Lingua Mea Vita

Why Sucker Punch Was a Pleasant Surprise

I’d just about had with Zack Snyder. I want to laud him as one of my people—one of my  graphic novel reading, SyFy channel marathoning nerds who live to be taken away to alternate universes where colors are saturated, theme music sweeps as you walk into a room, and slow-mo shots are abundant.

But time and time again, Zack lets me down. All I can remember from 300 is a woman’s freakishly long nipples and Xerxes striking a pose on his throne. Somehow, Zack managed to suck the very breath of Watchmen, cutting out the good stuff to dazzle my eyes with gorgeous cinematography. And then there was some crap about owls.

But I decided to give Zack a third chance and see Sucker Punch (mostly because I saw the soundtrack on iTunes and was really curious/intrigued. FUN FACT: The opening song, a cover of the Eurythmics Sweet Dreams, is sung by Emily Browning who plays Baby Doll in the movie). And guess what? Sucker Punch didn’t suck! Not nearly as much as 300 or Watchmen or The Legend of the Googly Owls or whatever the hell it was called.

Sucker Punch had all the elements of a Zack Snyder film: the breathtaking cinematography, stunning action sequences, a soaring soundtrack/score full of glory, and copious amounts of slow motion—but it had something the others didn’t: an original storyline that was easy to follow! Given, it wasn’t the greatest storyline (it would’ve been amazing for a game), but a clear story was present.

Zack (yes, I’m referring to him by first name) actually wrote the story and co-wrote the screenplay for Sucker Punch unlike 300 or Watchmen. This may be why the story for this movie actually makes sense.

Either way, I felt like I was the only person in the theater going to a Zack Snyder film for a story (especially when there were fighting scantily clad women).

I did have a good time enjoying the graphics and saw so many visual cues that reminded me of other movies and directors, I started to think of Sucker Punch as a giant shoutout to other directors who are known for their visual cues (minor spoilers):

The Initial Dance Scene — M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender
The Map Dance — Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorius Basterds
The Fire Dance — Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings
The Knife Dance — George Lucas’ Star Wars

There were a couple of other little references: the girls’ landing poses were a little Matrix/N’SYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” And the number of girls, the font and styling on the poster, and Baby Doll’s costuming, especially at the end, was so reminiscent of Sailor Moon.

I left the theater impressed, though I’m not sure if it’s because I prepared for no story and prettiness. I will recommend it to those who inquire about it (and I will definitely recommend the soundtrack which features remakes/mixes of one of my favorite Beatles songs (!), a Queen mash-up (!!), and songs by Bjork (!!!!) and my favorite person Emiliana Torrini (!!!!!!!!). Dig it.)

All in all, go see Sucker Punch. Zack even tries to inject a good message in the end.