Sucker Punch’s success will open the floodgates to nerd-culture shlock

Sucker Punch is where we draw the line, nerds. I have talked to you before about the one known as Munn, and her dark engine of success. In a way, Sucker Punch is a movie version of her; both feature attractive women in nerd fantasies without much authenticity. It’s an amalgam of every part of nerd culture, robots and ninjas and schoolgirls and battle blimps mashed into one pulpy mess like a baby brother making a giant food pile out of his dinner plate. If Sucker Punch succeeds, the studios will likely respond by drowning us in so much sci-fi waste fluid.

Of course, Sucker Punch hasn’t come out yet. It’s a few days away and we’ll follow up with a review or commentary after it releases. We deserve better.

Snyder can paint a pretty picture. Most of the shots in the trailer could be a computer’s wallpaper. I said that same compliment about Aronofsky’s The Fountain, but that was a story about loss and trying to escape death. Also time travel. As gorgeous as The Fountain was, it at least had characters that were dealing with a struggle.

I love his work on the Dawn of the Dead remake, but if Snyder wins, we’ll never escape slo-mo. It will be a world of 3-D and slo-mo effects, blades and knives slowly spinning through the air towards the audiences. You can achieve the same effect by doing acid at Benihana. Good lord, there’s even a slo-mo shot of the girl blowing her hair away in the trailer.

There will be no normal speed. The events of the film with actually exist in a 15-minute window, just stretched to two hours through this technique. Like the scene in Inception where the van falls for six seconds over an hour (This movie is just Inception, ok?)

Maybe this is a bit of jealousy at Snyder’s concept. By setting a movie in a group of girls’ imagination/dream realm/whatever, he has total freedom to do whatever he wants. Inception was able to avoid plot holes (Saito’s sudden, perfect-timing appearance in Mombasa for example) by explaining that it was mimicking the inconsistency of dreams. I doubt that pretty, troubled girls dream of WWII trenches and bunny-mechs, but who can say what having a mean does to your psyche (not that).

I was once taught that you shouldn’t introduce more than one “magic” to a story. The reader/audience can suspend disbelief for one otherworldly thing without explanation. Star Wars did this when they took The Force, something the audience had accepted, and then said “No wait, you’re fools for thinking that was right. It’s actually that everything in the universe has little living entities in them. They do magic”. It wasn’t just about a retcon, it was about throwing things out there for the hell of it.

Axe Cop is a successful webcomic where random awesome things happen. A T-Rex sprouts machine guns and battles a polar bear with knives. It is funny because it’s written by a 7-year old, so his lack of structure is charming. I don’t see how that mentality will work for Sucker Punch. No, I see how it will work; guys won’t care because there will be hot girls in lingerie fighting dragons.

It all seems a little patronizing. The same way ninjas, zombies, and “epic fail” have been thrown into everything now that major producers have gotten wind of the trends, this feels the same way. “Hey nerds! There’s robots and samurai swords and girls making that action-Spiderman pose! What else the fuck do you want? We don’t care! Just see it!”

Here are a few other things to worry about:

  • The seductive power of Jenna Malone. A new generation’s Winona Ryder. Always looks slightly jailbait.
  • The career revival of Vanessa Hudgens. We owe her nothing for High School Musical. We have already seen her naked, multiple times. Nothing else needed.
  • These are the two least intimidating “guards” I’ve ever seen. Why are you wearing a bad suit? Are you trying to get into Scores?

  • The reintroduction of dark psychiatric wards, opened only by creepy old men who hope to imprison sexy girls.
  • We can’t let someone from The Real World actually move onto a successful movie career. Jamie Chung has already been in Sorority Row and Dragonball Evolution. She is pretty and asian, but it’s so much better when our former Real World cast members toil in obscurity. Except for Mike “The Miz”. He got to be a pro-wrestler. I am happy for him.
  • None of these girls are going to talk to you at Comic-Con.
  • Why did they photoshop the hell out of Carla Gugino’s poster? It’s not like they had to make her attractive.

At least Heavy Metal got the live-action remake it always deserved.

I hope I’m wrong. If nothing, it will be better than Battle: LA. I fear that if this becomes the next huge hit, Snyder and a ton of copycats will just start releasing films where robots made of explosions and gears fight giant gila monsters. I know, it sounds awesome. Stop it.


About Chad Quandt

Writer for videogames, animation, the webcomic Suffrage. Master blocker in dodgeball. Barbecued with Corey Haim before he died.

Posted on March 21, 2011, in Chad Quandt, Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. When I saw the trailers I kept thinking it was a movie based off a video game that does not exist (yet). As much as I hope this movie is cool, I’m afraid that it will be more like a big-budget version of a SyFy Original Movie, and that it will go down in flames until it becomes a cult hit on DVD.

    You posit that if it succeeds we’re going to have future projects with loglines involving the words “NINJA PIRATE ZOMBIE ROBOT RAPTOR BACON SEXY EXPLOSIONS” thrown around without any coherency. So what happens if it fails? Does life just continue as before with bad “mockbusters” from the Asylum and Michael Bay’s plans to firebomb Vietnam to get realistic explosion footage for Transformers 4: Your Nostalgia Fuels My Fire?

  2. Thank you for having the balls (and wit) to write about something that most people aren’t stopping to think about wihtout sounding sexist. This, and the article on Olivia Munn and all the “GURL GAYMERZ” have been the best journalism read I’ve had in a month.

  3. But it has ROBOOOTS and the girls are KEELING THEM and look so COOOL! Also GUNS and FIGHTING! WHARGARBL-

    I’m not expecting Schindler’s List, I’m expecting a gorgeous (POSSIBLY empowering…SIGH…) action popcorn-flick. And as a kid who spent a lot of time in her imagination, occasionally dealing with my own issues there, the concept resonates with me.

    None of that makes what you say less true, just thought I’d share. Haha!

  4. eh can’t be worse than the shit they are turning out now…

  5. I have a horrible feeling Sucker Punch is going to fail hard. I’m a nerdy heterosexual guy so I guess I’m in this movie’s target demographic, but the trailers leave me completely cold. I think it’s the overuse of CGI – like with the Star Wars prequels, when you use it in every shot, nothing looks real and the audience doesn’t feel ‘there’. Compare something like Inception, which used CGI much more subtly, but was far more immersive than Sucker Punch probably will be.

    Also, enough with the slo-mo already!

  6. Eat a butt Chad.
    Imma watch this movie so hard tomorrow. For free.
    Then I’m gonna see it again this weekend. Even if I hate it.
    Beli’ that.

    – Kyle

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