The full trailer for director Zach Snyder’s action fantasy Sucker Punch has arrived in all its steampunk, cutesy, fairytale, dragons and ass kicking glory. Despite its catch all mishmash, this is not going to be for everyone, that’s for sure. See for yourself HERE
Sucker Punch takes place in a succession of alternate realities. Starting in our reality, specifically the 1950s, we follow ‘Baby Doll’ (Emily Browning), a teenage girl locked away inside a mental institution by her stepfather with only five days to break out before she is lobotomised.
As a figurative escape, Baby Doll creates a fantasy world where she and her inmate friends can flee; a hyperactive clutter of mystical creatures, Japanese, Great War and early 20th century industrial design. Lessons learned in the alternate world(s) can be carried over into real life, therefore aiding the girls’ escape. The story is an original idea by Snyder and screenwriter Steve Shibuya.
Fresh from finishing up Tron Legacy with Christine Bieselin Clark, Michael Wilkinson is costume designer for Sucker Punch, projecting what appears to be an entirely intentional fetishism of the female form. One would have to assume ironic in tone, simply because the allusion is so overt.
This is not a distinct depiction of steampunk in either costume or production design, but clearly takes inspiration from the now almost mainstream subculture. Fundamentally, steampunk is a Neo-Victorian mix of present or future technology. Copper, bustles, pipes and parasols are coupled together in a fused, yet somehow harmonic existence.
Look closely at this trailer and the well established hallmarks of steampunk are there: airships, biplanes, robots and brass framed goggles, but the costumes themselves, certainly those of the principal cast including Browning, Abbie Cornish and Vanessa Hudgens, are more Japanese go-go than sexy Wild Wild West (1999, a broad representation of steampunk on film). No denying they don’t look incredible however: cheerleader skirts, hold-ups, high heel boots – playful, yet dangerous.
Although the reality portion of the film is set in the fifties, this is practically undetectable here save for a short sleeve buttoned cardigan and pencil skirt. Real life is a stylistic construct for Snyder, just as much as his Hellboy inspired fantasy world. Plus for sporting a sixties-esque moniker like ‘Baby Doll’, her friends generally look far more backcombed and bombshell than she does.
Sucker Punch does not appear to be anything shockingly new, but with such a flurry of images crammed into less than three minutes it is difficult to see that much of anything. Hopefully the film itself will be far more coherent and exciting when it arrives on 25th March.
© 2010 – 2012, Christopher Laverty.