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Zack Snyder

Sucker Punch – Zack Snyder (2011)

Catching up with this older Snyder. The title and the cover make me think this film is not for me, but I have to be able to prove myself wrong every now and then do I now? Well, I was right… What a terrible film!

Droopy face Emily Browning kills her father in the opening scene and is transferred to a mental asylum. This asylum then suddenly is a house for troubled girls that is also a brothel and when the girls dance for their customers, they are suddenly in some sort of violent shout-out game hunting monsters. It all becomes a dull mishmash of teeny drama and silly, hip fighting scenes with something that I suppose has to be psychological thriller elements.

The entire film I had the idea that the target audience has to be 15-minus. The dialogues, the drama, the action, it is all awfully boring. I guess the only reason that I finished the film is that I was doing something else while watching it. Because I finished it, I will not give it only one star, so I come at….:

Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice * Zack Snyder (2016)

Like I said before, with the rental that I use, I can chose which films I want to see, but not when. I put this Snyder-spectacle on the list hoping that it would come when I would feel like brainless action. It did. After a maddening week at work, a no-brainer was in place.

But ‘Batman v Superman’ does not exactly start as a no-brainer… In the first 10 to 15 minutes an elaborate story is built up in which Superman is mankind’s hero, but because not everybody is sure about his intentions (in the future), some decide to question Superman’s sense of justice. Also, there is a villain who wants him dead and also Batman thinks the world is better off without Superman, since if you cannot be 100% sure that a man with Superman’s powers is 100% just, it is safer that there is no Superman at all.

After these first 15 minutes, Snyder shifts up and the rest of the film is fairly brainless, highspeed and extremely pompous action. Superman is lead into a trap and brought before court. The villain builds his weapon to kill him and also Batman is trying to find a way to do the same. Naturally the villain fails and Superman and Batman first fight spectacularly and then become friends. Nothing unexpected here.

Just as in Snyder’s previous Superman film, he again created an over-the-top action film with over-the-top special effects and a story that only thinly refers to the stories that we know of both superheros. Again the film is not boring, but it is mostly just see-what-I-can-do with to known characters. The film looks great though and the pompous classical music is great as well.

Brainless action after all. Not a masterpiece, but entertaining.

Man Of Steel * Zack Snyder (2013)

So this is a Superman film, right? Quite different from what I expected! “Man Of Steel” is actually a pompous scifi spectacle. It looks like it has to be some sort of prequel to the normal Superman films, but Snyder opens all registries to make use of each and every special effect imaginable. From computer animated weird worlds to Matrix-like fighting scenes. We do not see Superman helping people (well, not often), but fighting his adversary.

The result is a pretty much over-the-top science fiction film that may perhaps not be boring (there is little time for that), but has little to do with how we used to watch Superman. A true Hollywood production of our time.

Watchmen * Zack Snyder (2009)

WatchmenZack “300” Snyder created another visual spectacle with this comic-into-film. An amusing “Hellboy”/”Batman”-like story, a bit of “Sin City” storytelling and action, superheros, weird characters and quite a length. The story plays in a futuristic 1985 with the threat of a nuclear war, historical elements and fiction and nice ‘vintage’ music in a sci-fi film. Nice!

Dawn Of The Dead * Zack Snyder * 2004

I have never been fond of horror films, so I never saw the 1978 original of this film. Watching DOTD I already see why I never watch this kind of horror. The beginning and the end are good, strange filmographic jokes and a nice, dark atmosphere. The rest of the film is slashing and not the least bit scary, atmospheric or anything, just a bloody action film. I usually see these kinds of films as comedies, but after a few hundreds of liters of blood, also the fun goes down rapidly.
The ‘story’ is about a strange epidemic in which people are bitten by a rerisen dead and become ‘undead’ themselves. The undead have to eat living human flesh. A few survivers hide in a mall. They better waited until the undead simply died of hunger, but in order to make the film more interesting, they leave their hiding place and get killed themselves. I wasn’t bored stiff watching the film, but it certainly didn’t rise any interest in the American horror genre. <10/4/05><2>

300 * Zack Snyder * 2006

Another graphic novel of Frank Miller put to film, but however this brings too easy comparisons with “Sin City”, don’t let yourself be fooled by that. “300” Is not a visual comic, but a film with actors and indeed most of the scenes come out of a computer, but they do (fortunately) look nothing like “Sin City”. “300” Has risen some discussions. Is it just a spectacular semi-historical action film like “Gladiator”? Is it a glorification of violence? Is it the glorification of the ancient warrior ethos? There are even people seeing political layers, where a Western elite fights an invading power. For some reason Iran has chosen to identify itself with a gayish Xerxes that organises orgies and who in fact ‘represents’ the pre-Islamitic religion of Persia, but apparently, when things can be turned to their use, they will complain. In any case, “300” indeed is a glorification of the ancient warrior ethos in my opinion. The king Leonidas is shown in a boyhood and the violent initiation into the world of the soldier is shown (not completely unlike the ancient reality I might add). The Spartans are shown as the elite warrior troop from Greece and only 300 raise against the millions (a minor exaggeration) of Persians that come to invade Greece. The Persians have all kinds of monsters to reach their goal, but the supreme technique of the Spartans make that they withstand almost any attack. The fighthing scenes are shown in a Matrix-like fashion with irritating fast-slow-fast-slow shifts, but spectacular (and bloody) computer graphics and the Spartan übermenschen are shown in all their glory. Politically incorrect? Perhaps. Most people will watch “300” as a spectacular fighting film, some may look for more behind it or connect the film to current tendencies, it is just what you make of it. I don’t know if the makers had a message and actually I don’t care. “300” Is an alright film that is well put together, but in the end, it is just another action film with an original twist. <15/4/07><3>