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June 27, 2014 6:42 AM   Subscribe

Film director Guillermo del Toro has confirmed that not only will there be a sequel to Pacific Rim on 7 April 2017, but also an animated series. No details, but in the meantime, enjoy these concept art clips and discussion about the Mako Mari test.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (180 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
oh my god i am so in love with this news that it's barely comprehensible. Though three years is a bit of a wait....

I first saw Pacific Rim in a movie theatre in Kenya. There were three other people in the theater, and we were reprimanded by the usher for failing to stand up for the Kenyan national anthem that randomly played in the midst of the pre-show advertisements. (And hadn't played in the ads before any other movie I had ever been to in Kenya; we were really just too surprised to know what to do.)

And then the movie played and it was everything I had hoped for and so much more. del Toro's fondness for Lovecraft somehow got injected into the robots vs monsters movie, and it was perfect.
posted by kaibutsu at 6:52 AM on June 27


Praise be
posted by zamboni at 6:55 AM on June 27


discussion about the Mako Mari test

Yeesh, this again. This was just a desperate ploy by fans to somehow show that a shitty, non-feminist movie with cardboard characters was actually totally feminist.

Fanboys (or girls) will bend themselves into pretzels to show how their object of obsession is always totally perfect.
posted by Sangermaine at 6:55 AM on June 27 [6 favorites]


All right, let's reset the clock and get ready for the double event, people.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 6:59 AM on June 27 [5 favorites]


This was just a desperate ploy by fans to somehow show that a shitty, non-feminist movie with cardboard characters was actually totally feminist.

Meh, I saw it as non-western, so different cultural rules were going on.

If you disagree, then you're getting the elbow rocket.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:02 AM on June 27 [9 favorites]


I just saw Pacific Rim for the first time last month and I LOVED it. Yay!!!
posted by josher71 at 7:06 AM on June 27


Yeesh, this again. This was just a desperate ploy by fans to somehow show that a shitty, non-feminist movie with cardboard characters was actually totally feminist.

I agree that the characters were pretty cardboard (or, more generously, under-developed), but I don't know if it was non-feminist.

I mean, at this point, couldn't any movie that isn't evidently anti-feminist be considered feminist in a way?
posted by Think_Long at 7:07 AM on June 27


Saw PR in IMAX 3D in the theater and thought that it rocked and then recently caught most of it on TV and without the giant screen and extra dimension, it's really not that great a movie.The lead actor is horribly wooden and the script is clunky as hell and the tone jumps all over the place.
posted by octothorpe at 7:08 AM on June 27 [6 favorites]


That said, I'll definitely be at the IMAX in 2017 to see the next one. (I just won't watch it again on video).
posted by octothorpe at 7:09 AM on June 27


...discussion about the Mako Mari test.

Mako Mori is an embarrassing caricature of a shy asian kung-fu girl and her story arc is based entirely on her working to get approval from male father figures. I know everyone loves her and sees her as a strong female character for some reason but I can't for the life of me imagine why.

I would however support the creation of an Ellen Ripley Test.
posted by Jairus at 7:15 AM on June 27 [30 favorites]


The only thing that makes me sad about this news is that we can't have Idris Elba back (and even if they did find a way to bring him back, whatever plot contrivance made that possible would just be disappointing).

I don't understand why someone who thinks that Pacific Rim is "shitty" would even bother commenting on this post. I mean the movie had serious flaws (acting, plot, characterization) but it was FUN to watch (and had a non-useless female character too).
posted by sparklemotion at 7:16 AM on June 27 [5 favorites]


This time, maybe they'll remember the sword a little earlier.
posted by emjaybee at 7:18 AM on June 27 [12 favorites]


This time, maybe they'll remember the sword a little earlier.

The lack of Sword first makes some sense, in that it was new addition, which only Mako was really familiar with. Since she was a newb, of course she forgot about it.

But otherwise yeah, always *start* with the sword.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:20 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Very much looking forward to another round of "That movie about giant robots punching monsters didn't spend enough time on the emotional side of the human characters because that's what I value across the giant robots punching monsters canon, the human story" complaining.

I also hope PR2 is a prequel that's just Stacker Pentecost going around being awesome.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:21 AM on June 27 [36 favorites]


that's what I value across the giant robots punching monsters canon, the human story

That's the message the folks who made Godzilla got.
posted by Peccable at 7:24 AM on June 27


Rewatched PR after seeing Godzilla, and I kept wondering why they didn't let Godzilla deal with the Kaiju instead.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:25 AM on June 27


Mako Mori is an embarrassing caricature of a shy asian kung-fu girl and her story arc is based entirely on her working to get approval from male father figures. I know everyone loves her and sees her as a strong female character for some reason but I can't for the life of me imagine why.

Exactly. I feel like some people just made up a Pacific Rim in their head and talk about that rather than what's on screen when they talk about how strong Mori was or how it's such an international movie.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:25 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


I thought they forgot the sword for so long precisely so that it would be a fucking amazing Voltron-style surprise move allowing them to cut the wings off the giant space bat.
posted by kaibutsu at 7:25 AM on June 27 [9 favorites]


(And you couldn't have the whole AWESOME giant space bat reveal if the sword was unlocked earlier...)
posted by mikelieman at 7:28 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I've been prepping for this movie by playing Titanfall. I'm ready.
posted by rebent at 7:29 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


I'm really glad that this thread where we can be excited about a big budget action movie with a non-white non-sexualised female lead, diverse supporting cast and strong positive message about working together has devolved into people complaining about how much they don't like it because [insert lazy dudebro commentary here].

It's not like you have the entire rest of the internet to do that or anything.
posted by fight or flight at 7:30 AM on June 27 [12 favorites]


her story arc is based entirely on her working to get approval from male father figures

True but this is a constant trope in many action and / or military themed movies, where the man or boy tries very hard to not disappoint Sarge, to live up to his father's expectations, or to match his (presumed dead) father's Jedi legacy. The trope is kinda annoying but it's hard to get worked up about the fact this particular instance involved a woman.

Her arc isn't entirely about the approval either. It's also a trope: novice gets thrust into dangerous situations, learns from her mistakes, and then she finally blows up the Death Star.
posted by honestcoyote at 7:31 AM on June 27 [8 favorites]


The sequel better be Ron Perlman and Rinko Kikuchi travelling the universe killing Kaiju and selling their parts on the black market.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:34 AM on June 27 [6 favorites]


Meh, Mako was strong, just not in a traditionally obvious way. That doesn't mean the film or the character are above criticism, but I do think it's a mistake to peg her as being weak or submissive.

As to the international flavor of the movie, that's fairly obvious, so I don't know what to say to people who insist it isn't.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:34 AM on June 27


how much they don't like it because [it's just another shitty CGI wank-fest with wooden characters and plot-holes up the wazoo]
posted by ReeMonster at 7:34 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


I would however support the creation of an Ellen Ripley Test.

A) Woman main character,
B) who kicks serious ass,
C) ????
D) Profit!

Joking aside, I'd be all over a Ripley test except that there are probably about five movies total that would pass it, and most of them by Luc Besson or Ridley Scott. It can't be accidental that the story is that the original Alien script was for a man and was left unchanged when she was cast.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:37 AM on June 27


Holy shit it had plot holes, but it was a movie about robots and monsters fighting so I feel like I'm already letting a lot slide.
posted by josher71 at 7:37 AM on June 27


This movie is much better on the big screen. It's OK on TV but it's all about scale, and when you're seeing it on a huge screen, wow, it's impressive.

And yes IT'S ABOUT ROBOTS FIGHTING MONSTERS so it's OK for it to be silly in spots. For instance, every scene with Ron Perlman.
posted by Mister_A at 7:39 AM on June 27


I was particularly enamored with the fact that del Toro was inspired by Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds - - I say bring on the sequel!
posted by fairmettle at 7:39 AM on June 27


It was a Big Dumb Movie but everyone involved seemed to be having such an amazingly good time that I didn't care. Especially Ron Perlman, but then, he has turned his weird giant face into sci-fi-movie gold, so I think he always feels like he hit the jackpot and might as well have fun.
posted by emjaybee at 7:40 AM on June 27 [6 favorites]


The Ellen Ripley Test: Are you Ellen Ripley?
posted by boo_radley at 7:41 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I have a theory that Del Toro can't make a movie without one obvious script flaw. In Pacific Rim, it was the obvious, talky exposition of the "as you know" bit with Dr. Geiszler and Hannibal Chau, where they talk about the secondary brain or whatever. It's totally unelegant and a huge example of how not to write a screenplay, and it stands out as a sore thumb in an otherwise quite streamlined script.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:42 AM on June 27


> "... that's what I value across the giant robots punching monsters canon, the human story ..."

