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Sucker Punch (Extended Cut) (2011) Print E-mail
Monday, 20 June 2011
ImageI am willing to bet that like myself, the majority you were not expecting what you were delivered when you first watched this film.  The trailers seem to promise something so different than the end result.  As such, "Sucker Punch" is probably one of the worst films of the year, but at the same time retaining so much potential.

Zack Snyder, famed for his directions of "300" and "Watchmen," fans were expecting a whole lot more the seasoned director.  Instead, what we get is a titillating, fanboy wet dream surround by some of the most non-cohesive and under-developed plot ideas and characters.  Snyder presents us with two different films, minimum, at the same time.

First, we have Baby Doll (Emily Browning), who has been committed to a shady psychiatric institution after a disaster with her stepfather and little sister.  This became my first problem with the film.  There is an entire film worth of information that we don't get.  As an audience we are left with a montage of images giving us the just of a backstroy.  By not developing this backstory further, we are uncertain about our leading female.

Once inside the mental institution, we are tossed around like a rag doll.  Quick changes in scenery and action leave us confused beyond belief.  You will understand when you see the film.  While it somewhat becomes clearer what is going on as the film progresses, the transitions will leave you scratching your head.  "Sucker Punch" is kind of like "Inception," dreams within dreams within dreams.
Baby Doll envisions herself in a brothel with her newfound friends – Amber, Rocket, Blondie and Sweet Pea.  Together they must gather the five items necessary to escape the hospital.

One of the problems with this film lies in the objectification of the lead females.  Each one of the characters is so far underdeveloped that their objectification is seen more as rape than empowerment.  No rape is shown in the film, but it is implied at every turning point.

Each time an item is pursued, the five females find themselves in a fantasy world, battling monsters.  This takes the place of the sexual abuse that is really happening in order for the females to get their next escape item.

Baby Doll apparently dances in such a way that it distracts all the guards and patriots of the club, such that the other girls can steal the escape item.  Of course, we never see this dance because it seemingly means rape.  While this may not be the case, the sense created in visually stunning world leads audiences to believe that is what is really happening.  I suppose it is all subjective.

Personally, I like to think that she really is dancing and putting herself into these fictional worlds simply to gather inspiration.

The film quickly turns on the girls and some brutal moments get the audience closer to the end of a directionless plot.  Then we have the actual end, which throws so many curveballs and "only the director knows what he intended here" moments that it makes you feel like you sat through two hours for absolutely nothing.

The saving grace to this film is the four fantasy sequences.  Taking these as their own, neglecting what the sequences are implying, they stand on their own.  The five girls battle German zombies, samurai warriors, a monstrous dragon and futuristic robots.  These sequences have style, art and some kick-ass martial arts moves.  Sadly, they are cut short in the theatrical version of the film.  Luckily, fans will enjoy the expanded fantasy sequences in the extended cut.

For those naïve folks, "Sucker Punch" is simply a film of escaping a mental hospital with cool fantasy sequences thrown in the mix.  For others, they will read between the lines and find the implied sexual abuse.  Either way, the film is directionless.

As lousy as the film may be, the video quality is certainly impressive.  The original photography lends itself to an exciting Blu-ray release.  Thankfully, Warner Bros. has given "Sucker Punch" a detailed transfer.  The issues present in the transfer are sourced back to the original photography.  The contrast and brightness are preserved nicely.  While the contrast is stylized, it is accurate to the source.  The fleshtones remain stable and accurate throughout.  Black levels are strong and result in crush intentionally at times.  The shadow delineation on the Blu-ray is as good as originally intended.  The fantasy sequences, nearly completely CG, are stylized and detailed on the Blu-ray.  The noise reduction and wash of the image is true to the source.  Fine details and textures are present throughout the film.  This is a truly impressive image sullied only by the film quality.

As far as the audio transfer is concerned, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 track delivers true to the source as well.  See as how this is the case, the audio quality should be rated five stars.  However, based on the original sound design, the audio track does present some problems.  The surround activity is engaging throughout, however, the directionality and panning of source elements is spotty.  Discrete placement in the surrounds is generally accurate, but the soundfield fails prey to spectral splitting of the front/rear and side soundfields.  The original sound design itself is spotty, with some action moments receiving much more details sound effect treatment than others.  One moment a big samurai gun is detailed down to each bullet, and then the next moment that big gun sounds smeared.  This isn't because of a change in perspective.  The LFE channel offers high-octane low frequency enhancement.  The LFE is not as tight as it should be, but bass over’s will love to demo this track.  Dialogue is convincing and intelligible for the majority of the film.  There are few moments in which a line or two drops below the intelligible level.  This is all accurate to the original source mix.  This is certainly an impressive and accurate audio track, it just lacks details and cohesion from a sound designers perspective.

"Sucker Punch" comes in a 3-disc package. There are two Blu-ray discs and a third DVD/Digital Copy disc.  The first Blu-ray disc contains the theatrical version of the film.  The second Blu-ray contains an extended cut, about 17 minutes longer in length and R-Rated versus the PG-13 rating of the theatrical edition.

On disc one contains "Sucker Punch: The Animated Shorts," which is a collection of motion comics explaining the four fantasy segments in the film.  Also on the first Blu-ray disc is an extremely brief "Behind The Soundtrack" featurette.  It only runs three minutes and once again short changes the importance of sound in film.  Someday, perhaps sound will be given more than a five-minute featurette.

The second Blu-ray disc contains the most involved featurette, Warner Bros' Maximum Movie Mode.  This feature gives viewers a highly informative and well-executed picture-in-picture commentary with director Zack Snyder.  Even if you didn't like the film, you may enjoy this commentary.  It is ripe with information and behind the scenes footage.  Filmmakers will certainly enjoy the feature.

Lastly, the Blu-ray is BD-Live enabled and the DVD/Digital Copy of the film includes only the theatrical version.

"Sucker Punch" steps on its own toes by tearing down the leading females who are supposed to be empowered heroines.  Regardless, the audio and video qualities will likely make this a demo disc.  Just make sure to only demo the four fantasy segments and skip the rest.  This is worth it if you are looking for a highly disc.  Skip it if you are just interested in a good flick.

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