Sucker Punch a sprawling and convoluted action sci-fi fantasy is director Zack Snyder’s first “original” film in that it’s based on a script Snyder co-wrote (along with Steve Shibuya) and not a graphic novel or a previous movie. But to anyone who has seen Snyder’s two previous live-action films 300 and Watchmen it will feel awfully familiar: His now-trademark flourishes – gorgeous visuals elaborate action sequences a desaturated color palette a CGI-airbrushed “heightened reality ” abundant slo-mo and fatal self-seriousness – are all conspicuously on display.
It’s all there in fact in Sucker Punch’s opening sequence: a very intense and ultra-dramatic montage set to a haunting cover of the Eurythmics’ "Sweet Dreams" and slowed down to a crawl so that we may better admire every super-stylized detail of Snyder’s exquisite handiwork. It depicts a series of wrenching domestic tragedies that result in the film’s teenage heroine Babydoll (Emily Browning) being shipped off to an all-girls mental hospital by her malevolent stepfather (Gerard Plunkett) properly setting the stage for the ensuing melodrama.
To ensure Babydoll doesn’t act up again evil stepdaddy bribes a corrupt orderly (Oscar Isaac) into having the traumatized but otherwise mentally competent girl lobotomized without the required consent of the facility’s resident psychiatrist Dr. Gorski (Carla Gugino). The year is 1967 and lobotomies though still legal are exceedingly rare; as such they must wait five days for the local lobotomizing physician (Jon Hamm) to come and turn Babydoll into a very pretty vegetable. Which is more than enough time for her to retreat into a dreamworld and concoct a vivid fantasy in which she and four scantily clad mates – Rocket (Jena Malone) Sweat Pea (Abbie Cornish) Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) Amber (Jamie Chung) – conspire to escape the brothel in which they’re imprisoned.
The meat of the escape plan calls for a series of quests in which Babydoll and the gang battle giant samurais World War I zombie troopers futuristic alien robots dragons et al – all while dressed in sleek variants of the archetypal hot chick Halloween costumes (sexy nurse sexy schoolgirl sexy sanitation worker etc.). The sequences are well-choreographed and visually stimulating but have very little connection to the plot – they’re more like beautiful and disposable diversions grandiose music videos in which Snyder is able to cram elements from a broad spectrum of pop culture influences from Hong Kong cinema and anime to Moulin Rouge and Heavy Metal without any apparent rules or logic to bind his fertile imagination.
All of which wouldn’t be so bad – honestly it wouldn’t – if Sucker Punch weren’t so punishingly maudlin. Nary a scene goes by in which some poor girl isn’t threatened or smacked or nearly raped. (All the women in the film are victims; the men with the exception of Scott Glenn's imaginary character monsters.) A movie with hot chicks and guns and orcs and robots and zombies should at the very least be fun. But Snyder’s film is dour and pretentious to the point of pain an overstuffed emo tragedy bracketed by ponderous voiceover about demons and monsters and how all of us have the weapons within us to defeat them. Or something like that. Sucker Punch is such a molten-hot mess that whatever Important Message it's supposed to convey ends up hopelessly garbled by the time the end credits roll.
Zack Snyder has never been one for subtlety and his new film seems like the least subtle yet. The 300 director’s latest film, Sucker Punch, tells the story of a young girl with the unfortunate name of Babydoll (Emily Browning) who is locked in a 1950’s mental asylum by her wicked step-father. She escapes from her everyday life by living in a fantasy world, but at 5 days from a lobotomy she begins to launch a more literal escape with her equally attractive friends (Vanessa Hudgens, Abbie Cornish, Jamie Chung, and Jena Malone.)
The first trailer puts most of the emphasis on Babydoll’s suptuous fantasy world, which, as I’ve mentioned before, seems a lot closer to the fantasy of a teenaged boy than that of a teenaged girl. Not that girls wouldn’t enjoy fighting giant robot samurai, but I think most would rather not have to do it in a miniskirt. (Besides, that’s not even going into how unlikely it is that a girl in 1950’s America would even know what samurai are, since post-WWII America was still not so hot on the Japanese... and I’m going to stop trying to apply logic to this film, it’s obviously not working.) Logical or not, Sucker Punch came out of Comic-Con with a lot of buzz, and the trailer delivers on showcasing the film’s over-the-top, exploit-tastic action. Sucker Punch, written by Snyder and Steve Shibuya, will arrive, scantly-clad, on an exploding dragon to theaters on March 25th, 2011.
Megan Fox has lined up two new projects: Jonah Hex starring Josh Brolin at Warner Bros. and Fathom, Fox Atomic's comic-book based underwater adventure.
Meanwhile, Watchmen director Zack Snyder is lining up ladies for his all-girl action film including Amanda Seyfried who was rumored as a possibility last month.
Seyfried is in negotiations to star, while Vanessa Hudgens, Abbie Cornish, Evan Rachel Wood and Emma Stone are in talks for the action fantasy.
Snyder is directing and producing with his Cruel & Unusual Films partner and wife Deborah Snyder.
Last month, Snyder talked to Web site IESB about the Seyfried possibility and said the production would be heading to Canada in June. Today, the Hollywood Reporter says the shooting schedule is still being worked out.
Punch is set in the 1950s and follows a girl who has been institutionalized by her stepfather who is intending to have her lobotomized. While there, she imagines an alternative reality to hide her from the pain, and in that world, begins planning her escape.
Snyder co-wrote the script with Steve Shibuya. The project has been described as "Alice in Wonderland with machine guns."
The other actresses would play fellow inmates who also travel into the alternate reality.
Meanwhile, Jonah Hex, based on the DC Comics character, is being directed by Jimmy Hayward. Fox will play Leila. The gun-toting beauty is also the love interest of Brolin's Hex, says THR. John Malkovich also stars.
The movie is gearing up for an April shoot.
Fathom, which hails from the late artist Michael Turner, follows a young woman named Aspen who learns she is a member of a race of aquatic humanoids who possess the ability to control water.
Fox's involvement was mentioned in September by IESB which reported at the time that the film had been moved from 20th Century Fox to Fox Atomic.
The project was previously set up at James Cameron's Lightstorm but when the option lapsed, producer Peter Safran came in and began packaging it.
The adaptation is being written by Jordan Mechner while Safran is producing with Steve Bessen and Brian Austin Green. Fox also will produce in some capacity.
Click Here: Hollywood Wiretap Headlines!
MORE NEWS: 'High School Musical 4' Welcomes New Class