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    Sucker Punch (Movie Review)

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    Paeter
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    Sucker Punch (Movie Review)

    Post  Paeter on March 25th 2011, 9:31 pm

    Let's get straight to it, shall we? This movie was a nerdly geek-splosion of awesomeness. I'm giving it a 10 out of 10 for my Quality score. Not because it's flawless, but because it's a major achievement in film that shouldn't be ignored. I haven't checked my records to verify, but I don't think I've given another movie a 10 since the first "Iron Man". Like that film, "Sucker Punch" is too much fun, too much of a visual feast and just too freakin' cool to give it anything less.

    The story centers on a girl nicknamed "Baby Doll", who finds herself framed by her evil stepfather and sentenced to an insane asylum, where she faces a lobotomy in 5 days unless she can escape. A matronly psychologist helps her and the other girls in the asylum, to cope with their situation by empowering them to retreat into an imagined world they create, in which they are powerful and able to bring about positive change in their circumstances.

    As the story unfolds, Baby Doll leads a group of girls in a mission to escape the asylum, but we get to see their progress through the lens of Baby Doll's imagined fantasy world, a crazy blend of sci-fi, fantasy and steam-punk that propels itself with action visuals the Wachowski brothers(The Matrix Trilogy) would drool at.

    The creative quality and almost relentless quantity of visual effects sequences has enough optical intensity to make this movie worth seeing. But the time spent on character motivation, though not a lot, is enough to help us invest in their struggle, especially in the second half of the movie. This is not a simple "eye-candy" visual effects film. It has plenty of heart and a few moments that left me leaning forward with a dropped jaw, not from some stunning CGI, but stunning tragedy inflicted on our heroes. I especially found the character "Rocket" to be compelling and for some reason very interesting to watch.

    Another elements that might be easy to overlook is the costumes, which are almost a visual effect themselves. This is where the inspiration of "Heavy Metal" magazine and modern comic books makes itself most evident.

    Although "Sucker Punch" is mostly escapist entertainment, it has some clear themes of overcoming evil and self-empowerment, with a healthy dose of self-sacrifice. From a biblical standpoint, we might support the first theme and automatically reject the second. This movie ultimately states (even literally through narration) that we are our own source of trials and victories in life. We are the ultimate power in control of our lives. Biblically, this idea doesn't fly. In fact, the movie itself is inconsistent on this point. In the last moments of the film, while this point is being made in narration, a main character is able to achieve her aspiration, though only because of the assistance of others, including a random stranger. In fact, other characters who wanted to achieve their aspirations much more strongly, failed in their attempts. This is in direct contradiction to the philosophy stated in the final words before the credits roll, leaving me a bit confused.

    That said, their is room for some "self-determination" according to the Bible. Paul clearly struggles with conflict that he brings about in his own life (Romans 7:15-20) and David declares a determination to himself that he will choose to praise God. (Psalm 103:1-2) Messages inspiring self-determination on not by nature counter to scripture unless they promote self-determination as the ultimate source of strength. Sucker punch verbally validates ultimate self-determination but illustrates what might even be described as divine intervention or at least exterior supernatural aid. The movie doesn't beg for conversation, but it could be started fairly easily on the way home by simply asking out loud, "What exactly IS it about that movie that makes me feel like I can conquer the world right now?"

    A mind-blowing, genre-bending experience that will likely be a benchmark for years to come. If you're a fan of sci-fi/fantasy action, you'd be crazy to miss this one.

    Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving sexuality, violence and combat sequences, and for language.

    Quality: 10/10

    Relevance: 8.0/10

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    Re: Sucker Punch (Movie Review)

    Post  Tim on March 26th 2011, 9:57 am

    Wow, I wanted to see this before but had no idea that it was going to be this good. I will have to see it monday when i get off of work!


