Alan and I saw Sucker Punch on Friday.  I rate it a 3 out of 5.  The special effects were amazing, but the overall story left much to be desired.

The film takes place in the 1940s and begins with the death of Babydoll’s (Emily Browning) mother.  Her stepfather arranges for Babydoll to be sent to a mental institution and lobotomized, and it is at the mental institution where Babydoll meets Rocket, Sweet Pea, Amber and Blondie.  Together, they plan to escape the mental institution before the doctor arrives to lobotomize Babydoll, and by escaping to a dream world, learn to fight together to free themselves.

Of the five main female characters, the film only delves into the backstories of three of them (though never actually reveals how four of the five came to be at the institution).  Throughout the World War II scenes, Wise Man (Scott Glenn) drops cliched quotes like the bombs that fall around them — some of which seem to have been thrown in solely for the sake of making Wise Man seem wise.  For example, after Wise Man tells the women to remember “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything,” I expected the women to encounter some sort of challenge that would test their faith, but nothing of the sort happened.

The film smacks of Japanese cinematography and anime — Babydoll wears a costume reminiscent of that of a Japanese school girl, complete with a katana and pistol with what appear to be cell phone charms attached.  A war machine has a cartoon bunny painted on it.  The camera frequently zooms in and slows down on bullets, and the women fight and move with overly-stylized martial arts-style skills.  The women’s costumes were also obviously tailored to appeal to a male audience both in the dream world and in the real world, where the institution is a front for a brothel.

However, in spite of the film’s overt catering to a male audience, I enjoyed the film’s cinematography and the dual worlds that aided the characters’ fight for freedom.  The film reminded me of Pan’s Labyrinth, Moulin Rouge and The Matrix.

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