Pacific Rim and Lessons in Positive Masculinity
April 15, 2015 11:35 PM   Subscribe

One of the glories of Pacific Rim is that – like the oceans – it contains hidden depths. On the surface, it’s very much a big swinging dick movie about the joys of brawny alpha males using giant robots to punch monsters in the dick with cargo ships while BadAss McCoolName delivers the latest in a long line of writers’ attempts to write their own version of Shakespeare’s St. Crispin’s Day speech. But mostly giant robots beating on monsters.
In fact, Pacific Rim is one of the best examples of what non-toxic masculinity looks like, says Dr. NerdLove.
posted by MartinWisse (114 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
any opportunity to remember what a fantastic movie Pacific Rim was is A-OK by me
posted by DoctorFedora at 1:25 AM on April 16, 2015 [30 favorites]


I found Pacific Rim to be a bloated mess, to be honest, but this look at the relationship dynamics was pretty interesting.

I also don't understand why if you have a 60 foot electric killsword, you don't start off fighting whatever with a 60 foot electric killsword rather than punching.
posted by Swandive at 2:19 AM on April 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


I also don't understand why if you have a 60 foot electric killsword, you don't start off fighting whatever with a 60 foot electric killsword rather than punching.

If the amount of post mission maintenance to return the 60 foot electric killsword to it's original sharpness far exceeds the work you have to do to recondition the punching servos, you're going start out punching and keep at it until you're sure that the job can't be done by punching alone and that the blade is actually needed.
posted by radwolf76 at 2:27 AM on April 16, 2015 [56 favorites]


that is a WAY better explanation than my "because it is TOTALLY SWEET this way"
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:01 AM on April 16, 2015 [18 favorites]


Raleigh, the experienced pilot, didn't know about sword in the upgraded Gypsy. Only Mako did, since she oversaw the upgrades. But she was the rookie. In their second outing, the sword comes out much earlier.

The relationship between those two was great. Raleigh totally accepted her as an equal and partner once she proved herself capable in training. Plus it didn't develop into a sexual pairing, which was also refreshing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:11 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


One secret ingredient of Pacific Rim which doesn't get mentioned often enough is Guillermo Del Toro's admiration for Gerry Anderson.

Starting at 3:47 in this interview clip, check out how Del Toro's eyes sparkle as he discusses Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlett as childhood inspirations for the kaiju launch sequence.
posted by fairmettle at 3:18 AM on April 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah, Pacific Rim subverted a lot of traditional Hollywood tropes, and deserves credit for that. It deserves credit for a lot of things that it did right, though it also deserves criticism; I've got my own list for the latter. I was both entertained and disappointed by the film overall, but I am enthusiastically looking forward to the sequel (it's happening, right?). Hopefully it'll have a much tighter script.
posted by zardoz at 3:22 AM on April 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yes, there's a sequel and it drops on April 17th, 2017.

There's also going to be an animated show, don't know when it begins...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:37 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Great article. I wasn't prepared to like any of the meathead military dudes, and it turned out that there was only one meathead in the whole film. None of them questioned Mori's skills, including her.

I didn't like the awful scientists though, even given the points made in the article. If they could play with stereotypes for the brawny dudes and the waif then they could have gone past uptight chalkboard guy and The Big Bang Theory.
posted by harriet vane at 3:46 AM on April 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


I always forget the punching servos. :-(
posted by Swandive at 3:50 AM on April 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


Another reason not to just go to town with the electric sword off the bat: That thing has to use up a lot more energy than some gears and levers. Whip out the sword first and any prolonged battle is gonna leave you low on power. That thing is a last resort type thing in my mind. YMMV.
posted by Twain Device at 4:19 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Why use the kill sword when you've got a perfectly fine oil tanker lying around?
posted by Annika Cicada at 4:25 AM on April 16, 2015 [11 favorites]


Which is why it was a shame that Cherno Alpha did not last long enough to pull out its giant sonic hammer made of a nuclear power plant.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:26 AM on April 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


Like oberyn Martell, i'm pretty sure Chernal Alpha survived, somehow. It's just resting off screen.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:38 AM on April 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


The most effective Kill-sword is the one you never have to use.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:56 AM on April 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm surprised that there's going to be a sequel- it seemed like the film dropped out of theaters very quickly where I live.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:57 AM on April 16, 2015


I don't think it was a blockbuster in North America but it did very well internationally.
posted by peppermind at 5:01 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Given how constrained weapons are by punching servo efficiencies and the effectiveness of oil tankers, Jaegers could move into battle with a flotilla of ships around them, like a kid with bath toys. Just grab and use whichever one the situation calls for. We should also look into weaponizing other hauling technology: a Jaeger could wield a freight train like a whip, or fling shipping containers like throwing knives.
posted by nom de poop at 5:12 AM on April 16, 2015 [19 favorites]


Keep talking, I like where you're going with this.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 5:23 AM on April 16, 2015 [17 favorites]


Brass knuckles made of bulldozers.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:24 AM on April 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


Why use the kill sword when you've got a perfectly fine oil tanker lying around?

