This weekend was wonderful. I saw two films, got a new bed, and finally started training (sort-of) again. I'm glossing over here because I really want to talk about one of the films I watched.
Sucker Punch, co-written and directed by Zach Snyder, is the story of a young girl who lost everything at the hands of her evil step-father and is incarcerated in Lennox House, an asylum for troubled women. With eye-popping special effects, and imagery that comes straight from any Manga or Anime you would care to look at, it has all the feel of a boy's twisted sexual fantasy. It's not (well, not only). It's steam punk meets live-action anime and what actually happens is a very, very fine exploration of the power of the imagination and what can be achieved with it.
It might not seem like it at first, what with all the things that go terribly wrong, but the last words uttered - "You have all the weapons you need, so fight" - make it abundantly clear.
The reason why I wanted to speak on this film is because it has received a great number of really bad reviews. "Sucker Punch is not the worst movie of the year," rants CinemaBlend.com. "It's three of the worst slapped together in a single reel." "...a colossal mess," say a review on IGN.com. "...limp stab at girl-power fantasia wusses out on divine delirium," says Time. "...visually stunning and utterly soulless," according to digitaltrends.com.
For someone like me, however, who spent much of my life in a tree imagining other worlds to escape the one I was in, this movie struck a chord like no other. I understood immediately. I've been there (though I never had it anywhere near as bad as Baby Doll, the central character - or is she?).
I don't understand the terrible reviews it has gotten. Some of the points I can see (every boy's fantasy mash-up? Yeah, probably. I mean, she's running around in a goth school-girl outfit with a sword, a gun and an exposed navel). The rest, I really don't get. I will just have to assume that these critics never escaped into their imaginations, and never used pretend scenarios to deal with real situations.
I never was a warrior-queen beset by demonic enemies, but pretending I was sure as hell helped me survive a life-time of bullies. For the record, I don't pretend that anymore, I just write it....
This movie isn't happy. It isn't a story where everything ends in sunshine and butterflies. It's dark, utterly depressing and well and truly worth the watch.
On a lighter note, today's Forgotten English.
In botany, the ground-ivy [Glachoma Hederacea], so called by the Saxons because a chief ingredient in their malt-liquor instead of hops.
- Daniel Fenning's Royal English Dictionary, 1775