That is, in fact, what I value in the giant robots punching monsters canon. That doesn't make my opinion better than yours, but it doesn't make it worse either.
posted by kyrademon at 7:42 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I feel like some people just made up a Pacific Rim in their head and talk about that rather than what's on screen when they talk about how strong Mori was or how it's such an international movie.

Did you notice the big point the movie makes about how Mako Mori is the one who gets the speech about protecting her father figure? Did you notice the way she leaned forward and made very clear to articulate when telling the white dude that it was obedience, not respect? Did it mean anything to you that before Stacker Pentecost comes to tell Mako to prep for her test run, she straightens her shoulders and totally shifts her facial expression to something pleasant and bland because she thinks it's going to be Raleigh on the other side of the door?

Then, no, I'm going to call bullshit on your qualifications -- and those of everyone else talking shit about Mako Mori in this thread -- to criticize the movie's portrayal of her.

tl;dr: The movie could have been more feminist, and it could have used more women, and it could have used more East Asians/Pacific Islanders. But you know what? Speaking as an Asian-American feminist who picked up on all of those cues and the many, many more that GDT and Rinko Kikuchi put in?

Mako Mori is amazing.
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:43 AM on June 27 [30 favorites]


A) Woman main character,
B) who kicks serious ass,
C) ????
D) Profit!


C) who also makes sure to save the cat when making her escape
posted by Dr-Baa at 7:43 AM on June 27 [6 favorites]


Joking aside, I'd be all over a Ripley test except that there are probably about five movies total that would pass it

Well, it would be the exact same as the Mako Mori test except with the difference that it's named after a character that passes the test. So: The Ellen Ripley test is passed if the movie has: a) at least one female character; b) who gets her own narrative arc; c) that is not about supporting a man’s story.

Alien³ (which fails the Bechdel) passes.
posted by Jairus at 7:46 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


fight or flight: "devolved into people complaining about how much they don't like it because [insert lazy dudebro commentary here]."

Yeah, when I think "lazy dudebro commentary", I think "not feminist enough" and "needed a female lead who was more than a lazy Asian stereotype". I mean, that's the kind of stuff you hear at all the frat houses.
posted by Bugbread at 7:47 AM on June 27 [15 favorites]


I just hope the sequel doesn't have too much ammonia.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:49 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Well, it would be the exact same as the Mako Mori test except with the difference that it's named after a character that passes the test.

When does Mako Mori fail the test? I've seen the movie a few times and I can confidently say that she is a female character who has her own narrative arc (aspiring to become a Jaeger pilot to get revenge on the monsters that killed her family) that is not about supporting a man's story (??). Unless you mean Raleigh, in which case I can't see how Mako wanting revenge for her family is supporting his arc? If anything he supports her arc, given how much he presses Stacker to make her a pilot.
posted by fight or flight at 7:52 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


If I may step outside the bickering for a moment to address the main content of the post:

WEEEEEEEE
posted by echo target at 7:57 AM on June 27 [7 favorites]


As per the point on internationalism - this movie was a borderline flop in the US, and wildly successful everywhere else. People really, really like the "World Cup of Giant Robots" feel, where every country gets a robot team or two and a shot at glory.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:58 AM on June 27 [10 favorites]


When does Mako Mori fail the test?

I think Mako Mori's story is clearly in the support of male story arcs. If Raleigh or Stacker did not exist in the story, then Mako Mori's story arc would have to be completely changed.

Compare with Alien³, where if Dillon didn't exist, Ripley's story arc would be exactly the same. The only character in Alien³ whose removal would change Ripley's story arc is the Alien.
posted by Jairus at 7:59 AM on June 27 [5 favorites]


People really, really like the "World Cup of Giant Robots" feel, where every country gets a robot team or two and a shot at glory.

But that's what I'm saying. They don't.

The jaegers from the other countries are talked up, then get annihilated almost instantly. The international characters get, what, 5 minutes of screen time and a handful of lines? The movie depicts the rest of the world's teams completely failing and the American having to save the day.

That's what I mean that the idea that this is an international movie is in fans' heads. It could hardly be more of a "MURICA FUCK YEAH" movie.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:00 AM on June 27


this movie was a borderline flop in the US, and wildly successful everywhere else.

I was just reading about the latest Transformers, and that movie franchise has the same type of sales, where the US is only responsible for about 25% of what the film makes, doing much better around the world. That would totally work in Pacific Rim's favor here.

I can't wait for another Pacific Rim, I loved the first one for the action scenes, but did wish they had better characters, more speaking female roles, and generally demanded better from their actors.
posted by mathowie at 8:01 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Slap*Happy: "As per the point on internationalism - this movie was a borderline flop in the US, and wildly successful everywhere else."

I dunno about "everywhere" else. It was a flop here in Japan.
posted by Bugbread at 8:03 AM on June 27


I assume the team will be led by Stacker Pentecost's identical twin.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:04 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


Jairus: "I think Mako Mori's story is clearly in the support of male story arcs. If Raleigh or Stacker did not exist in the story, then Mako Mori's story arc would have to be completely changed."

I personally don't buy the "Mako Mori = Ripley levels of feminism!" claim, but I think you're misunderstanding this part of the Mako Mori test. The argument isn't that the female character's story arc is completely unconnected to the other characters, but that it isn't there to support them. I think with Pacific Rim you could argue that Stacker's role is to support Mori's arc, not vice-versa.
posted by Bugbread at 8:06 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


That's what I mean that the idea that this is an international movie is in fans' heads. It could hardly be more of a "MURICA FUCK YEAH" movie.

Sure, the lead Jaegar pilot in the end was American, but he had the Asian co-pilot and Australian ops commander. Plus they were fighting in the Pacific, with Hong Kong being trashed and the tone wasn't "America, America" but "shit, we're all in this together"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:07 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]


I assume the team will be led by Stacker Pentecost's identical twin.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:04 AM on June 27 [+] [!]


Pacific Rim 2: the Legend of Stacker's Gold
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:09 AM on June 27 [6 favorites]


I want to see Tig and Opie in one of those robots. A Gemma/Tara combo would kick ass, too.
posted by malocchio at 8:10 AM on June 27 [5 favorites]


I feel like a lot of people went in with preconceived notions of what the movie was going to have in it and projected their notions onto the movie.

Whether this made it better or worse for that person is subjective I guess.

I loved it and cannot wait for the sequel and the series (2017 is wayyy to long to wait)
posted by Twain Device at 8:10 AM on June 27


Isn't the American robot cobbled together with spare parts from other teams for the climactic battle? The robot was American, as that was where the audience was imagined to be, but it required an international effort to get something out there, and the Americans had the most functional heap of junk left - and the pilots were American and Japanese, and their boss was British.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:10 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Really I just want to see a prequel consisting entirely of Cherno Alpha and its pilots kicking various kinds of ass.
posted by Foosnark at 8:13 AM on June 27 [10 favorites]


Very happy to see this news. The first film was gloriously big and dumb, though far smarter than I required it to be given its premise. My inner 12-year-old hadn't been that pleased by a film in years. I still want a Tacit Ronin toy for my desk.
posted by ipe at 8:15 AM on June 27



Pacific Rim 2: the Legend of Stacker's Gold
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:09 AM on June 27 [2 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Pacific Rim 2: Double Stacked
posted by Twain Device at 8:15 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]


As long as there are more of these wacky dudes, I am in.

Loved what they brought to the movie.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 8:17 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


Isn't the American robot cobbled together with spare parts from other teams for the climactic battle?

No, it was an older robot everyone passed over, because it was still diesel powered instead of modern and nuclear, right?

The whole movie seemed like the plot of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel to me personally.
posted by mathowie at 8:22 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]


It could hardly be more of a "MURICA FUCK YEAH" movie.

I guess if you ignore the whole genre. It seems more of homage to another culture's way of making movies, like when I watch the Samurai movies that are really westerns. If you wanted it to be USA #1! it would have waited until every other country was defeated, then we'd have pulled our defective retired prototype out of storage and saved the day.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:23 AM on June 27


If you wanted it to be USA #1! it would have waited until every other country was defeated, then we'd have pulled our defective retired prototype out of storage and saved the day.

