Thursday, April 14, 2011

MORE RECYCLED SUCKER PUNCH CONTENT: In my spare time I post on message boards:

It took me two viewings but I think I loved this movie. My favorite thing since Scott Pilgrim--obviously I love a good action fantasy. But I loved Pilgrim right away; Punch took some time to digest. Pilgrim, I think, was made for me and other receptive fellow nerds in a celebratory way, but Punch is self-reflective--it wants you to doubt your nerdery to some degree. How successful it is at that is obviously a YMMV situation, which explains the really divergent critical reactions. But my point here is that the movie with the girl in the sailor suit with the gun and the sword might be less of a pander than Scott Pilgrim.
Anyway--at the very least it's a really great live action Heavy Metal with a way better vignette-linking setup than that stupid locknar, right? Obviously intermingled with that Snyder's trying to do other things--perspective on his own obsessions, questions about the nerdy male gaze, the limits of fantasy and much of an "escape" the geek fantasy genres really provide, how empowering the action heroine really is (young geek girl reactions seem to view this film favorably, which I don't think Snyder would be opposed to--I don't think he's saying the female action/fantasy heroine is always a male prisoner...just that she is a lot of the time. Similarly--I don't think he's saying we're supposed to hate the action fantasies because Blue is loathsome--he just wants us to think about it), etc. I mean it doesn't hurt for ambition. And as Depton mentioned upthread--it's got heart. I'm really glad it exists and I wish it wasn't getting a fairly thoughtless critical pileon.
Now I think Snyder was going for his version of, like, a seriocomic tone? Not quite out-and-out camp--though that lounge cover of Love Is The Drug that we see bits of in the credits is blatant, joyful camp--but cool camp, detached camp. Which may be more obvious when we get the full version with the dance sequences...I think it would have been totally obvious with his original Ooh Child ending which will probably never get to see since this movie might make back its stated budget, but not more than that. (He said in that Film School Rejects interview he'd finish the original ending if Punch did well, and I don't think its done well enough for that.) But there's enough fun here, just with what we have. That scene with the Mayor rolling up with those glasses and that Queen/hip-hop mashup in the background is ridiculous, in a great way. And, um, Amber's plane! One wing has a propeller, one side is a jet! Vanessa frigging Hudgens firing a machine gun and screaming "TAKE THAT YOU UGLY MOTHERFUCKER!!!" With the -FUCKER cut off. (The PG-13ization of this movie also hurt it a lot, obviously.)
Specific things that annoyed me are Blondie's out-of-nowhere breakdown, and her and Amber's similarly out-of-nowhere deaths, and possibly those two characters in general, which I guess you can partially blame on the actresses (Amber's repeated "WHOA!"'s got on my nerves, but Snyder doesn't have to put them in there either) but they also aren't given nearly as much to do as Cornish and Malone. The breakdown seems to be purely for plot purposes--there's nothing before that to suggest Blondie is the weak link--and the deaths are of the "kill characters to make the bad guy look worse" type, which is always cheap (for me.) I get that he wanted some menace in the fantasies, but yeesh, two executions at once? And of two characters who are paired but I'm never sure why they're a pair, other than "they're the two that aren't sisters." In one of the interviews he mentions the brothel on-screen is less menacing than it's supposed to be (and I don't want to sound like I'm reflexively buying all his excuses for the current state of the film) so maybe before it looked less abrupt. Whatevs! I had a great time. Really curious now about the fuller version we'll get on disc. Right now the credits are teasing us with, like, glimpses of alternate versions of the characters (except Baby? I never notice her in the stage scenes--maybe her "stage" is always the high fantasy scenes) so we'll see how it all feels with those scenes fully integrated into the film.
One random, probably silly thought: the bookishly, scientist-like nerdy Snyder (as opposed to a fast-talking dorky nerd) is our De Palma in waiting. (Ummm, the De Palma who grew up with anime and Heavy Metal instead of Hitchcock. And with a less gutty sexuality. There's sex in a Snyder film but it's 90% mental. Lookm it's a silly thought. But--wait for it...) And Sucker Punch is his Phantom of the Paradise. (BOOYAH.)

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