Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sucker Punch

"German doctors and engineers have worked out how to return their fallen to the front lines – their using steam power and clock works to keep them moving. So don't feel bad about killing. They're already dead. Remember ladies if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." -Sucker Punch-

Chicks with guns! Wait, make that chicks with red hot weaponry! Excuse me. Scratch that! Make that, red smoking hot chicks with sizzling hot guns. Yes, that's much better.

Sucker Punch [2011] is like an abject lesson in the art of distraction. It's the fully digital cinematic equivalent of Kevin Mitnick's The Art Of Deception, a book that traces the act of hacking and obtaining information. Snyder, too, presents a story light on character, light on substance and explanation, but the epitome of the aforementioned art of distraction as buxom babes find ways to distract their captors and obtain the necessary keys to their freedom. The fact Snyder is bringing sexy back is indeed a bonus and certainly integral to the very nature of the attack by the stunning actresses selected for their specific roles in getting past a male-dominated incarceration inside of a mental ward/ brothel.

Sucker Punch, on the surface, is all about girl power and Snyder is here to spice up our lives. The fulcrum by which Sucker Punch swings is upon the mighty shoulders of six incredibly sexy, young women including Emily Browning [Baby Doll], Abbie Cornish [Sweet Pea], Jena Malone [Rocket], Vanessa Hudgens [Blondie], Jamie Chung [Amber] and Carla Gugino [Dr. Vera Gorski]. I defy you to pick your favorite for pin-up material. I tried. I failed. Good luck! These are indeed six of the most voluptuous girls in celluloid cinema without an ounce of it on their bodies. How did Scott Glenn not positively shit himself from being surrounded by positively insane levels of estrogen and sexuality not to mention garter-bedecked legs that simply won't quit. GULP! [Turning off water in cold shower].

The rest of the cast are mostly dastardly men with a nice turn by Oscar Isaac as Blue Jones. But the stars of this show are the women and the effects and, while very much an illusion [make-up and computers can work wonders], both are spectacular.

A modern day Cinderella story. To further illustrate the technique of distraction, my 95 year-old grandmother proceeded to share with me a story from her childhood on the same day I watched this film. She grew up at a time where no one had television. Entertainment meant getting to the local baseball games. To do that you had to pay to get in and she had no money being from a family with five other siblings. They had very little. You had to get creative as the artful dodger of the local ruffians as she often proudly boasts her many exploits of beating up the boys in the neighborhood who gave her trouble. So like many kids in the 1920s, she snuck into the games. How was that achieved you ask? Well, there were several children and one of them had to be the bait. That child would locate at the far end of left field, while the others remained at the far corner of right field. Over the fence in left the friend would go chased by the local security people, while the rest filed over to make their way into the game at the other corner undetected. It was a beautiful move and apparently it was done often. She swears she never paid for a single baseball game. Mind you, I don't condone this kind of behavior, but of course, times were different then. It doesn't make it right, but it happened.

My point is that, today, Zack Snyder gives us Sucker Punch, a movie that plays us with the magic of the movie image and his visuals are indeed doing that - moving. What better way to not only infuse a story about an attempted run at freedom from institutionalization than through efforts to distract and ultimately escape, while not only distracting the audience from any hard questions about the material, but delivering his viscerally trademark sucker punch. This is the crux of a fairly shallow film with an arguably unsatisfactory, but still worthy and tragic ending to an unfortunately disturbing film framed within its dark subject matter. The setting is dreary and would generally be unappealing in its execution, but Snyder handles it artfully and artistically as only Snyder can. We are quick to forget the gravity of the situation established for our heroines through the distraction of four extraordinary, visually magnificent set pieces that comprise the bulk of the film. What is a better distraction than perhaps five of the sexiest women on the planet kicking ass in four fantasy set pieces? They are drop dead sexy. So, thank you Sigourney Weaver. And if you need further proof of just how stimulating those segments are look no further than my teenage son forwarding through the story bits that link those thrilling sequences together. You have to see them. They will thrill the visual mind.