Using the oil tanker as a bat makes zero fucking sense and is impossible. It would break break under its own weight, spewing fuel everywhere and only causing more damage.

Most people don't care though, it was just too fucking cool. And that's Pacific Rim in a nutshell.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:25 AM on April 16, 2015 [14 favorites]


The rocket punch was pretty sweet. Also, I've seen fan art of the Russian jaeger pilots washing up on an island somewhere, battered but alive. Actually, I've seen a lot of fan art in general: jaegers based on the Avengers and Mass Effect, Rule 63 versions of the principal characters, etc. The movie may not have quite done Transformers-league box office, but it's got a dedicated fandom.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:26 AM on April 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Also, I've seen fan art of the Russian jaeger pilots washing up on an island somewhere

Well, their Jaeger didn't have an escape pod, so that's impossible. But they're crazy Russians driving a giant robot, so I'm sure they jury rigged an escape plan of their own.

I don't think it was a blockbuster in North America but it did very well internationally.

Yeah, 75% of its monies came from outside America. I suspect the international flavor of and Raleigh not being a typical alpha male didn't appeal to American audiences.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:31 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, their Jaeger didn't have an escape pod, so that's impossible. But they're crazy Russians driving a giant robot, so I'm sure they jury rigged an escape plan of their own.

And if they didn't make it, they could be avenged by their Amazonian daughter and her equally giant Chechen wife.

"How did they meet?"
"They kept taking each other hostage."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:35 AM on April 16, 2015 [19 favorites]


My boss has one of those "easy" buttons from Staples that you can keep on your desk and periodically hit it to annoy people.

I want one of those, but the Pacific Rim sword button version. It doesn't have to do anything, even, I just want a sword button.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:35 AM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Russians are the only ones who position themselves in the stomach of their Jäger. I recall that being deliberate. Every mission is a win or die circumstance.
posted by maxsparber at 5:44 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


It doesn't have to do anything, even, I just want a sword button.

You are in the wrong career. Have you considered looking into academic librarianship? The place is littered with sword buttons. Actually, they are mostly word buttons, but there are some sword buttons.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:17 AM on April 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


> The movie may not have quite done Transformers-league box office, but it's got a dedicated fandom.

Currently airing anime Kekkai Sensen (Blood Blockade Battlefront) references Pacific Rim in an expository sequence, including a Hermann Gottlieb lookalike. The obvious parallel is that in the Kekkai Sensen universe, a breach between Earth and "Beyond" has opened over New York City, so that NYC is now home to creatures from other dimensions as well as humans. The anime is an adaptation of Trigun creator Yasuhiro Nightow's latest manga series. (Trailer)
posted by needled at 6:19 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


+-----------------+
| +-------------+ |
| |             | |
| |             | |
| |    SWORD    | |
| |             | |
| |             | |
| +-------------+ |
+-----------------+
posted by ignignokt at 6:20 AM on April 16, 2015 [14 favorites]


If the amount of post mission maintenance to return the 60 foot electric killsword to it's original sharpness far exceeds the work you have to do to recondition the punching servos, you're going start out punching and keep at it until you're sure that the job can't be done by punching alone and that the blade is actually needed.

Unless of course you understand how the military-industrial complex works.
posted by srboisvert at 6:23 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really appreciate this analysis because a lot of these finer points passed me by. I saw the movie on a small screen and apparently that is why it was so underwhelming for me and the bunch of people I watched it with. I watched FF7 on the weekend and it had me thinking about the evolution of action stars - Vin Diesel puts a lot of sensitivity into a tough character that probably would not have been there 20 or 25 years ago. Hopefully this continues as a trend.
posted by Calzephyr at 6:33 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Using the oil tanker as a bat makes zero fucking sense and is impossible. It would break break under its own weight, spewing fuel everywhere and only causing more damage.

Yes, of course, but... RETCON: they've had to build stronger ships in the Pacific Rim universe, because kaiju and stuff.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:35 AM on April 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


There are two types of people: those for whom the impossibility of the oil tanker bat ruins the movie, and those for whom its impossibility, once noticed/learned of, just makes the movie more delightful.
posted by Mizu at 6:39 AM on April 16, 2015 [46 favorites]


why didn't the eagles just fly frodo right to mordor
posted by poffin boffin at 6:42 AM on April 16, 2015 [35 favorites]


I like to believe that the only acting direction given to Charlie Hunnam was YOU ARE AN ADORABLE BUT DESPONDENT GOLDEN RETRIEVER AT A SHELTER AND MAKO MORI JUST WALKED IN AND ADOPTED YOU because that is how he plays it and it is magnificent.
posted by almostmanda at 6:43 AM on April 16, 2015 [35 favorites]


The only way to stop a bad guy with a 60' killsword is a good guy with a 60' killsword.
posted by MrGuilt at 6:44 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


The in-universe explanation was that kaiju blood was toxic and corrosive as hell. If bludgeoning would work, it was safer for the robots and the environment than any attack that would cause the kaiju to bleed profusely. Presumably the dead/unconscious kaiju were then disposed of in a safer manner afterward.
posted by explosion at 6:51 AM on April 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


You can tell this article is overheated horseshit when most of the comments so far have been about proper deployment and use of the killsword.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:52 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


You can tell this article is overheated horseshit when most of the comments so far have been about proper deployment and use of the killsword.

