On Pacific Rim

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!

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7 Responses to On Pacific Rim

  1. r042 says:

    It says something about this film that every question someone asked me about it could be answered with “like it would happen in a super robot show.”

    China and Russia in the big fight? They’re your Diana A/Texas Mack/name your mass production robot to taste.

    The scientists? They’re funny, bicker a lot, get in minor peril and save the day with a last minute discovery, just like super robot professors who work out the enemy’s weakness just in time.

    About the only staple it lacked was a monster attacking the big base.

  2. DoctorBaronvonEvilSatan says:

    Battletech movie pls.
    I miss the old cartoon.

  3. Taka says:

    Not just mecha anime but also old kaijuu films. The name Stacker Pentecost though, that’s total Gundam universe.

  4. sadakups says:

    Oh man, me my friend who’s a mecha junkie watched this last week, and we were like fangirls spazzing out to a Justin Bieber concert. Okay, bad comparison there, but you know what I mean. It’s a mecha and monster movie fan’s wet dream, and this movie delivered the goods. Del Toro knows his shit, definitely.

    I seriously hope that this paves way for more live-action mecha movies in the future that is not Transformers. Del Toro mentioned in an interview that he has Patlabor as one of his anime influences (and even makes his daughters watch it), so why not start with that?

    • Well said. I’ve seen the film twice and I could not help but have a huge grin on my face watching the film. Sure, I’ve read the criticisms, but honestly, I just brush them off. Whatever. The film was just a bang-on great experience from start to finish. The fact that it got made is amazing–but I’m still at a loss about this–you see, people have complained that “there’s nothing good out there except sequels and reboots and remakes” and yet here’s PACIFIC RIM, that is, well, “original” even though it borrows from anime and kaiju movies.

      And yet the moaners still complain how it wasn’t good enough. Too bad for them–I was to busy having fun. Kudos to del Toro; he knocked this one out of the park.

      • sadakups says:

        Some who “criticized” the movie hasn’t seen a monster movie or a mecha show other than Transformers prior to watching this movie.

        And oh god, don’t get me even started on those who cry that this movie is an Evangelion rip-off.

  5. Reid says:

    Oh just imagine the great fun we all would have had talking about this fine film over at We Remember Love. I’ve spoken with Ghost about this movie and he loves it.

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