Now, remarkably, Pan's Labyrinth [2006], was another fantasy film whereby its heroine, Ofelia, must retreat within a fantasy world to escape an insertion of fascism in Spain in 1944. Director Guillermo del Toro's exquisite take on the genre is near perfect storybook fairy tale, but unlike Sucker Punch, also firmly established within similar territory, Pan's Labyrinth was nearly universally praised, while Sucker Punch was nearly universally derided particularly for its fetishistic depiction and sexual objectification of women. Of course the Academy, never averse to foreign language pictures with subtitles, lauded Pan's Labyrinth with praise and adoration. Yet, Sucker Punch, like Pan's Labyrinth, sees its heroine, Baby Doll [along with the cast of characters that escape into their fictional world], take emotional retreat into a fantasy tale to escape the harsh realities of their respective worlds, and those places are nothing to write home about. Pan's Labyrinth delicately weaves its tale and gradually lures us into a magical and strange world while spending time and focus on young Ophelia. But the colorful Sucker Punch is considered by many to have missed the mark here, because its fully immersive experience into an equally bold imaginary is louder, sexier and even more dangerous when it comes to walking the tightrope of social mores.

It's also unfair to give Sucker Punch failing marks for its handling of mental illness or the once popularly implemented lobotomy begun in 1935. These were stark realities that frame the world of Sucker Punch and who wouldn't want to escape? Snyder's desire may be to treat the mental illness facility as nothing more than a perverse home for pretty girls, but its as disturbingly conceivable as One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest [1975]. It never really tackles its subject matter with any kind of seriousness, but that's not what Sucker Punch is really about. Snyder certainly falls back on the lurid fantasy elements to tell his tale and merely utilizes the institution as a launching point, though it does tell a fantastic tale that does bring the story full circle drawing attention to the controversial methods of the lobotomy and mental wards of the 1940s and 1950s. So mind you Snyder's story still works, but it lacks some of the emotional strength that grounded del Toro's equally dark material or the kind of fallout from the Jack Nicholson film inspired by Ken Kesey's 1962 novel. So did del Toro have a more assured hand with his tale, while Snyder, on the other hand, still matures? Maybe, but it's more likely that Snyder's approach to filmmaking is much more in tune with audio visually than dialogue in a pure sense.

There is little attention paid to character in this way. Who are these girls? Where do they come from? Why are they here? It's obvious Snyder is hardly a narrative auteur. It's a minor flaw within his invention. He is a product of the MTV age. He's all about images. He's also about the music. Images and music go hand in hand in Sucker Punch. The music is like another layer to the experience. It's through the important application of music we learn more about the psychology of these girls and the world they inhabit. We may not get the facts, but the music delivers personality.

The dance is the film. The accompanying soundtrack is truly emblematic of the mood of Snyder's film and underscores its troubled atmosphere. The inclusion of Bjork and Emiliana Torrini [Snyder apparently with a thing for Icelandic female vocalists] are a nice complement to originals by Emily Browning. Snyder not only scored a smoking hot Browning for the camera, but just the girl to embody the temperature of his film for soundtrack. Renditions of Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This [1983], by Browning, along with her take on The Smith's b-side Asleep [1985] and The Pixies' Where Is My Mind? [1988], are given a stirring treatment delivering unique interpretations that ultimately suit the tragic feel of the film. These songs resonate in capturing the mental state of the Babydoll character giving the film its added poignancy. Apart from Torrini's exceptionally dark rendition of Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit from 1967 there are some exquisite duet highlights that round out the collection. Alison Mosshart joins Carla Azar for a wild adaptation of The Beatles' original Tomorrow Never Knows extracted from Revolver [1966]. The accompanying soundtrack is capped off by a fabulously bombastic Moulin Rouge!-like music number riffing on Bryan Ferry/ Roxy Music's Love Is The Drug from Siren [1975] and is propelled by actor/ singer Oscar Isaac with actress Carla Gugino. The song was perplexingly made available only through the film's Extended Cut, but is such an over the top number might have lent further evidence of the kind of big production for which Snyder was clearly shooting. His desire to infuse a film with the blood of music from his own actors a la Australian director Baz Luhrmann's use of Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman is inspired. Like Moulin Rouge! the originals here are truly worth the audio experience. But of course, once again, the Baz concept heralded him as something of a genius, while Sucker Punch was generally overlooked though well-received in music circles. The soundtrack indeed coalesces around the film's visuals perfectly. Honestly, raised and reared on MTV myself, the impact of image and music has always had a profound effect on me. I rushed off to buy the soundtrack Moulin Rouge! after seeing that film. I did the same immediately for Sucker Punch. Into my electronic Shopping Cart it went. The music and film are so closely entwined for these artists that it's mandatory to fully experience both. The score works entirely into the fabric of this audacious film. My only complaint is that the Sucker Punch Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is too short at just nine songs [over 45 minutes of music] Additionally English act Skunk Anansie isn't quite my cup of tea and would be the sole low light.

