What on earth is Sucker Punch, you ask? It’s the new action fantasy from Zack Snyder, director of 300 and Watchmen. Here, Snyder explains three key elements of the movie (out March 25, rated PG-13), in which a gang of gals tries to break out of a loony bin.
1 IT’S ABOUT FREEDOM
Trapped in a cruel mental institution for women, Babydoll (Emily Browning) survives various horrors by reimagining the place as a cabaret where enslaved courtesans dance for scuzzy men. It’s from this fantasy world that she hatches an escape plan. ”I’m interested in the theme of freedom — from guilt, pain, control,” says Snyder, who was influenced by One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Brazil. ”The fact that the movie is set in a prison — well, jeez, you’re already halfway there in terms of bringing that theme to life.” He initially saw his movie as a heady meta-commentary on show business, but scaled that back: ”I didn’t want to be too pretentious. It’s a cool theme, but it was also like, ‘Okay, Snyder, quit your ranting!”’
2 IT’S GOT GEEKERY GALORE
Snyder indulged his passion for sci-fi by depicting Babydoll’s escape fantasy through action scenes that blend pop tropes like machine-gun-wielding samurai and zombie German soldiers. To get a PG-13 rating, he made the Teutonic warriors robo-killers that ooze steam, not blood. As for the giant demon samurai, ”I thought, ‘What if they were 10 feet tall, to accentuate the height difference with Emily?”’ he says. ”’And what if every shell casing was engraved with awesomely ornate Japanese symbols that you can barely see? And what if…’ It got more insane from there — and cooler, too.”
3 IT’S A COMMENTARY ON BABES WITH GUNS — PLUS, IT’S GOT BABES WITH GUNS
Sucker Punch may look like it gets its kicks from women in titillating getups, but Snyder’s intention was to explore female objectification. Babydoll’s look is supposed to be ”the personification of innocence and vulnerability,” causing the skeevy male characters to target and underestimate her. ”The women take control of the sexual trappings foisted upon them, even turn them into weapons,” says Snyder. ”The challenge was to confront the concept of the exploitation of women without creating exploitative imagery.”