"Hanna" Director Joe Wright Slams "Sucker Punch’s" Girl Power, Spice Girls: ‘That’s Marketing Bullshit’

April 4th, 2011 by
On the heels of the grossly underperforming movie Sucker Punch, which dropped 68% its second weekend and has grossed only $29M on an $82M budget, here comes another punch its way. From Movieline:
In San Francisco to present his upcoming teen assassin thriller Hanna at WonderCon, director Joe Wright threw a few pointed barbs toward Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, calling out the film’s brand of scantily clad feminism. Speaking exclusively with Movieline, Wright elaborated on the subject, tracing the “alarming” brand of sexually-exploitative girl power found in Sucker Punch back to the Spice Girls.

“For me, one of the main issues in terms of womens’ place in society and feminism is the sexual objectification of women,” Wright told Movieline in Los Angeles before presenting his latest film, Hanna, to the WonderCon crowd on Saturday. “That’s something that feminists in the ’70s tried to fight against but has been totally lost in the 21st century consumer-celebrity world. So for me, when I look at the poster for Sucker Punch it seems actually incredibly sexist, because it is sexually objectifying women regardless of if they can shoot you or not.”

“I have a kind of immediate, knee-jerk reaction to such iconography,” Wright continued. “I remember when the Spice Girls came out in the mid-’90s and it was all about girl power, but one of them was dressed as a baby doll, do you know what I mean? That isn’t girl power, that isn’t feminism. That’s marketing bullshit. And I find it very, very alarming.”

I’ve been following the Twitter feed re Hanna (Focus Features) and the general reaction to it thus far has been quite good. Joe Wright has directed such movies as Pride & Prejudice, Atonement and The Soloist, so this action movie is a departure for him.

Here is the IMDB plot summary for Hanna:

A 16-year-old who was raised by her father to be the perfect assassin is dispatched on a mission across Europe, tracked by a ruthless intelligence agent and her operatives.

Definite echoes of The Professional and Run, Lola Run. Screenplay by Seth Lochhead and David Farr, based on a story by Seth Lochhead. And the movie stars some great actors including the incomparable Cate Blanchett and a rising young talent Saoirse Ronan.

The trailer for Hanna:

A featurette on the movie:

Todd McCarthy’s THR review here.

Justin Chang’s Variety review here.

For more of the Movieline article, go here.

If you’re looking for a role model for young female Protagonists especially in terms of empowerment, doesn’t Hanna win over Sucker Punch by a mile?

Hanna opens April 8. Those of you who have seen it, what’s your reaction? Anybody excited to catch the movie? And what of Wright’s comments re Sucker Punch

13 thoughts on “"Hanna" Director Joe Wright Slams "Sucker Punch’s" Girl Power, Spice Girls: ‘That’s Marketing Bullshit’

  1. Escarondito says:

    Unless you are ugly and repulse the penis you are always a sex object. Oh, did I remove the truth from the bottle Joe Wright.

    What he fails to grasp is that spice girls were sex for sex sake. The point of Suckerpunch isn't to reject the idea that women are sex objects. It is to acknowledge that women will always be sex objects and still kick ass anyway. God know what the hell he is talking about.

    Everyone measure everyone by attractiveness on a day to day basis. Duh! Women, Men it doesn't matter. The only thing that warrants not obtaining sex object status in a human brain is whether or not you are attracted to that person. And most of the time if you aren't attracted and you don't intimately know them(family, friends) they're invisible to you. Sorry. But I'm not sorry.

  2. Susan says:

    I am constantly amazed that media perpetuate the idea that women CAN'T be smart, strong AND sexy all at the same time.

  3. Escarondito says:

    @Susan

    Thank you! All these women reviewing Sucker Punch saying that the women dressed sexy are empowered are stuffing their heads up their promotional books and asses. Women WILL NEVER be empowered unless they are able to be sexy and kick butt. But then again, let's look at the quality of the feminist who denies such claims.

  4. Katie says:

    I think escarondito you're missing the point. The majority of films are written by men, for men and when a female character is portrayed as a sex symbol or an old safe mother they are completely unrelatable to the females in an audience. Real women are never portrayed in film and often female characters do not have another female to talk and when they do it's all about a love interest. Yawn!

    Giving a woman a gun doesn't make her empowered, neither does walking round half naked. People wonder why anorexia is growing at a rapid rate, why young girls aspire to gave breast implants in their early teens – you don't have to look far to see why.

    As a woman, I don't want to see women acting like sterotypical male action characters because that's not what we are. Both men and women will always be sex objects but both sexes are more than that (I hope!) it's just that women are massively unrepresented and misrepresented. Suckerpunch's characters are outdated and tired and are more like objects (sex or otherwise) than three dimensional characters.

  5. Katie says:

    Also the spice girls had no talent and were a money making machine for themselves, but more so for the marketing men behind the scenes. Is the film industry any different to this right now? I don't think so.

    Besides, if want to really take it down to the bare bone, women can of course be sexy, strong and intelligent but any woman can take her clothes off and click her fingers and a guy somewhere will run to her! So why do we as women place so much emphasis on sex appeal being so important in how we feel about ourselves emotionally? Media and social portrayal is why. And which sex run this? Men in the vast majority. So why are women often under developed lame characters who are defined by how sexy they are? It's obvious, isn't it?

