Only once this year did I feel my eyes were melting inside my face, and I wanted only that one time. It may be a trivial complaint, as explosions and hot girls kicking ass is badassery at its finest, but during a movie I desire the same care to be taken to other parts of the movie, even if it's made to be trashy. I just got back from seeing Sucker Punch - yes, a movie on a video games blog - and the rare time I will make a post reviewing a movie related to video games. Or films that could make for awesome video games. With the onslaught of video game-related projects gracing silver screens soon, it's only necessary I get the practice now to make for better reviews later. So, here we go, ladies and gentlemen, my first ever movie review. The first victim, Sucker Punch.
I'm no movie critic. In fact I usually end up seeing one, maybe two movies a year. Anything video game-related I am guaranteed to see, so expect those in the near and distant futures. Sucker Punch is an awkward first movie to stab a review at, ultimately because it fails on almost every level. There is a lot to analyze so let's get started.
By thy hand of the movie gods, please layeth the smackdown on the candy asses who were involved in the making of Sucker Punch. Four hot girls trapped in an insane asylum which, through the power of imagination turns into a brothel, devise a plan to escape. Using the help of the Wise Man, four essentials are necessary for survival: a map, fire, a knife, a key and a mysterious fifth thing only Babydoll (Emily Browning) can realize. She uses her erotic dancing to distract various characters in-and-out of the asylum to attain the ingredients for freedom, and in her imaginary world she embarks on a unique quest each time.
The only, and I mean only, shining aspect of this movie is the CGI effects. The fight scenes were set up obviously to be the primary eye candy, and the scenes suit the purpose. There are some gorgeous set pieces here inside the different dreamlands. One, the girls have to cross No Man's Land to gain the map, massacring thousands of wannabe Nazi soldiers, with zeppelins and airplanes fighting over top. In another scene, the group has to save a futuristic city from a bomb-strapped train to get the knife. The action sequences slaughtering murderous robots are awesome, and probably my favourite part of the movie. Abbie Cornish is incredibly sexy while handling a shotgun.
But unfortunately the movie gods refrained from smiling on this nightmare. The cliched dialogue made characters seem fake and the terrible plot added to the misery; even Carla Gugino having a Russian accent (I think?) couldn't save this movie. Some reviews I read beforehand called Sucker Punch the beginning of the decline of brilliant filmmaking. Such an accusation is undeserving. The movie may be a mess, and a waste of a good ten bucks or so, but to fully appreciate the stellar CGI scenes and worlds created inside Babydoll's head you have to see it in theatres. You'll be scratching your head afterward, like I was, about just what the hell is going on, but maybe that is part of the overall allure. The mission of Zack Snyder was to make you leave your seat and question what just happened on screen; or at least that's what it should have done. There was potential for a compelling story if some weight has given to character development; only three of the girls are given reasons as to why they are in a mental asylum. Blondie and Amber may have been minor characters, but some backstory could have given the film some personality. The worst part of all is the ending; I won't spoil it, but the metaphor is so bitterly obvious that the entire theatre broke out laughing. It was meant to be a heartwarming ending to a rather ludicrous tale, but achieved quite the opposite.
So there we go folks. The decision to see it or not rest on your shoulders, but I advise you not to waste your precious hard-earned dollars unless your fix of cheesy dialogue and incredible fighting sequences has yet to be satisfied this year. Sucker Punch fits the bill perfectly.
P.S. I decided to write a review for this movie because it plays out like a video game, and it was definitely meant for the inner nerd in all of us. Appreciating this movie takes a lot of guts, but for the video game enthusiasts it's hard not to compare it to any personal quest in any game. Hopefully this will be the first of many reviews - Halo, Splinter Cell, Assassin's Creed, Warcraft, Gears of War and many other franchises are rumoured to be diving into the movie spotlight. Movie critics will pick these movies apart although the original premise is unbeknownst to them. The best opinion to trust is the words of a gamer, someone that has actually held back the Covenant and the Locust, help defeat rogue government agencies and the Templars, and murdered dozens upon dozens of Horde. (I was forced to choose Alliance.) So check back here and I'll have explicit opinions on just how much Hollywood has ruined our treasured franchises, if by chance any of these actually do come out. Ciao!