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Teen Review: ‘Sucker Punch’

Teen Says It’s Style Over Substance

Femme bonding: Jena Malone and Emily Browning in

Credit: Warner Brothers

Above: Femme bonding: Jena Malone and Emily Browning in "Sucker Punch."

"Sucker Punch" (opened March 25 throughout San Diego) is the first original screenplay attempted by Zack Snyder and it definitely had some flaws.

In "300" and "Watchmen" he could easily rely on the pre-existing graphic novels. Visually, he is indeed gifted but his original screenplay is not all that original. The kick-ass girl concept is great but none of the girls in "Sucker Punch" can really do much damage; all they possess are a lot of cutesy ninja moves. The film has its limitations not only because of the PG-13 rating but also because there is too much emphasis on the visual aspects of the film. But I’m not going to lie. I really enjoyed this movie. Seriously, I thought it was fantastic.

There’s not much dialogue, so the story of Baby Doll (Emily Browning) is told visually with what is almost an amazing soundtrack. The story itself is pretty weak but I did like all the outfits and set designs. There are three different worlds Baby Doll exists in. She tries to shoot her lecherous stepfather but instead accidentally kills her sister. So he sends her to the Lennox House for the mentally insane. That’s world number one, which we really don’t see much of. World number two is a brothel but unfortunately there is no sexy dancing in this movie. It really is a 12-year-old boy’s wet dream. World number three is where the girls go into battle mode; it's always a different setting but not very creative as far as the concepts. Even though it's a battle zone there really isn’t much gut-grinding action. They just achieve minor accomplishments and receive only minor guidance in the form of one-liners. There is nothing very complicated about this movie other than my questions that were never answered: “Why is one brunette named Blondie? What did Rocket do? Is this really a mental institution? Wait, this was set in the 50s?”

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Warner Brothers

Emily Browning and Carla Gugino in "Sucker Punch."

Obviously, there’s not much depth to this film. The characters are weakly established and the plot has too many holes but I guess it looked so good that I really didn’t care. After reading many opinions on why this movie was a flaming turd, I really felt kind of stupid for liking it so much. But I was duped by the music and the costumes and… well, actually I think that’s it.

After a while, I started filling in the holes myself, thinking how great it was that they completely avoided eroticism and violence, and maintained a decent representation of young women trying to survive. The film's concept is a little stupid but when you apply it to all the things young women really have to endure in today’s society, it makes a lot more sense. Girls are not only vicious to each other but to themselves as well. Baby Doll’s knack for dancing earned the approval of the other girls but if she wasn’t so great at it, they probably would have torn her apart. Without anybody to rely on, especially the support of other women, young women easily become victimized. In the film there are several people who prey on girls such as Baby Doll or Rocket, finding pleasure in power not love. It’s a serious issue that is weakly approached in "Sucker Punch." The reason world number two is a brothel is probably because the man who is supposed to be taking care of them is only abusing them. We don’t see him raping or even killing anyone, not in a gruesome, vivid way at least. I could explain what grown men do to little girls, or how many young women blame themselves for what somebody did to them, or even the complete lack of self-esteem we’ve been conditioned to feel because of unrealistic body images presented in the media, but I won’t. The fact that really only one girl survives is pathetic.

I can’t barrage this movie with insults or ad-hominem attacks on the director since I really did enjoy seeing it. There wasn’t too much to think about or digest throughout the film, and we can really only hope Zack Snyder evolves as a director and a writer.

I suggest the viewer not expect anything elaborate in "Sucker Punch" (rated PG-13 for thematic material involving sexuality, violence and combat sequences, and for language) other than the hair and make-up of course. Whether this movie makes you want to sucker punch Zack Snyder or not, at least see it with your friends and make it a night out. Even if you hate it try not to have an aneurism in the middle of the theater.

--Lidia Marin is a senior at Mount Miguel High School.

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