Today we see the premiere of Zach Snyder's latest March Opus, Sucker Punch (2011). Needless to say we've been swarmed in their marketing the past few weeks and a few important aspects stand out to me. One is the highly impressive visual feast this flick promises. It looks like a Fanboy's dream: constant slo-mo, ninja, robots, dragons and some kind of classic hero's journey as far as I can tell. This last part is a bit more oblique though - how much of this story is really congruent and makes any kind of sense? In classic Snyder fashion, I doubt the story or characters will have all that much depth. The biggest thing I notice in this film, however, is the simple fact that this is ridiculous jailbait.
It's not just me, right? I'm almost embarrassed to get excited for this movie.There is thus a few things to discuss: First, let's talk about Jailbait. Urban Dictionary sums up the term quite nicely. Let's admit that in some genetic circumstances a young girl will biologically mature faster than her Chronological Age. Thus a 16-year old could really have the body of a 19-year old, but legally that girl's untouchable. Jailbait is thus a great tempter of older men who get these strange feelings in their balls but morally know that they shouldn't indulge (Well...ideally they know they shouldn't). Yes, the best answer is to wait, Ryan Reynolds. There are of course incidents involving men attracted to biologically 16-year olds babes but let's try not to admit that exists (fuck...it does). Let's quickly move on.
Now, throughout this post thus far I've been one-sided in describing the Jailbait relationship. Could this swing the other way - that is, older women creeping on younger guys? Yeah, this happens all the time, they're called Cougars, there's a fucking show about it, everyone's cool. It's an insane double standard to think about, really. Culturally, this practice is not only generally accepted but praised. See? I'm not sure if this facet fits into a male-dominated society, we still shun ourselves when we bang younger, but not older women. Of course in realty legally speaking there is no difference and if you're fucking a 15-year old of any gender, that's bad news bears my friend. Morally speaking as well.
So let's get back to Sucker Punch. The Official Synopsis offers a journey into the imagination of a young girl imprisoned against her will. There are some creepy connotations there but in all fairness it seems like more of a Journey of Independence than anything sexual. Then there's this trailer:
We already know that Snyder is a visual dude. Needless to say this film will rely heavily on the visuals and editing and the trailer's no different. There are many instances in these two and a half minutes of the sexualisation of a young girl, occasionally explicitly in the company of older men (0:22). Boobies (0:57) and mid-drifts (1:53) aside, most of this trailer implies an orphanage (0:44) or school (1:06) over a mental institution. What kind of mental institution has this may babes inside anyway? It's about the reclamation of power and escape from a male-imposed power structure. Part of that power, as I hinted at earlier, is the sexualisation of the girls.
The school girl uniform and pigtails really clinch it here. How can Zach be saying anything different? Now at this point it's worth our while to note that every young lady in this film is in fact the Age of Legal Consent. The youngest stars, Emily Browning and Vanessa Hudgens were born within a week of each other in December 1988 (You're damn right I made sure to look that shit up a long time ago), meaning when filming this flick they were pretty securely legal. What does that mean though anyhow? We have the right to ogle? To put their heads on other chick's naked bodies and sell them to Mr. Skin? Is it still wrong to be turned on by of-age girls clearly playing underagers? None of this gives me a great feeling in my testicles. Actually it's giving them an incredible feeling which is why my brain is so worried. It's basically the same as that Glee GQ shoot. The average age of a typical Glee Actor is closer to 30 than 20 but should I be popping a boner for this? Wait, I need that bigger.
That's better. Should we feel dirty, gentlemen? I'm not really sure. The actress is 24, the character is in High School. Uhhh....I just won't watch Glee. If you recall back in 2004 though, about the same thing as Sucker Punch happened with a little movie called Mean Girls, until recently widely known as the Greatest Jailbait Movie Ever Made. Like Sucker Punch, every girl in the movie is actually above 18 (Lindsay is actually borderline...Consent is actually 17 in New York, right?) and all of them have incredible racks. See - I feel dirty even saying that about a 26-year old playing a High Schooler! This isn't proper ground to tread.
I'm sure I'll get into this more after I actually see Sucker Punch, because it does look like a very cool film if not one that I feel comfortable getting as excited for it as I am. Considering Gender-Swapping, which can be enlightening, a movie about a group of boys that use their imagination to escape a mental institution seems interesting yet familiar. The young girl angle serves as empowerment against a male-dominated institution rather than a couple of boys bruising it out and the idea of an action flick starring a bunch of cute girls that truly isn't a chick flick sounds pretty awesome. I don't think it's truly gender neutral or anything, but like Toy Story 3 (2010) isn't necessarily a kiddie flick rather simply enjoyed by all people. Maybe (See also, Women in Trouble ).
So after all this will the film do well with audiences? Like I said, no matter what the visuals may suggest or what momentous assumptions we may be able to glean from even a couple minutes of trailer footage, this film really doesn't look like it has much of a plot when you get down to it. Someone with...obviously no job actually made a nicely edited trailer starring Disney Princesses to the beats of Sucker Punch, and to be honest it makes an exactly equal amount of sense. Take a look. Love that Zep by the way, can't believe my favourite Zep song fits so well in this trailer. I'm really not sure who Sucker Punch appeals to. Little Girls? College Boys? Creepos in the back row with conveniently-placed boner-hiding popcorn bins? With any luck it's all three! Hey oh!
Sucker Punch opens everywhere today.