Book Review: Sucker Punch - The Art Of The Film Book

SUCKER-PUNCH PLOT: "Set in the 1950s in the vivid imagination of a young girl placed at a mental institution by her step-father some time after her mother died, with only her dreams providing 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." [Wiki]

[Me and my book. No, there was no way I could hide my grin and happiness]

In essence, designs and stills from SUCKER PUNCH: THE ART OF THE FILM pretty much spoils the imagery of the film, as well provide a geographical-relation to the sequences we have been seeing in the trailers/teasers, and perhaps give away much of the movie. But this is my only assumption and you are all henceforth warned that THIS IS SPOILERIFFIC POST (well, sort of) ~ both for the book and the movie. STOP HERE if you do not want to spoil your viewing pleasure/s of the film!

DISCLAIMER: I personally have a vision problem (due to my Stroke) which impairs my eyes slightly, seeing double-vision of everything. Although I still hope to see it in the cinemas, I want to be able to understand a little bit more, rather than "missing" out on seeing things on the big-screen and woindering what the heck it was in the first place LOL

This particular blogpost features judiciously amounts of page snaps from the book, as well my personal geek-commentary, as well an addition of screengrabs from trailers. So chill, and enjoy the views and read :)

Also feel free to CLICK to view complete coverage of the movie on the TOYSREVIL blog.

WHERE-TO-BUY: Published by Titan Books, "Sucker Punch: The Art Of The Film" was purchased online via Amazon, featuring 256 pages worth of production art and photographs by Clay Enos (Watchmen film portraits) in hardcover. There is also a limited edition version with signed print, blogged prior.


As a book featuring the "Art of the Film", this 256-pager is truly sweet, with it's full-renders and conceptual imagery ~ which runs the gamut of everything geek-related in this day and age; anime fueled by steampunk and clad in goth costly with a tinge of cyberpunk and a whole lot of fantasy, like a videogame actually!

From conceptuals to rehearsals, to design developments, to promo posters and marketing, this is a "smart" book documenting the making of the film, and designed to entertain and entice, without the theoreticall essays of similar genre movie books (which I adore as well, in my earlier days of designing for film and television), and it works well for me!

I am a huge fan of behind-the-scenes and film design, and the last time a book as such affected me as much, as The Fifth Element (back in the day) Featuring oodles of production design and conceptual renders, it is a decent reference for character design aficionados , IMHO. As well, I have to say, designing for this movie is a "dream gig", and kudos goes to Production Designer Rick Carter. But let's be fair, the designs are cool, but they are hardly "original", with loads of imagery unfortunately exposed to folks in different genres before, but now seen within a single movie that which is "Sucker Punch".

I would have loved to see more of the scenes and set designs, but perhaps that is something for a later date. From the promos of the film thus far (opening this Friday, OMG!), most if not all efforts are focused on character designs, predominantly of the five girls, and a sly look at the sub-creations, as seen in the animation shorts from Ben Hibon. Curiously, the human sub-characters lie quietly in the background (with the exception of Madam Gorski). In many ways, I expect them to be the catalysts of the movie, egging the girls to react and move forward in the movie.


One of the more "wordy" aspect of the book, is the introduction initially for the entire movie. Much appreciated too (for folks like me who enjoy a good "war story" :p). The initial "anime" aspect of character designs is as well interesting, and may well be a great starting point for manga, animation or whatever geekery that may transcend and move on from the live-action movie! I remember when The Matrix held such ability to move beyond the silver screen, and perhaps it did but it dod not last as long as the video games and comicbook could bring it, IMHO.

Alex Pardee is attributed in loads of the initial design tho, by folks on the net. Check out his interview on


As "Violet" in "Lemony Snickets", Australian actress Emily Browning caught many a folks' eyeballswith her quirky grownup-in-a-youngster role, and as "Baby Doll" in this movie, she has all grown up and become the main protagonist in this fantasy action-adventure. Loads of promos feature her front and center in her kawaii-cute school-girl quasi-uniform and uber-micro-skirt, which perhaps is a divergent tactic to her acting skills, of which I have high hopes for her, in this film (as much as a Zack Snyder film can afford, thanks).

Out of place and out of sorts, ever the stranger in a land of change, with the reality/fantasy concept of Sucker Punch no different (from her indifferent facial expressions seen thus far, sadly). Playing the quintessential blond-haired innocent victim, her triumph against adversity and challenging of her own demons, is the stuff of celluloid-legend, if not the ultimate cheese-plot. Hey, but I'm game with that, especially for this flick!


I am not too wholly convinced by actress Vanessa Hudgens as "BLONDIE", needing to shed her stint in "High School Musical", little miss do-gooder now brandishes automatic guns and kicks zombie-butt with her kung-fu moves, not before entertaining folks with her cabaret moves and costumes, eh?

Do not be mistaken tho, I am so looking forward to her breaking thru in this flick! But am unsure if folks will look past HSM tho … but gosh is she adorable! Even while kicking zombie-butt! LOL She's like "The Face" in A-Team, with the good looks and all ~ hopefully her lines in the script would surprise and not otherwise. "Blondie" is being described as "street smart" in this film. Which sometimes translates to "smart-aleck", so I am hoping otherwise.


The "slanty"-eyed "Asian" character-design of "AMBER" actually angered me quite a bit, when I first flipped open the book. Is our girl here only but a token "oriental" babe to the group? Regardless, Jamie Chung seems to hold her own, as well being as tall as the rest of the cast! (Something not totally regular in Hollywood flicks too!). Her filmography leaves much to be desired, hopefully she'll be able to pilot the Meka and bash her way thru this role!