  6. James says:

    I don't think Joe is wrong.

    But I'd go see a Zach Snyder film any day of the week over a Joe Wright one.

    And I'm not a Zach Snyder fan, and I think he has some huge issues with ability to tell a story.

    He also managed to get an 82 million dollar budget to back an unknown female lead in an action movie.
    .
    I don't see ANYBODY doing that.

    P.S. Joe Wright has some of the most pussified male characters I have ever seen on the silverscreen. Maybe that's why he's so in touch with his feminine side. He is a huge vagina.

  7. Nate Winslow says:

    He does? Like who?

  8. Nick West says:

    It's interesting that Snyder says this film is a critique on the very thing being complained of here. He says he dressed them sexily but didn't film them in an exploitative manner—on purpose.

    He wanted to make fun of geeks that see woman as objects.

  9. Lazzard says:

    Couldn't be more thrilled that 'Sucker Punch' is tanking. On the strength of the trailer I wouldn't dream of going to see it, but it seemed pretty dubious to me.

  10. Escarondito says:

    @Katie
    "I think escarondito you're missing the point. The majority of films are written by men, for men and when a female character is portrayed as a sex symbol or an old safe mother they are completely unrelatable to the females in an audience. Real women are never portrayed in film and often female characters do not have another female to talk and when they do it's all about a love interest. Yawn! "

    So, what's a real woman? Does she have to be sexually unappealing? They weren't the deep 3-dimensional characters we want in top-tier stories but if you went to this movie looking for depth you should check your glasses and re-watch the trailers. It's perfectly acceptable to complain about not seeing real women in a high caliber movie like the social network. But, when you're talking about a movie that is basically wanna-be inception with more things that go BOOM! and looking for deep female or any deep characters you're crazy. Like Statham, Clooney, Willis, or any other action star, in an action movie you need your character to be sexually appealing and good at what he/she does. Kick-ass. Check. And check.

    "Giving a woman a gun doesn't make her empowered, neither does walking round half naked. People wonder why anorexia is growing at a rapid rate, why young girls aspire to gave breast implants in their early teens – you don't have to look far to see why. "

    I'm starting to question what is "empowered". I hear alot about what isn't empowerment, but I never hear about what is empowerment. And also, it isn't just giving her a gun. It's giving her a gun and she is damn effective at using it, is a damn good leader, and is smart as well. Is she sexy? yes. SO why isn't that "empowered". It's almost as if females can't be empowered and be a subject of the male gaze. Hurts to be the pretty girl doing the damn thing at your job huh? On your second point that is an odd thing I've noticed. Many of those magazines, shows, media outlets which show those images are bought by women. So in some cases it's self-harm. Is that billboard with a 18-year old nymph lounging for american apparel impossible to escape your eye sight? Yes. But don't buy the latest cosmo which shows you vanessa hudgens great new body and tells you 30 ways to trim your own fat.*Chappelle Face* Come on son!

    "As a woman, I don't want to see women acting like sterotypical male action characters because that's not what we are. Both men and women will always be sex objects but both sexes are more than that (I hope!) it's just that women are massively unrepresented and misrepresented. Suckerpunch's characters are outdated and tired and are more like objects (sex or otherwise) than three dimensional characters."

    Women, black folk, latinos, asians, I get that we are all under and mis-represented. However, I feel like the Sucker punch girls are the first women in cinema since the bride that I can say are made into action heroes who are somewhat close to the same level as men. If that makes sense. And also, this line you said, "I don't want to see women acting like sterotypical male action characters because that's not what we are." Women generally don't do action things. That's why it is so big when a women does them. Have you heard about the story of a grandmother who stopped a robbery with her pocket book. Part of the appeal is that she is a normal citizen true, but the other part of the appeal is that she is a woman, and an older one at that. Women generally have the priviledge that is ish goes down they aren't looked at first to act, to lead, to comprehend and handle the situation and save the day. So if you day you don't like to see your women in roles like that you don't want to see your women in the action roles men take on. What then would you want women to be in for their action roles?

  11. Nick West says:

    How many people here have commented on the meaning of Sucker Punch without seeing the movie? To me, the theme as the end credits rolled was thus:

    A young woman uses her intelligence to overcome an impossible situation.

  12. Lazzard says:

    @Nick West
    If that was the case, perhaps they shouldn't have chosen to market it as a gratuitous soft-porn pic.
    That way I'd have gone along to see it and appreciated it's true, inner meaning.
    I'm sorry, but in my book, if it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck…

  13. Nick West says:

    @Lazzard I don't think Sucker Punch is a five-star movie by any means but I enjoyed it. It has plot holes up the yin-yang but it was fun—and deeper than the critics give it credit for.

    I watched Source Code this week and found a cool looking movie with almost zero subtext or depth. The characters were one-dimensional, but hey, it had great marketing.

    So what I'm saying is that you are admittedly judging a movie based entirely on its marketing. I guess as long as you're honest about your ignorance I'm happy with it too.

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