“Suckerpunch” and dealing with fantasy worlds

I’ve made no secret of the fact I love fantasy worlds. Recently I’d gone on and on about the fact I prefer them to my reality because reality isn’t nearly as enjoyable… and yeah, that’s because I don’t give it enough of chance to be enjoyed.

But that’s hardly the point, is it? Fantasies are meant to be enjoyed because things can happen in them that can never happen in reality. And I’m not just talking about the whole princess/fairytale/love story kind of fantasy. Movies have shown us that when we dwell on those fantasies too much, we could miss out on having it come true. You just have to keep your eyes open for it. That whole cliché about not knowing what you have until you really take it into consideration.

Suckerpunch was a prime example of doing things in fantasy that you wouldn’t be able to do in reality. Not just possessing all kinds of weapons, but knowing how to use them. Dueling stone samurais, dragons, robots and creatures that oddly resemble Orcs of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
If nothing else, “Suckerpunch” is a trip into a world of infinite possibilities.

As the movie progresses, of course, you come to realize that you had that power in you all along. It was a matter of recognizing the opportunity and taking advantage of it.

I was a little bit worried that it wouldn’t work as a good movie experience because I was too busy worrying about what the critics said. Yahoo! had five reviews available and the highest grade was a B+, the average was C-, between a couple D’s and F’s and a C. Supposedly it was going to be full of action that makes little to no sense and you don’t see yourself getting anywhere.
But as far as the action goes, this is hardly anywhere near what Ebert said about “I am number four” in which he said the non-stop action made no sense at all… I happen to agree, things were blowing up left and right just for the sake of blowing up.

This isn’t the first time I’ve more/less flipped off the critics and gone out to do what the hell I want with my movie-going money. “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen,” I went out to see even though it was given a D or D- in the paper and I enjoyed the hell out of it. I guess the fact I fit in the target audience of 12-16 helped a great deal. And I do love Lindsay Lohan’s movies, I don’t care what anyone else has to say about that.

When I got to the theater, it was too dark for me to tell how many people showed up… but I’m pretty certain it was less than 10, maybe even less than 5.

The movie begins with no dialogue apart from a narrator and a slow-paced, cover of The Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams”. The heroine, only known as BabyDoll, lives with her sister and step-father. Their mom had passed away, which is suggested to be the step-father’s doing. But he is foiled when the inheritence is left to them. Naturally he takes things into his own hands, first coming after BabyDoll and then her sister. In trying to fight him off, BabyDoll picks up his gun and accidentally kills her sister. He sends her to the mental institution and more/less wants her to disappear. Blue, the caretaker of the asylum, takes her in and requests a nice paycheck so he can hire a specialist to perform a lobotomy.

The asylum is somewhat run as a play for adult entertainment. The girls “dance” for high-paying clients. When BabyDoll dances for the first time, the world around her transforms. The first setting is in winter in this large courtyard and a Japanese temple. She walks in and our Wiseman tells her that she needs 5 items to get what she came for: freedom. She is armed with a sword and a gun and has a collosal duel with three stone samurai warriors, each with a different type of weapon.

Back in the asylum, she befriends a group of girls named Rocket, Amber, Sweet Pea and Blondie and she asks them to help her in her quest for the items. Sweet Pea is hesistant to join the group, but eventually caves. Mostly because she’s looking out for Rocket’s best interests (they’re sisters and had run away together because Rocket didn’t get along with their parents).
While BabyDoll dances and distracts different clients, the five girls arrive in the fantasy world, which changes each time they go, and they get one of the items. In reality, one of the girls goes to get the item while everyone else is distracted by the dancing.

After the third trip into the fantasy world, I was set for the rest of the movie. Couldn’t wait to go back each time to see what changed.
The best part early on beside the killer action and soundtrack (AWESOME soundtrack), was how BabyDoll transformed as a character. She enters the asylum very broken and nearly mute after the experience with her sister. Then after entering the fantasy the first time, she brought a little of that courage back with her. Although we see this even before her first dance when she saves Rocket from the cook, who had her pinned to the floor.

Then of course, once I was getting comfortable and psyched to see the rest of the movie, really getting into it, we have somewhat of a twist that brings back the dark tone the movie began with in the instution. I won’t go into the specific details, but each of the girls gets killed until BabyDoll and Sweet Pea are the only two left.
Blue even comes off as a bit insane, despite the fact he runs this asylum. He notices little things are disappearing and has more than an idea who’s behind it. In the time he blows his first gasket, the people working for him start to see that maybe he’s a little unstable himself.

BabyDoll and Sweet Pea make a run for it after she had stabbed Blue with the knife they got from the cook and took the key around his neck- a universal key that unlocks all the doors.
Upon getting outside, BabyDoll realizes what the 5th mystery item was.
And thus lies a crucial plot twist that few probably saw coming. I sure didn’t.

I’m just gonna live it as that and let everyone else fill in the blanks.