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    Re: Sucker Punch (Movie Review)

    Post  litera9 on March 27th 2011, 5:09 pm

    WHAT??? Paeter, you actually liked this movie? I'm surprised. Truthfully, I haven't seen it, and don't really want to. The movie seems to only be an oppurtunity to create sexualized action sequences. In Paeter's review, I never see him engage the simple idea that a good portion of the plot is located in a brothel, where the characters are strippers. why a brothel? The action is a pretty cool idea, but still,f why did they have to be oversexualized by placing them in a brothel? I'm sure they could have used something else for the same "Self-empowerment" that Paeter mentions in the review.

    Io9 has also commented that it commented on "The death of moviemaking" by being the very thing it accuses

    http://io9.com/#!5785590/sucker-punch-goes-beyond-awful-to-become-commentary-on-the-death-of-moviemaking

    The authors summarize their point as: Snyder mocks many problems(lack of narrative, sexualizing for the sake of sexualizing, etc) with movies by using the problems themselves.

    Is it right for us, as Christians, to support this kind of art? I'm not usually sensitive about these kind of issues, but this movie rubbed me wrong from the first trailer. What do you think?


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    Re: Sucker Punch (Movie Review)

    Post  Paeter on March 28th 2011, 12:17 am

    litera9 wrote:WHAT??? Paeter, you actually liked this movie? I'm surprised. Truthfully, I haven't seen it, and don't really want to. The movie seems to only be an oppurtunity to create sexualized action sequences.


    I think everyone will have different degrees of sensitivity to sexuality in movies. I didn't bring it up in the review because, although the "setting" (one of the mental levels of psychotherapy) is a brothel, we only really see the girls warming up for their routines, not actually dancing. And there is zero nudity. So while the context and costumes imply sexuality, they do so little more than your average female superhero movie. And I've seen a number of other PG-13 movies with far more.




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    Re: Sucker Punch (Movie Review)

    Post  Paeter on March 28th 2011, 12:30 am

    Just read the review at the link above and am reminded at just how subjective entertainment reviews all are. (Personally, I thought that reviewer was over thinking things a bit. I dig philosophy, but he seemed to be reading too deeply into it.)

    My impression is that I will be in the minority among reviewers. So my suggestion is to weigh how your tastes usually line up with my reviews and anticipate accordingly. I think this is true of any reviewer. No one has figured out how to "objectively review" entertainment, and if they sound like they think they have, that's a red flag.

    So read some of my backlog reviews, roll the dice and good luck!



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    Re: Sucker Punch (Movie Review)

    Post  Rickster on March 28th 2011, 2:40 pm

    I enjoyed the movie it's far from perfect but it was just a fun movie
    If the movie was straight forward it would have been depressing so instead of having patients trying to escape from a mental hospital that’s grey and dull it becomes Sex slaves trying to escape from a brothel that has lots of colors. Then instead of watching a girl distracts everyone by dancing as another girl sneaks in and uses a copy machine to make a copy of the Hospital/Brothel map it becomes a WWII battle where they fight Zombie Nazis.
    As for the content there is some sex talk (stuff like she no virgin etc.) and a girl sits on a guys lap and kisses his neck so she can pick his pocket the rest is implied.
    Cussing a few words here and there but I've heard worse in movies with this rating
    Violence most of it takes place in the fantasy world but some of the brothel characters get shot or stabbed
    While I wouldn't give it a 10 I’d probably give it a 7.5-8 (using Paeter's scale) and it is something I would like to get on blu-ray when it comes out

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    Re: Sucker Punch (Movie Review)

    Post  Paeter on March 28th 2011, 6:22 pm

    Rickster's comments made me think again of a site I always recommend when people ask me about potentially offensive content:

    screenit.com

    There is a paid option to see info on newer movies, but eventually all movies can be checked out for free. They give an EXACT tally on each specific "swear word", sexual reference, violent act, gore, nudity... anything anyone could find offensive. It's not subjective evaluation of offensive content (like most Christian review sites). It's just a cold, clinical listing of content and is categorized by type.

    For example, when I go there, the only section I typically check out is for sexuality and nudity.

    Obviously, there are potential spoilers involved in this process, but if you want to avoid certain types of content, this option is FAR better than any Christian site out there that "decides for you" what types of content are harmful. (And screenit.com isn't even run by Christians, to my knowledge!)

