effects play a predominant role. But it’s used far too much in Sucker Punch to the point where it isn’t stunning and it’s used for the most simplest things. Even a shot of a car driving is rendered in CGI. The problem with this is that everything looks fake and the screen is over-saturated with explosions, people, dragons, nazis, and gunfire. Snyder also add his usual over-the-top use of slow motion which remains pointless and does nothing to sort this bloody mess of a film. 
Overall Sucker Punch is a teenager’s ‘wet dream’; action-packed and sexy. However while the actresses look the part, the acting is terrible and so too is the script. Snyder’s overuse of slow-motion has become tiresome, yet he still remains adamant that he’s onto a winner. The CGI isn’t anything special and the overall style of the film is confusing. Everything about this film fails to be interesting or entertaining, and that’s a major problem for a blockbuster action film. With Zack Snyder directing the new Superman film, I’m seriously worried about his vision towards an iconic piece of culture. Lets pray that by 2012/3 he has gained a much more wider understanding of film and cinema, and doesn’t stick to his stupid, boring ways. 
3/10
 
 

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