I watched Pacific Rim and it was intense! It was really fun and grand and pew! pew! booooom! Bang! Whoaaa!
Let’s talk about the obvious parts first: Giant robots fighting giant sea monsters!
As they said in a Monty Python skit: “It WORKS, mate!” (This is when the pope is talking to Michelangelo about the Last Supper). The giant robots and the Kaiju work. You eat it up hook, line and sinker ’cause they are consistent in their own world. They fit and work according to a set of rules that while fantastical, is consistent and believable enough that you gladly suspend your disbelief the moment you see them. There’s something about the lumbering almost-agility of the Jaegers (the giant robots) that personifies them excellently.
The alien, yet familiar sea creature designs of the Kaiju make them really look like something from another world, while maintaining that almost familiar shape of something that might crawl out from the sea. Take a look at a lobster and tell me there isn’t something incredibly strange and alien about it! Or a hammerhead shark or a crazy ass mantis shrimp.
The end result of the design and the animation is this organic, visceral, malevolent creature. I’ve heard people complain that most of the fights happen at sea, and that between intense violence and the ocean spray, you rarely get a really good look at the creatures. I think it is somewhat true, but also works to the advantage of the movie. Things are a whole lot scarier when they are in our imagination. Humans have always feared shadows far more than anything real. A real thing can be defeated, a spawn of fear augmented by your own phobias is a lot harder to defeat. You definitely get a lot of eye candy in this movie and I felt I saw my fill of those scary things. It was plenty for me!
The movie really knows its strengths and it plays those up. The Kaiju and the Jaegers get
their beauty shots, with angels carefully chosen each shot to maximize the feel of how really HUGE they are. They really work hard to make you feel the bigness of it all, and that’s not as easy to do as you might think. An example of it being done poorly would be Gundam (Sorry!)
whenever they’re fighting in space. They immediately stop being giant robots and just become metal man-sized lumps in space. There’s no sense of scale or grandness.
The characters are predictable, but it works in the movies advantage as well, in my opinion. You didn’t come to this movie to be educated on philosophy and should the movie take its protagonists too seriously you’d stop buying it. The main male lead is handsome enough to pass for a hero, and while nothing that comes out of his mouth is groundbreaking or very original, nothing is contrived or cliche’d, either. The female lead I really enjoyed. A not overly sexualised Japanese girl who, while intense and determined, still has the softness of a woman about her. I hate it when they remove femininity to make a female character “strong”. “What is strength? It’s not being a woman.” I mean, really? They don’t that here. I felt I could identify with her, and she stays close to her roots. They don’t ‘americanize’ her.
What else to say? Oh, yeah. If you have PTSD, be aware that it is a very triggering movie, depending on your triggers. There are things coming at you from no where (“boo scares” as I call them), there’s war and death and destruction of lives and homes. There are doomsday sirens and little crying kids and all that good stuff. Why am I telling you this obvious thing?
“Anat, it’s an action movie! Of course it has all those things!”
I’m telling you this ’cause I have PTSD from wars, and I found the movie on the triggering side. That whole story is for another blog. One filled, unfortunetly, with a whole lot less giant robots and evil sea monsters that KICK butt and are awesome to watch.
I recommend this movie, but not for kids. It is PG13, and for once I actually would abide by that. There’s some disturbing imagery.
Thanks for reading, and let me know what you thought of the movie!