Kaiju! @ 09:02 am
My friend naomikritzer has a theory that the way "Inglorious Bastards" was pitched by Quentin Tarantino was that he was sitting around at a bar with a bunch of Hollywood types and started saying, "You know what never gets old? Killing Nazis!" I now have a similar image of Guillermo Del Toro selling "Pacific Rim" by saying, "You know what would make Gozilla better? Giant Robots!"
By happenstance I ended up going out with my movie buddies, seanmmurphy and Eleanor Arnason, to see "Pacific Rim" last night (in 2-D). I actually called Murphy last night to hear about his baking bread date with a five-year old and somehow in the course of that conversation I ended up on a movie date with my two movie besties.
I have no regrets.
Eleanor, I think, might have preferred to stay home and play Solitaire on her Kindle.
The fun of "Pacific Rim" can be summed up pretty simply: "There were monsters! There were robots! They fought!" I think Del Toro let you know that was the kind of film he was making in the ten minute introduction/montage at the very beginning where our big set up to the world of "Pacific Rim" was simply: alien monsters are coming out of a rift/wormhole in the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, we called them kaiju. We built giant robots to fight them. We got really good at killing the kaiju, and then suddenly things were different and it got harder...
That's all the plot of the entire movie, except like any good shonen action storyline: when things get harder, we FIGHT harder. The kaiju power up! Oh, no! We must power up! This cycle is on repeat until someone wins (hint: it's always us.)
If you go into this film expecting even ONE IOTA more than this, you're sure to be disappointed. Snappy dialogue? Nope. Amazing world-building? A little. As has been discussed on io9 and other places, there's some science in this fiction. The way that the robots are operated has a lot of fun world-building thinky-thoughts. Compelling characters? One: Mako Mori (played by Rinko Kikuchi), but she's not the main character--though, IMHO, she should have been, as her backstory is the most compelling AND her moment of honor and revenge is by far the more satisfying (and involves a sword!)
Like the original "Godzilla" import that Mason and I watched (see my review here: http://lyda222.livejournal.com/255084.ht
In fact, Eleanor argued that "Pacific Rim" was dull and could never be called a "good" film. I think we were arguing semantics last night because, for me, "Pacific Rim" was more fun than good. I had no expectations of good. (There were monsters! There were robots! They fought!) More to the point, a film like this can never be "good," though I thought it was tremendously fun (There were monsters! There were robots! They fought!) The visual effects were, sadly, occasionally muddy (it would have been AWESOME as Anime), but there were monsters....
You get the idea.
I would totally recommend the movie to any Godzilla fan. It you can shout out Gamera! or Mothra! with glee, this film is for you. If this....
...makes you unaccountably happy or brings back fond memories of late night movies as a kid, "Pacific Rim" is for you.
Because, there were monsters! There were robots! And they fought!