Friday, 25 March 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #699: Sucker Punch Gets Sucker Punched

Welcome to the show folks...

Zack Snyder's
Sucker-Punch, his first feature film to not be based on a previously existing work, like a movie or a comic book has been roundly sucker-punched by the critics, who only give it a 20% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Well, from the moment I heard of the premise last year, I figured such a drubbing was inevitable, and when I saw the first trailer a few months ago my opinion was confirmed.

The whole thing sounds like a thirteen year old's visual movie wish list, let's go down that list:

1. Hot girls in skimpy outfits.

2. Hot girls in skimpy outfits shooting guns.

3. Hot girls in skimpy outfits fighting goons.

4. Hot girls in skimpy outfits fighting robots.

5. Hot girls in skimpy outfits fighting zombies.

6. Hot girls in skimpy outfits fighting dragons.

7. H
ot girls in skimpy outfits crashing all sorts of vehicles

8. Hot girls in skimpy outfits blowing shit up left and right.

Hot girls in skimpy outfits getting advice from some wizened Yoda like figure.

Hot girls in skimpy outfits being hot girls in skimpy outfits

What's not to love?

My theory is that Mr. Snyder is primarily a visual filmmaker rather than a narrative one. Give him a pre-existing story that has lots of potential for eye-popping visuals and he will deliver. His specialty is making the fantastical look fantastic, and he does it pretty well.

His film 300 was an excellent piece of bloody, near maniacal, martial melodrama that captured not only the visual style of the source material, but the spirit as well. His adaptation of The Watchmen didn't do as well both critically or commercially, but there were reasons for its failure that go beyond him or his ability. He was relatively faithful to the source material, that was, you have to admit was extremely 80s in both theme and attitude, and had taken on what everyone must admit was an impossible task.

Given free reign to be completely "original" has created a film that is pretty much the above mentioned list of visual tropes that he's probably had bubbling in his head since puberty but without the narrative backbone he's had with his other films because they were adaptations.

Now this critical drubbing could have little or no effect on the film's box office performance. The film is the sort of hyper-kinetic visual joy ride that audiences might flock too. Michael Bay has built his career on that ever since he gave up trying to be a "serious" filmmaker after Pearl Harbor.

There are others who think Warner Bros. might be re-thinking giving Snyder the reins of their upcoming Superman revival. I doubt it. The project is being overseen by Christopher Nolan, who thanks to the success of his Batman movies and Inception is the studio's Golden Boy, and he enjoys a near Kubrick level of trust with the company. He's also the man who took the comic book film to new narrative realms with The Dark Knight. I think Warner Bros. is hoping that Nolan's narrative skill will couple well with Snyder's visual acumen, to create a crowd pleasing blockbuster.

However, even if it doesn't, it still can't be any worse than Jon Peters's squandering of $50 million before a single frame of film was shot developing what became the tedious Superman Returns.

Now there are those of you who might criticize my liberal use of pictures of the
hot girls in skimpy outfits from Sucker-Punch, but I assure you that they are there for purely illustrative and educational reasons, not from some desire to get hits from the lecherous among you.

Really.... I mean that....


  1. And we believe you.

    Really. :)

    I don't know anything about this movie other than it looks cool but it also looks like something I probably won't like.

    The trailers really turn me off.

    Don't know what else to say, really.

  2. From what I hear the film was tracking badly in the research focus groups.

  3. jepressman@gmail.com26/3/11 5:44 pm

    Sucker Punch looks like one of those drive-in theater movies that used to get laughed at on Second City TV or SNL ,a long time ago. Now this is a feature film at cineplexes all across the USA. Is this an advancement of culture or the net result of drugs and tequila and sex in Hollywood?

  4. BO reports have this movie losing out to the Wimpy Kid Sequel which is more kid friendly and was made with half the budget of sucker punch. It seems except for High School Musical Vanessa Hudgens cannot get a break. Bandslam was a pretty good film but it flopped due to poor marketing, Beastly was just forgotten.

  5. I've heard people joke about it as a movie with a script written entirely by 4chan.

    ....There was a Wimpy Kid sequel?

  6. What's funny about your last paragraph is that I got to this post after searching "hot woman riding a dragon"... I was simply trying to make a point to a friend, of course, not actually searching for such an image.