Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Deservedly deleted scenes - Sucker Punch

I'm sure I've talked before about how "Deleted Scenes" can be an excellent learning experience for writers.  If you watch that section of most DVDs you'll often come away thinking "Yeah, I can see why they cut that."  It's a short hop from that realization to understanding how a scene needs to move the story forward.

If you're smart, you can then turn around and apply that insight to your own script.  So let's look at a deleted scene I came across recently.  It's from Sucker Punch, which I lambasted in three separate blog posts.  And true, the theatrical version of the film isn't exactly the model of coherence either - but this scene seems to exist in its own reality.

There are a number of reasons I can surmise that this scene was cut.  First, it's shot and edited like a music video.  Other parts of the film are frentically edited, but this sequence really feels like an MTV video.  It's not really telling a story - it's just a montage.

Related to that, there really isn't a point of view to the sequence.  Everything else in Sucker Punch is essentially from Baby Doll's perspective.  I'm not sure who's perspective this sequence belongs to.

It's also four minutes of screentime that doesn't tell us anything we don't already know.  Yes, we see the girls perform in individual dances, but those dances seem to have nothing to do with the girls' individual personalites or arcs.  If they were going to to the trouble of giving each girl a dance solo, it feels like a missed opportunity not to have the dance or the music reflect something relevent to them specifically.

(There's also the fact that I don't understand why the two characters played by Carla Gallo and Oscar Isaac are performing the song themselves.  They're the people behind the scenes - not the talent.)

So I put it to you, does this scene seem to make any sense on its own?  And to those of you who saw Sucker Punch, does it add anything to the overall experience?


  1. 'Sucker Punch' remains one of the most harrowing and upsetting cinematic experiences of my life (and I've seen 'Martyrs'!), so in terms of the 'overall experience' I'm voting for this to suffer the same fate as Atari's ET game from the 80s - I want every copy in existence to be buried in a pit in the desert.

    In years to come, people may ask 'hey, wasn't there a film called Sucker Punch?' but the moment they do, the Thought Police will black bag them and toss them into another pit in the desert, right beside the one for the movie.

    With regards the scene, as I understand this actually played out (in an edited version without the in-film clips) over the end credits. I remember hearing the opening strains of 'Love Is The Drug' as I ran screaming from the cinema, but I can't confirm its presence as my eyes were shut. And bleeding.

  2. Well, at least it would have been four minutes where the film was at least consistent with itself. (I found SP to be a confused mess of a film that lost its need to tell a story due to the director's apparent ADD.)

    And Monster Zero, this now makes the 2nd time in 24 hours that I've read reference to the ET video game burial. Weird.

  3. Having not seen SP and refusing to watch the video, I can't comment on that.

    I can, however, say that the ET video game is pure gold when compared to Attari's Superman game.

    There are people who refuse to believe this game ever existed. But they were all born after '79.

  4. Maybe we've unwittingly stumbled on a new classification standard for bad movies - is it worth the 'ET on Atari' treatment?

  5. Wasn't the entire movie Sucker Punch a deletable scene?

  6. Setting aside the merits of the film (or lack thereof), I thought the scene was enjoyable and worked in the film (to the extent anything did)- I didn't see it til the extended Director's Cut on DVD so this scene was included.

    If you're going to set this level of the fantasy in a dancehall/brothel you kind of have to have at least one glitzy, Moulin Rouge dance number.

    And specific to your points, I didn't think it odd that those two would sort of host the show and do the opening number, I think it fits with the reality of the scenario. And the "MTV editing" works well for the type of scene it is, and to my mind is actually quite like the editing of all the fantasy fight scenes, which are all shot like music videos as well.