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Movie Review

Sucker Punch

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material involving sexuality, violence and combat sequences, and for language.

Reviewed by: Pamela Gardner
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Action Fantasy Adventure Thriller Drama IMAX
Length:
2 hr.
Year of Release:
2011
USA Release:
March 25, 2011 (wide—3,000+ theaters)
DVD: June 28, 2011
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

sexual exploitation of women by men

fighting against tyranny for freedom

prostitution

greed

lobotomy

alternate reality

child abuse

sin and the Bible

fall of man to sin

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

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Featuring: Emily Browning—Baby Doll
Abbie Cornish—Sweet Pea
Jena Malone—Rocket
Vanessa Hudgens—Blondie
Jamie Chung—Amber
Carla Gugino—Dr. Vera Gorski
Oscar Isaac—Blue Jones
Jon Hamm—High Roller / Doctor
Scott Glenn—Wise Man
more »
Director: Zack Snyder—“300,” “Watchmen,” “Dawn of the Dead”
Producer: Wesley Coller—executive producer
Christopher DeFaria—executive producer
more »
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

“You will be unprepared.”

“You control this world… now fight!”

Is reality subjective? Is life really what YOU make of it? I’ve wanted to see “Sucker Punch” since the first time I saw the trailer. Walking in, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect; I was in for quite a ride.

The narrative starts with a sort of spiritual (not Christian) tone, about angels, destiny and fighting. The opening quickly moves to a young woman and her sister at the feet of their dead mothers’ bed, and the stepfather is smiling. He attempts to sexually abuse the younger sister, and the older sister Baby Doll (Emily Browning) attempts to stop him. She fails, and her stepfather sends her to a mental hospital. Here she discovers her her near future involves a lobotomy. This is her reality. Or is it?

Inspired by the words of her doctor, Vera Gorski (Carla Gugino), Baby Doll decides to create a alternate reality. She goes from a mental hospital to a brothel/dance club, masquerading as an orphanage. Her she meets her guide, a wise man (Scott Glenn), who tells her what she needs to escape—a map, fire, a knife, a key and a sacrifice. She needs all these things to defeat her enemy Blue Jones (Oscar Isaac) and win her freedom. She bands with four other girls in the hospital, and their epic odyssey begins.

The visuals are absolutely stunning, with a World War I ambiance, complete with zeppelins and cool, smoky look. Every battle scene is unique and great fun to watch. The acting, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired, but the stand outs are Carla Gugino, Oscar Isaac, and, to a lesser extent, Emily Browning.

Content of concern

The movie is rated PG-13, but does push the envelope a bit. The girls’ costumes are a bit too short and too revealing for my taste. Beyond the provocative costumes, sexuality is heavy throughout the film. Violence is heavy, although blood is minor. Included are undertones of rape and sexual abuse. Profanity is relatively moderate, but with instances of blasphemy, including “J” and “GD“. The “s” word is used about 6 times, the “a” word, and a couple of hells and damns.

I once heard that movies are sermons with pictures, and, if that’s the case, this movie preaches the “gospel” of self. You can be your own “savior,” “You have all the tools you need, now fight” is repeated. This seems to be the mantra of the world, but it has its roots in Genesis where Satan got Eve to question, doubt and disobey God’s Word, “you can be like God,” was the alternate reality. The Bible is very clear that only Jesus can save, no matter how sinful our reality is, Jesus is the same today, yesterday and forever. If we could save ourselves, Jesus died in vain. Christ said, “I am the door: by me if any man enters in, he shall be saved.” Jesus is the map (John 14:6), Jesus is the key (Matthew 16:19), Jesus is the light (John 8:12), The Word is like a sword (Ephesians 6:17), and Jesus Christ dying on the cross is the one and only sacrifice that can save (Acts 4:12). True freedom can only be found in Christ.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Let me start off by saying there are two types of movies: Oscar winners, and good fun times. This movie could actually be classified as either one. If you look at it at face value, it’s a movie with chicks, guns, explosions, the perfect guy flick. If you take it for what it is, it’s a deep movie with intense symbolism.

Before I get into that, I must cover this as a film. For this type of movie, the acting is amazing. I honestly believed I was watching two sisters interact at one point in the movie, which is hard when you’re in film school and you see most movies as people in front of cameras. As far as the effects go, more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Ricky, age 18 (USA)
Positive—I saw this movie knowing that I was essentially watching a video game! The maker of the movie said he did not want it be R rated, which works because at PG-13 it still was really good and kept you entertained.

Is this a biblically offensive movie. That depends on some things. The movie does have fighting, swearing and sexual overtones. But compared to most movies, it’s not that bad. I don’t recall any blood really, except for a few small, minor scenes. The swearing was there, but not horrible. About the only offensive thing to some is probably the “school girl” outfits that are worn. You don’t see a lot, and they never really show anything sexual (no nudity). About the most offensive thing I found was the movie’s ending. But, then again, you knew it was coming.

There is a moral in the mess of a story though. It’s not a Christian moral really, but you could say it’s somewhat like the story of Jesus. I can’t say much about it because it would be a spoiler. Don’t go into this movie expecting something deep or emotional. It’s simply an action movie that’s meant to look cool, rather than be story driven.