Generally speaking composer Tyler Bates worked with producer Marius de Vries [Bjork] and noted "the songs and the score just began bleeding into one another." As de Vries noted, the music and lyrics "help navigate the way through the complex scenes and illuminate Babydoll’s state of mind" as well as offer "themes of escape and hope, and redemption through the imagination." Bates correctly indicates "the songs serve as the link to the conscious world of Babydoll" and the score "designed to simply underscore the sense of reality in the various alternate realities/action." The music is clearly part of the experience of these visual set pieces and by entering the listener's subconscious further develop the characters on a different level. The sometimes vulnerable selections aurally reflect the state of mind for characters within Snyder's film particularly for given sequences. Browning doesn't actually have dialogue until the 27 minute marker in the film so that tells you something about the importance of music here. The soundtrack is a giant, swaggering, seductive and alluring electronic-alternative-rock mash-up and it's a great listen. You can gather further evidence of just how Snyder's mind works through the use of this music as well as the featurette Sucker Punch: Behind The Soundtrack.

The music accompanies a wildly inventive selection of four escape sequences. Snyder wears his influences on his sleeve too. The girls are put to the test against an armada of Orc-like creatures and dragons as if lifted straight from The Lord Of The Rings [2001-2003].

World War I is overrun by German zombies where the steampunk aesthetic meets visual director Mamoru Oshii's Jin Roh [1999] and The Red Spectacles [1987]. Without question Snyder demonstrates a clear affection for Japanese pop culture. His zombie sequence is complete with a mecha and female pilot, a clear homage to the best of Japanese anime and steampunk. In fact, on its own live action terms, its the best pilot-in-robot moment since District 9 [2009] and it was so deliciously beautiful in its application it still gives me hope we might one day see a proper live adaptation of something truly worthy like Neon Genesis Evangelion [1995-1996] or Mobile Police Patlabor [1988-1993]. It's stuff like this that makes me want to shake Zack Snyder's hand. Honestly, German combat with zombies looked better than any video game I've ever seen. It's easily one of the best live action, anime-like sequences ever committed to film without a true anime source.

Feudal samurai majin battle Babydoll in a cross between kaiju eiga in the form of Daiei's Daimajin [1966] trilogy meets Akira Kurosawa. Snyder's visual flair for Japanese pop culture is even reflected in Baby Doll's sulky, sex pot appeal complete with a traditional Japanese school girl uniform. Watching Baby Doll slice and dice the feudal warriors was like witnessing the American version of Saya from Blood: The Last Vampire [2000] burst to life.

In fact, even the final action sequence against an army of robots plays like I, Robot [2004] meets The Matrix [1999], the latter of course having its roots in Mamoru Oshii's Ghost In The Shell [1995] as professed by the Wachowski Brothers. The approach even riffs on Snyder's own speed and camera aesthetic employed for 300.

