World One War: Sucker Punch!
World War One in Film!
Nearly 100 years after the armistice of the world’s bloodiest war, World War One still captures the imagination and interest of people and film industries across the world.
The film ‘Sucker Punch’ is an action-fantasy thriller which was released in the United States on the 25th March 2011.
The films plot centres around the fantasises of a young woman who is committed to a psychiatric hospital.
The plot of this period film opens when the central character “Babydoll” is institutionalised by her father after she is blamed for the death of her younger sister. In the ensuing scenes, one of the hospital orderlies is bribed by “Babydoll’s stepfather to procure the signature which will have her lobotomized. The reason for this is to ensure “Babydoll” cannot inform the authorities of the true reason behind her sister’s death and the claiming of her deceased mothers’ fortune.
In the days prior to her lobotomy “Babydoll” retreats to a fantasy world. Whilst in the fantasy world, “Babydoll” expresses her desires to escape, and one central character aids her by giving her advice.
Inspired by the assistance of one of the key characters of the film, “Babydoll” convinces her friends to escape. Whilst distracting the hospital staff, she imagines adventurous events that secretly mirror the groups’ on-going efforts.
One of these events is set in World War One. The scene depicts the group infiltrating a military bunker to steal a map, which in turn is which is protected by steam-powered German soldiers. Although fantasy, the World War One scenes are correct with regard to weapons, layouts and battlefield effects. There are numerous shots where period weapons are used. The weapons include the British .303 Lee-Enfield Rifle which was the standard British Infantry weapon of the First World War and the .303 Lewis Gun which was often referred to as the ‘Belgian Rattlesnake’. Further to the small-arms featured in the film, a fantastic and very realistic aerial combat scene is depicted with allied and Central Power aircraft and German Zeppelins.
Other fantasy films such as the X-Men films feature period World War One weapons, in particular the prequel to X-Men, X-Men origins: Wolverine.
The development of this period-fantasy film first came about in 2007. The director, Zack Snyder placed this project aside to focus on screen hit ‘Watchmen’. The film was co-wrote with Steve Shibuya who was the author of the original score which the story is based on. Snyder directed and produced the film with his wife and producing Partner, Deborah Snyder, through their ‘Cruel and Unusual Films’ banner.
In 2009, Warner Bros. declared that they would distribute ‘Sucker Punch’ due to the critical success of ‘Watchmen’. Originally, Snyder stated that he wished ‘Sucker Punch’ to be rated R, but later stated he was aiming it to be certified PG-13.
In particular, Snyder was forced to cut many crucial scenes from the final product in order to satisfy the MPAA’s censors. The director’s cut will be closer to the original vision.
Prior to filming, the cast has severe physical and combat training and evaluations. Starting in June 2009 the training lasted for 12 weeks and continued throughout filming. Critically, the main girls in the film had to deadlift upwards of 210 pounds for their roles. The stunt co-ordinator for ‘Watchmen’ was brought in to tone and chisel the young women.
Abbie Cornish who plays ‘Sweet Pea’ stated that the girls were training six hours a day, five days per week prior to filming
The budget for the film was $82 million dollars and to date has made over $78 million dollars at the Box Office.
It is key to note that although modern films which depict the carnage of the trenches and the First World War may not be entirely accurate, plausible and true to history, the effect this war has had on society and people’s imaginations hasn’t altered or diminished since the armistice of 1918. Further to this, although society and film companies may be liberal with the depiction of history, it is imperative to not let the events of World War One be forgotten.
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