the movie is not a popcorn, action flick of girls in skimpy fetish outfits killing robots. it only looks like it is. it is really about escapism and freedom. to get there one must face one's personal demons. you know, the ones in your head. what better way than by fighting it out with them with a given form.
so we have the protagonist, babydoll, traumatized by a tragedy at home and she is sent to an insane asylum where shenanigans are certain, the sad, terrible and underhanded kind. so she creates a world in her head to deal with all this, based on the real world and how she intended to deal. this mental world is not that much better so she must create another world to deal with the made-up one. yes, i know, a dream within a dream. DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN. inception. i thought it worked. the mental hospital becomes a whorehouse which becomes a battleground of a never ending war with gremlins, samurai robots, orcs, i-robots, dragons and germen zombies powered by steam and clockwork. did i mention the zepplins, tri-planes and mecha? well yeah, tri-planes (protip: the red baron flew a tri-plane).
babydoll's fellow inmates/dancers/squad-mates take on different aspects of her psyche. recreating her trauma, allowing her to accept what happened and move on. are some of the characters one-dimensional? yes, i say that comes from being essentially figments of her imagination. of course they are cliches and hammy. they are images of people filtered through a broken mind.
if you remember watchmen, you would know that music plays a big part in giving depth and context to a scene. synder may be a little on the nose at time, but that is thing. so you have babydoll in a solo fight that looks un-winnable, they play bjork's "army of me" i consider it to be babydoll's theme. there were also great covers of "sweet dreams" and even the pixies "where is your mind?" i am all about tracking down these songs. the music was about holding the scenes together.
i found the decay and the filth of the hospital to be apt and disgusting, the glamor of the burlesque stage to be worthy of gypsy rose and war scenes with zack synder? can you say slow-mo punch to the face with ripples? battles with a giant army against a small, elite force is ALL HE DOES. and he makes it look like ballet. ballet with machine guns.
my friends believe zack snyder called me up and asked what i would like to see in a film and my answer being something like: super hot girls, tiny skirts with stockings, h&k mp5s, mecha with nose art, a wizard archetype, the battle of helm's deep with bomber planes, carla gugino, katanas, robots (all sorts), zombies, gremlins, a dragon would be good, shooting tri-planes down with a pistol, zippo lighter, panty shots, reel-to-reels, slow-mo shell casings falling to the ground, mag-lev trains, 1960s cars, laser reticules, potato masher grenades, and dan drapier.
it was fun and i got a lot out of it. should have been called "american mcgee's alice - the movie" TBH