Is Sucker Punch the Most Brilliant Sociological Experiment of Our Time?

Posted: March 18, 2011 in Braak, crotchety ranting
Tags: , , , ,

When Zack Snyder made Watchmen, and decided to make it as close to a shot-for-shot adaptation of the comic book as possible, I praised him for it and, I think RIGHTLY SO.

If we believe the story, and I figure we may as well, Snyder initially passed on the movie, considering it impossible to adapt; later, when the chance came up again, he figured he ought to do it…because if he didn’t the studio was just going to keep looking for someone who would, and eventually they’d get to Michael Bey.

You know what? I respect that. And whatever problems people might have had with Watchmen, the fact of the matter is that it IS impossible to adapt successfully, and so it’s not fair to judge the movie as an objective failure. Of course it’s an objective failure; it was always going to be an objective failure, and Snyder admitted as much going in. But it is a comparative success, in the sense that it’s about as good an adaptation as was possible in the first place, and Snyder deserves credit for that.

So, then we come to Sucker Punch. Sucker Punch is a movie about underage girls in fetishwear fighting dragons and robot samurais.

It’s hard to make an argument that this anything but the exploitative fantasies of a 14-year-old boy.

Then I got to thinking about it, though, and I started to wonder if maybe that was precisely the point. If the point was that I wasn’t giving Zack Snyder enough credit. Maybe the point of Sucker Punch isn’t just that it’s exploitative girl-ogling fantasy, but that it’s the MOST exploitativist, girl-oglingest, gothic-lolita-in-a-robot-fighting-a-dragonest movie EVER CONCEIVED BY MAN.

It makes a certain sense, I think. I know that, as an artist, whatever kind of piece I decide to do, I want to make it the most like itself as possible. So, if I was leaning towards underage underwear girls with swords, you’d better believe there’d be, like, fifty chicks in their underwear and they’d fighting a robot laser dragon from Mars.

Maybe, I think to myself, maybe this is Zack Snyder’s plan. Maybe he doesn’t want to write a new chapter in teen-girls-fighting-zombie-Nazis exploitation. Maybe his plan is to actually close the book on it.

I’m imagining a scene between two douchebag film-makers going like this:

A Douchebag: Hey, dude, let’s make a movie that’s awesome.

Bret Ratner: Dude, yeah! We’ll put a hot chick in her underwear and give her a sword!

Douchebag: You mean like in Sucker Punch?

Ratner: No! Well, yeah. Except this will have dragons…wait…

Douchebag: What if we put in some…uh…some Nazis…shit…

Ratner: Lesbian…damn it. Robot…samurai…fishnets—

Douchebag: Russian ballerina…

Ratner: …they could be in prison, or…damn.

Doucehbag: Damn.

Ratner: Oh, well. Let’s go and make the world a better place.

Douchebag: Agreed.

Is it possible that Zack Snyder has actually crystallized and encapsulated the very last urges of what it’s like to be a fourteen-year-old boy, and that when he’s done with Sucker Punch, we can all finally become grown-ups?

I choose to believe that such a thing is possible.

  1. Jeff Holland says:

    So, Sucker Punch is the thing that will finally Get All This Out of Our Systems.

    Yes. Yes, I think that’s all we can hope for.

  2. Josh says:

    Would be nice, except 300 seemed, to me, to be every bit the childhood-fantasy-of-machismo, lady-ignorant, cool-fighting-is-COOL! predecessor to Sucker Punch. And it managed to be BORING – I actually liked the comic, despite knowing Frank Miller’s issues, and was hoping for an enjoyable, stylish movie from the trailers. I mean, cool fighting IS cool, you just have to know how to make it work. For me, he didn’t – plus he played UP every offensive, uncomfortable Millerism from the comic, and added a few extra such bits of his own.

