Last year I was on the Vancouver set of Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch and what I saw there blew me away. The film – Snyder’s first original screenplay – looked dense, weird, awesome and head spinning. I tried to explain to people why I was so psyched for the film, but I just couldn’t quite get across the insane mash-up trippiness of what I had seen. Now, after the Sucker Punch footage played in Hall H at Comic Con, I think some folks are starting to realize just why I feel this way. And they’re starting to agree.
While Sucker Punch is Snyder’s first original screenplay, it’s heavily influenced by the geek world at large. In fact, the film looks like what might happen if you took the Comic Con floor and shook it into a blender, put it on high and then poured yourself a nice chilled glass of whatever came out. A brain blasting combo of cute girls, burlesque, giant samurais, mechs, zeppelins, zombies, WWI, big guns, robots, space trains, bomber planes, dragons and much, much more, Sucker Punch is like the fever dream of a nerd.
Emily Browning plays Baby Doll, who gets sent by her dad to an institution. In the institution she imagines herself in an alternate world where she’s really in a stylized brothel/nightclub. And when she’s dancing in the nightclub, she imagines herself in yet other alternate worlds filled with action and adventure. These worlds help her seek out the means to escape, and she gathers a squad of other girls from the institution to help her out. It’s like Chicago, if in Chicago they fought dragons with helicopters during the musical numbers.
It is nothing if not ambitious. But with Snyder at the helm it’s also nothing if not stunning looking. Whatever problems some may have with Snyder as a filmmaker, they simply cannot deny that he is one of the premiere visual filmmakers working today. He seems to think in not just cinema, but in some kind of crazy ultra widescreen VistaVision cinema. All of that craziness has been brought to bear on Sucker Punch, which looks like a dazzling visual feast that is going to stun the target audience, most of whom was seated in Hall H, going nuts for it.
Writing about this is, frankly, frustrating, since there’s no way I can truly get across to you the frenetic, kinetic energy of the footage shown. It was big, dense, busy but focused. It was incredibly stylish and sensual and simply expertly shot. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before while being made up of lots of things you’ve seen very often before. It’s the collision of geek pop culture, and it looks totally explosive.