Nah, this comes up in EVERY Pacific Rim thread.
posted by Twain Device at 6:59 AM on April 16, 2015 [13 favorites]


BECAUSE THE EYE OF SAURON WAS WATCHING, ALWAYS WATCHING.

The Killsword is the best thing in the movie.

I am also a fan of shipbat, I however, would have used it as a javelin, then used my heat jets, which I assume I am equipped with, to set the tanker on fire, thus melting the Kaiju's bones from within.

It was a bit weird how there was a derail for Charlie Day to get the living brain that was in storage with Ron Perlman. I didn't like it, because essentially, he turns up, doesn't get what he wants, then gets it somewhere else. For me that sort of stuff should happen offscreen, and if you must have Ron Perlman in the movie, give him something useful to do. Robots and Kaiju could have been pummeling each other in that time.
posted by Swandive at 7:00 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think it was a blockbuster in North America but it did very well internationally.

Among 2013 releases, it ranked #34 by US box office but #16 worldwide. If you go by percentage of total box office that was OUS, Pacific Rim (75.2%) is definitely at the upper end of the range for big movies, but not so much that it was a huge outlier. The second Hobbit movie had a similar figure (73.1%; #8 US, #4 worldwide).
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:01 AM on April 16, 2015


. I saw the movie on a small screen and apparently that is why it was so underwhelming for me and the bunch of people I watched it with.

Yeah, I loved it in 3D on a big screen in the theater but found it too boring to re-watch later on television. I had the same experience with Avatar.
posted by octothorpe at 7:06 AM on April 16, 2015


Ron Perlman did have something to do: he had to explain what happened to the kaiju after they were killed. I thought it was kind of brilliant to have it as "and then the black marketeers figure out that this stuff is worth money to the same people who believe that rhino horns are going to give them megarections!", because that means the rhinos are actually doing better as the result of the kaiju showing up and a lot of kaiju bits (and fake ones) are out there instead. It also speaks to the "and there's always someone willing to make money out of a disaster" nature of our demons.

Plus, Hannibal Chau's team had figured out stuff that the official sanctioned people hadn't - how to keep the parasites alive, for example. The amount of possible scientific data they could get is really brilliant.

Oh, and he points out the really goddamn obvious bit that if you can see into the collective mind of the alien beasties, they can do it back to you. But Newt's kind of hyperfocused and didn't get it...
posted by mephron at 7:11 AM on April 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


You can tell this article is overheated horseshit when most of the comments so far have been about proper deployment and use of the killsword.

Well yeah, the article is pretty obvious, agreeable and covering points that were already discussed back in 2013, so lets move on to the fun like elbow rockets, monsters suddenly showing their wings (which prompted the sword) and what's going to be in the sequel.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:18 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


But like, who cares what happens to the kaiju after they're killed? Did it make a difference to the plot?

But again, there's no reason why Hannibal Chau's team figured stuff out instead of scientists who spend all their lives trying to figure this out. It's just to give Ron Perlman something to do.

And the seeing back into you, again, Newt could have figured it out. But again, let's give Ron Perlman the lines.

It was just inventing things to slow the plot down, I think. I saw this in the cinema and I haven't thought about it much since, but that stuff bugged me at the time. It just felt like a big timewaste of exposition so people could look at Ron Perlman with weird eyeglasses saying things. But I'm very possibly missing something.
posted by Swandive at 7:21 AM on April 16, 2015


Also, I've seen fan art of the Russian jaeger pilots washing up on an island somewhere

Comrade squid!
posted by rewil at 7:31 AM on April 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


But like, who cares what happens to the kaiju after they're killed? Did it make a difference to the plot?

i mean.. yeah? a big plot point is charlie day drifting with a kaiju brain? so otherwise it would have been a big fight scene where someone has to get the rotting brain of a freshly killed kaiju back to the shatterdome, i guess? and the reason they turned to hannibal chau is that the gov't kaiju/jaeger program was shut down so they had fewer back-end resources like researchers and whatnot.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:38 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


But again, there's no reason why Hannibal Chau's team figured stuff out instead of scientists who spend all their lives trying to figure this out.