But that's literally exactly what happened in Pacific Rim. As matthowie pointed out, the Ameircan jaeger was an old, out of date model that was derided as obsolete in the beginning.

When the rest of the world's fancy new jaegers were destroyed, it was just the old American one left to save things.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:24 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


Yes! New kaiju wallpaper.
posted by Mister_A at 8:25 AM on June 27


The argument isn't that the female character's story arc is completely unconnected to the other characters, but that it isn't there to support them. I think with Pacific Rim you could argue that Stacker's role is to support Mori's arc, not vice-versa.

See this is why the Bechdel test works. There's no real room for interpretation on the criteria. What's the hard-and-fast rule to say if a story arc is or isn't supporting a man’s story? I see her story arc as clearly in the service of Raleigh and Stacker's. She's a supporting character. If she were nominated for an Oscar she would be nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

You might disagree! And that's fine. But I think out of all the "strong female characters" in conteporary sci-fi, Mako Mori is one of the worst possible candidates for naming a strong-female-character-but-fails-the-bechdel test after. Especially with movies like Gravity or even The Avengers.

If you wanted it to be USA #1! it would have waited until every other country was defeated, then we'd have pulled our defective retired prototype out of storage and saved the day.

This is literally the plot of Pacific Rim.
posted by Jairus at 8:27 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


it was just the old American one left to save things

Yeah, as multiple people have pointed out, with the Japanese co-pilot and British/Australian backup.

Honestly, if it had really been a USA FUCK YEAH movie, do you think it would have been such a flop in the US?
posted by fight or flight at 8:27 AM on June 27


It occurred to me, when I read this news, that my only major exposure to the original kaiju movies was through the medium of MST3K. I briefly wished that del Toro would dedicate his sequel to a grimdark reimagining of the Prince of Space/Space Chief movies, with Rinko Kikuchi as the Prince, Ron Perlman as the Phantom Dictator of Krankor, and a truly epic destruction of the Hitler Building. Sadly, it is never to be.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:27 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]


The only thing I care about is whether this will finally revitalize his dead dream project "At The Mountains Of Madness"
posted by lumpenprole at 8:31 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


I thought the Ellen Ripley test was where you take a Major Movie Protagonist who is of course a man and then cast a woman instead and don't change a word of the script or acknowledge that there's anything weird about it at all, because there's not.

... but I realize that's not a test, per se. Maybe it could be tweaked into one for screenwriters though. "Does your Major Male Protagonist do or say anything essential to the plot that absolutely requires him to be male, like talking directly about or displaying his penis for some reason? If not, consider that there's no reason you couldn't cast a woman instead without changing anything."
posted by komara at 8:34 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


I know 2017 is a long way off but we have the turtle returning next year!
posted by Mister_A at 8:35 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


Also would love to see this updated, because boy is it a weird and disturbing film! Also it passes the Bechdel test. Think on that!
posted by Mister_A at 8:38 AM on June 27


> "Honestly, if it had really been a USA FUCK YEAH movie, do you think it would have been such a flop in the US?"

That's a strange argument. It implies that USAFUCKYEAHosity is the sole driver of U.S. ticket sales. As far as I know, that is not that case.
posted by kyrademon at 8:38 AM on June 27


USAFUCKYEAHitude doesn't hurt US ticket sales though. The thing about the film, to me, is that it doesn't feel as stereotypically American as most American-backed action films. Partly the setting, partly the tone, and partly the presence of non-American actors in important (if silly and one-dimensional) roles.
posted by Mister_A at 8:41 AM on June 27


if you gave del Toro 1/10 the budget to do this, he would make 10 times the movie...

also, wasn't the first one a flop everywhere?
posted by ennui.bz at 8:41 AM on June 27


I enjoyed the movie, though I didn't think it was the awesomest ever, I also will probably watch the sequel, though I wouldn't have been upset if one weren't made.

The movie wasn't actively anti-women, which is more or less the current bar for "feminist movie". Mako Mori was fine -- she didn't have much development, but then no one did on that show.
posted by jeather at 8:42 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Wow, you guys are making this movie sound worse than Transformers...
posted by FJT at 8:43 AM on June 27


octothorpe: Saw PR in IMAX 3D in the theater and thought that it rocked and then recently caught most of it on TV and without the giant screen and extra dimension, it's really not that great a movie.The lead actor is horribly wooden and the script is clunky as hell and the tone jumps all over the place.

Maybe that explains it then. I'm usually a pretty easy mark for scifi/action type movies, but this was just unwatchable when I dialed it up on Netflix a couple of weeks ago. For a while I was wondering if the whole "people loving Pacific Rim" thing was some sort of ironic prank or something.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:43 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


I thought the Ellen Ripley test was where you take a Major Movie Protagonist who is of course a man and then cast a woman instead and don't change a word of the script or acknowledge that there's anything weird about it at all, because there's not.

I'm not sure that's exactly true, at least not for the time. Ripley shows maternal qualities that you just wouldn't see in a male action protagonist in movies of that time. I love Die Hard like it saved me from terrorists personally, but compare the family relationship McClane has to Ripley's relationship with Newt. I think Aliens is not a case of Female Male Protagonist.
posted by phearlez at 8:45 AM on June 27


also, wasn't the first one a flop everywhere?

Nope, reportedly brought in $400M+ worldwide.
posted by Mister_A at 8:46 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Del Toro should be forced to make all his films in Spanish to ensure they're bloody brilliant instead of a bit rubbish.
posted by dng at 8:49 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Wow, you guys are making this movie sound worse than Transformers...

Ha, not even close:
Tessa, played by Nicola Peltz, is costumed in the style of many a Bay girl before her, with very short jean shorts and very tight tank tops and silly high-heeled boots and pouty pink lip gloss, all fashioning her as the innocently teasing sexpot next door. I don’t know if Michael Bay had a babysitter as a kid whom he’s still lusting after or what, but his obsession with this particular type, these Daisy Duke’d madonna-whore hybrids, is increasingly gross and unsettling. The fetishistic costuming and leering camera work would be one thing if any of these characters had any sort of agency, but they never do. Here Tessa is simply fought over by the two men in her life, overprotective daddy and hot stud racer boyfriend, Shane (Jack Reynor). Oh, I guess she gets scared sometimes, too. And has to be rescued. Those are the other two things she does.
posted by kmz at 8:53 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


The original didn't live up to the hype for me. I guess I am just very VERY jaded and cynical. Huh. It looked pretty, the production values were nice, but everything else failed to impress me. Meh. I'll be skipping these.
posted by The Vice Admiral of the Narrow Seas at 8:58 AM on June 27


"compare the family relationship McClane has to Ripley's relationship with Newt"

I was speaking specifically of Alien, not Aliens.
posted by komara at 8:59 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Especially with movies like Gravity or even The Avengers.

Gravity I can see, but Avengers is even worse.

But del Toro can have my money for producing a 3D animated feature not using the standard "look."
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:59 AM on June 27




I suddenly understand why so many people are dismissive of Tumblr. Because Tumblr does cultural criticism much better.
posted by maxsparber at 9:08 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


The first movie was terrible. Any time the internet gets all pumped up about some movie or another I wonder if maybe I just don't like movies period.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:09 AM on June 27


I'm not sure that's exactly true, at least not for the time. Ripley shows maternal qualities that you just wouldn't see in a male action protagonist in movies of that time. I love Die Hard like it saved me from terrorists personally, but compare the family relationship McClane has to Ripley's relationship with Newt. I think Aliens is not a case of Female Male Protagonist.

Well, Aliens isn't but Alien is. The character of Ripley in the screenplay is explicitly a unisex one, and they ended up casting a woman to play the role.
posted by Jairus at 9:10 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


The only thing I care about is whether this will finally revitalize his dead dream project "At The Mountains Of Madness"

I think they should be combined. I've always thought that what "At the Mountains of Madness"needed was more GIANT DONORS!!!(tm).
posted by happyroach at 9:10 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


Any time the internet gets all pumped up about some movie or another I wonder if maybe I just don't like movies period.

Pacific Rim: if you don't like it, you don't like movies!
posted by Foosnark at 9:12 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


So the thing about Mako Mari is...

I loved this movie. And I loved it precisely because it took every possible trope, and freakin' wallowed in it.