Snyder makes no apologies for his approach to comic book violence or the vast influence of graphic novels and anime on his artistic sensibilities. He is clearly having a hell of a good time with it. He takes pleasure in creating sweeping, grand, epic, action strokes and slowing things down so we can adore the image. He dares us to focus on the beauty of it. He accentuates the simple and the mundane like the falling ash from a cigar making it a thing to admire. Each close-up or panoramic swathe of action is bold and breathtaking. I am very rarely a fan of pictures that are almost purely CGI, generally enjoying all things latex and model miniature over the computer-created unless applied lovingly in small doses. But if you are going to do a picture entirely from computers and green screen then this is how to do it right. Leave nothing to spare. Be bold! Be brilliant! Be fearless! Have your girls grab people by the balls and sock it to them right between the eyes. Sucker Punch is all of that and Snyder's artistic touch is easy to admire. He has the panache of Paul Anderson, but even more perfectionist in his efforts. Snyder is an artist in this way and has it all over many of these directors, Anderson included. You will lose yourself in the fantasy. In fact, when it's all said and done we never actually see Baby Doll dance, but of course those fantasy sequences are purely the mental personification of the dances required by our heroine from the mind of Zack Snyder.

Snyder just doesn't get the respect he deserves. Whatever its shortcomings as a film Sucker Punch still packs a wallop. Snyder has taken his ideas and put together an entirely original pastiche [if that's possible?] woven into a painstaking work of cinematic art. Sucker Punch fits nicely within Snyder's oeuvre next to 300 and Watchmen. The possibility of Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man helmed by Snyder has me elated. The man has guts and his break from the usual mold of filmmakers is welcomed.

Sucker Punch is a big, fat, wet, slobbering, in-your-face, tribute to the grandeur of American action cinema compliments of Wisconsin-born Zack Snyder and all of the influences he has assimilated. It unabashedly puts it all out on the table delivering a visual tour de force that may feel like a teenage boy's wet dream. But the man is a product of his experience and heavily influenced by our image-intense and technologically sophisticated world. Fast edits. Music video free-style. Video game violence. It's a bit like Prego. It's in there.

Quite frankly, like 300 and Watchmen, he's done it again. Why the hell do I love his execution so much? How does he lure me into his world? I'll tell you. While the experience rarely leaves me with anything to ponder on a substantive level like say District 9, I am often overwhelmed by the director's visual acuity and the meticulously crafted detail throughout his films. This is a movie that moves and it moves and it just keeps on moving. It's a bombastic, exciting adrenaline ride. Sucker Punch. Yes, you'll feel that. It's a hard shot to the gut. Snyder called the film "Alice In Wonderland with machine guns" and down the fantasy rabbit hole the cast goes as underscored by the use of White Rabbit in the score.

Incredibly the fact this film was budgeted at 82 million and looks as good as it does is something of an achievement. Can you believe I would say that about 82 million? But the film barely broke even scoring about 90 million at the box office and yet the film deserved so much better. What a crying shame.

Maybe I'm missing something with the Snyder detractors, but 300 was very impressive. Watchmen was epic graphic entertainment in its own right. With Sucker Punch I'm in love. The man is just getting better and better. It's over the top by design and I should have trusted my instincts long ago when I was first wowed by the trailer. I should have discarded the negative feedback and pushed it from my mind like Baby Doll, because this one is all in the head and either you either connect with it or don't. Snyder's punch is a stylish assault on the senses and admittedly I'm drinking his Kool Aid.

Now let's not try to take this exercise to seriously, after all this is mostly a fan boy fantasy mixed brilliantly with a touch of science fiction established within a depressed psychological and physical context. Yes, lobotomies were unjustly used on many innocents and on people that are routinely mainstreamed today in society by simple medications and other diagnosis. These same people were once mentally and physically tortured. It was not uncommon. Today, the mind has come a long way. Snyder unleashes his all-female juggernaut army of one on a whilrwind tour of girl [fire] power. "Who decides why we live and what we die to defend. Who chains us? And who holds the key that can set us free? It's you. You have all the weapons you need - now fight!" Today, more than ever, that is true. Sucker Punch may be a love letter to female empowerment, genuine self-actualization or it may simply be the movie magic and stuff of male fantasy.