Actually, government scientists are regularly scrambling for money, while dealing with lots of redtape and restrictions. Working for a private company, which is all about profit, usually means higher salaries for scientists and less restrictions. Naturally those restrictions can vary widely due to a company's culture or morals.

It's just to give Ron Perlman something to do.

This is never a bad idea.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:39 AM on April 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


For some inexplicable reason I had a terrible time telling the two blonde males apart. It was a "they all look alike" moment for me. When they had that absurd fist fight I had absolutely no idea who was who. I am a straight white male and have never had that problem before in my life.

Also I liked the ideas of the characters but holy crap were those wooden lifeless performances. Even the speech felt lackluster, Luther had more personality while driving his car. It's not at all any of the actors' faults. It's 100% del Toro knows onscreen creatures but not people.
posted by M Edward at 7:40 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Presumably the dead/unconscious kaiju were then disposed of in a safer manner afterward.

Well not so much "safer" as "more profitably."

I get bored by too many action sequences, so I enjoyed the Perlman bits a lot.
posted by emjaybee at 7:42 AM on April 16, 2015


why didn't the eagles just fly frodo right to mordor

Because of ill-eagle-ity, of course. Mordor is a no fly zone (except for Air Mordor, and no one wants to fly Air Mordor).
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:45 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


The reason he didn't know about the killsword is because either he didn't read the specs on the upgrade or someone didn't update the Gipsy's logs adequately. Paperwork matters, people.
posted by tilde at 7:56 AM on April 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


This movie never made sense to me ....

why didn't all jaegers have something like a sword or a spear or a bow & arrow?
Humans started winning their fights against predators only after they could stand at a distance and rain death (a spear or arrow or bullets or canons). This hand to hand fighting against predators with sharp teeth and strong muscles is for dumbasses who don't deserve to survive. Hell, even Kaijus are intelligent enough to use an "attack from a distance" electromagnetic pulse to win.

And for all the "progressive" characterization associated with Mako Mori, ultimately, she becomes a damsel in distress who is rescued by the hero. Its the hero who saves the mission and has to save the heroine as well. Its the worst kind of patriarchal claptrap.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 8:13 AM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Hell, equipping the Jaegers with rocket powered clubs would have been a good idea.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 8:17 AM on April 16, 2015


why didn't all jaegers have something like a sword or a spear or a bow & arrow?

because it's not as cool as a giant robot punching a kaiju OBVIOUSLY
posted by poffin boffin at 8:27 AM on April 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


And yet none of them had chainfists... I guess that's too grimdark for the setting.
posted by Slackermagee at 8:34 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I also don't understand why if you have a 60 foot electric killsword, you don't start off fighting whatever with a 60 foot electric killsword rather than punching.

Because one of the premises of the movie was that kaiju evolved and adapted to new weapons and you don't want to use your best weapon and teach them how to defend against it, if you can beat it with a lesser weapon. I believe this was all explained in the tedious exposition montage at the beginning of the movie.

Also because of The Idiot Plot.

In most adventure films and novels, the writers and directors have an imperative to keep their protagonists in jeopardy. This becomes difficult if they are surrounded by skilled professionals, paid to intervene and help, if called. Hence, storytellers feel compelled to separate their characters from meaningful help, so that any assistance they receive is either late or else below the level of danger offered by the antagonists. The more powerful the villains, the more competent that help is allowed to be. "But for the most part, institutions and your neighbors are portrayed as sheep, so that only the hero's actions truly matter."

Pacific Rim is a mashup of the same old abhorrent tropes dressed up a bit to masquerade as modern, sensitive, progressive philosophy. Apparently Dr. Nerdlove was fooled but I was not. I might actually admire the film if it reveled in those regressive tropes rather than clumsily trying to subvert them and then assert its moral superiority.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:36 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Apparently Dr. Nerdlove was fooled but I was not.

good job
posted by Greg Nog at 8:47 AM on April 16, 2015 [29 favorites]


why didn't all jaegers have something like a sword or a spear or a bow & arrow?

Gyspy danger was upgraded to have sword and most of them has missiles or guns, which are like the best bow and arrow EVER.

And for all the "progressive" characterization associated with Mako Mori, ultimately, she becomes a damsel in distress who is rescued by the hero.

I've heard this before and it's always confusing. The film isn't perfect and I personally would have enjoyed more female roles of pilots or the support crew. But it is what is and Mako, the inexperienced pilot, didn't so much need saving as have her more experienced co-pilot look out for her. They were team, equals and neither would be embarrassed or insulted by either saving the other.

I might actually admire the film if it reveled in those regressive tropes rather than clumsily trying to subvert them and then assert its moral superiority.

