Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Suicide Squad commits Suicide Post Production

 Suicide Squad, or 'Deadshot, Harley and Friends' as it should have been called, was the greatest disappointment this year for cinema so far.

     Like many others, the hype was real and I was so excited to see the long-awaited Suicide Squad film. I watched cast interviews, behind the scenes footage, and every trailer gleefully in anticipation for the new movie, only to leave the theater confused and disappointed. I went home to read up on what exactly happened, and found myself very angry. Now I want to preface this blog by saying I really wanted to like the film and came to its defense before its release to those who had their doubts. Sadly that is not the case. My opinion is "I liked it...but meh."

 At the end of the blog I will leave my references, and final thoughts, if you want to skip spoilers and get to the point.

What what happened? Some minor spoilers. 

     The first thing I noticed was so many scenes from the trailers never made it to the film. An article that mentions all of them is below, so you can research yourself. Some story pieces were cut out and moved around giving the movie a choppy feel. In fact, it seems the original story, and what we were shown in the trailers, is not the end product. We had been marketed one thing and given another. There were six months of reshooting that happened, and we never got a straight or consistent answered whether it was for the action, (According to Jai Courtney via Twitter post) or for tone and humor, according to others. There were also rumors of the studio getting very nervous via the BvS flop and started to intervene. According to the articles below, the studio tested two trailers, and the campier, more humorous trailer tested better than the director, David Ayers original vision, which was darker and more origins based, so, that is the tone the studio execs wanted to reshoot and transition too. There are also rumors of multiple editors, even though only one is credited, whom actually left before the completed project, and a whole different company took over. So safe to say, too many visions, too many hands in the cookie jar. Again, articles with this information below.

     The most obvious change and injustice, in my opinion, is Harley and Jokers relationship. In a cast interview (below) when talking about shooting Harley and Jokers scenes, Margot Robbie mentions the abusive complicated relationship and makes reference to the Joker trying to kill her a few times. This would follow the comics accurately. We see a glimpse of this in the trailer when Harley appears to be tossed from a Helicopter by Mr. J, which shortly after is shot down by Amanda Waller in an attempt to stop their escape. However, in the film Joker was rewritten from the abusive, and psychotic Mr. J, to being obsessively in love with Harley, and his only role in the move is to reunite with her. So that scene was re-edited to look like he pushed her from the chopper to save her right before the chopper was shot down. It was then confusing when Joker went down with the chopper, why Harley didn't run to him and instead is seen later pouting outside in the rain, rips off the 'Puddin' choker Mr. J gave her and tosses it away.  I feel this more follows the idea of her upset because her Puddin just tried to kill her, not because she thinks he is dead.

     Jared Letos Joker received a lot of criticism, but I feel he did a great job. Joker is a hard role to do, with big shoes to fill. He brought back the unpredictable, colorful, theatrical, and psychotic elements of Joker. Mind you, that is what little we see of him, because rumor has it, due to all the reshoots and changing of the original story, most of his scenes were left on the cutting room floor. I feel we didn't get to see what he really brought to the Joker. The Joker was reduced to a love obsessed boy trying to reconnect with his girlfriend, which any true fan knows, is NOT the Joker at all. 
     One scene, in particular, was removed and fractions of it used later as flashbacks. That is the shot we see in the trailer; where the Joker is in a tuxedo with a burnt face, manically shooting a gun. This was supposed to be after-chopper-crash when a confrontation in the subway with the squad ensues after Harley tells Mr. J she isn't going with him, that she wants to stay with the gang to finish the mission. So Joker throws a grenade at them before he leaves. That aforementioned scene is used completely out of context later, and that confrontation itself never happened. 

     The movie also felt very unbalanced. In the beginning, they do a very quick intro to characters, not all of them, and later when Amanda Waller is going into their histories and dossiers, Deadshot gets the most time, followed by Harley, and everyone is quickly glossed over. In fact, Katana and Slipknot get no real back story or intro time, Killer Croc, who had five hours of makeup before shooting hardly gets any total film time, and neither does Captain Boomerang. El Diablo gets his intro but spends most of the time in the background, until later in the movie he shows what he can "really do" which felt more convenient than anything else. Another thing that was unusual is no one had a role. They were all there because they were crazy metahumans, however, they didn't have specific jobs. Typically in these types of films, if you have a squad of people together, they have specific tasks and roles. However, they all fought alongside each other, not using their specific abilities, which was also disappointing. 

     I also noticed some audio and soundtrack issues. The scene when Rick Flag is giving his speech to the inmates in the desert, the audio is much different from the rest of the film, a small thing, but I think more evidence of sloppy reshoots and editing, and most of the movie soundtrack is pop culture songs, until one particular scene before the suicide mission that has an actual score which felt out of place. The last thing that really stood out to me was a few scenes where the characters outfit and make up are slightly different. One example is the squad has been out in the rain, Harley's white face paint has faded, her eyes and lips are more smeared, as they should be, but later, post rain, her face paint is caked on and eyes and lips look freshly applied, Which again I think is the product of sloppy reshooting, and re-editing.

     Now reshoots and edits happen a lot, but I think part of the problem is Suicide Squad already had an ambitious release date before reshooting, and then the re-editing was very rushed, and again, by multiple companies and people. It not seamless, it feels choppy and sloppy. However, it's not just re-edited, they redid the whole story line. THEY CHANGED EVERYTHING

There is so much more but the linked articles talk about it in more detail. I want you yo do your own research and make your own opinions, this is my own personal ranting.  

So why am I so mad? 

     I am really disappointed because some of these characters are making their first debut in the film world. I can't tell you how long I have been waiting for a live-action Harley Quinn. The original story line was awesome too, and from what I read, the David Ayers vision was going to be great. It was going to follow the original story closely, and it was going to do real justice, but nervous studio execs came in and screwed that all up. We would have gotten a great film, but that was stolen from us. That is why I am so mad. 
     Yes, I am irritated about the inconsistencies in editing, yes, I am annoyed they changed the Joker and Harley relationship to be more commercially appropriate, instead of what is really is. Yes, I am disappointed that Jared Letos Joker was barely in the film and butchered to point where he never got a fair chance, but mostly I am upset that David Ayers was going to give us a great, origin based film (that was evident in the cast interviews and trailers), but it was stolen from us, hacked and re-edited to be something studio execs, who are clearly unfamiliar with the story, preferred. I think had it been left to David Ayers, it would have gotten stellar reviews and fan response would have been overwhelmingly positive. 

Mostly, I feel so bummed out.

Perhaps one day we can see the David Ayers version. Sadly none of the cast members or director will ever be allowed to say what really happened, and are required to maintain support for the finished product. David Ayers has said this is his film, but I think it obvious that is not true.

Let me know what you think, 

And remember, this is just my personal opinion, so don't take too seriously. 

Jessi Harm

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