You see, there's a cliché genre fiction that gets repeated over and over again. You know it: There's a lovable Sergeant/Deputy/comic relief sidekick. Somewhere about the climax, this guy gets injured, there's the big escape and the group's only hope is that this guy stays back to make the heroic last stand to save the white hero and his girlfriend from the immediate danger so that they can save the world/defeat the greater evil.

Hated it in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, which is the worst example of it I can come up with off the top of my head (but that was a particularly bad movie). Have thrown countless novels in the trash when I could see that they were going there. Almost enjoyed one podcast novel, until that point where I deleted the guy's feed and refuse to read or listen to anything else he's written.

In Pacific Rim, I got mid-way into the credits before I shouted "You. Son. Of. A. Bitch." at the screen.

So, yeah, Mako Mari is exactly the cute submissive Asian girlfriend of the white guy who's trying to please her father figure, except that she isn't, and she isn't just enough that we actually have this conversation.

Which, I think, is the brilliance: yes, it was a giant comic book animated by rotoscoping with all sorts of winks and nods to the original material, wallowing in all of the tropes, with story holes you could walk a jaeger through, but it did so in a way that we are talking about those elements, rather than being strongly divided between "Woohoo! I was pumped!" or "I need to take a shower to rinse that off" as in, say, Iron Man.
posted by straw at 9:16 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


> what "At the Mountains of Madness"needed was more GIANT ROBOTS!!!

Kaiju, artifical servitors of dread aspect, are Shoggoths by any other name. Is there any other interpretation?
posted by bonehead at 9:19 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


FJT: "Wow, you guys are making this movie sound worse than Transformers..."

Let's not say things we can't take back.
posted by boo_radley at 9:19 AM on June 27 [6 favorites]


It's interesting to compare Pacific Rim with Edge of Tomorrow - in terms of broad genre, plot, and character beats, they are very similar movies. (Humans inside mech suits making last stand against devastating alien invasion, last stand is led by dour authority figure, male lead and female lead must team up to defeat the invasion, they are aided by quirky scientist type and largely undeveloped supporting cast, male lead is in the end the one who goes the final distance, etc. etc. etc. Even that male lead is American and most of the rest of the major cast is not.)

I personally think Edge of Tomorrow, although it had its flaws, is the better movie because of the greater focus on character and character development. By the end of that film, I was a lot more invested in what happened to William Cage and Rita Vrataski than I was in what happened Raleigh Becket and Mako Mori in Pacific Rim. And as I said before, that's what actually matters to me in mech-vs-monster films. The world being at stake in such a film doesn't mean much to me at this point -- the world is always at stake in these films. So on an emotional level, I tend to look for who is in the film world that makes it matter that the world is at stake.
posted by kyrademon at 9:22 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


I think Pacific Rim tried really hard with its characters, especially Mako, but I also think that it kind of undermined itself by dropping them into a film with such a flat plot, seeming hewn out pure narrative cliche, that it confines all its characters into really restrictive roles. So Mako gets to do all the stuff people claim of her, while at the same time only really being there so Rally Bucket has someone to kiss just before the end credits. It's an odd paradox.
posted by permafrost at 9:22 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


bonehead, I had the same feeling. Very nice Lovecraftian touch!
posted by Mister_A at 9:23 AM on June 27


while at the same time only really being there so Rally Bucket has someone to kiss just before the end credits.

Uh, they don't kiss. Apparently, they filmed a bunch of endings, and GDT specifically went with the no-kiss one.
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:24 AM on June 27 [10 favorites]


Didn't they? I may be confusing it with the end of a Bond film.
posted by permafrost at 9:25 AM on June 27


Yeah, I don't remember them kissing. I do remember being really happy that they didn't turn it into a come-from-nowhere love story.
posted by saucy_knave at 9:26 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]


The animated series part is the most surprising to me. Nothing like that gets made in America on any regular basis, but animation's the best way to do really fantastic, special-effects heavy stuff for television. I wonder where it'll air.
posted by Small Dollar at 9:27 AM on June 27


Nope. They do a cute little forehead bump, and then grin while the camera pulls back for rescue choppers.
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:28 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I'm starting to think there's a bit of a double-standard in how we regard female protagonists. The older act-2 sage who provides a moral context for a young protagonist is a key element in Star Wars but pointless and does nothing in How to Train your Dragon. The young and highly talented man who wants to chase his dream but does not initially out of respect for his parent is a staple of growing up stories, but not in Pacific Rim apparently. Luke working his way through a terrifying vision is character growth, Mako doing the same (an occurrence so common the the world that Jager crew have slang for it) isn't.

I don't read Mako as submissive. She disagrees openly and pointedly with both Raleigh and Pentecost multiple times in the movie. One of the reasons I think Pacific Rim is worth watching is that, unlike just about every other (*) Hollywood movie since the 1920s, disagreement isn't a prelude to a slap-slap-kiss-kiss relationship development.

(*) The most outstanding exception I can think of is the "interview" sequence in the Tracey/Hepburn comedy Desk Set, where Mr. Engineer reacts to Ms. Librarian's evisceration of his intelligence test with humorous bemusement.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:32 AM on June 27 [8 favorites]


They don't kiss, a fact particularly noted in Honest Trailers - Pacific Rim.
posted by straw at 9:36 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


OK, clearly I am in the tiny minority of people who found the original movie almost stupid beyond belief and cannot believe they are making another one.

Some movies fail in execution. Some in concept. Some apparently get mired in PC bullshit I don't give a wank about. But the idea that if we were somehow attacked by giant creatures, the best, most affordable, most easily executed plan was to build enormous, resource-consuming robots controlled by psy-power or some such bullshit, that are going to go out and physically PUNCH and kick the giant monsters with big metal hands as their best means of defeating them....I find it hard to believe that humanity will ever get that stupid. Even with all the evidence around me. It sounds like something a 5-year-old would dream up. And then be made fun of by all his smarter friends.

This was a terrible movie. Just awful. Almost walked out. Worse than 'Real Steel' which I thought was a new low. And I like robots. But Jesus. Just....no. Y'all enjoy your stupid movie.
posted by umberto at 9:38 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]


There's so much backstory hinted at in the film and other materials that a prequel series has me incredibly pumped. I was kinda hoping for an HBO miniseries, but I'll take what I can get.

Much like people wrote in to ask how they could join U.N.C.L.E., I want to write del Toro and ask how I can join the Pan-Pacific Defense Corps.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:42 AM on June 27


Y'all enjoy your stupid movie.

Don't worry, we will! In fact, I'm going to enjoy it twice as hard to make up for having to read your pissy comment.
posted by fight or flight at 9:43 AM on June 27 [29 favorites]


"That movie was super-dumb but I can't wait for the sequel" pretty much sums up the audience Hollywood is catering to at the moment.
posted by phaedon at 9:44 AM on June 27 [7 favorites]


On the Mako Mori topic, I was actually with a lot of you the first few times I saw the film. Liking her but thinking she was wasted in being relegated to a semi-submissive female role. And I still feel like some of the plot choices were questionable-- still not sure why it was Raleigh who got to have the final scene piloting the Jaeger into the Rift, etc.

But the more I've seen the movie the more I realize Mako as a character (separate from some of the plot choices made about her) isn't submissive with anyone at all except Stacker. And even then she's not submissive-- she just won't argue with him except in private. (And Asian American fans have written before about how many stereotypes are destroyed by that single, "It's not obedience, it's respect," line, so I'll leave that for now.)

But if you listen to her *lines*, Mako is pretty much the opposite of submissive. Basically the first thing Mako tells Raleigh is that he sucks and she doesn't believe in him. And the second thing she tells Raleigh is that he should be doing better with the drift candidates. And then the third thing she tells Raleigh is that she's gonna kick his ass with a jo. (Raleigh, meanwhile, has giant stars in his eyes the whole time, which is refreshing. Nice to see a hero who doesn't consider a woman's challenges to be some kind of weird personal insult.)

I think we're confusing Rinko Kikuchi's delivery, which is soft and feminine and not very loud and Japanese-accented, with submissiveness. Because we've been conditioned to do so, by the way that Asian women (and, more generally, women) are almost always portrayed in movies. I'm not sure what it says about me that I fell for it, multiple times, before I realized what was going on. Nothing comfortable, for sure. Like everyone else, I'm just so used to seeing femininity coded as weakness that it took me ages to look past it.
posted by WidgetAlley at 9:44 AM on June 27 [44 favorites]


Which is to say that I've been thinking a lot recently about bias shapes how we look at movies and what we remember.