This is terrible comment, you are terrible person for writing it and I would not let you into my top quality kaiju bunker.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:50 AM on April 16, 2015 [20 favorites]


God, now I have to re-watch it to see if it was as much crap as I thought the first time
posted by Auden at 8:50 AM on April 16, 2015


poffin boffin: "because it's not as cool as a giant robot punching a kaiju OBVIOUSLY"

A giant robot doing a "roll-up your sleeves and twirl around a giant baseball bat" would have been fucking cool.

charlie don't surf: "Because one of the premises of the movie was that kaiju evolved and adapted to new weapons and you don't want to use your best weapon and teach them how to defend against it, if you can beat it with a lesser weapon."

If you are losing and you have to make stupid speeches with words like "edge of our hope, at the end of our time", you don't wait to keep your best weapons in cold storage so that you don't reveal your tactics to Kaiju.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 8:53 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


they did that with an oil tanker and everyone complained how dumb it was.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:00 AM on April 16, 2015


thats the point, the club would have been lot more believable and cooler weapon than some oil tanker which is likely to break under its own weight if completely lifted out of water and held like a club.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 9:09 AM on April 16, 2015


But like, who cares what happens to the kaiju after they're killed? Did it make a difference to the plot?

See, that's one of the little things the movie is doing right: sure, the military or whatever doesn't necessarily have to care about the giant acid blood monsters once they've been punched and shipbatted and killsworded to death, but the people in the cities under attack do, and at least nominally all that punching and shipbatting and killswording is about protecting those people.

I loved Pacific Rim to death, but/and I admit it was just a ridiculous movie. The best description of its effect as a movie that I've heard came from one of the friends I saw it with. After the movie we had gone out to this ridiculous grilled cheese sandwich place and bought grilled cheese sandwiches with extra cheese and with bacon jam (which is apparently a thing) added, plus a side of poutine. And midway through the meal said friend noted that the food we were eating and the movie we had just seen were on a deep fundamental level exactly the same.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:14 AM on April 16, 2015 [17 favorites]


We're never going to agree on this. The world is split in twain on the subject, an insurmountable difference of opinion between those who think the film was stupid and those who are right about the film.
posted by maxsparber at 9:14 AM on April 16, 2015 [20 favorites]


I just realized that I am very disappointed by how the actual movie turned out compared to what I was anticipating from Del Toro's "thinking man's transformers".

huh!
posted by TheLittlePrince at 9:16 AM on April 16, 2015


The jaegers should have had a giant board with a giant nail giantly through it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:18 AM on April 16, 2015 [11 favorites]


I might actually admire the film if it reveled in those regressive tropes rather than clumsily trying to subvert them and then assert its moral superiority.

Okay though but surely I am not alone in loving Pacific Rim for literally three reasons: GIANT ROBOTS PUNCHING GIANT MONSTERS, the episode of the boat bat, and Mako Mori being victorious. If you play the soundtrack I will act like a giant robot punching a giant monster.

It never occurred to me that there was a philosophical component, even though I have watched this movie at least ten times, because it is a movie about giant robots punching giant monsters. Like I am pretty sure there are words that happen in the movie, but the words are only tangentially related to getting back to GIANT ROBOTS, so really they are more of a sideline when I think of this movie.
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:18 AM on April 16, 2015 [11 favorites]


Well also there's Stringer Bell giving badass speeches about the apocalypse being canceled because GIANT ROBOTS PUNCHING GIANT MONSTERS. Which like okay on the one hand total cheese, but on the other hand totally awesome cheese.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:22 AM on April 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


and no one wants to fly Air Mordor


Air Mordor: "MEAT'S BACK ON THE MENU!"



Still better than Ryanair.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:39 AM on April 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


If you use the elbow rockets to accelerate the killsword, God will be cut.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:56 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


From writer Travis Beacham's tumblr, re drifting:
The thing about drift compatibility is that it isn’t something inherent. Or it is, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be a choice. You can choose to trust someone. You can choose to care. That’s what I think was going on between Mako and Raleigh. The program might never have matched them up. They matched themselves up, because the world needed it and they needed it. They each decided, “Yes, I will trust you. I will care what happens to you.” That’s important, I think.

This, I think, gets at what I loved about Pacific Rim's conception of heroism, which is linked to its portrayal of positive masculinity. The Jaeger pilots aren't (just) hotshot fighter pilots. Like Raleigh said in his voiceover of exposition at the beginning of the movie, Jaeger pilots aren't necessarily the smartest, or the most athletic, or the most qualified in military or scientific terms. They're the people who can form a connection with someone else so profound, that they're in each other's heads and can function as one person. The fundamental concept of drifting and drift compatibility is one that rejects any bullshit lone hero nonsense and puts cooperation and trust and openness front and center.

Which makes me wonder, what kind of growing pains did the Jaeger program and PPDC have as it became evident that their giant alien-killing robots needed to essentially be powered with the power of love and trust? How does this influence the culture? How many macho military guys washed out of the project when they utterly failed to grasp the concept of the drift? I really, really want a prequel, is what I'm saying.

