My first inclination upon seeing the teaser trailer for Zack Snyder’s upcoming film Sucker Punch was to post a series of boob jokes to Twitter.
That’s not surprising. My response to most things is either a boob joke or a dick joke.
After giving the footage a closer look, however, it struck me that there actually isn’t much boobage to speak of. That’s not to say there isn’t plenty of oversexualization of women on display; if you don’t have a sword or a slutty outfit, you don’t belong in this film. Preferably, you need both. It’s just not one of those “HOLY HOOTERS” type of movies.
But it’s still scummy, oh yes, and that’s based on just 90 seconds of it, so sure, I’m prejudging a film based on its teaser trailer. Welcome to the Internet.
What makes it scummy didn’t become clear until my pal Dr. Puppykicker captured it for me:
Snyder’s abiding passions appear to be sexualizing little girls and missing the point of Alan Moore. Countdown to LOST GIRLS?
The Alan Moore part is quite true and quite funny, but it’s the “sexualizing little girls” part that got to me. Because these aren’t your typical big-tittied action babes who are good to go in every sense of the phrase. These are small women, dressed in microskirts that allow the viewer to pick their porno poison–Asian schoolgirls, or Catholic schoolgirls. It could go either way; you choose!
So what we have here is the latest iteration of a very specific strain of disturbing filmmaking, the kind that attempts to depict “powerful” women that also happen to be sexualized into objects of fetishistic desire. It’s a fine line, though; I don’t know exactly where it sits, but I know bullshit when I see it, and Sucker Punch looks like bullshit.
Snyder’s grand “inspiration” is to marry some very specific fetishes with very specific subjects for male geekgasms. There’s the sci-fi sequence, the Lord of the Rings sequence, the Kill Bill samurai kung-fu sequence, the WWI biplane sequence. He seems to be putting them into a blender too, so you get a WWI biplane fighting a dragon or some such. And it’s all wrapped up in a story that victimizes a young woman who is about to be lobotomized and thus escapes into a world within her imagination.
It’s hard for me to get too frothed up over Sucker Punch; it’s nothing surprising or unexpected. If you gave a thousand monkeys a thousand CG workstations and a thousand twentysomething actresses in slutty clothes, you’d eventually get EXACTLY this as the next project “from the visionary director of 300 and Watchmen.”
I guess more than anything it’s the alchemy behind it that’s so astonishing. This does not seem like an organically created project; it seems like the kind of thing that emerges when you put “male geek,” “skanks,” and “CGI” into the Bat-Computer and then make a movie based on the punch card it spits out. That makes me pretty angry because geek culture and the entertainment we enjoy have really made some big strides in the past decade or two…and I say that not as a fanboy desperately in need of validation from the jocks who used to beat me up in high school but now stand in front of me in line for Iron Man 2. I say that as a fanboy who just wants to see as much cool shit make it to the screen as possible. And as such, it’s a little sad that geek culture has already become decipherable by Hollywood scumbag math.
Can you fetishize and empower women at the same time? I don’t know the answer to that question. It’s for bigger minds than mine.
I do have a feeling, however, that pursuing an answer should be in the service of a greater good than legitimizing a movie about tiny women fighting giant robots in revealing clothing.