Tuesday, July 19

Why the Hate on Sucker Punch?

First things, Sucker Punch is classified as an action-fantasy movie.

Typically, action movies aren't known for plot integrity. Action movies use sub-par plot (the average to poor ones anyway) to get to the fast driving, the sword slinging, the gun shooting, the ass-kicking. We accept this. They are an excuse for action. The plots are often terribly boring, or full of holes.

Worse than plot holes though, action films often defy the plausibility and even possibilities of fight scenes. The hero has perfect aim, the bad guys can't even shoot straight. They subliminally teach us that humans really can do these things. Incredible bloodshed and violence is often over-the-top.

Consider some recent action films: xXx, Transformers, Battle Los Angeles, Priest, the Mechanic etc.

The fantasy genre gives some leeway for plot though.  Things won't necessarily fall into our understanding of science. It won't necessarily naturally align with our understanding of the world around us.

Some recent action-fantasy: Green Lantern, Thor, Pirates of the Caribbean, Scott Pilgrim, Prince of Persia etc.

With that out of the way, what's with the hate on Sucker Punch anyway? I've been trying to figure it out. Are people just pissed off because there was too much hype? Were they somehow tricked into thinking they were going to a different kind of movie?

Sucker Punch was NOT the best movie I have ever seen. It fell prey to the same trappings of an action film. The plot seemed like a device to get to the action sequences. But this is what we expected right? It's an action film.

The action sequences were well-done all around. There was only one or two portions where the cinematography of the film made me roll my eyes. "Enough slow-motion already,"I thought or, "Really? A dragon?" Most of the time though, I was actually fully engrossed in the movie. It pulled me into its' flow, let me suspend my reason and be absorbed into the world of the characters. The references to anime and comics made me smile. My kind of movie!

And the way it was filmed was a lot of it's beauty. Just the choice of shots from low-angles or from above. The angles chosen lent heavily to the atmosphere. This too deviates from the action film genre.

The characters were actually rather impressive, again for an action film. Rocket kicked ass! Jena Malone did very well in an action, gun-toting role. Emily Browning's character required subtlety and that she not steal the movie, since it was not about her anyway. (Whether that was intentional or she was just a bit drab, I can't say for sure.) Abbie Cornish and Jamie Chung came out swinging too. The "bad" characters were well done too. Carla Gugino semi-fake Polish accent seemed to solidify the fact that she was part of a dream. Oscar Isaac made an excellent charismatic predator. The only real weakness was Vanessa Hudgens, but she's new to the whole non-Disney movie scene.

Though the action sequences slammed you over the head, they were equally an excuse to explore themes, which is far from a typical action film. It didn't preach its' message and from my perspective it actually had several, which separates it from most of the action films that get released. There was female empowerment (well, except for the wise old man!). There was the importance and necessity of sacrifice. There was

In the end, this movie was not the end all and be all of action fantasy films. It had it's problems. But mostly, it gave more to the viewer than was expected and yet didn't deliver enough of the expected. In essence, it was pigeon-holed incorrectly. People watched it looking for something mindless. However, in order to appreciate the "more" of Sucker Punch, you must be willing to think about the levels, see the depth that is hiding delicately beneath the beautiful surface.

It is true however, that Sucker Punch could have been so much more. There is a plethora to ponder in it, but it seems to lack a few elements that would have pulled it into a cohesive package. The first battle seemed more epic than the last. Oscar Isaac should have been more menacing in the beginning rather than at the end.

Regardless, Sucker Punch offers a great couple hours, which is surprising for an action film. It's a movie I don't wish I could take back the time wasted watching. It's a movie I will see again.

Hopefully in the future people will look past the initial negative reviews that highlight the fact that people went into the movie hoping for something different and weren't able to see the film's beauty for what it was.

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