Zack Snyder is an epic film maker. He’s not the sort of guy to make a rom com. His most “normal” film is a computer animation about owl guardians, though someone who is used to directing special effects shots, a fully CG movie is not as out of character as it first appears. It won’t surprise you that he attended college with Michael Bay, but he is in my opinion a far greater filmmaker. For all of his adoration of slow mo, he has never made anything as terrible as Transformers 2, and I mean terrible. Not just bad and unpleasant, but something to be afraid of.
Anyway, his next film is called Sucker Punch and without even seeing it, I can promise you it will SUCK! To explain, let me show you exactly the process that I went through so you can see my reasoning.
The first statements to emerge about the film were that Emily Browning had been cast as the lead and that it was described as “Alice in Wonderland with machine guns”. A fan of Browning from her excellent performance in A Series of Unfortunate Events, I was intrigued. The prospect of a more sinister Alice without the bright Disney colours but focusing instead on the surrealness and introducing some serious conflict excited me. More details emerged, that it was about a group of girls in a mental asylum trying to break free and I awaited the first teaser trailer with baited breath.
Sure enough, it came and as expected from Snyder, one of the best teaser trailer makers in the world, I was wowed. The trailer can be seen here and was pretty much what I expected. Well, I didn’t predict what would happen in it but thought the tone, scope and action was as I had hoped for; nuts and OTT. Giant Samuari warriors with chain machine guns, fighting fire breathing dragons in biplanes and futuristic robots all validated the claim that you would not be prepared. The images are pretty impressive and I thought with the interesting concept as well, another Inception was possible. An analysis of the power of the mind and the ability it has to create courage in any situation was something that peaked my interest. I admit I thought it looked a bit dark, and quite frankly like he had tried to create some of his own sexual fantasies by getting the girls to dress up as anything he wanted, but I thought that if a good story was driving it, it’d still be worth a watch.
Well, from trailer 2 (here) we can see that the story is as flimsy as its possible to be. Get 5 objects from 5 fantastical worlds, escape the asylum and win the day. It’s now revealed that the film is purely about fantasy. The only thing that impressed me with this trailer was the last line and it nearly came close to winning me back. However, the evidence is overwhelmingly clear that this is Snyder’s way of just living his own fantasy and making money at the same time. Get some bad-ass chicks to dress up in as many skimpy outfit stereotypes that you can think of (schoolgirl, nurse, stripper etc), add a loose plot around it that will attract the eyes of the intellectuals and hope that the eye candy satisfies.
Snyder is a director who I think has a huge talent for composing beautifully visual films. Watchmen looked immense, but it was a bit too slow and tedious for some though I personally found his loyalty to (almost) the entire original admirable. This film however is glorifying fantasy, and I mean properly making things up in your head and accepting it as more important than truth stuff, as an excellent activity. The only way I can imagine this as possibly being any good is if they all die in their attempt but I highly doubt this will happen. Even if it did, I imagine it would be in a similar fashion to Pan’s Labyrinth, except the trailer does not seem to suggest any grounding in the real world that Pan’s had, thereby making the point that the fantasy is far more desirable than the real world.
I will be vetoing this film when it comes out, as I don’t want to even partially support this kind of thing. That Snyder has now been selected to direct the next Superman film scares me a little. I hope that someone is holding his hand tightly and gives him a story to stick to rather than just giving us eye candy. With Nolan producing, it could either be one of the darkest films or one of the most amazing. Only time will tell.
Sucker punch however will suck. Avoid it, please. As the second trailer says, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” I beg you, make a stand for truth and don’t see this movie.