1/23/12

Sucker Punch was a Enjoyable Movie (SPOILER WARNING!)


Deep, clever, and quite videogame-esq, Sucker Punch has earned a place in my heart and favor. Earning $90million in the box office, this piece proved quite underrated as it barely earned over the budget to make the movie in the first place. While I avoided reading any reviews until after viewing the movie, the critics all around dead panned this amazing movie unjustly. Apparently a common critique is it's misogynist if the critic viewing it, finds anyone of the female cast to be "sexy", and as it has undertones of abuse and rape towards the female sex, it cannot have anything to do with female empowerment. I greatly disagree.

With this movie, a key word will come up often, interpretation. Due to the abstract nature of the movie, where it implies what's happening rather than telling the audience what's happening, I cannot accurately sum up the story or what happens, since it's very open to interpretation, and you taking the movie in, and figuring out the actions and true events that transpires.

First let's discuss about the premise of the movie. Baby-doll is a girl with an abusive alcoholic step-father who married her mother for money, which is immediately apparent in the first scene. She's taken to a mental institute where she awaits an illegal lobotomy to cover up the true circumstances of her mother and sisters deaths. As they strap Baby-doll down to the chair and begin the procedure, the movie begins, in a state of her mind, so what's truly going on becomes extremely abstract, as we're seeing what happens in a way Baby-doll dramatizes it in her minds escape.


What's it to be videogame-esq might you ask? Baby-dolls mind consists of three layers. The real world and what's truly occurring, which we rarely ever see. The brothel world which Baby-doll conjures up in place of an asylum, and plays out as an escape to the real world as it's too harsh to cope with, and at last, the fantasy world where Baby-doll and her friends have power. In this fantasy world, scenes play out as if levels from a video game. Baby-doll is given tasks and goals, for missions she must accomplish, which takes her a step further in the achieving the final mission, her escape. In this world, she fights hoards of bosses and canon-fodder minions in intense action scenes, primarily in what appears to be World War 1 meets bad ass steampunk and future-tech. Oh and zombie Germans (Nazi's?) These scenes are very fun and action oriented, blending in CGI with live action, in a way very similar to 300, or Immortals have.

Baby-doll, Blondie, Sweet Pea, Amber, Rocket.

Moving along to the characterization in the movie, the characters are split into 3 levels, as Baby-doll sees them. The real world and what they're like, which isn't barely touched, the brothel world where the most true to their personalities come to light, and the fantasy world where Baby-doll sees them in the most empowered way possible. Of the cast, I felt Baby-Doll, Sweet Pea, and rocket stood out most, in no way does that diminish Blondie's and Amber's value to the overall story. All these girls are dressed up in ways one would expect of a Brothel / Dance studio, and in the fantasy world, dress as one would often see girls dressed up in video games. The difference though from video games, where Baby-doll is dressed in her iconic Japanese school girl uniform, is that there's no camera angles that sexualizes the characters, by showing off their knockers, ass, or curves, often seen in movies and games these days.

If any of this has interested you, go watch the movie, period. This movie is very abstract and up for personal interpretation of what's going on, and reading or listening to any reviews analyzing it in advanced could alter what your interpretation is.


With analysis of what it is to be video-game esq, characters, and premise of Sucker Punch, that leaves the overall story of the movie, and how I personally interpreted the actions and consequences throughout the movie as it plays out into Baby-dolls head until the climax.

With Baby-doll taken to be lobotomized, the first shocker is revealed as the Doctor brings the hammer back to begin the lobotomy. As he begins to the procedure, it's suddenly stopped, as the girl in the seat protests to it and demands to be swiftly set free. It's no longer Baby-doll in the chair, but Sweetpea, and no longer are they in the surgeons room, but on a stage, with an all girl cast on the scene carrying out the play. Baby-doll is led into this room where she meets the cast, and a key figure, Dr. Gorski, who in her mind is the mentor, teacher, motherly figure in the scenario she conjured up of a brothel. I find it fascinating that Baby-doll chooses to conjure the image of a brothel for her time in the mental asylum, as that, and what's to come, was more favorable to think of than the true occurrences in the hospital, with being sold to a "high roller" rather than a lobotomy awaiting her after the 5 day period.

As the story begins we meet the first scene in the movie where Rocket, working in the kitchen, notices candy in the pantry, where she pockets it before being attacked by the cook. Pinning her, it's unsure whether or not the cook is merely trying to apprehend her, or actually attempting to physically assault her, but alas, the ordeal ends with Baby-doll coming to her rescue, apprehending the knife the cook kept in his belt.


Making their leave, Baby-doll quickly drops the knife and the head to their first dance lesson, where Gorski isn't pleased with Sweet Pea's performance. With Gorski's guidance, Baby-doll enters the stage where she begins her first "dance", quickly bringing her to her fantasy world for the first time, that of a snowy temple, and the first encounter with the unnamed wise-man.


With some prodding, Baby-doll reveals that she's looking for a way out, freedom. The wise man sends her out on her quest for five objects. A map, fire, a key, and a knife, the fifth item, unknown. Coincidentally enough, these 4 items are things Baby-doll noticed on her way into the mental institute in the first place.