I mean, yes, this is a movie about giant robots punching giant monsters, but I for one will defend this movie to the death for giving us the concept of drift compatibility and the Raleigh/Mako journey of saving the world via choosing to love and accept someone.
posted by yasaman at 9:56 AM on April 16, 2015 [19 favorites]


Mako Mori being victorious.

That totally did not happen. I just re-watched the final battle scene to make sure.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:56 AM on April 16, 2015


The jaegers should have had a giant board with a giant nail giantly through it.

I think a big chain, where each link in the chain was made of smaller chains, each one of which was made of chainsaws, would have been nice.

Also, a giant bee cannon. Kaiju hate those.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:57 AM on April 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


For me, the movie was disappointing when it came to "GIANT ROBOTS PUNCHING GIANT MONSTERS" coolness factor. And thats my beef with it. I can ignore its failure in demolishing patriarchal tropes because there is little space to do those things right and i love "GIANT ROBOTS PUNCHING GIANT MONSTERS". But there are so many other things that are wrong/underwhelming.

It was better than transformers when it comes to the fight scenes but thats not much of a praise. They could have done so many cooler things with giant robots, given them so many cool weapons. A giant shotgun, carried on an air craft carrier, Gypsy Danger picking it up casually and dispatching a Kaiju before it jams at a critical moment so that robots have to fall back on punches would have been believable and cooler.

The fight involving other Jaegers was pretty small and disappointing. In a "GIANT ROBOTS PUNCHING GIANT MONSTERS" movie, they should have shown a bit more of thundercloud formation dispatching Kaijus or let us see how cherno alpha's strength and armor result in a different fighting role. Cherno could go into absorb the Kaiju hits while other Jaegers attack from side. Disappointingly, almost all other Jaegers become foot notes or dealt with very briefly in Del Toro's attempt to flesh out Mako's story or create unnecessary tension between Raleigh and Chuck Henson.

That apocalypse being cancelled speech is another case in point. I measure such speeches by the independence day standard.... I loved that speech. In spite of all its cheesyness, you could believe that speech. It was upbeat and rousing. This "apocalypse being cancelled" was horrible and awkward. It's depressing when it starts and the transition from a depressing tone to "give'em hell" tone was not very smooth. It needed to be written better.

Pacific Rim couldn't carry off all the huge pretensions it built up about being different/more intelligent "GIANT ROBOTS PUNCHING GIANT MONSTERS" movie. It had a lot of good ideas but implementation faltered, I think.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 9:59 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well also there's Stringer Bell giving badass speeches about the apocalypse being canceled because GIANT ROBOTS PUNCHING GIANT MONSTERS. Which like okay on the one hand total cheese, but on the other hand totally awesome cheese.

You know what totally awesome cheese is? Eating a burger withe deep fried bacon and Grolsch-infused cheese enveloping it while watching Pacific Rim on as big a screen as you can carry in your kangaroo pouch. That's what I did last weekend. Yum.
posted by tilde at 10:03 AM on April 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


We get it, you didn't like it and could have done so much better than Guillermo del Toro
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:03 AM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


:)

Metafilter: We get it, you didn't like it and could have done so much better
posted by TheLittlePrince at 10:11 AM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


If giant robots punching monsters with rocket elbows is wrong, I do not want to be right.

Great article. To celebrate, here's that fan-made Pacific Rim trailer as if it were a Toho movie.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:11 AM on April 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


How many macho military guys washed out of the project when they utterly failed to grasp the concept of the drift?

Stuff like this was touched on ever so briefly in the opening montage (which btw was my favourite opening montage since the otherwise somewhat disappointing Watchmen) where you see the 2 macho military guys on a late night talk show as jaeger pilot superstars, and they're identical twins sitting in identical uniforms with identical body language and posture.

but yes i would like a prequel and a miniseries and a billion sequels
posted by poffin boffin at 10:15 AM on April 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


also i would like a key plot point in the sequel to be that charlie day has terrible laryngitis and can't speak for the entire movie because his shrill squealy voice makes me long for death
posted by poffin boffin at 10:18 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


The world is split in twain on the subject, an insurmountable difference of opinion between those who think the film was stupid and those who are right about the film.

Wait when did we start talking about Snowpiercer?
posted by almostmanda at 10:27 AM on April 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


The fundamental concept of drifting and drift compatibility is one that rejects any bullshit lone hero nonsense and puts cooperation and trust and openness front and center.

The minds that ran the Jaegers were love, what stopped the breech was Gypsy Danger exposing its heart to the world.
posted by bonehead at 10:39 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


if you must have Ron Perlman in the movie, give him something useful to do

Ron Perlman's ability to chew scenery is unparalleled. His delivery of three simple words in this film remains the most quoted line in our house, and we have watched this movie more than any other in recent years. I love everything about this movie. It is cheese, but it is beautiful, good-natured, fundamentally sweet cheese. I cry a bit every time child-Mako sees the majestic Idris Elba emerging from his Jaeger. I really do. That child actor is amazing.

