Zack Snyder’s films are fantastic in their own right, but let’s look back at something especially unique; Sucker Punch’s soundtrack.
SUCKER PUNCH, Zack Snyder’s cinematic tour-de-force, is known for it’s gripping visual presence to most, it’s voluptuous and gorgeous leads to some; but it’s most well known for it’s astoundingly brilliant music to all. The 2011 film’s track listing is as unique and inventive as the film itself:
1. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”- Emily Browning
2. “Army of Me (Sucker Punch Remix)”- Bjork ft. Skunk Anansie
3. “White Rabbit”- Emiliana Torrini
4. “I Want It All/ We Will Rock You Mash-Up”- Queen ft. Armageddon
5. “Search and Destroy”- Skunk Anasie
6. “Tomorrow Never Knows”- Alison Mosshart and Carla Azar
7. “Where Is My Mind?”- Yoav and Emily Browning
8. “Asleep”- Emily Browning
9. “Love Is The Drug”- Carla Gugino & Oscar Isaac.
The soundtrack, featuring vocals from the film’s star Emily Browning, covers The Smiths and Eurythmics as well as the Pixies, and lends to Snyder’s personal preference over covers vs the original songs ( a controversial opinion in it’s own nature). Snyder was quoted as saying:
If you go with the original song, you just get the moment. But if you go with covers you also get all of the baggage you bring to it, […] I like the baggage. It kind of resonates and rings across time, it’s not just of the moment.
Sucker Punch‘s most unique and powerful moments come in perfect sync with it’s music such as a psychedelic action sequence set to a heavy cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” or the film’s brilliant and emotional opening set to Emily Browning singing “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” as we see Baby Doll’s back-story. We also are made aware of the subtle if not truly daring revelation that Baby Doll is a character made from Sweet Pea’s mind. Whereas most films seem to add the licensed music afterwards as somewhat relevant back-ground noise to the film itself, the music of Sucker Punch was integral from the beginning, with Emily Browning confirming that part of her audition as the film’s lead was actually singing- something that mattered just as much to Snyder as her ability to preform physically in the action-heavy role as well as emotionally during the film’s more intimate moments.
According to Music producer Marius de Vries, who worked on the critically acclaimed musical Moulin Rouge!, the film itself even had “musical” moments that were ultimately cut from the final product, saying:
It was never going to be an opera, or even going to be a musical. It was very unlikely even to have any ‘break into song’ moments within it, but the fact that we designed it so that it could I think gives it that sort of strange, music-driven resonance.”
This is but a glimpse of how intimate and yet crazy Snyder’s visions can be, and just how truly bold Sucker Punch not only could have been; but truly is. Snyder said:
I’ve always felt that music had a real knack and powerful ability to conjure images and it always meaning. I also think that music, when you lay music on top of a picture, suddenly the picture, its meaning can change through the images that are placed — the songs that are placed on top of it. And so that evolution of, for me, knowing that the pictures I wanted to create, whether it’s WW1 or whatever, and say like, “White rabbit, like psychedelic white rabbit, that’s correct for WW1,” for me that’s right. Because it’s just like, you’re already on a trip at this point and like, what the fuck is this and the white rabbit, to me, is a song about that. In some way, the actual idea gets deeper, the whole — all the iconology and all the world gets bigger when you lay the right music on top of it.
It is often said music is the key to true escapism, and no visual-media has ever come as close to Sucker Punch as how important music is to not only film; but to life itself. While these girls are dancing and performing, their being objectified for the hungry masses of pimps and customers than throw money at them from smoke-filled and drunk fuels of obsession and lust- but inside their minds they’re battling all of this set to the very music that their exterior dances and grates to on a whole separate plane. Zack says;
“The girls in this movie kick ass, so the soundtrack had to kick ass. I really wanted every aspect of Sucker Punchto feel unexpected — the look, the feel and the sound of what Babydoll and the others go through. I think that the music in this film turned out to be such a great surprise, and to really help tell the story in a way that only something as primitive and as much a part of the human experience as music can.”
Snyder’s film certainly didn’t win any favors when it was released due to fanboys and critics jumping the gun in an attempt to find the next “bad” thing to rally and joke behind; but several internet sites have gone on to defend the film for it’s deep subtext and meta statements presented by Snyder and those who were involved in it. Sucker Punch: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was critically praised more-so than the film itself, selling 16,000 copies in it’s first week and debuted at 36 on the Billboard Top 200. It would later peak at #1 on the US Top Soundtracks, 22 on the Billboard 200, and in the top 5 of 3 other U.S. Charts.