Let me start by saying – DO NOT PURCHASE THIS MOVIE!
Unless you wish to see cool chicks fight, awesome costumes, bad-ass graphics and no story line.
Riffing on Baz Luhrman’s Moulin Rouge, Sucker Punch opens on a curtained stage, and that curtain pulls back to reveal the bedroom of protagonist Baby Doll, played by the otherworldy Emily Browning. You’ll read much about the way the film goes between the ‘real world’ and ‘fantasy worlds,’ but the truth is there is no real world, ever. The film never tries to capture anything resembling reality, and Snyder has no interest in anything as boring as realism. He’s letting you know from the beginning, and it’s up to you if you want to come along for his ride.
I wanted to come along. Realism is the weed that chokes imagination out of movies; cinema is a dream state where reality is dictated by image proximity, not by logic. Just as in a dream cinema can be an almost stream of consciousness experience, but also just like a dream cinema should mean something. When we sleep our brains create worlds that allow us to digest what we’ve experienced that day; when we sit down in a movie theater great directors create worlds that allow us to digest everything and anything around us.
What Sucker Punch is exploring is twenty years of geek culture, smashed together in a glorious mess. Snyder isn’t homaging specific films but rather searching for the source of the films, comics and games we’ve been consuming for decades. The film is after the collective unconscious source, the well that feeds all the steampunk art or the fantasy novels or the FPS games. In a world of recycled culture there’s something truly exciting about transcending simple riffs on movies and going after the larger origins of these things. Whether he succeeds or not must be judged on a case by case basis (the film is essentially a series of psychedelic action vignettes), but I think for the most part he does.