But I digress:

"TOO MUCH AMMONIA!!!!1one!!"
posted by biscotti at 10:40 AM on April 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I really enjoyed the movie, but didn't really bond with it until after fans starting playing with it.

For instance, my new favorite song is probably Vienna Teng's "Level Up", because of this Pacific Rim fanvid, which is awesome and makes me want to stand hand-in-hand with my friends on top of a wall and watch the apocalypse approach. Or, as it might be, run faster.
posted by suelac at 10:44 AM on April 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


There's a lot of trope subverting that is more subtle than it needs to be, and while I love Pacific Rim (hell, I'm on the con staff for a PacRim convention), the fact that more wasn't done also frustrates me greatly.

Things like Mako's rescue can be read as a direct homage to one of the Toho films where the veteran pilot sacrifices himself so the younger has a chance at life, rather than a "damsel in distress" trope. Or, Mako's "female gaze" at Raleigh's drive scars takes on a much different connotation in light of a deleted scene where Stacker's similar scars are visible (and she'd surely have to know about them).

It's one of those films where you can inject a lot of your own symbolism into it, but I think it's also a lot smarter than given credit for. For example, I pretty much still stand by an old piece I wrote when the movie first came out about why it's a good movie for geeks.
posted by Wossname at 10:45 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


the 2 macho military guys on a late night talk show as jaeger pilot superstars, and they're identical twins sitting in identical uniforms with identical body language and posture.

Oh right, the pilots of Romeo whatever. I was vaguely interested in them, but then Tacit Ronin appeared looking like something out of Gundam Wing and then supplemental canon said Tacit Ronin was piloted by Duc and Kaori Jessop, who were married and seemed wildly interesting on the basis of, like, one tumblr fancasting/photoset, and basically I want the prequel to be all about them and to have a romance + robots punching monsters movie.
posted by yasaman at 10:46 AM on April 16, 2015


The cartoon is supposed to be a prequel.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:48 AM on April 16, 2015


That apocalypse being cancelled speech is another case in point. I measure such speeches by the independence day standard.... I loved that speech. In spite of all its cheesyness, you could believe that speech. It was upbeat and rousing. This "apocalypse being cancelled" was horrible and awkward. It's depressing when it starts and the transition from a depressing tone to "give'em hell" tone was not very smooth. It needed to be written better.

However, Idris Elba. Your argument is invalid.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:50 AM on April 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


Mako Mori being victorious.

She's victorious when she fights Raleigh, when she wins the right to be a pilot, when they fight their first kaiju and win, when the giant robot she is co-piloting manages to make it to the Secret Hellpit that spawns kaiju, and when she lives. The final scene isn't, for me, the most interesting part of her character.
posted by jetlagaddict at 10:59 AM on April 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


This was a great cheese fest of a movie; I went expecting nothing more than cheese heaped on more cheese, with cheese dip on the side. And I got that. Because, you know, giant robots punching giant monsters.

And I also got some character stuff that was surprising, because I wasn't expecting it - I was expecting ALL THE TROPES which includes the male hero rediscovering his confidence and self-belief with the help of the sexy woman love interest. Like, Top Gun stuff. Instead, I got a more complicated set of characters, where the male hero rediscovers his confidence and self-belief alongside a female hero who also needs to discover her confidence and self-belief, and they both really just help each other instead of being all "I'm a sex kitten and you're my hero, now go save the day."

Not going to say it was brilliant executed, but it did do something different when it could've stayed with the traditional approach. And for that it has my respect.

Plus, it cancelled the apocalypse.
posted by nubs at 11:02 AM on April 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


Wait when did we start talking about Snowpiercer?

No, that's the one where everyone is divided into a) the people at the front of the train, b) the people who didn't like the film, c) the people in steerage, d) the people who liked the film, e) the people in the middle class cars who haven't watched the film but might get to it some day, f) the creepy guards in ski masks, and g) polar bears.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:03 AM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


There were a lot of things in the article about the characters being adult. I don't really see what part masculinity plays in it, except by contrast.
posted by darksasami at 11:15 AM on April 16, 2015


Plus, it cancelled the apocalypse.

No, rather, instead of that, it CANCELLED THE APOCALYPSE.

You gotta say it right, dude.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:29 PM on April 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


Humans started winning their fights against predators only after they could stand at a distance and rain death

As I understand things, humans also started winning against their PREY by being able to run longer distances without getting heatstroke or fatigue or whatever happens to gazelles. I think a movie watching jaegers chase each other for hours could get pretty old. On the other hand, it might explain the popularity of chase scenes in general.

