Sucker Punch – DVD/ Blu-Ray Review
Posted by markdj on August 8, 2011
I was lucky enough to see Sucker Punch at the Imax when it came out, and with that experience under the belt I was keen to see how it would translate to the small screen, particularly the blu-ray version, given the strong visuals that Zack Snyder had brought to life.
Now, I know our crew member Montoya reviewed the movie when it came out, but for the sake of completeness here’s my review:-
The movie opens with the death of Babydoll’s (Emily Browning) mother, and the subsequent fallout from the reading of her Will, the content of which sparks something dark within her odious stepfather. He capitalises on the chain of events with cold cunning, and Babydoll is dragged to a cold and austere lunatic asylum to be locked away, the threat of a lobotomy looming large over her, and the process eased by the grease of bribery. It’s done with very little dialogue and works very well.
Lost, alone and scared, there is little hope left to her from outside sources, so she has to look inward for the strength to endure and overcome the bitter reality of the hand that fate has dealt her. It’s this process and the revelation of world that opens up to her where the magic of Sucker Punch truly reveals itself. It’s a brilliant mechanism for showing Babydoll’s struggle and her journey, but it’s also where I think a number of critics have fallen flat because they’re looking at it too literally and complaining that the plot is all over the place. It’s not. Sucker Punch is all about Babydoll’s journey and perceptions. It’s a story within a story, as tight and cleverly plotted as Inception’s dream within a dream. Only with giant, minigun wielding samurai, battlemechs, a bloody awesome dragon and trench warfare with steampowered zombies. The action sequences are classic Zack Snyder set pieces- strong, evocative images, beautifully shot and wrapped up with an exquisite brutality.
The Mrs and I disagree on a wide range of subjects, particularly when it comes to movies, but we both thought Sucker Punch was a brilliant piece of storytelling in the mythic tradition- the hero’s journey. It rewards viewers who look beyond the thumping gunfire, flashing swords and toned thighs with a deeply satisfying, bittersweet tale of a girl who rises from the depths of despair to burn brightly in defiance of an inevitable darkness.
The blu-ray package which I have is the triple play, which provides the blu-ray disk with both the director’s and theatrical cuts of the movie, the standard DVD format with the theatrical version and a digital copy for transfer to ipods and such. The director’s cut on the blu-ray version was my first choice, which provides 18 minutes of previously unseen footage, mostly comprising two deleted scenes, namely a musical scene showing the institution in full bordello mode (a fantastically shot music video and well worth watching for its own sake) and a clever, tender scene between Babydoll and the High Roller. Personally I think the latter scene should have been included in the version that hit the cinemas. It blends perfectly, although I suspect it might have nudged the 12 Certificate up a notch. The decision to exclude the dance scene was a good one though- as Snyder says in the commentaries, it would have detracted from the tension they had built up.
Either way, I wasn’t disappointed. The sound was sharp and distortion free, even on my ageing system, and the picture quality was fantastic. I went back after watching it and did a lot of pausing and frame-by-frame advances (for research only, honest) and the clarity was consistent. The menus are slick and easily navigable, which was handy as I’m all thumbs when it comes to using a PS3 controller to jump around a disk.
The extras included on the blu-ray are a ‘Behind the Soundtrack’ featurette wherein Zack Snyder and Tyler Bates give a bit of background to the movie’s thumping soundtrack. Then there’s four very cool animated shorts which are effectively prequels to the principal action set pieces (these also feature on the DVD version). The principal feature though is the ‘Maximum Movie Mode’, an interactive mode wherein Zach Snyder and his producers pop up to provide commentary, insights and behind the scenes stuff throughout the movie, along with stills galleries. Snyder is a relaxed and engaging ‘host’ here and there’s a lot of interesting stuff- the bit about the girls’ weapons training is particularly fun.
The disks also have the option of the enhanced ‘BD Live’ features but since my PS3 isn’t on speaking terms with our wi-fi I couldn’t access these at this time.
All in all though it’s a tidy package and I’m very happy with it