“Pacific Rim” by the esteemed Guillermo del Toro — “Pan’s Labyrinth” still gives me chills — is fun. It’s more memorable than the “Mission Impossible” franchise – I can’t remember one of those films except Tom Cruise running like mad in all of them – but not as emotionally captivating as it could’ve been. But del Toro’s “real hope” was to introduce the Kaiju (Japanese genre for “strange creatures,” like Godzilla) and mecha (Japanese anime sci fi) genres to a new generation of children. Ding, ding, ding!! Success!
Character development was not at the top of the list in this film though the scenes between the marshal in charge, played with the authority it demanded by Idris Elba,and a fledgling pilot, played by Rinko Kikuchi had great moments. That was the best arc. The orphaned girl carrying a red shoe was powerful and sad. No image included because I can’t stand children in distress – and that child did too good of a job playing distress. Del Toro has Spielberg’s gift of capturing kids, their relationship to parents and adults, and the loss of innocence (del Toro’s red shoe…Spielberg’s red coat…hmm).
Bt the writers missed some opportune moments that could’ve easily been included for character development. There were some hardcore obstacles with the lead, played by Charlie Hunnam – almost unrecognizable from his “Sons of Anarchy” role – and between Hunnam and Kikuchi. Their love/professional relationship had an intense obstacle but it was so easily resolved. So easily, like with one conversation — a “talk resolve” (my term) which they tell you never to do in every screenwriting class, book, workshop. I’d like to have seen some more setbacks, getting up and failing, and a final push to get them to prevail but…some elements always have to go the wayside for timing.
And the ending shot…sigh…as Hellicoptajuuce found out for his post on OhNoTheyDidn’t, Del Toro explained the end shot, “When I was working on the movie we had three or four different versions of the relationship between Charlie and Rinko because I wanted to see if I could make a story about two people liking each other without having to end in a kiss.”
Oh, del Toro, monsters you may know, romance you do not. All that tension, the drift connection, the hotness, the almost death experiences — and not even a kiss? It wouldn’t have been hokey. It would’ve been cathartic. It would’ve made sense. It’s human nature. Hell, I would’ve kissed anyone next to me had I just lived through what they did. Maybe holding out for the sequel?
As far as sci fi goes, the movie had some unique features. The mecha, or “jaeger” (hunter), the huge robots in this movie, are run by technology that depends on the two warriors inside to be Zen. They have to mentally and spiritually connect through a “neural drift.” That was an interesting concept. The kaiju, aliens in this case, come through a portal from underneath the oceans – loved that. The creatures had del Toro’s signature look that I dig.
Some things were out of whack with the universe that was set up, like how did the main headquarters remain in contact with the warriors while they’re going through a wormhole? In “Contact” and “Farscape” they showed the sci fi law: wormhole = no contact.
But most unique, and kudos to del Toro for it, is their spin on gender. Sci fi, gaming, comics are genres with the heterosexual, seemingly undersexed male gaze stamped all over them. Women with measurements more ridiculous than Barbie, in movement-blood restricting leather, who I could sit on, defeat men who don’t put up too much of a fight. Like Joss Whedon, del Toro’s not into that. Thank you.
Kikuchi was in normal clothes and kicked ass.
And Del Toro turn the gender gaze around. Literally.
Kikuchi is seen looking through a peephole to get her fill of Humam’s body. They need to “drift” but I’m sure she wants more than a mental connection. I don’t blame you, sistah…
Let’s not forget Robert Kazinsky (“True Blood”) and Max Martini (“Revenge,” “The Unit”) who play father and son. There’s a man for every taste in this movie. Draw for the female and Streisand fans who might stay away otherwise?
Yes, I can discuss silicon based kaiju as expertly as I can discuss eye candy. In fact, it’s downright professional. It’s how movies get made: strong script, whatever. Execs talk about the audiences who will flock due to the amount of eye candy and star appeal. JJ Abrams included an out-of-nowhere panties scene of Alice Eve, aka Dr. Carol Marcus (MD, Ph.D, and apparently lingerie model!) in “Star Trek” that even its writer, Damon Lindelhof, called “gratuitous” and “unnecessary.”
Here’s a great article on it on the EW site, “Why Pacific Rim is a good movie for geek girls.” And girls with blood pumping. And gay guys. And hetero men who appreciate the abs and beauty in other men. (Do they? They must!)
I leave you with an introduction to the Canadian born identical triplets: the Luu Brothers.