Before I roll into my review of this very weird action/drama/mind trip movie, I wanted to say that I’ve been happy to be back on the show again although I keep my questions generally to a minimum in most interviews since most of my questions tend to be general concept questions or world specific questions. But if I have the time to prepare for a show, I actually try to read through the archives of whichever webcomic artist we happen to interview. In the case of Dirk Tiede, I had the opportunity to actually meet with and talk to him at Intervention before his interview with us which was incredibly helpful and it would have been awesome if I had not been up since 2am that day or working overnights at the office. I sincerely hope that I get a chance to talk to Dirk again to redeem myself. =)

There are ton of great action superhero movies coming out in the next few months with the NEW Captain America movie, Thor and the new X-Men movie on my “to watch list” to see what movie offerings the now Disney owned, Marvel can give me for my comic nerd fix to torment my husband with. 😉 Yesterday night/early this morning, my husband and I managed to catch the midnight premiere of “Sucker Punch” sans our son, brother in-law and sadly, most of our friends due to scheduling and the desire to watch the movie a little bit closer to home.

In anticipation of the movie selling out (which it did in most of the theaters last night and today) I bought our tickets online before the showing dropped completely from the movie ticket website’s listings entirely. The showing wasn’t sold out since there maybe like 20-30 people in that theater so I don’t know why exactly they dropped the listing from the website. The real lesson to be learned here is to buy your movie tickets early and online as soon as you entertain the thought of going or else you may the chance to be that first person in your circle of friends to watch the newest gem that Hollywood has to offer.

“Sucker Punch” follows 3 alternating realities of the main heroine that we only know from the 2nd reality as “Baby Doll”. In the first reality, Baby Doll and her little sister have just lost her mother whom leaves her vast wealth to her two daughters; much to the dismay of their greedy stepfather. The stepfather goes on a drunken bender and sets out to rape Baby Doll until she fights back, then he decides that it’d hurt Baby Doll more if he rapes the younger sister so he locks our heroine in her room and rampages across the hall to the little sister’s room. At this point in the first 5 minutes of movie, we are struck by the notion that Zack Synder isn’t too horrible original with writing a villainous stepfather and has stuck to the safety of the arch-typical evil stepfather. The most striking thing about this sequence, besides the stark almost completely gray color palette, is the fact, that this entire first segment of the movie is done without dialogue- it’s a long music sequence with a heavy handed female song version of “Sweet Dreams” done in the style of Marilyn Manson’s cover.

We actually don’t get any dialogue until Baby Doll is whisked away to a Mental Institution where her stepfather bribes an orderly, Blue, to have her name expedited to the top of the list to be lobotomized. So now we see the other female patients for the first and last time as patients before we fast forward to Baby Doll’s lobotomy about a week later where we get dropped into the next reality.

The Mental Institution becomes a 1950s era bordello and the patients transform into women forced into prostitution who must dance and serve in order to survive. Baby Doll enters this reality as an orphan sold to Blue, now a pimp, by a priest to be deflowered by a high roller. Does our Baby Doll succumb to her fate?

Of course not, she doesn’t get the inspiration to escape until she is brought to the dance studio and told by Vera, the dance instructor/doctor/madame(?), that she has all the weapons she needs to fight and the inter-strength required to survive but she must firm up her courage and fight. These words strike the proper cord and as Baby Doll begins to dance we are dropped into what I would like to call, “the Happy Place”, where she is a warrior lad in a skimpy mini skirt version of the Japanese School Girl uniform/little girl Sailor outfit. And as this warrior, Baby Doll is able to fight whatever manifestations her real world challenges may be and when she emerges from her Happy Place she finds herself in the bleak stark other realities, the victor.

There are several diverging worlds that Baby Doll enters later on as she quests for the things she needs to escape but she is later joined by 4 other women, Rocket, Sweet Pea, Blondie (who ironically is a brunette) and Amber who help her along the way.

There is so much more to the story but I will not go further. Each reality is visually different from the next, although we primarily only see the Bordello and the Happy Place realities throughout the entire film. It seemed to me that the overall time period that this movie was supposed to be taking place in was the early 1950s, except there were little things that were out of place like the modern coffin used in the funeral at the beginning, or a quick glimpse of an orderly using ear buds connected to an Ipod. The Bordello reality held the most color but again, was maybe supposed to be in the early 1950s. But the Happy Place reality was the most divergent in time period with clockwork, steam powered undead Nazis and steam-powered mecha; or using a 2 prop airplanes airdrop the team of girls to slay a dragon while a siege is ongoing in an orc controlled tower.

What I liked about this movie was the soundtrack, the cinematography was clear with good storytelling and fairly good acting, smooth clear high energy and imaginative action sequences. What I disliked was the choppy pacing, the lack of character development of the other girls and Baby Doll herself and the absence of a deeper plot than say “We must gather a map, fire, a knife and a key”. It really felt like there were huge parts of the movie missing in part to the movie’s PG-13 rating. All the horrible sticky parts of the stories that would have made the other girls’ desire to escape with Baby Doll more compelling was really absent. We just have to take it at face value that the girls dislike dancing on stage and probably having sex with the customers that we never actually see at the bordello except for twice. But there was a lot of things implied in the subtext, like Blue raping/beating the bordello girls/patients but we don’t see it. We see people get killed but not the blood or even the dead bodies except in the Happy Place.

Even though part of the movie occurs in a bordello, we don’t see anything beyond bustiers and long unexposed legs with bottoms mostly covered in typical bodysuit dancer wear. I think the movie was horribly limited by its rating and its desire to catch as many generations’ desires to watch this film. It was a fun watch but it left us feeling unfulfilled and wanting a uncensored version with all the cool stuff they might not had even filmed. Please Hollywood, if you are going to give us hot girls in skimpy outfits go all the way with the sheer win!

3 of 10- Better as a rental, or with a group of friends and a drinking game formulated.