Also, every time I see "Mako" I think of the sharks. Is it a normal Japanese first name?
posted by small_ruminant at 1:52 PM on April 16, 2015


If you're finding faults with the movie, you may enjoy the Jaegerbomb Edition, which made 33 cuts and shortened the movie from 131 minutes to 98 minutes.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:02 PM on April 16, 2015


Am I alone in LOATHING gifs that I can't turn off stuck in the middle of things I want to read?
posted by small_ruminant at 2:02 PM on April 16, 2015


On the one hand, I'm excited by the idea of more Pacific Rim.

On the other hand, there are rumors that Rinko Kikuchi won't be back as Mako Mori, and that the movie is going to be heavy on Charlie Day being Charlie Da. If those things happen, then despite seeing Pacific Rim six (6) times in the movie theater, I probably won't see PR2 and my intense, intense bitterness towards Pacific Rim fandom will intensify to the point that it could probably power a small Midwestern city.

Also, every time I see "Mako" I think of the sharks. Is it a normal Japanese first name?

I don't now how common the first name Mako is, but I've been told by Japanese speakers that one of the most hilarious parts of the movie for them is that it's an aggressively bland name, kinda like "Jane Smith" in English.
posted by joyceanmachine at 2:33 PM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


As a side note on how delightfully and subtly Pacific Rim subverts expectations -- Stacker Pentecost is mentioned in the extended canon as having had a lady co-pilot. Everybody assumed, Idris Elba being Idris Elba, that he was the 01 pilot and carried on alone to finish Tokyo.

Then, the deleted scene came out, and people noticed that Stacker Pentecost had his drivesuit scars on the same side as Raleigh Becket, meaning that he was probably in the 02 pilot seat like Raleigh.
posted by joyceanmachine at 2:36 PM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


The reason he didn't know about the killsword is because either he didn't read the specs on the upgrade or someone didn't update the Gipsy's logs adequately. Paperwork matters, people.

For me one of the most endearing parts of Stripes is when Russell Ziskey is reading the EM-50's manual while on guard duty...
posted by mikelieman at 2:37 PM on April 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think a big chain, where each link in the chain was made of smaller chains, each one of which was made of chainsaws, would have been nice.

Are you suggesting some kind of...chainchainsawchain?

That's the most ludicrous thing I...ever...

BRB GOING TO HOME DEPOT DON'T WAIT UP
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:38 PM on April 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


What I want to see in PR2 is the jaeger jumping on top of an aircraft carrier and surfing a tidal wave into the city maybe doing some sweet flips. Also they should show that jaegers can do more than punch stuff maybe the jaeger can solve some crimes and also help build a community garden to show that it cares too. Anyway I have to go buy a new tanning bed my old one got clogged with lotion.
posted by um at 5:17 PM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Metafilter, there are threads like this that makes me love you to pieces.

And shipbats and elbow rockets FTW, because Shipbats and elbow rockets, duh.
posted by Annika Cicada at 5:39 PM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


youtube delight!

(not as good as Netflix, but watchable...)
posted by pjmoy at 7:09 PM on April 16, 2015


I have to see this movie.
posted by swift at 8:16 PM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


As per Vulture, 56 actors appear in the end credits crawl. Only three of those are women we see talking onscreen. This movie is really groundbreaking stuff, guys.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:08 PM on April 16, 2015


3 women with speaking roles sounds better than any recent action films I've seen lately.
posted by harriet vane at 11:36 PM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I went to Pacific Rim to see giant robots fighting giant monsters and I enjoyed... pretty much everything else. The world building with the city inside the Kaiju skeleton, the flashbacks, the cheesy speeches and dynamics between the pilots, scientists, gangsters, everything but the CGI monster robot pow pow fight scenes i came for. I'm fairly sure that my opinion is bad and I should feel bad though.
posted by elr at 1:23 AM on April 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


As per Vulture, 56 actors appear in the end credits crawl. Only three of those are women we see talking onscreen. This movie is really groundbreaking stuff, guys.

I love the film, but would totally agree that few more roles for women would have been nice. Not necessary, just nice.

That said, looking at it as a strictly numbers games does the movie a huge disservice. Mako was a great character, very much in the vein of creating a strong woman that isn't just a female alpha dog, but has nuance and vulnerabilities.

I hadn't heard she might not be back for PR II. That would be really disappointing if true.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:03 AM on April 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm fairly sure that my opinion is bad and I should feel bad though.

admitting you have a problem is the first step towards recovery.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:54 AM on April 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I too would also like to express that I enjoyed this movie, while simultaneously signaling that it's beneath my usual fare, that perfect is STILL the enemy of good, and I'm so smart that even deigning to see this movie was an unusual break in my normal pursuits of jerking off to True Detective while wearing a Werner Herzog mask.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:19 AM on April 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


now i want a werner herzog mask
posted by poffin boffin at 12:34 PM on April 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also, two years from today is when Pacific Rim opens (April 17, 2017).

So. Heads up!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:44 PM on April 17, 2015 [2 favorites]




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