Like, people watch Pacific Rim and say that Mako Mori was "useless" because she passed out during the final fight. But what about the part DURING THE FINAL FIGHT when she basically fought the Category-5 kaiju solo, because Raleigh's side of the Jaeger didn't have an arm anymore? Or the part where she got them to the Breach because Raleigh's side of the Jaeger didn't really have a leg? Say what you will about Raleigh's lines on her doing the hard stuff just being window dressing -- but why is it so hard for us, as the audience, to remember all the stuff that Mako does in the final fight?

Plus, if you go through the movie, you'll actually see that again, and again, Mako is the one who beats Raleigh. She is the one who wins the last point when they're sparring. She is the one who read the manual/wrote the fucking manual and knows they aren't out of options when they're in space with the bat creature. She is the one who gets introduced with an opening straight out of anime.

But in the end, because Mako needs saving at one plot point that arguably comes in after the emotional climax of the movie -- all of a sudden, people are reading her as not being in the movie at all? And not a hero in her own right? While Raleigh gets to be a hero even though him and his brother fucking up opens the movie, and he admits further fuck-ups on screen?

So. Yeah.
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:47 AM on June 27 [18 favorites]


I've also heard, with regards to women in the film, that the Wei triplets in Crimson Typhoon were supposed to be sisters, but that they couldn't find any female Chinese triplets to fill the roles. Don't know how true that is, but it gives me hope that next round we'll get a larger number of women.

(And the Russians back. I don't care how huge a plothole it would be if they survived. Just bring back the Russians, dammit.)
posted by WidgetAlley at 9:47 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


There were also rumors that they wanted quadruplets, but couldn't find any?

Also, wild rumors circulating that the actual actors for the Wei triplets were recently back in Toronto, where GDT is. LET US ALL HOPE FOR THE WEI TRIPLETS SHOWING UP IN THE PREQUEL ANIMATED SERIES.
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:50 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


WidgetAlley: "
(And the Russians back. I don't care how huge a plothole it would be if they survived. Just bring back the Russians, dammit.)
"

"Amazing! How did you escape your robot? How did you survive the crushing depths of the ocean without drowning!"

"Мы русские." (nods)
posted by boo_radley at 9:55 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]




But the idea that if we were somehow attacked by giant creatures, the best, most affordable, most easily executed plan was to build enormous, resource-consuming robots controlled by psy-power or some such bullshit, that are going to go out and physically PUNCH and kick the giant monsters with big metal hands as their best means of defeating them....I find it hard to believe that humanity will ever get that stupid.

The conceit of the film started from "robots fighting monsters" and worked backward from there. How would you propose to make that awesome event happen through a suitably non-stupid series of events?
posted by schoolgirl report at 10:01 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


lumpenprole: The only thing I care about is whether this will finally revitalize his dead dream project "At The Mountains Of Madness"

What killed ATMOM was that Prometheus had the same plot of a group of scientists discovering an alien civilisation connected to the origins of Mankind, then nearly being wiped out by a rogue servitor race of these aliens. So no, until a few years pass at least, because del Toro does not want to end up doing the next John Carter of Mars.
posted by sukeban at 10:02 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


(And the Russians back. I don't care how huge a plothole it would be if they survived. Just bring back the Russians, dammit.)

They brought back Chau from the guts of a kaijuu, they can damn well bring back the Russians. *raises fist*
posted by sukeban at 10:15 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


(And the Russians back. I don't care how huge a plothole it would be if they survived. Just bring back the Russians, dammit.)

It doesn't even have to be a plothole. While their Jaegar wasn't designed to have an escape pod, there's something about those two that makes me think they rigged something together in case they did lose. A grenade with a specific charge place at particular point in there cockpit, along with oxygen masks and boom, they make it back to shore a couple of miles downstream, injured and half dead, but eventually discovered and returned to the Shatterdome after the victory. And you know what that means. Cherno Alpha II!

Either way, there's a rich history that the movie established, with plenty of room for prequel action from everyone.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:18 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


"The conceit glory of the film started from "robots fighting monsters" and worked backward from there."

For everyone that didn't like this movie (it's okay, i'm sure you have some worthwhile contribution to the world, despite this obvious flaw), perhaps you were missing the point. Its a movie about giant robots fighting giant lizards.

To me, the only valid critique is that in between the giant monsters and the giant robots, too much time was spent on the humans (seriously, did they have to be in there??).

In that light, the only bechdel (or other tests) that should be considered valid would be: did at any point the female monsters have a conversation with other female monsters that weren't talking about male monster.

I also consider it to be fair criticism to discuss how this movie compares against other monster/robot conflict movies, but really, nothing else.

And if you think a monster/robot movie might not be the kind of serious cinema that's for you, you probably should have skipped on watching this in the first place (and certainly shouldn't take up valuable theater seats watching sequels).

I guess I'm saying I liked the first one, I'll be there on opening night for this one (as I was the first one).
posted by el io at 10:19 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit, see here (although I thought that Gipsy Danger was more Mazinger Z than NGE, what with the pilder, the breast fire and the rocket punch^H^H^H elbow)
posted by sukeban at 10:19 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing that the new Transformers movie doesn't pass any kind of test: 7 Ways to Tell You’re a Woman in a Michael Bay Movie
posted by octothorpe at 10:21 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


USAFUCKYEAHitude doesn't hurt US ticket sales though.

Well, except among baristas with English degrees and other dedicated MeFites.

Anyhow, very chuffed about Pacific Rim 2: Riftin' Bugaloo. The first one was freaking *awesome*.
posted by codswallop at 10:32 AM on June 27


Mako Mori is an embarrassing caricature of a shy asian kung-fu girl and her story arc is based entirely on her working to get approval from male father figures

certainly no real, strong, woman who was also irreparably damaged by monster trauma would end up with daddy issues.
posted by Dr. Twist at 10:40 AM on June 27


> "I also consider it to be fair criticism to discuss how this movie compares against other monster/robot conflict movies, but really, nothing else."

OK. In fact, I rather like robot/monster stuff. Ones I've seen that arguably fit into this genre might be Pacific Rim, Edge of Tomorrow, Godzilla vs. Megalon, and various chunks and/or film versions of Neon Genesis: Evangelion, Macross, The Vision of Escaflowne, and RahXephon. (Which of these that qualify will depend largely on your definitions of "robot" and "monster".)

Godzilla vs. Megalon is definitely the worst of those in terms of quality, and I only like it for the unintentional humor. Other than that, however, Pacific Rim is probably my least favorite of these.

You don't have to dislike the genre as a whole to have disliked the movie.
posted by kyrademon at 10:46 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


People really, really like the "World Cup of Giant Robots" feel, where every country gets a robot team or two and a shot at glory.
But that's what I'm saying. They don't.

The jaegers from the other countries are talked up, then get annihilated almost instantly. The international characters get, what, 5 minutes of screen time and a handful of lines? The movie depicts the rest of the world's teams completely failing and the American having to save the day.

That's what I mean that the idea that this is an international movie is in fans' heads. It could hardly be more of a "MURICA FUCK YEAH" movie.
Now that you mention it, it is clear that the USA's role in PR somewhat parallels its approach to the world wars of the first half of the 20th century. The USA steps in at the last minute to execute and take credit for a decisive victory. Compare with post-WWII conflicts that the US has been involved in or started. In this sense, PR is reiterating the USA war-mythology that everyone seems to want to believe, but does not reflect any kind of reality past 1945.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:57 AM on June 27


So I saw Pacific Rim in IMAX, which probably helped. Enjoyed the hell out of it.

After seeing the movie, we went over to this restaurant, where we ordered a big bowl of poutine and grilled-cheese sandwiches with bacon jam. Midway through the meal, the friend I was with noted that the food we were eating was basically the exact culinary equivalent of the movie we had just watched. This "cheese with more cheese on it and fries and gravy and let's add bacon, why not?" aspect of the movie may help to explain the wildly divergent reactions to it that people seem to have.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:57 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]




Pacific Rim 2: Kaiju Boogaloo
posted by Sunburnt at 11:37 AM on June 27


> del Toro does not want to end up doing the next John Carter of Mars.

