Monday, June 12, 2017

Superhero Media: Pacific Rim

So many people told me to check this film out that I was, frankly, worried. In my experience, the more highly something comes recommended to me, the worse it turns out to be; Inception was about as deep as a puddle, Firefly was garbage and Pacific Rim was ok. Unlike the other two darlings of popular culture mentioned above, I can see why Pacific Rim was a big hit, though that mostly comes down to the lack of familiarity the West has with the massive canon of Japanese Kaiju films. Getting into the, rather complicated, history of post-war Japanese culture in relation to the American occupation and the ongoing legacy of the only wartime exchange of nuclear weapons in human history, is probably not the best move in this particular article. Suffice to say, I'd reckon that del Toro was a bit of a Kaiju fan and this film shows that, but is restricted by the processes of the Hollywood system. 

In the not-too-distant future, the countries of the Pacific Rim are menaced by giant monsters from the depths of the ocean and our only protection are the Jagers, giant robots with two pilots that are built to smash Kaiju face. There are some pilots who don't matter with some "Hollywood" PTSD and I hate them because they take screen time away from Idris Elba! Idris plays the hard-bitten commander with an insane plan to save the world who can't pilot a Jager anymore because of plot reasons. Of course, in the final battle, he straps in and smashes face alongside the forgettable protagonist and the day is saved. Although I know that having actors in rubber suits fighting over model cities would never have sold in the West, as a lifelong Kaiju fan, the CGI just doesn't do it for me and the fact that the Kaiju themselves have little personality or uniqueness drags down what could have been the premiere Western Kaiju film. 

Unlike many, I'm not keen for a sequel, the only interesting character is dead and the only real option is a giant alien war that moves too far away from Kaiju for my tastes. On the bright side, Pacific Rim did whet my appetite for some real Kaiju, so expect to see some more exotic Superhero Media entries in the not-too-distant future. Also, I should watch Luther again. 

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