Pacific Rim was everything I expected, and more. Talking about to people about it, they tried their darnedest to say something negative about the movie, but in my mind nothing clicked–it was a movie paying homage to the best of super robot anime, and it turned out to be perfect.
I don’t mean to say that Pacific Rim is immune to criticism–I, in my infinite love for the genre, just choose to gleefully ignore any flaws that it may have. What’s most important for me is that this film was made. For many years I’ve wondered why Hollywood has never done a mecha movie–mecha, humanoid machines piloted by humans, not robots. The possibilities for drama are endless. The mecha genre is essentially a larger-than-life tale of humanity–mecha have arms and legs, they stumble and fall to the lowest depths, and they stand on the topmost heights. They are humanity’s very will carved into indomitable machinery.
What I love about the film is that it’s grounded on the sensibility of mecha. In an interview, Del Toro said that he used the language of a western adventure (marshal, rangers, etc) instead of the military. Mecha anime in general isn’t militaristic, not in the way that the Transformers live action films do at least. Protagonists are generally civilians, and the soldiers often question their motives and express horror at having to take lives. Pacific Rim isn’t about gleefully blowing your enemies to kingdom come, it’s about standing together in the face of apocalypse and not yielding.
If anyone is making a mecha film next, I hope it’s a real robot one. A modern VOTOMS-like movie would really be good (and safe enough). It would really be cool if they synthesized the weighty Western mecha aesthetic with the human proportions of the Japanese. And keep the whirring sounds, please!