    Anyway, great resource. Hope that's helpful!


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    Re: Sucker Punch (Movie Review)

    Post  Rickster on March 29th 2011, 8:45 pm

    Paeter wrote:Rickster's comments made me think again of a site I always recommend when people ask me about potentially offensive content:

    screenit.com

    There is a paid option to see info on newer movies, but eventually all movies can be checked out for free. They give an EXACT tally on each specific "swear word", sexual reference, violent act, gore, nudity... anything anyone could find offensive. It's not subjective evaluation of offensive content (like most Christian review sites). It's just a cold, clinical listing of content and is categorized by type.

    For example, when I go there, the only section I typically check out is for sexuality and nudity.

    Obviously, there are potential spoilers involved in this process, but if you want to avoid certain types of content, this option is FAR better than any Christian site out there that "decides for you" what types of content are harmful. (And screenit.com isn't even run by Christians, to my knowledge!)

    Anyway, great resource. Hope that's helpful!

    I wish I new about that before I saw Gamer

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    Re: Sucker Punch (Movie Review)

    Post  mindspike on April 1st 2011, 5:11 pm

    litera9 wrote:WHAT??? Paeter, you actually liked this movie? I'm surprised. Truthfully, I haven't seen it, and don't really want to. The movie seems to only be an oppurtunity to create sexualized action sequences. In Paeter's review, I never see him engage the simple idea that a good portion of the plot is located in a brothel, where the characters are strippers. why a brothel? The action is a pretty cool idea, but still,f why did they have to be oversexualized by placing them in a brothel? I'm sure they could have used something else for the same "Self-empowerment" that Paeter mentions in the review.

    Io9 has also commented that it commented on "The death of moviemaking" by being the very thing it accuses http://io9.com/#!5785590/sucker-punch-goes-beyond-awful-to-become-commentary-on-the-death-of-moviemaking

    The authors summarize their point as: Snyder mocks many problems(lack of narrative, sexualizing for the sake of sexualizing, etc) with movies by using the problems themselves.

    Is it right for us, as Christians, to support this kind of art? I'm not usually sensitive about these kind of issues, but this movie rubbed me wrong from the first trailer. What do you think?

    I think you may have fallen victim to a combination of misleading trailer and a critic who merely wishes to spew vitriol on the subject of filmmaking, which he clearly does not understand.

    I don't want to talk about the io9 critic, but I do want to address some of your concerns.

    1. This movie is not simply an excuse for hyper-sexualized action sequences. There are no gratuitous skin shots or scenes of seduction. Although one setting is located in a brothel, none of the traditional activity associated with this location is portrayed. These women are not depicted with the intention of creating an erotic reaction.

    2. The different settings of the film are metaphorically perceived portrayals of the action taking place one level removed from the depiction. So that: the setting of the brothel depicts the inmates as victims of physical violence, physical threats, and sexual misconduct without forcing us to witness these acts in their own graphic portrayal. The sub-fantasy of the battlefield involves Baby-Doll giving her captors what they want - a dance in the primary fantasy, and a compliant rape victim in the real world. Again, it is important that neither the titillating dance nor the horrific vicimization needs to be portrayed on screen.

    3. For a film that deals with horrific themes of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse by using extreme violence and a demeaning, objectifying setting, the violence is enacted without shock value or gore (a total lack of blood, in fact), the costuming is conservative and appropriate to the era (1920's), and erotic portrayal is totally absent.

    So should we as Christians support this kind of entertainment? My answer is an unequivocal "Yes". This film addresses themes and subject matter that is intense and provocative without itself being gratuitous or titillating. Is is suitable for all audiences? PG-13 says "no", but my own opinion is that smaller children (and movie critics) simply will not understand the subtext, and so fail to be impressed by the overtext.

