Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Phil sees SUCKER PUNCH at the Camera 7 Pruneyard-March 26, 2011

First thing I'd like to say is that director Zack Snyder has had an interesting career so far. He made his directorial debut with 2004's DAWN OF THE DEAD, a successful remake of the 1978 George Romero classic zombie film. His version satisfied even the most diehard horror fan, while creating some new ones along the way. His next film was 300, an adaptation of the Frank Miller's comic book. That film became a huge blockbuster hit, and made a lot of people take notice of him. Then he followed that film up with what many people have said to be the unfilmable comic book property. With 2008's WATCHMEN, he proved all the critics wrong and made the film that other filmmakers couldn't accomplish. WATCHMEN became the biggest hit that summer, and Snyder became THE filmmaker to watch. Then he took a different route and directed last year's family film LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA'HOOLE, which was based on a children's book. Now, the road that Snyder has followed has led him to his most visually dynamic (and his first original film) SUCKER PUNCH.

The film takes place in the 1950's, and it tells the story of Baby Doll, played by Emily Browning. She is an orphan and is committed to an asylum after being falsely accused of murdering her younger sister, which was orchestrated by her evil stepfather. When it is revealed that she is scheduled for a lobotomy, she retreats from her pain by creating an alternate reality in her mind. First she and her other friends Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), and Amber (Jamie Chung) work as performers in a bordello, run by the theatrical manager Madam Gorski (Carla Gugino) and owner/pimp Blue Jones (Oscar Isaac). In order to escape both the brothel and the asylum, Baby Doll and her gang need to obtain five items to win their freedom. However, to get these five items, they must battle giant ninja robot warriors,WWII German pilots and foot solders, towering winged dragons, and android assassins.

Snyder wrote the script along with former special effects artist Steve Shibuya, and the results are visually dynamic, the equivalent of psychedelic candy for your eyes. While the script is about as thin as a sheet of paper, Sndyer is going for the optical orgasm that makes his films so much fun to watch. And of course it's obvious that the films he made prior helped shape the look, feel, and outcome for this film. Also, the strong feminist overtone is laid out here; the women are the heroes, while the men (with the exception of Scott Glenn's character) are the villains.

With a great soundtrack to back up the visual eye candy, SUCKER PUNCH is just that, a punch to your senses and let's loose the imagination of what films can become, if in the right hands of course. Snyder has made a film that will take you on a magic carpet ride, and he doesn't let go until the the credits end. There hasn't been many Hollywood films that can boast true escapism while making you feel like you were taken to another world. With this film, you will finally be entertained.

SUCKER PUNCH is now playing in theatres nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in San Jose. To see showtimes, visit http://www.cameracinemas.com/index.shtml

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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