With the wiseman giving out his wisdom, he sends Baby-doll out of his temple, but not before telling her to defend herself. Outside are 3 giant demonic samurai warriors, all literally 3-4 times her size. Coming u to her, the first warrior, she begins to draw her blade hesitantly, but not before being dealt a Sucker Punch by the samurai through the temple doors. Finally getting her momentum, baby-doll incapacitates the first Demon samurai before dealing the death blow, bringing the next Samurai to her.

Holding a fucking Gatling Gun. Awesome.

Baby-doll while hesitant at first, once she began defending herself, to fight, she toppled all 3 of the obstacles in her way, before snapping back into brothel reality, where everyone around her cheers. Reminder, she snapped into her fantasy reality when it came time for her to dance.

When in private, Baby-doll reveals her plan to escape. Rocket, the most eager one to escape, is put down quickly by Sweet Pea, but is unable to convince Rocket away from it. It is quickly established here Sweet Pea and Rocket are related. Baby-doll reveals her plan to get 4 items before the "High Roller" arrives in 3 days. A map to find the exits, a lighter to start a fire, a key to open the doors, and a knife to defend themselves if caught. Sweet Pea, still opposed, is convinced to join in with everyone else on board.

With the plan in motion, Sweet Pea gets Blue (the head of the Asylum and the brothel) to drop in Baby-dolls next dance, which gets him excitedly over while she captures map. Queue Pseudo WW1 involving enemy trenches, soldiers in gas masks,and zombie Germans.


Seriously, Steam Punk Zombie hoard + ww1 badassness. Also take note, this obviously takes place at a far more future timeline than the last fantasy did.

Back to the brothel, the dance really excited Blue, leading to the mayor to come, who always has a ligher as he's a chronic cigar smoker. Queue next fantasy, this time, Amber's turn. Amber is fearful, but makes go with the plan.


There be Dragons.

After Blue comes backstage, onto the girls planning something, Blondie is extremely shaken up. Breaking down, she goes to Gordski and betraying the girls.

The next dance brings Baby-doll into a future-tech world, where they attempt to defuse a bomb on a train before it reaches a city and explodes. This time against an android swarm! As the girls board the train, everything goes well, but then a moment of revelation comes as they believe they achieved victory. The bomb what was thought deactivated, becomes active, and Baby-doll is back to the brothel world. The cook who Baby-doll was distracting with her dance, notices Sweet Pea attempting to take a knife from him, and goes to stab Rocket.


Rocket's mortally wounded to protect Sweet Pea, but alas Blue comes in and makes the remaining girls go on Stage, where the "High Roller" is waiting. As the girls leave, Sweet Pea is locked up. As the girls prepare for the show, Blue comes in, knowing the girls plan. He guns down Amber and Blondie, leaving the grieving Gordski and Baby-doll, but not for long as he gets everyone to leave, but Baby-doll. He assaults Baby-doll, bringing her to stab him in the shoulder with the knife she managed to get away from the cook, and stealing the key from his neck. Four objects acquired.

Freeing Sweet Pea, the two make their escape, with the fire setting off the alarms, but then as they get outside one final reveal comes. the front gate is blocked by a crowd where Baby-doll realizes the final object, herself. Sacrificing herself to distract everyone, Sweet Pea escapes the Brothel. Snap back to reality, the Doctor hammers the nail into Baby-doll. The lobotomy was completed.


The Lobotomist inquires Gordski on some information on Baby-doll, revealing that in the week she's been there, she started a fire, stabbed a orderly, and helped another patient to escape.

This is where every viewer makes their own interpretation of the story of the movie. Myself, I wonder on the authenticity of the other girls. While we see Sweet Pea again at the end, never did we see the other girls or hear mention the deaths or occurences of the other girls. While many I hear believe perhaps Amber, Rocket and Blondie were first in line to face the lobotomy, I believe they never existed and were part of Sweet Pea and Baby-doll.

Characters: 8/10
All the characters, despite only a couple ever properly being named, are immediately recognizable for their personality. One wonders a lot about them, and their history, only Sweet Pea, Rocket, and Baby-doll getting background story. Despite this, I felt the way they showed off the girls actions, said more about their characters than any background story could.
Fun Factor: 9/10
I just adore the whole partial cgi fantasy world genre that 300 seems to have sparked the birth of. The action packed fantasy were all amazing, I especially adored the WW1 steampunk zombie Germans, followed by the face smacking future city. I would definitely watch this movie again and again for fun, something rare for me, as usually I cannot bring myself to watching the same movie or show twice.
Directing & Casting: 9/10
First off, amazing direction, great camera working. The girls while dressed in a generic "sexy" fashion, at no point did I feel the movie was trying to get the viewer off on it, as no angles aimed directly at an ass or rack was thrown in, despite the skimpy outfits the gorgeous girls would sometimes wear. At the same time the angles and pacing of the action scenes threw me away. In the end, my only complaint was Baby-doll, who I unfortunately, couldn't get over the wig she wore. I just wish they could of either casted someone with natural blond hair to style in such a way. Past a few nit picks here and there, top performance, and top directing.
Overall: 9/10
While there's a few things keeping this movie down, it filled my quota in everything I want from a movie. Something fun to watch and aesthetically pleasing, and catering to the higher mind, leaving hours of debate, discussion, and pondering to come after viewing the movie. Thankfully, it's not on inconsistency and plot holes, but on the metaphors, symbolism, and psychology of the movie. A true underrated piece and a must watch.

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