A year ago this month, I was invited – along with a few other online journalists – to the set of Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch while the production was filming in Vancouver. At the time of the visit, all I’d heard was that the movie was “Alice in Wonderland with machine guns.” While that description sort of makes sense, it’s also not even scratching the surface. The thing to know is, while Snyder’s previous four films (Dawn of the Dead, 300, Watchmen, and Legend of the Guardians) have been based on original source material, Sucker Punch is his first foray into having complete freedom to tell a story without having to answer to anyone.
As you probably saw in the trailer, Sucker Punch stars Emily Browning, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jaime Chung, Abby Cornish, Jon Hamm, Scott Glenn, and Carla Gugino, and features musical numbers, dragons, a massive trench battle during the WWI with German soldiers, orcs, twelve foot Samurai warriors, swords and plenty of guns. Hit the jump for more.
Before I go any further, I should mention that Warner Bros. has only partially lifted the Sucker Punch embargo, and I’m only allowed to write a preview of my set visit. Saying that, on the plane ride home from set I wrote up a massive set report and in the next few months, you can expect it to be online.
Anyway, yesterday we posted the updated official synopsis for Sucker Punch and the opening was:
Sucker Punch is an epic action fantasy that takes us into the vivid imagination of a young girl whose dream world provides the ultimate escape from her darker reality. Unrestrained by the boundaries of time and place, she is free to go where her mind takes her, and her incredible adventures blur the lines between what’s real and what is imaginary.
This is the key thing to know about the movie. While some films try and trick the audience at the end by saying certain parts of what you just saw were a dream, Sucker Punch is open and honest and makes clear that a lot of what we see on screen takes place in the mind of Emily Browning’s character. Also, since some of the film is a fantasy, Snyder isn’t bound by any rules of a world based on a comic book or original source material. If he wants to have Browning fight a dragon, he can. If he decides a sequence needs more guns or robots, no problem.
What I loved about what I saw on set is that Sucker Punch felt like a direct line into Snyder’s brain. So if you’re a fan of his previous movies and love the way he shoots action, you’re going to have a geekgasm watching Sucker Punch.
Another thing that’s great about the movie is that it doesn’t follow the typical narrative structure of opening action set piece, another one towards the middle, and then a big closing action scene. Instead, Sucker Punch move at its own pace, obey its own rules, and it’ll show what Zack Snyder can do in many different realities when he’s only limited by the scope of his imagination. And based on the production artwork we saw and the designs for the big action set pieces, the man has plenty of amazing ideas that we have never seen in any of his previous films.
And like my Watchmen set visit, Snyder gave us a ton of freedom on set and let us see everything he has in store for audiences on March 25, 2011.
Again, while I’d love to say more, I’m limited to 800 words today. Just trust me when I say, I’ve got a lot of Sucker Punch coverage coming including on set interviews with the cast. It’ll be online as soon as WB lifts our embargo. Until then, enjoy the new image that WB sent us.