Friday, 8 April 2011

A Girl Gamer's Perspective of Sucker Punch

So I saw Sucker Punch the other night and it's taken me some time to digest. I can honestly say that I enjoyed it, the visuals were great (I watched it in IMAX - I recommend this!). It was very typical of Snyder; incredibly visceral. The thing that struck me was that I spent the whole film wishing it was a graphic novel and not a film. It would be an amazing comic! I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking this - especially as there seem to be a bunch of people dressing up as "Baby Doll" at this years Wondercon - I also expect to see one or two at Kapow at the weekend too!

Yet this strikes me as odd, if you consider that Snyder's last films are adaptations of graphic novels. It's as if he's made for comics or something. Both 300 and Watchmen I preferred in their original mediums while still enjoying the films and I'm certain that if Sucker Punch was a comic, I'd have preferred to the film. This is not to say that Zack Snyder can't translate ideas onto screen. I'm actually a big fan of his work. Despite the changes made in Watchmen - namely - WHERE'S THE GOD DAMN SQUID?! I thought the film nailed it. I also have faith in him for the Superman film he's currently working on, despite my wariness regarding Amy Adams as Lois Lane.

Now, back to Sucker Punch...

Forgive me if I'm projecting myself into this film as a "girl gamer" or whatever...but it felt like a video game! The cheesy one-liners, the "objectives", searching for magical/necessary items, the team work...

The altered reality sequences worked like video game levels!

Each reality made me think of a different genre of video game. The first was a beat-em up with a back drop like Soul Caliber; a pagoda covered in snow. The choreography of this scene worked the same as a video game. Baby Doll gets thrown across the length of the screen and into a wall only to get up and continue fighting by jumping so high it's as if someones double tapped a jump button.

The next "level" can be likened to, I don't know...Call of Duty?! The running through trenches and killing Nazi's part, that is. Nazi's that are being operated by pneumatics no less - these reminded me of Zombies too! Oh and Amber gets to control a tech suit and take down planes - Command and Conquer much?!

The third reality saw the girls fighting off orc-like creatures and killing a dragon to obtain the crystals embedded in it's neck - magic crystals! This to me seemed like a mixture of RPG games like the Final Fantasy series and also games like Dragon Age.

The other big theme I noticed was the obvious link to Japanese animation in the altered reality sequences. Samurai's, Japanese school girl outfits, big stompy robot-tech suit, the costumes, dangly keyrings on the end of Baby Doll's gun in the same vain as a Japanese school girls mobile phone ( or my phone!), katana's, hot girls with cute names. wide eyes and pouting lips and all the vivid colours you usually associate with kitsch manga or anime.

Overall, I enjoyed this, it wasn't brilliant, so it didn't explain every character, so it missed a trick here and there, so it was over the, what! I feel as if this was Snyder's attack on big Hollywood producers and a mainstream audience...a screw you all. The message at the end was one that spoke to the audience directly "who makes these choices...YOU". You being the producers and the public. You want action at the expense of no story, you want attractive women in short skirts, burly, attractive men, stylised scenes and no plot, you want it all in IMAX, you want to cash in on every genre, sometimes you even want a story that makes no sense just to make you feel like you've watched something clever. Well here it all is. That's the "Sucker Punch" and I totally respect Snyder for that.

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