    Is this a Christian movie? No, decidedly not. It fails to deal with themes of sin and salvation at all. The philosophy of personal empowerment is seen from the perspective of Baby-Doll, and trots out trite cliche for its substance. It is no accident that Baby-Doll's character-arc resolution follows this pattern to its logical conclusion, while Sweet-Pea's character-arc resolution is starkly contrasted against Baby-Doll's narration. The point of the film is that healthy people are part of and contribute to a community, while the unhealthy are either victims or victimizers.

    The filmmaking is subtle, and precise. The story is complex and evocative. The characters are servants of the theme rather than theme being subject to self-indulgent characterization. All of these things run absolutely counter to the expectations of modern audiences and especially under-educated critics like io9.

    I disagree with the opinion that "Sucker Punch" is purely escapist entertainment. I found this to be an excellent film, and well-worth the time both as entertainment and as a study in story and filmmaking.


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    Re: Sucker Punch (Movie Review)

    Post  Paeter on April 4th 2011, 11:49 pm

    Wow, Mindspike! Glad you liked it! For some crazy reason (just a defective hunch, I guess) I thought you would hate this movie. So glad we can add enjoyment of this flick to our "things we have in common" stack!


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    Re: Sucker Punch (Movie Review)

    Post  Guest on April 16th 2011, 7:26 pm

    Paeter wrote:Just read the review at the link above and am reminded at just how subjective entertainment reviews all are. (Personally, I thought that reviewer was over thinking things a bit. I dig philosophy, but he seemed to be reading too deeply into it.)

    My impression is that I will be in the minority among reviewers. So my suggestion is to weigh how your tastes usually line up with my reviews and anticipate accordingly. I think this is true of any reviewer. No one has figured out how to "objectively review" entertainment, and if they sound like they think they have, that's a red flag.

    So read some of my backlog reviews, roll the dice and good luck!


    I havnt seen the movie either and yes critics can overthink things a bit BUT plugged in online (Focus on the Familys movie review branch) gave this movie a a resounding thumbs DOWN for the sexualization of the characters http://www.pluggedin.com/movies/intheaters/suckerpunch.aspx
    They may be "slanted" but its a "good" slant.
    Just my two cents worth

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    Re: Sucker Punch (Movie Review)

    Post  Paeter on April 17th 2011, 5:17 pm

    quigonnjae wrote:
    I havnt seen the movie either and yes critics can overthink things a bit BUT plugged in online (Focus on the Familys movie review branch) gave this movie a a resounding thumbs DOWN for the sexualization of the characters http://www.pluggedin.com/movies/intheaters/suckerpunch.aspx
    They may be "slanted" but its a "good" slant.
    Just my two cents worth

    I read the review and the criticism of sexualization in this movie is pretty common. I'd still say that the visual treatment of women in this movie was very similar to that of other PG-13 female superhero flicks, like Ultraviolet. Then again, for some pigtails or a maid uniform and fishnet stockings is much more sexually provocative than tight leather and bare stomach. For my sensitivities, they're both the same. It may have been intended as a fetish, but I took the pigtails as a sign of "innocence" and not much more.

    I'd say that if the slant of Focus On The Family matches your sensitivities and helps steer you from content that might negatively impact you, that's what makes them a "good" resource for you. There are some great tools out there to help us navigate these waters, and though I tend to come down on a different page from "Focus" much of the time, I certainly think they have great resources for a lot of believers.

    Thanks for the link!


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    Re: Sucker Punch (Movie Review)

    Post  Tim on April 17th 2011, 6:50 pm

    I really enjoyed the movie. One of the reasons i enjoyed it as much as I did was precisely because it did NOT objectify women and go for the exploitation that it could have easily gone with.

    I went to see this movie with a friend who IS a Christian, but is NOT as discerning as I am. He is still learning to resist his fleshly nature, shall we say. He was disappointed when they didn't show her dancing. I respected the filmmakers for that by, like Mindspike mentioned, dealing with sensitive and serious topics without gratuitously showing these things off. Surely other movies have dealt with rape, physical abuse, and other painful or uncomfortable situations but this movie dealt with these topics in a metaphorical manner instead of using these things as a way to show off these things and exploit these topics in order to sell tickets.

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