fxpodcast: Sucker Punch

Sucker Punch is a new film from director Zack Snyder. A young girl is institutionalized by her abusive stepfather. Retreating to an alternative reality as a coping strategy, she envisions a plan which will help her escape from the mental facility. Each of these retreats was pretty much handled by a different effects house. We speak to Animal Logic about their sequence.

After the death of her mother, Baby Doll (Emily Browning) and her sister are almost killed by their stepfather in his attempt to claim their inheritance for himself. Baby Doll gets her Stepfather’s gun and tries to kill him — but kills her sister instead. This gives her stepfather the perfect reason to claim that Baby Doll is insane, and has her committed.

At the Institution, Baby Doll is ushered into an auditorium with other mentally disturbed girls and their therapist, Dr. Vera Gorski. Here, Baby Doll overhears her stepfather discussing an arrangement with the Asylum’s director, Blue Jones- Blue has forged Gorski’s signature to approve a lobotomy on Baby Doll in five days.


Baby Doll also overhears Dr. Gorski telling the girls that they have power within their minds; through her imagination, Baby Doll then visualizes an escape attempt.. in stages.

Later in the film, when her imagination gives way, and she finds herself in a medieval setting with the old man and the other girls, aboard a World War II bomber. The old man outlines the plan: to make their way into the castle below, slit the throat of a baby dragon, and retrieve two stones in its throat that will produce fire . . . without awaking the mother of the dragon.

The characters Amber and Blondie stay on the plane; while Baby Doll, and two other girls – Sweet Pea, and Rocket land and enter the castle. Fighting off a horde of evil creatures, Baby Doll manages to find the baby dragon. She kills it and retrieves the stones, but not before the baby cries out — and its enormous mother hears. The enormous dragon pursues the girls, until Baby Doll at last kills it, driving her kitana into its brain.

The job of bringing this lavish effects sequence to the screen fell to Animal Logic.

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