The english language needs a word for “Shit we love even though it’s shit”. In fact, I’m going to make a word for it right now: Unikeft. I can say, unequivocally, that Zack Snyder’s work is normally unikeft. 300? I loved that movie. I wouldn’t recommend it to my worst enemy on their best day, but I loved it. I had thought that Sucker Punch would be a fairly mundane bit of unikeft as well. It has all the markers of proper unikeft: Slow motion action sequences, highly stilted unreal CG, exploitative outfits and unconvincing declarations of “empowerment” rattled off by a white male director.
I knew, from the moment I saw the trailer, that Sucker Punch would be a bad film. I just thought it’d be decent unikeft as well. Unfortunately… it just isn’t. You have to have the movie basically spoiled to understand why, but I think it’s worth knowing the ending if you plan to watch it. So you should check out Annalee Newitz’s review at IO9. She’s about the only person on the planet (aside from my immediate family and my significant other) who’s allowed to spoil movies for me.
And it’s quite the spoiler. It really does spoil the movie. Sucker Punch isn’t Unikeft, it’s just plain bad. It convinces itself that it has depth and meaning, which it then uses as an excuse to ruin a perfectly undecent bit of cinema into unwatchability.
Damn you Annalee Newitz why must you tread on my dreams? I just wanted to see a girl kill a gatling-gun-weilding-giant-samurai with a sword in slow motion. Is that so wrong?
Now THAT is unikeft. I love this image. I cannot defend it on any intellectual level, but I love it all the same. I wanted a movie of this, but for such a movie to be at least unikeft, it’d have to give the girl in this image some semblance of agency, growth, and personality. In other words, she needs to be a character. Sucker Punch doesn’t merely miss the mark in this department, it actively works against it.
Squandering that much cash and not at least giving us something unikeft in exchange, shouldn’t that be some kind of crime?
AN ADDENDUM – To better illustrate my point. I found the poster for the movie I wanted Sucker Punch to be:
Now that is a film I would’ve paid money to see… then flatly denied watching after the fact.