Who’d of thunk it? A family friendly film opening in March –Spring Break week for many school-aged children around the country — beating a
visually-stunning trashy-looking mess of a movie at the box office this weekend. But, that’s exactly what happened when The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules bested Sucker Punch.
All of Hollywood must be completely confused this morning following what can only be described as a disappointing debacle for Warner Brothers and director Zack Snyder. No one in the intelligent artistic community would have even thought that Wimpy Kid 2 would perform as well as it did, much less take in more money that the overhyped and overpraised Sucker Punch. Despite a furious last-ditch marketing campaign to boost Punch’s numbers, the audience for this movie was limited, at best.
My family and I went to see Battlefield: L.A. last Monday. This was a well made action movie that my whole family thoroughly enjoyed watching. What’s not to like when a rag-tag group of U.S. Marines take down the alien baddies and save America from destruction? Before the movie started, we were “treated” to several previews of coming attractions, including one for Sucker Punch. I had previously seen the commercials for this confusing-looking movie, but after watching the trailer, my wife and I looked at each other and shook our heads in disbelief — NO WAY!
Who is this movie appealing to? What is it supposed to be about? Some described Sucker Punch as “a wholly original escape from reality and a bold visual experience unlike any other.” I love how some in Hollywood think that because a movie is original or visually stunning that it will automatically translate into the American public plunking down their hard-earned cash to watch what otherwise is garbage. And, apparently garbage is what Sucker Punch really is. High-tech, almost-porn garbage.
In a scathing review at Big Hollywood (the review does contain spoilers), Carl Kozlowski calls Sucker Punch “grim, dark, unpleasant, nasty and weird.” And, that’s just for starters. Mr. Kozlowski doesn’t pull any punches in his review:
As a lifelong movie buff working my dream job as a film critic, I’m generally pretty easy to please. I go into every movie wanting to be entertained and willing to give the filmmaker a shot – in fact, so much so that some people have wondered if there’s anything I don’t like.
Well, have I got an answer for them: the new movie “Sucker Punch” is the worst, most agonizing and incomprehensible movie I have ever seen.
Not exactly high praise for the supposed brilliance of director Zack Snyder. Snyder, whose past projects include 300, Watchmen, and the Dawn of the Dead remake, has also been tapped to direct the upcoming Christopher Nolan reboot of Superman. After reading about the content — such as it is — of Sucker Punch, I can hardly wait for Superman to hit the theaters. Well, on second thought, following the announcement that Amy Adams has been cast to play Lois Lane, I think I’ll skip watching the reincarnation of Clark Kent.
Hollywood continues to limit their audience because of questionable content and unwise casting. Sucker Punch (and most likely, Superman) is not the first nor will it be the last to fall under the weight of poor content and casting. It reminds me of the dreadfully awful Land of the Lost movie starring Will Ferrell. As a child of the 1970’s, when I first heard about this movie, I thought, “This is gonna be great. I can’t wait to take my three boys to see this movie about Marshall, Will, and Holly and their routine expedition.” What could have been a nice (and very profitable) family friendly film that I and countless other parents would have enjoyed taking our children to see, turned into another box office bomb.
Why? Because of Hollywood’s increasing isolation from mainstream American audiences and their utter fascination with all things post-modern. Even in a weak economy, producers and studios must have more money than they know what to do with. How else to explain movies getting green-lit that have no chance of turning a profit?
With all of their supposed sophistication and intelligence, you would think someone in the entertainment community would figure out what appeals to a broader audience. After all, more people in the theater seats usually translates into more money. They’re not all communists and socialists in Hollywood, are they!
I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t want to pay any more money at the box office to have a punch coming flying at me from somewhere in the back. If I’m going to pay to be hit, I want to be fully prepared up front. No surprises.
Life is hard enough. People struggle to make ends meet. Why get beat up? Perhaps if more Americans researched a movie’s content and cast before getting in the car to drive to the local multiplex, there would be a lot less surprise attacks. And with less surprise attacks, maybe a lot less Sucker Punch movies and their ilk. Wishful thinking? One can always hope.