You really get to love all the girls and want to see them succeed. You never know what you’re going to find each time you go into the fantasy world, but the action was handled really well. And hey, it looked very realistic (gotta love technology). Again, killer soundtrack. If they release a CD, I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on that.
Despite the fact that the ending kinda lost me a little bit and yeah, it was very sad how everything turned out… I really didn’t care enough to let that ruin the experience for me.
It was incredible, unlike anything I’d ever seen before. And this is coming from a person who more than dabbles in these types of movies so I don’t mind filling in the blanks in a plot that doesn’t openly completely explain itself.

Maybe not exactly, but this was what I was looking for in the movies that I’d been missing these past couple times. I said on my Facebook page that my next movie should be a comedy, but I’ll gladly accept this in place of one.
“I am number four” was good, though I’d seen most of that type of movie before and the action was a little too intense and didn’t seem to go anywhere after a while.
“The King’s Speech” as far as movie standards go, was really good. But it did drag for me once or twice.
“Rango”… forget it… it was weird. Adult for a cartoon and after a while, my head just hurt. I’d like to say that it was kinda like something Hunter S. Thompson would come up with, but I have no idea what his type of writing was.

Something kinda strange happened last night that nearly gave me a heart attack. I had just gotten back to my computer around 11pm. Checking some stuff out here and there and wanted to make sure my Internet signal was strong before I started my nightly YouTubing… I go to the icon to fix the connection as I usually do when its weak (as it is right now, so we’ll see what happens last when I fix it again). And two seconds later, the computer sounds like it turns off and I see the blue screen of death…

Now I’m just freaking out because this hasn’t happened here before. Something about it shutting down to protect itself. One line said “if this is the first time you’re seeing this screen, restart the computer”… which it was… so I was praying like nobody’s business when I restarted it that it wouldn’t be the situation that happened with the family computer a couple years ago (and this blog went without update for a month or two)…
As you can see, it all worked out okay. But boy was I freaking out… I’d hate to lose this computer, not mention some data I hadn’t even backed up. Not there is all that much that I need to back up on this computer, most of the important stuff is on my flashdrives.

I was YouTubing clips and found myself getting headaches and losing focus.
But I think the problem was that I had the gall to listen to the radio interview RDJ did with Howard Stern… omg, I don’t think I blushed or covered my eyes so much in my entire life. I know that this guy is a highly unorthodox radio talkshow guy, but holy crap, he was asking questions I didn’t even want to know the answers too. I was two steps away from plugging up my ears and humming to myself to tune it out.

Omg, I’m blushing right now just thinking about it.. ^$&* %*&*#^%$%^$
Things like &%&^, I don’t even want to go there, his and Susan Downey’s sex life and whether he takes Cialis or Viagra… omg… I don’t even want to know. Their private business. Though I must say those two are the cutest Hollywood couple I’d ever seen and even listened to…

Holy crap…

Then when I finally laid myself down and got to sleep, I dreamt in probably the most graphic detail I had in a very long time. Not graphic as in R-rated and beyond graphic, but graphic as in livid.
I believe that’s what experts refer to as “lucid dreaming” except for the fact I didn’t know I was dreaming. But my conscience was questioning some of the things I was seeing. And the contents have influenced my hand as to what movie we’ll be watching this Saturday night.
I often wonder when I dream so lividly how the ideas come about, especially if its really off-base, something I don’t normally think about. The fact are that last night when we were watching Merlin on SyFy, my dad was talking through most of it. Part of his comments were about two of the characters having big ears and I said one of them kinda reminded me of a Hobbit. He asked me what a Hobbit was, so I went into the whole Lord of the Rings speil… and no, Hobbits don’t have big ears. I believe that’s the elves (ala Orlando Bloom and Liv Tyler, specifically)

 

The scenario was like this:
I was either Frodo or had the mentality of Frodo. Because I had the one ring and was very possessive of it. And it doesn’t look at all like the “one ring to rule them all.” This ring was, I don’t remember if it was gold or silver, but it had three small gems like diamonds embedded in it. And on top of that, there was an even larger crystal.
My conscience told me that it wasn’t completely the same because the “one ring” was gold and had nothing on it except occasionally an inscription in some foreign language that only appears when its in the fire.

So I was possessive of the ring and had to hold on to it as if my life depends on it. There came a scene where I’m hiding in a closet (don’t know why) and when I’m discovered, I’m freaking out that they’re gonna take it away from me. The them are actually people in my family that I know really well, and I was just being paranoid. But the paranoia sure as hell felt real… I could feel my own heart racing as if possessing the ring as if my life depended on having it.
Then I make a comment about Gollum, who is around somewhere though I don’t believe I ever see him… I say matter of factly that “I know he has to come with us because we need to keep an eye on him” Like if we let him out of our sight, he’ll turn us in to the bad guys. Oddly the mentality at which I make this statement is more from Sam Gamgee’s perspective than Frodo’s.

When Harry Potter first came out in the movies, there was this feud going on between Potter fans and Lord of the Rings fans (kinda like the Star Wars fanboys and the Trekkies). I was opposed to Lord of the Rings because I was a Potter fan, or so became one after reading the first book.
I ended up getting into Lord of the Rings as well, me and my mom (one of our many adventures into fantasy realms at the movies together).

