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It's everyone of us who holds power over the world we create.


Sucker Punch
(2011)

I'd like to be charitable and suggest that maybe Zack Snyder's unique vision was unjustly butchered by the studio and that as a result the extended cut restores the glory of the film he intended. But from what I've read it's another 18 minutes of boring fantasy action scenes and slightly more suggestive content concerning what goes on at the asylum.

Who knows what Snyder really intended his film to be; a paean to female empowerment? A non-explicit smutfest in which young women dress in schoolgirl outfits, show extraordinary aerobic techniques and hold big guns? A heartfelt attack on the cruelty of the treatment of the mentally ill in the first half of the 20th century? An extended pop video of mutilated cover versions or distastefully sampled/remixed original work? A meditation on the nature of dreams and reality that encourages the viewer to piece together just what happened to central character Baby Doll (Emily Browning)?

It wouldn't really matter if the film was engaging; there is the odd moment where it holds the attention. The five-minute opening sequence is not too bad in retrospect (although, doused in Browning's version of The Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams it feels like nothing more than an expensive promo video), and the infrequent glimpses of the reality of the asylum occasionally threaten to provoke. But most of the film is CG battles with no investment in the fantasy world that has been created. And frequently those worlds aren't rendered all that well either. Although Snyder knows how to deposit his characters in them, his CG creations (from a no-doubt Gilliam inspired giant samurai to a platoon of androids) look very CGI and perhaps a sign that the blue screen budget wouldn't stretch.

That this reeks of adolescent fantasy material makes you wonder why Snyder didn't allow himself to succumb fully to his exploitation leanings (with a 12 certificate brothel fantasy and implications of sexual abuse of the inmates, he's teetering that way); if he wanted to dress them up in some kind of call to sisterhood he didn't convince anyone.

*1/2

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