Amber is being described as "fiercely loyal" in this film, which either means the "we-are-blood-I-will-die-for-you" silver-screen-gansterism which makes for great roles, or the "I-will-die-for-you-coz-im-a-sucker". She has the best costume in the movie, as far as I'm concerned tho.


I have a soft-spot for Abbie Cornish, ever since her really short but memorable appearance in Ridley Scott's "A Good Year" (yes, I thought she was mega-hawt, I will not lie). As "SWEET PEA" in this flick, she's the one with the sword and shotgun, and she wears a hoodie in a quasi-cosplay getup. I am hooked already, again. Dungeons-n-Dragon wetdream she dresses to slay all dragons hahaha (but of course, she is not THE ONE to…). Sweet Pea is mentioned as "the reluctant" in the film, which basically means she's w whiner and naysayer?

And from the trailers, she seems a tad "intense", and never seems to smile ~ nice! Seems to me she is the quintessential ass-kicking Americano in S.P., innit? "B.A.Baracus" without the mohawk! Or maybe she's the babe with "the plan"? LOL


Truth be told, I wasn't that huge a fan of "ROCKET" initially, regulated as being one of the girls in the background (compared to the rest of the other girls) and content as being pretty non-exciting in the trailer and teasers. But from the images published in the book, I'm beginning to really like her, reminding me loads of a younger (sorry) and perhaps cuter "Meg Ryan". Jena Malone has a slew of acting credits to her belt thus far, but never the main lead. Would be interested to she her arch in this celluloid outing, if there is an arch to speak about in the first place.

In a A-Team-context, she is perhaps the Mad-Mudoch of the bunch? "Rocket" is being mentioned as being "outspoken" in this film.


Besides the main 5 girls, "sub"-characters get their due features in the book, featuring Carla Gugino as "Dr. Vera Gorski", and finally introducing the "boys" of this film: Oscar Isaac as "Blue Jones", Jon Hamm in duo roles as "High Roller/Doctor" (in both reality and fantasy, it seems), and finally the Yoda/Caterpillar (in "Alice in Wonderland"), Scott Glenn as .. wait for it … "Wise Man" ~No guesses to see what his role is on this flick.

It would be interesting to see their roles unfolding, as we already know what the 5 girls do, and their antics cannot sustain a movie, can they? (I wouldn't mind tho ~ I'm looking for mindless entertainment, and not celluloid-nirvana ;p).


ZOMBIE SOLDIER Design and Conceptuals, and heck loads of them too! Frankly, I had assumed them to be battlefield-fodder for Blondie and the girls to kick the crap out of (and perhaps they still are in the movie hahaha), but this promo animation by Ben Hibon somewhat adds an unseen depth to the soldiers, if only totally oblivious in the movie itself.


The aspect of Orges and Knights threw me off for a bit when they first appeared in trailers and teasers, as well the Dragon battling the WW2-era plane. Looked like someone drunk a whole lot and was tipsy watching "Lords of the Ring" and woke up with a grand idea LOL

Then this animation by Ben Hibon put it all into perspective, concept-wise anyways. There are loads of Orge-design developments tho, loads!


Without a doubt, the imagery of the Samurai -styled Giant totting a gaitlng gun nearly being sliced by BabyDoll's katana is one of the initial key scenes which grabbed at folks trailer-loving attention when visuals first hit the web not so long ago. How important are the rest of the veiled assassins in the movie (remember the trio facing BabyDoll in the snow?), remains to be seen.


As much as the Mecha or "Meka" exo-suit resembles the basic operational attributes of a Ma.K Super Armored Fighting Suits (SAFS) from Kow Yokoyama, a huge variety of design conceptuals are shown in the book, as well a selection of models. And yes, models are toys for us rabid collectors would be GREAT! And if the cockpit opens up to reveal a pilot? Whoo-hoo!

Again, one of the initial imagery which grabbed at viewers when the movie concept was first introduced to the world, featuring the frontal-design from Alex Pardee, featuring his rabid-bunny made into plush in the toy-realms! Connection!


Production and Conceptual Designs for Dragons (one of the final "Big Bosses" of the film, no doubt), as well designs and corridor set for the Robots sequence. That's what I think the different world represent = different levels to be passed thru and challenges conquered, perhaps collecting the 5 different "weapons" by Baby Doll, in which ti conquer the next challenge with, IMHO.


Seriously, if I were to absolutely geek-out, this post might consist of loads of production/set designs for the movie. The book generously packs in set designs and renders, table-top models, and as well studio-scenes featuring the locales the girls go thru in the film, most times showcasing the "reality" and entertainment aspect (rather than the obvious green-screen of the "fantasy" sequences).

I would have liked to see more actually, but again, this movie is focused more on the characters and their tasks, with the "locale" a product of imaginary in "fantasy", and places of ill-repute, in "reality" (Brothels, night-clubs, orphanages etc).

And loads of times, folks gloss over the sets and design-imagery and focus on the characters and what they wear/carry instead. Pity.


Promo Posters Feature pages, with the bottom-right being the first series of images folks online ever gazed. I actually had my doubts with the WW1-era style vintage posters, whether they are a legit promo or fan-made, so I am glad my fears are allied here! But what bugs me to heck, is that most the posters circulating on the www now is sourced from Russian-website Kino Gallery, with a partial of Amber's image cropped out (the font). Does not one else have clean uncropped images online? Anyone? LOL

WRAP-UP: There is no way to say it, this book deserves a space on your shelves, be it if you are a fan of any or all genres you see here, as well a fan if Snyder (hey, it may happen!). Am unsure is this book will ever go softcover tho, but the hardcover is fine by me :)

[Previously Blogged on TOYSREVIL]


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