Sunday, March 27, 2011

This is not a Sucker Punch review but I talk about another Zack Snyder film

I meant to see Sucker Punch this weekend. No, really, I did. It was going to be great. Well, the movie probably was not going to be great but having just seen a sexploitation film like Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! it would have been a nice lead-in to something like Sucker Punch. How do they compare? How do they contrast? Where does one go wrong and the other right? Do they both go right? How about those Alice in Wonderland stories that are very similar? Will I ever get around to finishing that video game?

Alas, I went home to see my mother this weekend, and while I planned to see the movie while my mother was working at my aunt and uncle's yogurt store (it's in Red Bank, N.J. so stop by when you're going on your Kevin Smith-related field trip!) business has been slow during the cold weather so she texted me to come visit her at work. So, alas, Sad and Lonely Mom trumps Probably Bad Movie. Maybe next weekend.

But I guess this is a good opportunity to think a little about Zack Snyder, and his last movie I saw, Watchmen. Now, I love Watchmen. Like, really, love Watchmen. I was on a whole podcast dedicated to Watchmen and have a poster of Rorschach. I'm first and foremost a lover of the comic and will defend Rorschach as an awesome character to those who dislike him because damn it some characters are fascinating if they're not models of how one should behave, but I know some people aren't fond of it. And some really aren't fond of the movie.

But I think there's a lot to like the movie. I don't think they could have found more perfect actors for Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), Nite Owl II (Patrick Wilson, who did great despite maybe being a bit too attractive for the part) or The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) but the movie's not very good for women. I disagree with those who say the near-rape scene was sexualized; I actually thought it was the right type of brutal and harrowing. I did think the death scene of Silhouette and her girlfriend was sexualized, though.

I'll be first to admit the movie has its problems, though, and I'm not too fond of what ended up in theaters OR the really badly-put-together "Ultimate Cut" which has The Black Freighter cartoon clips inserted haphazardly into it, breaking up the flow to a crazy degree. Still, the "Director's Cut" hits a certain sweet spot. It's not quite as rushed and explains a little more. Also, it has a few more scenes of Laurie, my favorite character. Albeit not enough to redeem the pathetic portrayal of the character in the movie for me.

Malin Akerman as Silk Spectre II. I'm not sure what went wrong here. Akerman's something of a blank, and considering that Carla Gugino, who played the first Silk Spectre, did a pretty good job even with unconvincing old age makeup, I don't think it's Snyder giving her bad directions. Yet ... I don't think it's totally her fault, either. I doubt she made the decision to cut out some of the character's more aggressive lines. I doubt she made the decision to turn the character's already impractical costume into something that was just as impractical but in a different way. And I really doubt she made the decision to make the character a nonsmoker, meaning the character ends up pushing a button on the Owlship with a giant fire sign because it's fun, rather than because the character was looking for a light.

Like I said, the Director's Cut restores at least some of the character's edge, having her beat up one of the military men who are keeping her locked up in the base after Dr. Manhattan goes to Mars and handcuff him in the bathroom but it's still something of a waste. Especially because in a lot of the pre-release interviews Malin Akerman seemed really excited about playing the role and about the film itself. So it's a bummer that it all didn't come out so well.

Actually, it seems like a sad trend that women in superheroine movies seem to either be good at their roles and yet dismissive of comics or comics culture as a whole (Gwenyth Paltrow, Kirsten Dunst to a certain extent) or excited about comic books or playing a superheroine and then and then not so good at acting (Jessica Alba). Which sucks. And, like I said, I'm not sure whose to blame here, if the movies are casting the wrong people or directing them the wrong way or both. And the sort of blank faces of the girls in Sucker Punch I'm seeing in the movie posters don't lend themselves to me thinking this one's going to be much better.

At least I heard they cut out the sex scene, right? Not that I thought the sex scene between Laurie and Dan to "Hallelujah" was that bad but maybe "You're My Thrill" might have been better considering that was the song actually mentioned in the comic book and ...

Oh, hold on, let me go to this Sucker Punch-related interview ...

EMILY [Browning, star of the film]: I had a very tame and mild love scene with John Hamm... I think it's great for this young girl to actually take control of her own sexuality. Well, the MPAA doesn't like that. They don't think a girl should ever be in control of her own sexuality because they're from the Stone Age... So essentially, they got Zack to edit the scene and make it look less like she's into it. And Zack said he edited it down to the point where it looked like he was taking advantage of her. That's the only way he could get a PG-13 [rating] and he said, "I don't want to send that message." So they cut the scene!

Actually, never mind. I'm depressed forever.

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