I wouldn’t take little kids to it, simply because the enemies would scare them, and, overall, the kids might be confused about what’s going on (think “Inception”). I recommend you rent this movie, because as action packed as it was, it wasn’t anything amazing. If you are like me, then you know, compared to most PG-13 movies this seemed pretty dull.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Matt, age 29 (USA)
Positive—I must say this movie is probably one of the few movies that compel me to buy it the day it hits stores. Although I have to admit this movie is offensive in a sensual way, but, with the way things are going, it’s kind of hard to expect anything, any movie to not contain some sort of content that will offend.

I walked into the theater expecting a bland, semi-okay film. The only reasons why I decided to watch it was because it was directed by Zack Snyder—“Legend of the Guardians,” “Watchmen,” and “300” (all beautifully done films), and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Instead, more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jorge, age 18 (USA)
Positive—I have read several reviews elsewhere that just go on and on about every (perceived) sin that every person in the film did without regard to the theme of the film. Just one example: One review listed all the offensive words that were said in the entire film. Especially noting the blasphemous ones… The name Jesus IS said one time in the film. And I was not offended, because it was said in the context of awestruck wonder at the incredible self-sacrifice that is the linchpin of the film. When I see a person give up so much for another, and, in doing so fulfill their purpose, it makes me think of Jesus, too.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jeff Medders, age 38 (USA)
Positive—“Sucker Punch” is awesome, allegorical, genius, and I would say Zack Snyder’s masterpiece. It’s a great film and a visual feast, try to watch it in IMAX. The story doesn’t have to be treated biblical, it can still be a story of inspiration against life’s challenges. Again, it can be biblical, as well, as it spoke about mentor (saviour), angels, help from above, sacrifice etc. A movie, I thought will be silly, but turned out a movie that shouldn’t be missed.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Cyril, age 32 (United Kingdom)
Positive—I watched this movie with my 14 year old daughter-GASP! I knew if I didn’t, that she would watch it while visiting her father, so I decided it would be best to watch it together and discuss! I had never seen the trailer and really went in blind, seeing only the movie poster, as a tip off to what the movie might entail. “Sucker Punch” was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure that I followed it 100%, however, from the get go, I realized that I needed to pay attention to the underlying messages more than the actual dialogue. As a follower of Jesus, I would say that no male should ever watch this movie. It would be like opening the door to lust more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Sherri Ohler, age 41 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—Walking out of this film, I thought it’s either a movie you’re going to “get” or you’re not; there really is no middle ground, and audiences will either love or hate it. It takes the concept of “Inception” to the next level—it’s a bit hard to follow, at first, but once you fall into the natural groove, it’s enthralling. I was very impressed.

I loved the “look” of the film, with the washed out colors, and the first ten minutes is sheer brilliance—all without a word of dialogue. It is a unique approach to the material the overall presentation is striking, with a lot of detail paid to costumes, backgrounds, and the aura of the asylum.

On one hand, I thought it was a very brave film in its choice to be controversial—and I liked the revelation toward the end, even if at the same time it was shocking. But there are two underlining messages here, one of them positive in its message of self-sacrifice, and the other that women are there to be exploited.

The two attempted rapes (although non-graphic) and provocative clothing would make it hard for me to recommend to most Christian audiences.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Charity Bishop, age 27 (USA)
Neutral—“Sucker Punch” is a one of a kind film. Visually, it was unique. As for the plot, it is as original as a plot can be. I can’t say much more about that without giving too much away.

The effects are great; it felt like you’re living in a video game. It was incredible to see in the theater. Although, it would be almost pointless to see at home, because more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Lydia P, age 18 (USA)
Negative
Negative—Much of “Sucker Punch” takes place in an hallucination within a hallucination, with the middle layer being a brothel. The brothel element combined with the innocuous fantasy element are what make this film dangerous. Its trailers make this film marketable to teenage boys who thrive on video game-esque action, but the content you have to wade thru to get there is just not worth it.

Do NOT take young men to this movie! Remember Paul’s charge: “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

And folks, I’m sorry, but to compare “Sucker Punch” to “Inception” is about as ghastly as comparing “Howard the Duck” to “Back to the Future”. Egad. Really? more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Mega Tron, age 24 (USA)
Negative—Do not waste your money on this film. I have a character defect, I am a film junkie. I can watch almost anything done on a budget of $10 million + and enjoy it. Since the end of the Cold War, when I used to get upset about pro-Communist films, I really do not care what the theme or plot of the movie is, when it comes to enjoyment—albeit I am often withering in my criticisms at an intellectual level. Why? Because if we keep on exposing people to bad morals and bad models, and yet ban prayer in schools, whilst we teach children how to use condoms, then we surely must expect a dramatic rise in wicked behavior. That perspective should spoil my enjoyment, but it does not. It is a character defect, as I have said.

Hollywood generally—for me—does not fail to entertain. Accordingly, more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Blue, age 52 (Australia)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I couldn’t even finish this movie. The music gave it a constantly unsettling and creepy feel. Although the action sequences were the only parts I might have liked, I didn’t really get the point of them. It’s like the screenwriters ran out of ideas, so to make the movie longer and to attract CGI fans, they added these video game dream scenes. I don’t even have to mention the hyper-sexualized outfits; the DVD cover speaks for itself. While watching, I was really creeped out and depressed… when I finally decided to push the stop button, I felt much better! There was nothing to keep me interested.
—Dana Ralph, age 19 (USA)