I think you mean "John Carter," a movie whose branding folks were afraid to reveal that the movie was set on a fantasy version of planet Mars, and therefore which fact was lost on the audience who never picked up the similarity between the solar systems of Earth and Barsoom (or just took a pee-break during that scene). To be fair, the potential audience of "John Carter" has actually seen pictures taken from the genuine Mars for most of their life or for 4 decades, whichever was shorter.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:42 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I love the idea that these cosplayers apparently pick fights with any kaiju they come across at cons.
posted by homunculus at 11:43 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I thought they forgot the sword for so long precisely so that it would be a fucking amazing Voltron-style surprise move allowing them to cut the wings off the giant space bat.

This, exactly! It's such a great use of that trope. It's the same thing as Leatherback (the big fat gorilla kaiju) suddenly realizing that it has an EMP weapon and Otachi (the giant space bat) suddenly remembering that it can fly.

It's less a sudden remembering than it is an unveiling. Viewing that moment as a plot hole or logical flaw kind of misses the point.
posted by brundlefly at 12:09 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Also, yay! I recognize some of Pacific Rim's flaws, but it really works for me. I love it. I'm so excited.
posted by brundlefly at 12:12 PM on June 27


Oh, other thing I loved about the film. There's that oft deconstructed scene when Raleigh makes his entrance and Sasha Kaidonovsky puts her arm protectively around Aleksis. almost holding him back... There are a bunch of ways to read that, but I saw it as a nod to the complexities of sexual identity that I haven't seen in a blockbuster scale movie before.

It's like the Raleigh and Mako not kissing thing. There's way more going on there in the relationships than your usual summer blockbuster, hell, there may be more nuance under this than the off-beat queer indie films that I love.

Give me more of that ambiguous and fluid sexuality and I don't care when they suddenly discover that the jaegers are packing... *cough* ... swords.
posted by straw at 12:18 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I've seen the sword thing explained by the thought that the sword would require a lot of power to use and should be used as a last resort. Adding that while its cool, its not exactly the most useful weapon in a mech when you have a gun/chest cannon/fists.

So it wasn't used until it was needed, such as to chop off wings that were awkwardly out of reach.
posted by Twain Device at 12:22 PM on June 27


There was a really great movie stillborn in the John Carter of Mars mess. You can see a lot of the flesh and bones of Burroughs in it, and some more than fair performances (they had both Marc Anthony and Caesar from the BBC Rome production chewing scenery), but the crap dumped on top by the Disney screenwriters (The "Therns" and all their gobbledegook) killed it before it could ever breathe.
posted by bonehead at 12:27 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Oh, Pacific Rim, you wonderfully simple film that didn't try to be anything more than a simple film and succeeded brilliantly at doing just that, I love you.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:40 PM on June 27 [7 favorites]


I saw it on DVD and it was fun if you accepted the conceit of robots punching monsters. It wasn't a perfect feminist film, nor as fantastic on race as it might have been, but there were non-white faces doing things and the woman had her own arc and wasn't there to play kissy-face with the nominal white guy protagonist, which puts it a leg up on a lot of genre movies.

I'd like to see the next one in the theater and I'm interested in the animated series, in part because the animated series might bring some more diversity to the show (like having more Jaegers do cool things, like having a broader set of pilots, etc.). In fact, I'm more interested in the animated series than I am in the new movie because I think there's a lot to be done with the backstory and another short story arc in the post-PR plot world is less interesting to me.
posted by immlass at 12:42 PM on June 27 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: You accepted the conceit of robots punching monsters.
posted by Mister_A at 12:55 PM on June 27 [4 favorites]




Although it certainly had plenty of flaws, Pacific Rim fulfilled my robots-vs-monsters needs in a much-more-than-adequate way, and so I'm looking forward to the sequel and/or animated series.

John Carter wasn't awful, and in fact had some rather nice visuals. But it was kind of bland and felt overly familiar in parts, mostly because of the influence of the source material on all the previous SF & fantasy films people already know and love. Add in all the problems with the marketing campaign, and the result was a big flop.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 2:20 PM on June 27


But it was kind of bland and felt overly familiar in parts, mostly because of the influence of the source material on all the previous SF & fantasy films people already know and love.

That was the point of me mentioning JC... At the Mountains of Madness and the Mythos has been cribbed so hard for plot points for the past 80 years or so, most lately by Prometheus (although The Thing also comes pretty close, too), that del Toro just can't film it before Prometheus fades from the collective memory a bit or something.

If you allow me a TV Tropes link, this is a bad case of Seinfeld is Unfunny.
posted by sukeban at 2:35 PM on June 27


In that light, the only bechdel (or other tests) that should be considered valid would be: did at any point the female monsters have a conversation with other female monsters that weren't talking about male monster.

What we heard:
Leatherhead: GROWLSCREECHGROWL
Otachi: GROWLSCREECHGROWL

What was really said:
Leatherhead: "This is a really crowded island."
Otachi: "Yeah....what's with these people?"
Leatherhead: "How's the baby?"
Otachi: "She's good. Oops, I think I see those big metal things coming at us."
Leatherhead: "Dang. Okay. You got your wings ready?"
Otachi: "You got your EMP? I totally think it'll fry those things."
Leatherhead: "Sweeeeeeeeeeeeet."
posted by Katemonkey at 2:35 PM on June 27 [7 favorites]


With Pentecost unavailable for PR2, I kinda assumed that a sequel would have Herc Hansen as the new head of the Pan-Pacific Defense Corps; that seemed to be set up in the first movie with him in Mission Control demonstrating his command abilities while Striker Eureka and Gipsy Danger were on the mission. But...

I'd rather they actually brought in Ripley herself, Sigourney Weaver, to command the Jaegar program and co-pilot a Jaegar. If she isn't available, what about Angela Bassett or Michelle Yeoh? Give Mori a female badass to sensei/senpai with and further her self-actualization growth/arc.

As for the Mori/Beckett romance, I still want them to squash it in a brief scene by Mori finding a pic of Beckett's male ex. But a strong non-camp gay man and a non-Caucasian women Saving The DayTM in PR2 would probably cause an epidemic of aneurysms in theaters.

And damnit, bring back the Russians as part of secret "ARC Trooper" clone program. "Oh the Kaidanovskys'? Yeah, their clones were all the Rangers defending the Siberian Wall."
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 2:39 PM on June 27 [5 favorites]


...del Toro just can't film it before Prometheus fades from the collective memory a bit or something.

AtMoM aside, this can't happen soon enough.

I'd rather they actually brought in Ripley herself, Sigourney Weaver, to command the Jaegar program and co-pilot a Jaegar. If she isn't available, what about Angela Bassett or Michelle Yeoh?

Yes please! All of the above!

Also, there's one thing I'd love to see in this. Apparently in the novelization (which I haven't read) you find out that the city of Oakland was leveled by that first Kaiju and has been converted into a Jaeger graveyard called Oblivion Bay. Sounds amazing.

Maybe, desperate for Jaegers, the Corps will be forced to cobble together a Frankenstein out of disparate parts. Guillermo, call me!
posted by brundlefly at 2:57 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Since Prometheus is on the table as a successor to the core story of "At the Mountains of Madness," it's worth reminding everyone of its other wonderful inspiration, "Dune" as interpreted by Alejandro Jodorowsky.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:05 PM on June 27


I think you mean "John Carter," a movie whose branding folks were afraid to reveal that the movie was set on a fantasy version of planet Mars

I thought the little sting they did at the end with the name of the movie almost justified that.
posted by straight at 3:21 PM on June 27


Just so umberto doesn't feel completely alone.

I thought this movie was boring.
posted by Bonzai at 3:27 PM on June 27 [2 favorites]


John Carter wasn't awful, and in fact had some rather nice visuals. But it was kind of bland and felt overly familiar in parts, mostly because of the influence of the source material on all the previous SF & fantasy films people already know and love.

John Carter from the books is... an immortal psychopath who finds himself in an environment where he's superhuman. There's an element of destiny to it, like all his previous life experiences in different wars were just to prepare him for Mars. And the significance of Dejah Thoris is that she awakens the capacity for love in Carter's shriveled grey heart. She's literally the first person he's ever loved, and the novelty of the sensation drives him to lunatic extremes (destroying an entire city) to protect her. It's a story very much rooted in turn of the century mores and ideals, so adapting it with any kind of honesty was always going to be difficult.

The movie John Carter isn't bad. It's a decent story, but they had to contort the source material so much to make it acceptable to modern audiences that the essential nature of the characters (and their dark, guilty pleasure pulp appeal) was no longer there.


