ACTION ADVENTURE; 1hr 49min
STARRING: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Vanessa Hudgens, Jena Malone, Jamie Chung
Mind games: Browning
Imagination is a fabulous tool, especially when handled with operatic dash by director Zack Snyder. The man behind Watchmen and 300 is a sublime to incredibly silly visual stylist — but incredible is his consistent stock-in-trade. So when crushed but luscious Babydoll (Browning) is unceremoniously shoved into a Dickensian nuthouse in Vermont, she blocks out the squalid horror by willing her way into other worlds, and taking fellow travellers Cornish, Hudgens, Malone and Chung with her.
“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything,” their chameleonic combat guide (Scott Glenn) warns them, and with that in mind the wild-chick warriors won’t take inaction for an answer as they as they blaze a search-and-destroy trail to freedom. In Babydoll’s mythical worlds, dragons are there for the slaying, past and future run in tandem, and survival is an everyday battlefield. The sensation-saturated glut of what you see is the chief rationale for what you get, but the va-va-voom — Hot girls! Martial arts! Production values to kill for! — makes the fanfare worth braving.