    But, of course, I didn’t think Watchmen had to be as boring, awkward, or poorly-paced as it was under Snyder’s direction, either. Basically, because I don’t like his previous two films (Dawn of the Dead was well done for what it was) – in fact, have seen him twice take good source material and screw it up – I see no reason to have faith in him here. He might very well be thinking “you know, let’s make this as over the top as possible!” – actually, I’m sure he is – but I don’t think that’s going to lead to a movie that successfully says anything about anything or is any sort of metacommentary. I just think he’ll manage to screw up dragons, robots, and girls with swords, too.

  3. braak says:

    Well, the main problem with 300 is that it was incomplete. That’s because it was based on a Frank Miller comic, and Frank Miller is terrified of women.

    And, here’s the thing. Watchmen‘s pacing was slow and tedious because Watchmen the comic was slow and tedious. It was fine for a comic, but its leisurely pacing was part of the reason that everyone thought it couldn’t be adapted into a movie. The most exciting parts of the film were where Snyder deviated from the source material.

    The same, I think, is kind of true for 300–though I did enjoy that movie, possibly because my dad used to tell me about the Battle of Thermopylae as a bedtime story.

    What I’m saying is, is it possible that Zack Snyder didn’t wreck the source material, but that he wrecked the movie because he was shackled to the source material? That he didn’t fail as a filmmaker so much as he succeeded as a fan.

    It’ll be interesting to see what he does with original material.

  4. jge says:

    I liked Watchmen. 300 less so. But the worst Snyder film until today is Legend of the Guardians. I think that is because it harps endlessly on well known plot devices (I know nothing of the book) and is, well, boring. I expect Sucker Punch to be less so, but this may be because I usually don’t read girls in underwear-robot-dragon-fantasies.

  5. “and that when he’s done with Sucker Punch, we can all finally become grown-ups?”

    I hope so.

  6. Lord Wackadoo says:

    “It’s hard to make an argument that this anything but the exploitative fantasies of a 14-year-old boy.”

    For what it’s worth, I know a lot of women, adult women, who want to see Sucker Punch.

  7. braak says:

    It is worth nothing.


  8. Smeagol92055 says:

    This surprises me none.
    I mean, he already did the ultra-violent man-candy exploitation film with 300, and Watchmen was his chance to try and do the ultra-violent, comic book-y exploitation film that everyone needed. (I actually love Watchmen. It is a widely faithful adaptation of the graphic novel without getting mired in the Black Freighter, Under the Hood sections of the book, as great as they were.)
    If Sucker Punch isn’t the ultra-violent cheesecake film of the millennium, Snyder has lost his touch… which I sincerely doubt. Whenever he sets out to make a film, he has a clear vision that he never lets the suits bog down (except for the exclusion of one vagina-faced telepathic space squid, of course…) and he fucking STAYS THE COURSE. Snyder’s an artistic genius and, as stupid as his films may be at times, they do fill an important wish-fulfillment niche for their target audiences.
    I agree with you wholeheartedly, Braak (as usual.) Sucker Punch might be a stupid, exploitative movie in the purest sense of the word, but no one can possibly follow it up with anything that won’t immediately be compared to it, for at least the next fifty years, by which time we’ll all be dead of obesity-related coronaries anyway.

  9. Smeagol92055 says:

    Because we’re fat.

  10. D.S. says:

    Watchmen- brilliant.
    Sucker Punch- even more brilliant because it was made from scratch, so to speak.

    As for your interpretation, its application would make for a validation of the title. That is to say, if you love this “type” of movie or enjoy the pieces used to make it but now your future experiences are ruined due to this one having hit all desired fetishes of adolescent interest then going to it was the achievement of a sucker punch on Zack Snyder’s part and to the jaw of anyone hoping to get another fix some day.

    Anyhow, Sucker Punch and Watchmen are, to me, just absolutely gorgeous films to look at. Snyder celebrates the visual aspect of film to the highest degree as well as having a wholly unique method of presenting what he envisions.

  11. […] Is Sucker Punch the Most Brilliant Sociological Experiment of Our Time? « Threat Quality Press. 14.08.11 • Back to front […]

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