Now, as for this movie announcement, all I can say is YAAAAAAAAAY!!!!! I've seen a lot of movies in the last year or so, but Pacific Rim and Gravity were by far the best. By a freakin' country mile. When I saw Pacific Rim in the theater I sat next to a father and his young son, and when all three of us were loudly cheering Gypsy Danger during the battle of Hong Kong there was just this feeling of... awesomeness. Like this is how movies are supposed to be. Everybody together having fun.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:43 PM on June 27 [2 favorites]


octothorpe: "Saw PR in IMAX 3D in the theater and thought that it rocked and then recently caught most of it on TV and without the giant screen and extra dimension, it's really not that great a movie."

I'm so glad for this comment. I saw Pacific Rim on an international flight, on one of those little TVs in the seat backs. This is not an impossible place to enjoy a movie — I've enjoyed various movies on flights, and even found some movies to be really visually appealing (Elysium, which I wasn't too impressed by as an actual movie, looked really cool, etc.). But, man, watching Pacific Rim was a slog. I stuck to it because MeFi kept talking about how great it was, but by the end I just really wanted it to end. My wife, coincidentally, also watched it on the plane. She had never heard of it, so her expectations weren't boosted or anything, but she found it so boring that she didn't even make it all the way to the end.

There are movies which I dislike, but I can get why other people would like. Pacific Rim wasn't one of these. I was left kinda puzzled about why people liked it. But the visceral impact of the large screen might be it.
posted by Bugbread at 4:19 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I saw it on DVD just before going to see Godzilla, and still really liked it. The monsters and robots have a solidity to them that isn't there in other movies like Transformers. They don't just exist in short three second cuts, but are still seen in the background when human characters are interacting.

It's like the movie exists on two levels of reality: small scale human reality and the enormous jaeger/kaiju level where supertankers become weapons and skyscrapers can be used as chairs. Most movies of this sort are pretty good at depicting the giant monster level, and some are good at depicting the human level (the recent Godzilla spent most of its time there), but very few movies can make actions taken on one level meaningfully resonate on the other. Pacific Rim excels at this.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:49 PM on June 27


But the idea that if we were somehow attacked by giant creatures, the best, most affordable, most easily executed plan was to build enormous, resource-consuming robots controlled by psy-power or some such bullshit, that are going to go out and physically PUNCH and kick the giant monsters with big metal hands as their best means of defeating them.

Obviously the Kaiji have shields like the ones from Dune. Bullets, shrapnel and shockwaves do nothing to them. In Dune you get past that problem with a slow moving knife, but that won't work against a giant monster. The only way of hitting them with a large amount of destructive force is to hurl a huge amount of mass at them at relatively low speed -- hence a fist the size of a locomotive.

Obviously.

If that theory was true there's no reason for the Australian Jaeger to have chest bazookas except the movie's Buckaroo Banzai-like determination to show you something awesome at least once every five minutes, consistency be damned.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:35 PM on June 27 [3 favorites]


That was the point of me mentioning JC... At the Mountains of Madness and the Mythos has been cribbed so hard for plot points for the past 80 years or so, most lately by Prometheus (although The Thing also comes pretty close, too), that del Toro just can't film it before Prometheus fades from the collective memory a bit or something.

I disagree with this largely because my link to the del Toro's Book of Life came with a preview for Yet Another Exorcist. Not to mention that Book of Life is one of multiple Día de Muertos projects in the pipeline, or that Marvel has a ridiculous number of superhero movies in various levels of production over the next decade with no end in sight. (Personally, I think that fad is only two bad films away from imploding.)

Which is to say that I don't think originality is that much of a concern for a Hollywood that's pushing more than a half-dozen dystopias in such a short period of time. Probably the Mountains of Madness trouble looks exactly as it appears: studio and director cannot agree on filming technique, target rating, and budget. Del Toro wants The Thing; studio wants Avatar.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 5:56 PM on June 27


But the idea that if we were somehow attacked by giant creatures, the best, most affordable, most easily executed plan was to build enormous, resource-consuming robots controlled by psy-power or some such bullshit, that are going to go out and physically PUNCH and kick the giant monsters with big metal hands as their best means of defeating them.


Sigh... The official reason they use robots is because conventional weapons inflict too much collateral damage. A nuclear bomb can kill a kaiju (at least in the early years of the war), but it leaves the city radioactive afterwards.

If we really want to go this way, then we could point out that there's little reason to put the pilots in the jaegers. They could be teleoperated from base for most missions. (Except maybe the last one under the ocean.) Or if you're really going for efficiency, just mine The Breach with nukes, and set them off immediately after a kaiju comes through. You'd have to keep replacing the mines, but that would be cheaper than building giant robots.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:59 PM on June 27


I saw Pacific Rim for the first time on an iPad whilst on a trans-Pacific flight between Honolulu and Sydney. I LOVE THIS MOVIE SO MUCH! I have never before been on the edge of my economy seat watching a film in the air - it was just sheer fun.

Also, as a scientist, I rather enjoyed the - admittedly ridiculous - scientists.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 6:04 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


It's less a sudden remembering than it is an unveiling.

Apocalypse means "unveiling"

So it turns out that they weren't canceling the apocalypse after all

Checkmate, Guillermo del Toro
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:57 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


So I saw reviews of this movie and I was really excited. And I saw the beginning of the trailer and I was really excited. And then it got to the bit of the trailer where the camera uses the excuse of a sparring scene (during which she is perfectly made-up and costumed in, rather than a sports bra, whatever kind of bra allows for maximum jiggling) to take a good long look at Mako Mori's cleavage.

It hit my ew-trigger so hard that I didn't end up seeing the movie. So I'm really excited that a new one is coming out, because maybe this one won't do that.
posted by ostro at 9:07 PM on June 27


In every other respect than that, though, Mako Mori is treated with unparalleled dignity for a woman in an action movie. The male lead has a gratuitous shirtless beefcake scene, the female lead does not; they don't show her in her underpants, they don't make her wear a skimpy costume while the guy gets a full one, they don't make her do any naked or sex stuff. The relationship between her and the male lead is respectful. If that was your concern, you can see the first one with confidence.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:12 PM on June 27 [3 favorites]


Hey, so, I've been reading in the thread where Pacific Rim was a box-office flop where the world stands around while an all-American team of badasses beat up monsters with robots for no reason and then the white guy heroically rescues the girl and they kiss, fuck yeah. That doesn't... sound like the movie I saw, but I've been mulling it over, and I think I've identified the source of the confusion. Easy mistake to make.
posted by ormondsacker at 9:36 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I think the biggest thing that disappoints people at Pacific Rim is they want it to be Neon Genesis Evangelion, or just a big dumb monster movie. There is a little of both, and the subtlely (Mako Mori's lines and actions vs the viewers baggage around the roll) gets lost in the scenes with the giant smashy robot bits.

Del Toro pours an amazing about of energy into each of his movies. There is always more details and there is a reason for everything, even if the reason gets cut from the film since he made a sprawling mass of a movie.

And one of my favorite things is in the opening of the movie they say "we tried everything available to us at the time, but it didn't work, but jaegers did". Done, settled. The reason they don't just "mount plasma cannons at the breach" / "shoot swords at them from space" / "use nukes" is because they tried everything.

> As for the Mori/Beckett romance, I still want them to squash it in a brief scene by Mori finding a pic of Beckett's male ex. But a strong non-camp gay man and a non-Caucasian women Saving The DayTM in PR2 would probably cause an epidemic of aneurysms in theaters.

Beckett could be Bi, its established in the Day 0 graphic novel that his brother sleeping with a woman he had the hots for (and which he found out about because of the drift) almost had both of them thrown out of the program.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:28 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


How does that translate as "he could be bi"?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:50 AM on June 28


The jaegers from the other countries are talked up, then get annihilated almost instantly. The international characters get, what, 5 minutes of screen time and a handful of lines? The movie depicts the rest of the world's teams completely failing and the American having to save the day.


Stacker Pentecost is British, and by some distance the most awesome character in the movie...
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:36 AM on June 28


(In the sequel, Idris Elba will play Pentecost's ageing club kid twin brother, Stakker Humanoid, who has to stop getting wobbly to German happy house and BEAT BACK THE APOCALYPSE!)
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:38 AM on June 28 [3 favorites]


I think the biggest thing that disappoints people at Pacific Rim is they want it to be Neon Genesis Evangelion, or just a big dumb monster movie.

