Sunday, 3 March 2013

Film Review: Sucker Punch



About the film
Sucker Punch is a fantasy/ action film that was released in 2011. The DVD was released in the UK on 8th August. The film has a rating of 12 and a run time of 109 minutes.

Plot
After attempting to shoot her stepfather, Babydoll is locked away against her will in a place that appears to be a mental institute. However, the institute is a front for a different kind of establishment altogether where girls are forced to do things against their will and a man gets extremely rich because of them. Not content with her new life there, Babydoll talks four other girls into trying to escape with her. If Babydoll and her new found friends do not succeed, she faces having a lobotomy. Along with the help of a Wiseman, Babydoll and the four other girls go on a fantastical journey attempting to collect a set of items while fighting dragons and zombie Nazis along the way.

What I thought
Before watching this film, I had no idea what it was about. I just thought it looked cool more than anything, due to the film poster.

From the very beginning of the film, the soundtrack is something you cannot help but notice. The opening sequence starts off with Emily Browning’s version of          "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)", originally sung by The Eurythmics. I didn’t know who was singing this while watching the film but I did make a point of looking up the soundtrack afterwards. The whole film has a quite angry girl vibe to it when it comes to the music played. The whole soundtrack matches the tone of the film perfectly, capturing the feelings and emotions of the characters. Other songs include "White Rabbit" by Emil√≠ana Torrini, "I Want It All / We Will Rock You Mash-Up" by Queen featuring Armageddon aka Geddy as well as "Search and Destroy" by Skunk Anansie.

Music is something which plays a large role in this film in other ways. In the envisioned brothel, Babydoll is urged to dance and when she hears music and prepares to dance, this is how she is transported into another world. The first time this happens, she is taken to Japan where she meets the Wiseman. Here, he tells her that she will need to get hold of certain items in order to gain her freedom. However, as soon as he tells her that, some massive crazy warriors appear and try to kill Babydoll. By this point, I had no clue what was going on and didn’t really understand the film at all. Playing Babydoll is Emily Browning, an unheard of actress to me at the time. However, I felt like she was probably the best out of the girls in the film. She appears to hold her own in the fight scenes although I highly doubt that she did much of it herself.

Characterisation wise, Sucker Punch is let down. The girls in the film are all quite flat and bland, with the slight exception of Babydoll. The actresses playing the other girls are Abbie Cornish as Sweet Pea, Jena Malone as Rocket, Vanessa Hudgens as Blondie and Jamie Chung as Amber. However, it does appear that they were mainly cast due to their looks and not their acting ability and they weren’t very convincing for the most part. Hudgens has been cast mainly as the nice girl before in previous roles so maybe she thought this would be the role for her to break that stereotype. Unfortunately, I do think that these four other girls, for the most part, weren’t needed in the film at all. Although they add something extra to Babydoll’s life in the institute, I think she could have quite possible done everything on her own had the story been changed a little.

Then there are the bad guys. While Blue, the guy running the brothel should have been really creepy and evil, I just didn’t feel it. Even though he put the girls in positions they clearly did not want to be in, he just didn’t come across as horrible enough in my eyes. I wanted him to be as bad as bad could be and he wasn’t. However, there are some great fantasy bad guys in the times where Babydoll goes to another place. Although extremely surreal, the big, strange monsters the girls need to fight were very entertaining and they gave a little excitement to the film.

Sucker Punch is a visually stunning film, shot in low colours, giving it a very dark and sad feeling to the whole thing. However, the script and plot does not match how nice the film looks. While the fight scenes were exciting, the script lacked severely and the characters were extremely weak. The film looks as though it was designed more as a comic book or video game and with those genres in mind, rather than thinking about what a film should be. Don’t get me wrong though, I did enjoy the film. It was confusing and a bit different but I think it could have been so much better had more thought been put into it.  

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