Director and writer Zack Snyder has had an interesting career in films up to now. He has went from remaking a classic (“Dawn of the Dead”) to helming his own completely original pet project (“Sucker Punch”) in the span of seven short years. Strangely, up until now, the helmer has had a great track record with critics and moviegoers alike.
Zack Snyder’s 2004 directorial debut in films was a remake of George A. Romero’s 1979 zombie classic “Dawn of the Dead.” Taking on a project like this for your first feature outing is very risky. Horror fans are very unkind to people who mess with their sacred entities. Somehow, he pulled it off and the movie was praised by critics and audiences alike.
His next venture into filmmaking was 2006’s big-screen adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel “300.” This proved to be a very good move on the part of Zack Snyder and the movie was a success critically and theater patrons loved it. He also broke ground by using a very unique filming procedure called super-imposition chroma key technique that made the movie appear almost identical to the original comic book. This helped to position the movie to stand out from other historical war films that had been made. Snyder won a Saturn Award in 2008 for Best Director, further pushing him up the ladder of success in Hollywood.
In 2009, Zack Snyder’s most ambitious project yet hit theaters. The director took on Alan Moore’s highly-esteemed graphic novel “Watchmen.” This movie wowed old and new fans alike who touted it as one of the most accurate adaptations of a comic book to ever hit the big-screen. The film ultimately ranked as the fifth highest theatrical opening in the month of March and the sixth highest grossing R-rated film of 2009.
The director’s next project found him moving into the territory of fantasy films. Snyder decided to try his hand at adapting a series of young adult and children’s books for the silver screen. 2010’s American-Australian 3-D production of “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole ” took on author Kathryn Lasky’s first three novels in her fifteen book series for Scholastic. Unfortunately, the film didn’t seem to find an audience in the U.S. and it was the first movie that didn’t hit number one opening weekend for Zack Snyder. However, thanks to foreign moviegoers taking a liking to the movie it did end up paying off it’s $80 million production budget in the end.
This brings us up to date and looking at Zack Snyder’s first foray into writing, directing, and producing a film. “Sucker Punch” is Snyder’s project completely. He wrote the original story and created it’s characters and world. This is the first movie that has critics unimpressed with director Snyder’s work. They’ve been quoted as saying it is full of “nonsensical action” and “has absolutely nothing original or even coherent to say.” The director’s fans still seem to be standing behind him and have shown their support by taking in midnight showings and making the film the lead at the box office on it’s official opening day.
“Sucker Punch” might end up being the most telling film the director has ever made. Could it be that Zack Snyder does his best work when staying behind the camera and strictly working from someone else’s stories? He definitely knows how to visually grab an audience’s attention, but if there’s no tale to tell what’s the point? Hopefully this will be a learning experience for Snyder and he will again shine brightly as a director with 2012’s “Superman: Man of Steel.”