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Sometimes a big dumb monster series with creepy adolescent sexuality is just a big dumb monster series with creepy adolescent sexuality, even if it goes rummaging through the yard sales of Sigmund Freud and Alastair Crowley for window dressing.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:59 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


Katemonkey: "What we heard:
Leatherhead: GROWLSCREECHGROWL
Otachi: GROWLSCREECHGROWL
"

The Mechabechdel test.
posted by boo_radley at 10:25 AM on June 28 [3 favorites]


The jaegers from the other countries are talked up, then get annihilated almost instantly. The international characters get, what, 5 minutes of screen time and a handful of lines? The movie depicts the rest of the world's teams completely failing and the American having to save the day.

Dude, it was a double event, of course the Jaegers were destroyed!

While the movie was heavy on appearances by Western nations, the final showdown features a British/Australian crew working with a American/Japanese crew.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:21 PM on June 28


And then it got to the bit of the trailer where the camera uses the excuse of a sparring scene (during which she is perfectly made-up and costumed in, rather than a sports bra, whatever kind of bra allows for maximum jiggling) to take a good long look at Mako Mori's cleavage.

It's worth noting that Mako was not scheduled to fight in that match, hence the makeup and lack of sports bra. She was overseeing other possible pilots for Raleigh and scoring the matches. Raleigh noticed she was disapproving of his technique and challenged her to combat.

In context the scene works very well and the instance of her cleavage isn't played up at all. It's just a natural moment of a woman fighting while in a tank top.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:22 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


The jaegers from the other countries are talked up, then get annihilated almost instantly.

I agree that this is one of my frustrations about the movie. I was mollified somewhat by Del Toro saying they originally had about 25 mins more but had to cut it to bring it in close to 2 hours. So I'm guessing there was originally more demonstration of badassery by the other jaegers but it got cut for time.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:27 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


Also, if you're concerned about the portrayal of Mako in the movie, check out this interview with del Toro where he discusses the characters creation and the lack of a love story between the two main characters.

So I'm guessing there was originally more demonstration of badassery by the other jaegers but it got cut for time.

The Pacific Rim Wiki is a fascinating resource which goes into detail about the other Jaegers. There are several only female teams, along with numerous other countries. I'd agree that as director del Toro should have included some of the other non-western teams and more female characters, but for whatever reason it didn't happen. But make no mistake, he did include Mako to be that strong singular female character and for that I'm really thankful.

But dammit man, would it have killed you to include more Cherno Alpha?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:40 PM on June 28


And yeah, in case it isn't obvious -- the no-kiss at the end, and in general the fact that they deliberately don't go for the stupid predictable love story, is by far the best thing about this movie to me. I'll come see any movie these guys make now.

(And how absurd that just not making a stupid choice sets the movie apart. Much like letting Mako keep her pants on shouldn't be totally revolutionary, but it is.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:58 PM on June 28 [8 favorites]


And yeah, in case it isn't obvious -- the no-kiss at the end, and in general the fact that they deliberately don't go for the stupid predictable love story, is by far the best thing about this movie to me.

That and the way Raleigh treats Mako as a complete equal once he realizes how drift compatible they are. He's adamant that they be partners and her sex is never a factor for him. She's the best candidate and he wants to work with her. At the end, they simply hug and touch foreheads, in acknowledgment of what they've both been through.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:49 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


I love that Raleigh's primary goal in the film is to have Mako as his copilot. I can't think of any other film in which the male lead's role is to make sure the female supporting character gets what she wants.
posted by maxsparber at 8:17 PM on June 28 [5 favorites]


OK, so I just had a realization about Pacific Rim that probably other people have figured out elsewhere, but I don't see anything about it in this thread, so I'm going to talk it out here.

The movie makes perfectly clear the etymology for the names Kaiju (Japanese for "great beast") and Jaeger (German for "hunter"). To me it was always obvious where Kaiju was coming from, they're sort of like Godzilla and anyway Japan is on the Pacific Ocean so the name fits well enough.

But why would they name the robots Jaegers? Germany isn't anywhere near the Pacific, and there is nothing else in the movie to suggest German involvement in the robot development (unless you count the name of Dr. Hermann Gottlieb, which I don't).

A common theme of the Grimm fairy tales is that children are menaced by an evil creature (often a wolf) but then rescued by the adults. The stories that us Americans usually think of are Little Red Riding Hood or Three Little Pigs, but another version of the story is The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids, in which the wolf actually eats most of the kids (young goats) before their mother gets them out of his stomach. In Little Red Riding Hood, it's a hunter (sometimes a lumberjack) who is the rescuer.

The Grimm stories often put their protagonists through awful things, and Del Toro has a similar history of putting young children into awful situations (see Pan's Labyrinth). So I suspect he is quite familiar with all these tropes.

Finally, as best I can tell, the point of the Grimm stories is to scare children, then comfort them so they can get to sleep or just feel better (tension then resolution). Not unlike a Hollywood apocalypse movie.

So I think it's really interesting, and really awesome, that we see Mako Mori in a flashback being menaced as a little girl by a scary Kaiju, but ultimately piloting a Jaeger and kicking butt. This isn't a story about a girl having to be rescued, but rather one developing the skills that it takes to fight the monsters. So I'm pretty comfortable in saying that Del Toro has taken the Grimm fairy tales and shaped them into Hollywood blockbuster form. But I think he has also extended them so that the children aren't rescued by the adults, but grow and are able to become the hunters (Jaegers) who rescue people themselves. Which is a big reason why I enjoyed this movie so much.
posted by A dead Quaker at 9:24 PM on June 28 [8 favorites]


It's also a callback to Neon Genesis Evangelion, where one of the pilots is more or less German. And, I would bet, to the manshonyaggers of Cordwainer Smith's work.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:39 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


also, Attack on Titan features the name Jaeger very prominently as the people who hunt and kill the (kaiju-like??) titans. That was back in 2009. well before Pacific Rim was released. I think it might just be a common loan-word.
posted by rebent at 3:50 AM on June 29


Yeah... I don't think that it's at all controversial that some people don't like the movie; all you have to do is look at the domestic gross to see that lots of people weren't even convinced to go see it. I think that what the haters* are keying in on is that, for a lot of people, it scratches an itch in a place that the haters don't even have.

*And, yes, that's a somewhat provocative term, but I don't know what else to call people who saw the movie and still got some very basic elements of the movie, such as the nature of the relationship between the two main characters, utterly wrong.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:53 PM on June 29


I don't think it's just the haters, though (if you define haters that way). That's true for both the "haters" and the "dislikers" (people who understood the movie, understood character relationships, etc. but still didn't like the movie). I'm a disliker, and, as you say, I guess it scratched an itch I don't have.
posted by Bugbread at 5:34 PM on June 29


I didn't hate the movie, I just thought that it just wasn't that great. I've loved everything else of Del Toro's (even Blade II) but on second viewing on a 42" screen this movie just didn't do much for me. I'll make sure that I see the new one in a theater because no one does big screen spectacle better but I probably won't buy the DVD.
posted by octothorpe at 5:52 PM on June 29


Odd, re-watched it on a 32inch and thought it held up very well compared to the IMAX version. The color pallete was amazing, as was the detail in the shadows.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:27 PM on June 29 [1 favorite]




Ferrett Steinmetz & his wife discuss Pacific Rim: One suspects subtext.
posted by Lexica at 1:54 PM on July 7


Tom Cruise was considered for the Idris Elba role.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:22 PM on July 8


Not by me he wasn't.
posted by komara at 8:48 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


Interesting: According to Travis Beacham, an earlier version of the script would have Mako (Rinko Kikuchi) and Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) speaking two different languages for the majority of the film. After connecting as pilots, they would slowly begin to understand one another, and before the end would hear each other speaking in their own respective languages.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:57 AM on July 9


Tom Cruise still never takes parental figure roles like Elba's. He'd want the young hot-shot role that Hunnam played.
posted by octothorpe at 5:05 AM on July 9


There's an early draft of the screenplay on Scripted for iPad. I read the first few pages a while back and as I recall it's very different from the final film:
  • Mako is already a pilot. We first meet her on the battlefield after her co-pilot has been killed. I assume she piloted solo, like Raleigh and Pentecost.
  • By the time Raleigh's brother was killed he had started dating Raleigh's ex-girlfriend, so every time they drifted Raleigh got to see some stuff he really didn't want to see.
  • Said ex-girlfriend is a journalist as I recall and is digging into... something?
Again it's been a bit, so I may not be remembering everything perfectly, but there were clearly significant rewrites.
posted by brundlefly at 10:22 AM on July 9


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