Messages aside, Sucker Punch is an ambitious, stimulating, visually challenging powerhouse of cinema fun. It registered a 23% splat at Rotten Tomatoes wedged neatly between Resident Evil: Apocalypse at 21%, Resident Evil: Extinction at 22% and Resident Evil: Afterlife at 24%. That should tell you something about what people find is acceptable when it comes to their women heroines in the action fantasy realm. For some reason sexy and cerebral just don't want to play nice. To them, there's very little redeeming quality of note here. How can so many people repeatedly get it wrong? Emily Browning. Abbie Cornish. Jena Malone. Jamie Chung. Vanessa Hudgens and Carla Gugino dressed provacatively and packing heat. Yes, put simply, like the film, that's pure dead sexy. Distraction from substance or not, it looks and sounds like redemption to me. Sucker Punch: A- [nobody's perfect, but this girl comes close].

Be sure to check out the Sucker Punch animated shorts by Ben Hibon which are a gorgeous complement to the film. The demonic Feudal Warriors. The steampunk zombies in Trenches. Dragon tells the tale of Orcs and men. Distant Planet presents artificial intelligence becoming self-aware.


Unknown said...

What a well-written article, SFF even if I have to respectfully disagree with your view of this film. It's been on regular rotation on HBO for some time I've attempted to watch it in its entirely several times but Snyder's clumsy storytelling skills make me change the channel in frustration every time.

The problem I have with Snyder's style, if you will, is that a lot of times he puts something in a film because it looks cool and for no other reason. This reasoning was peppering throughout the commentary for WATCHMEN is occurs at exactly the moments where he disastrously veered away from the source material.

With SUCKER PUNCH obviously he's working with his own material and can do whatever he wants but again he comes across as confused. He wants to create a celebration of female empowerment and yet traps them in the male gaze time and time again. The female characters are constantly being objectified and made to look simply cool and sexy without any real liberating meaning behind it. The characters seem to me to be merely constructs for the audience to oogle whereas in the first couple of ALIEN films you've got a truly smart, compassionate, and independent female protagonist who isn't always objectified and in fact shown in less than glamorous situations and also showing her dealing with a male-dominated world that threatens to marginalize her.

I don't get any kind of vibe like that from Snyder or his film. To me, SUCKER PUNCH is a pretty superficial pinup fantasy and believe me I went in really wanting to enjoy this film. I had read all the damning reviews and thought, well, maybe this'll be one of those films that the critics got wrong that I'll like but I was really disappointed by this film and by Snyder who showed promise with DAWN OF THE DEAD and showed his knack for eye-catching filmic style in 300 but the cracks started to show in WATCHMEN and that animated owls film he did and this culminated with SUCKER PUNCH, which, for me, was a big train wreck of a film and not in a fascinating way but in more of maddeningly frustrating way because I can see what Snyder is trying to say and trying to do but he just doesn't have the skill of a storyteller to pull it off. His fanboy desire for thrills and glossy style keeps getting in the way of any substance that he's trying to impart.

Anyways, all ranting aside, I really did enjoy your review. It does make me want to give this film another try.

le0pard13 said...

I'm commenting without reading your post, SFF, on the fact that I'm about to view this one. I promise to come back to it afterward and join in on the discussion, my friend.

SFF said...


Can't wait for you to offer your always articulate assessments.

It's incredible how divided people are on this film and I look forward to see where you fall on it.

Speaking of different viewpoints, we have J.D.

J.D., I always respect and admire your input and I thank you for your opening kind thought.