A big piece of it was because of Elijah Wood. I don’t actually believe I’d seen any of his other movies aside from “Forever Young” with Mel Gibson or “9”.
But he really brought it home when he was playing Frodo, who is somewhat of a tragic figure in the series despite the fact he does survive to see the end of it. It’s just that the journey is such an undertaking that he simply can’t go back to The Shire after its all done. He was changed forever by it. So aside from it being the last movie in the series, the fact he had to part ways with all of his friends except for Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins makes it kinda sad too.

He was a character that you can’t help but want to succeed. Because he goes through all kinds of crap on his way to Mordor to destroy the one ring. He’s a person who sees the good or tries to see the good in all people and he’s unmeasurably loyal to his companions.
I also happened to have a thing for light blue/green eyes back then, and that was where you truly saw the struggle of the journey. Same reason why I responded as I have to Tobey Maguire’s Spider-man.

The fact remains that it’s been quite a few years since I’d seen all three movies, so this is a good opportunity to check them out again. Considering the way my dream played out, it was probably set moreso in the Two Towers than the Fellership of the Ring, but given how long its been, its worth seeing how it all begins.
And it’s been a long time since I’ve really felt something in my gut that fuels what I write about my characters.

Over the past two years, I’ve started a lot of things, but rarely finish them. The two times I have finished what I started: I had started the projects around this time and they ended up being short stories that I finished within a couple months.
Conveniental wisdom says that I’m going to get my next idea of what to write about very soon. And maybe Suckerpunch and Lord of the Rings will get the gears in my head turning well enough to churn something out.

But I get the feeling that it’s going to be a means of revision for Chihiro’s story.
One thing I have definitely noticed: I tend to be on a first name basis with all my characters. Except for “Hope in Alaska” and “Joshua Isaiah Prince,” no one of my characters have last names. Either because I like to be on the first name basis with them or because I’m too lazy to come up with last names.

In the case of Jonas, it’s completely legit because he’s the only person of that name in his entire school.
And with Chihiro, Lucas, Anna, Bastian and whoever else exists in her story… that kinda makes sense too. The only person in InuYasha that had a last name was Kagome Higarashi, who falls down the well (or “rabbit hole” if you will) into Inuyasha’s feudal Japan some 500 years ago.

Rumor has it that Emily Browning (BabyDoll) was Stephenie Meyer’s first choice to play Bella in “Twilight”… I can kinda see that now that I think about it.
It may be that I’d been drinking my own Kool-aid too heavily lately, but with maybe a few changes here and there, she could play my white tiger very nicely. Her facial expressions in the earlier parts of the movie fit perfectly with what I have in mind for Chihiro, that lost, helpless, lonely expression. And her platinum blonde hair was the perfect texture, the only change I’d make was for it to be longer and not in pigtails.

I used to be able to do this all the time, but when I write, what I love to do is really get inside the mind set of my characters. I want to feel what they’re feeling so I’d be able to write the emotions more accurately. Although I guess with some of the really depressing, even traumatic stuff I’d writen, that might be taking things a step too far. As much as I hate basing the characters off myself, most of the magic happens in my own mind. I try to figure out how they’d react to certain things and the experimentation has a really powerful effect on my mind when the characters are closest to me.

Something I kinda wanted to do today was to write up a character sketch for Chihiro and post it wherever I can post these things.
And yeah, this could mean that my entry on “selling soap” might finally happen. This time, it’ll be with a different character. Then perhaps I’ll be able to get into the right mind set so I may return to her story and pick up where I left off with my latest rewrite.

Something I’d read several times: when you’re looking for an agent or publisher to take you on, you gotta convince them as to why they want to read your story. What do you want them to take away from it? Not so much what makes it more different than anything they’d read before, but you have to sell them on it.

Well, now that I put it like that, this might not be “selling soap.” That phrase pertains to promoting a finished product like a book, album or a movie.
Nope, my mistake, it is the same thing.

Man… what I’d done the past couple days was point out character flaws and worry about how they’ll be perceived by others… when I should be focusing on the good in my characters. If I promote the flaws, what’s the point in getting to know them? I guess that’s my way of showing off my insecurities.
I guess that’s where Chihiro gets her doubts from, she truly is a person after my own heart.

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One Response to “Suckerpunch” and dealing with fantasy worlds

  1. jzlosman says:

    In my opinion you have the plot summary wrong a bit. The asylum is not a brothel/club – just an asylum. However, as a result of Mrs. Gorski’s unorthodox teachings and treatment, the girls are able to mentally “escape” from the pain and torture of the real world as a means of survival. The brothel setting is within the mind of one of the girls (for 95% of the movie I thought it was Babydoll’s but by the end I was pretty convinced it was actually SweetPea’s). She is the first character when the brothel setting materializes and she says “I’m the star of the show.” Also, the comments by Babydoll at the end regarding the quest not being about her at all, but about Sweet Pea. So it seems you set the “reality” level one level above actual reality. One visual cue they used was Blue’s mustache which as you noticed was not there in the real world, only in the brothel setting.

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