Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens
Canadian Rating: 14A
Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! This movie takes you forwards and backwards and upwards, NOT forwards, and twirls you, TWIRLS you toward freedom!! It will make you vomit in terror! It will spray you with rum so no one will believe you!! What am I talking about? The Halloween Simpsons special where Kang and Kodos pretend to be Bill Clinton and Bob Dole so they can rule Earth and enslave humanity.
Because I don’t really want to talk about this movie. Hmph.
As I have mentioned before, my family is a movie critic. That’s right. IS a movie critic. I was spawned from a big gooey bubble of expectations and criticism. My Dad needs movies to be at least 99% realistic. My Mom needs to feel 99% entertained every second of the film. My brothers need good dialogue, they need the science to make sense, they need characters to act “reasonably,” they need a good plot.
So what has that made me? The youngest, most impressionable one of the family? I’ll tell you what it has made me: NOT POPULAR AT THE MOVIES!
I realized this around age 20, so I decided to be polite and smile after seeing a bad movie, and save my ranting for when I would be able to find a fellow critic. Someone who was raised in the same environment as me. Someone who understands my dreams and my fears, and tells me everything will be ok.
The other thing I had to do was lower my expectations when going to the movies. And as the years have gone by, I have had to continue to push them down and down. Into the sub-sewer.
Let me first say, that there are many good and meaningful movies that do come out of Hollywood. I don’t hate everything. I’m strictly speaking of movies that are just bad anyway, and how they are just getting worse and worse. There was a time when you could see a bad movie, you’d get some enjoyment out it. Now when we see bad movies, there is no more enjoyment. Only DESPAIR. The days of fun-bad movies are long over.
When I saw Salt last summer, I said to myself, “ok this pretty much sucks. But hey, at least I’m watching Angelina Jolie beat up everyone.” Then I saw Tron Legacy and said, “ok, painful dialogue and they aren’t developing anything that they’re starting, but hey, DAFT PUNK!” Then when I saw Green Hornet a couple months ago, I said to myself, “good thing there are redeeming things about theatres. Spending time with my boyfriend Joel, extra butter on my popcorn, umm, a real…sense of…community…among movie goers” and that is how it’s been going. Every movie I see, I lower my expectations a little more, and I try to find the good things a little more.
Then came Sucker Punch.
I was so sure I had my low expectations and positive attitude down to a science. I thought I was ready for this.
But all the things I had built up until now have been destroyed by everything bad I have ever seen in movies. By Evelyn Salt. By Seth Rogen. By Megatron.
I wanted Salt back.
I was polite to the group of friends I was with, as per my pact with myself. But the restraint I managed on Friday has caused me to push aside all my reservations now. If you don’t like me after reading this, then that’s ok because I have cut movies a lot of slack lately, and I am tired. I should not have to lower my expectations down to hell. Never bottle up your feelings, kids!
Basically the only thing I actually expected from this movie was women beating up dudes. Maybe other women too? The poster made it look like there would be some of that. I jokingly made tweets saying, “Sucker Punch better have good character development! Hahaha” knowing full well that it wouldn’t. Or thinking I thought I knew full well it wouldn’t.
I didn’t even get that. I did not get underdeveloped kickass chicks beating up everyone in the movie. I did not get women sticking up for their rights. I did not get women who had their heads on straight. I did not get women who could handle any kind of stressful situation. I did not get women who could accomplish any sort of small task.
I’m not going to talk about the insane asylum because the movie spends about 12 seconds there. 6 seconds at the beginning, the main “heroine” Baby Doll (Emily Browning), is about to undergo a lobotomy, and then she starts dreaming that she is in a…um…gentlemen’s club, I’ll say, where she and her friends double as sex slaves. And if they try to escape they die. Then 6 seconds at the end where she is back in the asylum and receives the lobotomy.
I do feel personally hurt by this one thing especially, because I love psychology and insanity, and I really enjoy asylum movies. So when I started watching it I thought “Sweet! Oh wait. Aww..” Ok so we’re not in the asylum anymore, we are in a whore house. Ok, ok I can deal with this. Oh ok, no more whore house, now it’s World War I steampunk zombie fights. Ok…cool…I can handle this…
You should have seen the guy physically writhing beside me in the theatre. I personally saved my physical displays of pain until the very end, when John Hamm said, “did you see the way she looked at me?!” I hate it when good actors are cast in such wretched movies that they cannot even bring themself to utter one convincing line.
And so at the beginning our hero convinces her lady friends in the club to escape.
Let me ask you something. If you’re in a prison, and someone says to you, “I have a plan for our escape. We need to steal a lighter, a map and a knife.” Would you say “ok sounds good. So what’s the plan?” or would you say, “that is an awesome plan! That is clearly our only means of escape!” Sadly, the women reply the latterly. No one seemed to notice that there was no actual plan.
The rest of the movie is the ladies going around swiping the items, and for each item they dream sequence their way into thinking they have talent and power. Only for their attempts at freedom to be crushed due to some SERIOUS lack of…A PLAN!! And also lack of ability to perhaps keep quiet about your plan to escape. Or perhaps not to show obviously how excited you are that you’re about to escape.
All the “butt-kicking” that the female characters did was in their imaginations. And on top of that, they were doing it video game style. What do I mean by this? I mean they were shooting down, kicking, punching, and I dunno, harming massive droves of robots and/or zombies coming at them. Ok…cool?! But what happened to the situation they were in? The real one?
Let me put it this way. You know when you’re watching TV, let’s say Heroes, and Sylar is holding say….Claire by the throat and he is seconds away from ripping off the top of her head and eating her brain? Then of course, it goes to commercial, right? How would you like it if, if when the show came back on, Claire was sitting on the couch safely in her home, playing Doom. And that scene will never come back.
This is how the whole movie felt. As soon as any part of the plot was about to move forward, the movie would launch into this dream sequence where they would fight soldiers, slay a dragon and stop a train from bombing a city (Batman Begins rip-off, I might add). Which is normally fine. I like action sequences, but only when the actual main characters are fighting actual bad guys.
And I totally have nothing against a video-game type sequence either, but make it something like Terminator where the robots are actually a threat. Not some dream. Not some fantasy to completely take the place of the actual story that is being developed. Not to interrupt what I have been following, now with less and less interest.
I would like to say this movie was made for people with ADD, but I have ADD and I was very distressed by this movie. We tend to zone out and fantasize when things get boring, not when things get interesting. You got that one backwards, Sucker Punch.
So, to discuss the “feminist” angle for a second, what I have learned about women’s empowerment, is that we can accomplish anything we want! In our minds. But step out of line for one second in the real world, you will probably get stabbed or get your head blown off, baby. That’s the truth. Stay out of the big leagues, honey.