Let me begin with the fact I appreciate respectful disagreement. We need more of that. Thanks

You will note that I do agree with you to an extent on Snyder's narrative approach. I see your point on this completely. I really do as noted in my article.

There is no question this is a visual director and your criticism of his visual excess may be fair.

For me, I really connect to this visual approach. His storytelling for me is almost entirely sight and sound and for whatever reason my brain often works this way and I really connect with it.

What I find really interesting is how we sort of both, if I remember correctly, enjoyed elements of Watchmen. I probably enjoyed it moreso, but then we go in different direction here. I did not read Watchmen and thus had no predisposition of expectation. I just loved the heroic tale, again, as a visual delight.

Sucker Punch, as you note, being entirely original, really allowed for Snyder to spread his wings and just paint the town positively epic. I just enjoyed it like a heaping mound of blueberry pie.

Re: third paragraph, again, you always make great points. Tough to argue against, but I simply have a different take on it.

He indeed lures us into his message of female empowerment with visual excess and to a degree objectifies these women. I'm guilty as charged. I loved it. But I also think we live in an era where women are comfortable with this kind of sex appeal and are fearless and unafraid of expressing themselves sensually or physically in appearance. There's certainly a percentage out there who embrace this kind of exhibitionism.

You just can't help but notice it in music videos and films etc.. so I enjoyed the pastiche of costume design that alluded to anime, ballet, etc... There's something sexy and beautiful about a lot of these art forms. Certainly the fetishistic garter belts etc are also in play, but I simply loved the aesthetic.

I do know what you mean and I do think these characters lack substance. Again, I note this and I think we agree, but I definitely didn't hold him accountable to that aspect of a traditional narrative. I simply enjoyed the visual style and took his message of female strength as a general statement as noted in that quoteopening the article or the quote in which he closes his film with. It's like a painting alive with expressions, but it does lack perhaps that substance you mention.

But, like Ripley, these women are smart, not just in the fan boy action sequences, but inside their rality. They plan, they coordinate and they manipulate accordingly, seduce where necessary, to survive. These girls are sharp. And again, these girls are certainly placed in less than glamorous confines. They are certainly confined within a male dominated world in a different era too. Their mountain to climb is far more signficant than a future Ripley. These girls aren't only marginalized but buried, forgotten and imprisoned - throw away the key. This is a grim place and the girls must escape it through the fantastic nature of their minds.

But I'm certainly not trying to convince you J.D. at all. I loved your opinion here. I just wanted to further express how I see Sucker Punch as perhaps a contemporary evolution of the female heroine and I really thought Snyder nailed it by taking such a bold and epic approach.

This is indeed glosy and thrilling, as you mentioned, but underneath the gloss is a stirring story told through image and music and I genuinely enjoyed the spirit of his undertaking. It blew me away.

Again, thank you J.D. for the respectful and thoughtful opposition. Based on the evidence out there, I'm clearly in the minority.

Unknown said...


You make some good points, my friend! I really need to give this film another go as perhaps my negative view will soften somewhat, esp. keeping your eloquent arguments in mind.

SFF said...

Thanks J.D.. I completely understand how a film like this may not be something that connects with everyone, like any film mind you.

But I'm glad to give my perspective on its artistic strengths as untraditional narrative.

It's a beautiful film and tragic. Enjoyed it immensely. Cheers my friend.

Going to head over to check out your entries soon. I have not had a chance.

Franco Macabro said...

Wow, you really loved this one! I hear you, the girls are pure hotness, no questions asked there man. I agree with you, this film was a fanboys wet dream every step of the way.

You are right on the money when you say Snyder's more of a visual director, his emphasis is always on making things look cool which is awesome, but I think he works best when in collaboration with a good writer. The film as you mentioned, does come of as shallow, a good example of style over substance. Though if you really look at it, there's a glimpse of depth to the film, but in my opinion, it's never truly explored because the fx and the guns take over. Which is fine by me because thats exactly what I was expecting from this flick.

