Maybe I shouldn't have high expectations anymore. Maybe commerical cinema that is visually stunning, but at the same time thought provoking and mentalling entralling, is on the fast track to its grave. Maybe I should simply stop buying movie tickets in New York state.
Last night I saw Sucker Punch in IMAX at Crossgates Mall, and I want to punch someone in the face.
Not in a good way, but in a "I seriously just lost $17.25 for that?" kind of way.
I heard about Sucker Punch a good while ago. My first memory was seeing the trailer online last semester, well before Christmas time. Maybe it was four months of anticipation with baited breath that was my own undoing. Nonetheless, how could a film by the director of Watchmen and 300 fail? It couldn't right? Watchmen is in my constant mental clique of movies I can watch again and again. 300 is a visual orgy of CGI blood, sweat, and pure man muscle fueled by raw testosterone. To quote a friend:
bombs, blood, fighting, explosions, crazy effects = really pretty though to KT
Which is a pretty accurate statement. I like action movies. Heck, I like action car movies. I own all copies of all the Fast and Furious movies, even though I'm pretty sure Vin Diesel can't act his way out of a crushed Camero.
Taking that initial love with the promise of strong, powerful, girls commanding the screen, kicking ass, and taking names combined in a movie made me genuinely excited to see a movie in theaters. That doesn't happen that often, due to the normal lack of grapling cinema, and the fact that I am a college student. $10.25 for a movie? You've got to be kidding me. Sucker Punch looked visually appearing from the get-go. Throw in the promise of badass chicks with samuri swords and semi-automatic weapons? Steampunk samuri? A dragon?!?! How could you not want to see this movie?
Warning: Possible Spoilers Ahead.
Last night I dashed out of water polo practice to meet friends. We drove to Crossgates to see it in the high quality IMAX experience. I even splurged on a pretzel.
The pretzel was not the highlight of the night, but it's a close second.
Don't get me wrong; I did enjoy many aspects of the film. As a girl, the skimpy outfits were not distracting or offensive. The opening premise to the plot was narrated beautifully and allowed for jumping in to the action. Visually, the battle scenes in Babydoll's (the protagonist) dancing induced alternate reality within a dream were stunning. From details of the baby dragon's nest of bones to the Todokai-like keychains on Babydoll's gun, everything was visually captivating. I even enjoyed the slow, syrupy covers of modern songs in the soundtrack including "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" sung by the film's star, Emily Browning.
Unfortunatley, I now have to start the reasons why I want my money back. In terms of pacing, the beginning of the movie seemed to take forever to build into rising action. Perhaps that's reflective of the alternate reality scenes starting from medieaval Japan to World War I. The ending, subsequently, felt rushed. Certain plot elements were thrust so obviously into your face it hurt. The girls in the film need to gather a total of five items to gain freedom. When battling for the third item, a knife, the film cuts back and forth between the realities. You know that the disarming of the timed bomb in the deepest reality is reflective of the limited time Babydoll has until water seeps into the exposed radio wire, which will stop the music of the dance, and crush their plans. By making climatic elements so obvious to the viewer, all suspense is lost. I was left waiting, not for the bomb explosion or radio sparks, but for the film to get to the next challenge and hurry up already. This murder of pacing and plot probably led to why the ending felt so rushed. Not to give everything away, but there is not a happy ending. There isn't even redeaming sacrifice. The nobility of sacrifice ended up feeling as cheap as my pretzel wrapper--an item to thoughtlessly toss away.
In short, the film was visually stunning but a major let-down in just about every other aspect. It can be compared to a peanut butter and nutella sandwich. Delicious to taste, sweet, incredibly thick, but lacking greatly in substance.