A great movie trailer has to be far more than entertaining. It has to walk a delicate tightrope. On the one hand, a trailer must tease enough to provide a good sense of what to expect from the full feature. On the other hand, a trailer mustn’t reveal too much, lest viewers come away feeling as though they’ve just watched a two-minute summary of an entire plot.
The latest trailer for Zack Synder’s Sucker Punch doesn’t just walk that tightrope. It backflips along it while dual-wielding pistols in heels and a short skirt.
This is the second trailer we’ve seen for Synder’s latest hyper-realized fantasy, a follow-up to the outstanding Watchmen and 300. After these previews, there are two things I know about the film: one, virtually nothing; and two, I want to see it. That’s what good trailers should leave you with.
Even though the Sucker Punch trailers offer scant plot details, there are a few hints which suggest Snyder may once again include some refreshing conservative themes. There seem to be formulaic similarities to The Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland, both of which set their young female protagonists on a fantastic quest which teaches them the value of convention.
Baby Doll, the female lead in Sucker Punch, finds herself institutionalized after an apparent declaration of criminal insanity upon killing in self-defense. Desperation and the suggestion of the cryptic Madam Gorski lead her to escape into a fantasy world of her own creation. The latest trailer indicates Baby Doll must quest in search of five MacGuffins which, if found, will free her from her prison.
That’s about all we know. Around that familiar core is entangled intriguing references to everything from Japanese samurai and dragons to Nazis and Prohibition-era gangsters. Baby Doll’s fantasy appears to have no limits.
In another ode to Oz, Baby Doll appears to be joined on her quest by fantastic versions of her fellow inmates. They work together to free themselves, wielding swords and guns, and donning wonderfully absurd garb lifted out of Japanese anime.
Their quest for freedom appears to push them to evermore stunning extremes, causing them to question whether the fight is worth the risk or whether they ought to surrender. A sage guide played with stoic gravitas by Scott Glenn advises Baby Doll, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Whether the line is a stance against moral relativism or merely an appeal to backbone is yet to be seen. What is clear is that Sucker Punch will rap us in the mouth in March of next year.
Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota’s North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.