The previews make it fairly obvious that this was a film made for fanboys.

Awesome how you picked up on all the films that influenced Sucker Punch, Im dying to see those Jin Roh movies...they look interesting. I've seen a lot of Mumoru Oshii's films, he sure does like he's quiet moments.

Snyder's one of the good ones in my book, though Sucker Punch isn't a perfect film, its also not a bad one. I had fun with it, and I'm always looking forward to what Snyder's going to do next, he still hasnt dissapointed me.

You made me want to re-watch this one dude! Gonna have to do that soon.

SFF said...

I hear ya my friend. Yes, I pretty much enjoyed the film as a positively epic piece of entertainment.

I love this director And you make a fair argument about the quality of his work being emphasized by working with good source material. I know I loved 300 and watchmen, but I do enjoy the way Snyder just unleashes his imagination here.

I vantage wait for more Snyder. The man is one to watch.

Jin Ron is a good film and very dark.

Cheers franco tku!

le0pard13 said...

I'm with J.D. on this regarding how well written and thoughtful your piece on SUCKER PUNCH is. Having just finished this first time viewing of the film, I still have thought swirling through this ol' cranium regarding its style and substance. My son, in fact, has been pushing me to watch this (it's one of his favorite films, along with SCOTT PILGRIM). He feel very strongly about it. And like SCOTT PILGRIM, I can see why. Snyder has embedded an gaming-styled aspects to his film on female empowerment.

I do feel the filmmaker's heart is in the right place with this subject and what he attempted to accomplish with his film. I really do. If I didn't, I don't think the finale would have registered as it did with me. BTW, I choose to watch this one alone rather than with my son (as he wanted) to not be swayed one way or another with the experience. Ultimately, I think despite all the fine digital effects and atmosphere Snyder attains with his stylish film, it does fall short of its lofty goal.

All of the girls are gorgeous (and I still have a hefty and long-time crush on Carla Gugino). But, I think the thing that gets in the way is Snyder's presentation and siding with the girls comes from a male perspective. Even when the Babydoll re-imagines herself in fantasy, she's still what I think a male teen visualizes her thinking of herself (with everyone having way too much eye make-up). That's not say we don't want her to succeed and escape from a male dominated (and inherently unfair) world she's found herself in. I think Snyder's work in this succeeds in that framing.

I think, in summary, this is a magnificent failure on the filmmaker's part. I think this was his THE KEEP (Michael Mann's troubled but striking flop that still has its fans, like me). Its mix of genres, spectacular action sequences, CGI, and of course all of the girls involved, will keep this one in solid cult-status -- though with a predominant male audience. I'd really love to hear from a female viewer regarding their thoughts on the film. I'm thinking we (the guys discussing this) think we where that would go, but I suspect she'd bring up something entirely original and unsuspected on our part. Here's hoping that comes to be.

Love reading this, and all of the comments going on with the post, SFF. Splendid review and discussion, my friend. Thanks for this.

SFF said...

Thanks L13 for returning with your assessment. It sound slike your son and I love it a little more than you.

Nevertheless, loved your remarks.

A couple of follow-up thoughts.

I loved your point about getting some female perspectives on this one as far as viewer commentary.

I welcome the ladies. Come in ladies!!!

Finally, I know what you mean about Snyder owning a male perspective on a female tale. This, in my mind, makes his stry all the more audacious. He had guts taking on this project. It was the anti-300.

Now, additionally, as a fan of film, as you are, you too enjoy when female directors take on male driven tales. Say, Kathryn Bigelow and The Hurt Locker.

There are plenty of examples and it's always interesting to see these perspectives on all male or female casts directed by someone of the opposite sex, but of course it's a predominantly male-directed industry and that perspective is much more common.

So yes, I give Snyder a lot of credit for taking on such a project. He had to know this one was going to raise a few eyebrows.

I think this film will gain greater respect with time.

Anyway, loved your thoughtful remarks here my friend. Thank you.