If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Zack Snyder is an interesting director. I definitely think he's a very talented individual with a very good eye for the craft. 300, WATCHMEN, GUARDIANS and SUCKER PUNCH all have a very unique visual style and are all very well made films. However, SUCKER PUNCH is going to make me question anything he has a part in that involves him putting a pen to paper.
I love the whole idea and concept of SUCKER PUNCH. However, ideas and concepts can only go so far. SP is a story about what someone is willing to go through in order to cope with the struggles and obstacles in front of them. How sometimes you have to resort to your imagination just to pull through. And within these imaginary worlds they're able to do anything they want. I like the story, but the entire time I found myself not giving a crap. Snyder fails to do the most important thing when making a story like this, and that's bring the emotion.
It's not the actors' fault either. Every single person on screen brings everything they've got. Even Vanessa Hudgens is good, which feels really strange coming through my finger tips, and Jamie Chung is actually convincing. Everyone really does a fine job. Aside from action, Snyder knows how to work with actors. Unfortunately I can't say the same for being able to write characters.
One thing Snyder has proven in his career is that he's got an eye for action and style. Each set piece is brilliantly put together and visually stunning. Within the imagination of Baby Doll (Emily Browning) everything is amazingly surreal. It's chaotic and really the most impressive part of the entire film. The fights, whether they be gun fights, sword fights, a dragon chasing a plane or 3 girls on a train full of robots, are well choreographed and everything is shot so you can see what's going on. I do think Snyder is a little too obsessed with slo-mo and it occasionally gets to be too much.
What's unfortunate about all the effort and hard work that went into these brilliantly staged set pieces is that I just didn't care. Because of the nature of these scenes, being inside of an imagination, there wasn't much at stake. Characters weren't in any real danger of dying and the lack of emotion had me a bit bored despite how pretty it looked. When I was watching it I was thinking "damn, that was cool" but at the same time I didn't feel the urgency the characters supposedly felt. And after a while the aesthetic of the eye candy wore off and I became fairly bored.
I'm not sure what went wrong here. I usually dig mindless action as long as it's well presented. SUCKER PUNCH is definitely one of the best presented mindless action in years, but something stopped me from really enjoying the movie like I wanted to. It's got everything I could have asked for: Hot girls in little clothing, dragons, sword fights, gun fights, mechs, robots. Everything except emotion. I don't think it was from lack of trying either. It just felt lost somewhere, burried beneath all the "cool" of the movie.
It's hard to say whether I'd recommend SUCKER PUNCH or not. I'm leaning towards a no because from other people's reactions they didn't enjoy it as much as they hoped. It's great eye-candy, but when it's done you'll be craving something more filling. Zack Snyder I still think is a great director, but I don't think he should play around with story too much anymore. I want to see him direct something where he had no hand in the writing process and keeps the story close to the original script. I guess we'll see what happens when SUPERMAN comes out.