I saw Pacific Rim
yesterday. It was the first contemporary big-action, humans-versus-aliens I've seen, and I found it enormously interesting, but it also left me with much to think about.
I really loved its look, which seemed to me in places to owe a lot to Blade Runner,
by the way. But then again, I was told by my learned companion that the film also owed a lot to Godzilla
and Top Gun
, none of which I've seen, so there might have been references all over the place. Actually, I thought one keynote speech was practically a rewrite of the "but not this day!" speech from LOTR, but that's the only other ref I noticed, if it was
a ref. Anyway, I was saying, that I loved the look of the movie, especially the wonderfully detailed battered metal of all
the infrastructure that the group was working with, even from the very beginning (of the movie, which starts some years into the story, i.e.some years after the alien monsters first appear). That and the colour palette, and the terrific effects, especially the water battles. The whole look of the movie at pretty well every point, actually (barring the sudden burst of sunshine and blue skies at the end, which after all the gloomy rain and snow was stretching credulity somewhat - monsters destroyed and skies are suddenly blue again).
I liked Mako very much indeed, from her first entry with umbrella and all the way. And yes, wonderful to see a woman not on display (visually or by the plot) as sexual object, but as a person - and uncompromisingly herself, all the way. Though... the script did her some disservice at points, most notably her long silent standing by while the hero (more or less) beats up someone for not apologising... well, it's complicated, and I don't want to get spoilery. Did we even get a reaction shot, though? And in the closing scenes, too, she wasn't well served by the script, I thought. Still, the actress did really well in the part - she has great eyes! And brilliant body language -- I loved her challenging, unyielding, utterly certain
stride under the umbrella, in the opening scene -and then her eyes showed the things she doubted. (And while I'm on Mako, the little girl Mako was terrific
! especially before
she saw Pentecost.) But not even Mako could escape the scourge of the Monster Script; even she had to play a round of Inane or Pointless Scripted Action Roulette, though she was much, much less prone to it than others, including the Whole Combined World Defence Force. Okay, no point in getting picky about plot holes and inconsistencies and plain silliness, because it's not that sort of movie. But...
...the national stereotyping, and which nations are expendable, and the am-I-reading-too-much-into-it subtext did
leave me uneasy. The Russians, who build the biggest
jaeger monster-fighter, and who are cold, vaguely threatening, nearly silent and edgy-looking; the Chinese, who build a weird three-armed abnormal
jaeger monster-fighter, and who are quick and lithe and great at sport, but totally
silent; and the Chinese crowds, who just mill about to be background when called for. Let alone the Australians - basically useful allies, all like Thingummy Dundee, need to learn a bit of respect. And was that the Magical Negro
I saw there? the man whose background story we (in the person of the hero) are specifically
told we will never learn, the one who alone of all the pilots, can drift without memories
, the man who therefore (in the movie) comes from nowhere to appear in a haze of golden light, and... ooops. Almost a spoiler. And the whole idea that what saves humanity from the relentless incomer monsters, is a private
band of heroes, specifically not
endorsed by any public consultation or agreement or authority, ex-military who decide to take action unilaterally, after being betrayed by the pusillanimity and inanity of the...I think the phrase was "men in suits"? or "men in ties"? Still pondering that subtext.
I have high hopes of seeing another movie before the week is out: the first Vietnamese action-fantasy, Lua Phat
, or Buddhist Fire/Buddha's Fire
, about a monk (oh, yes.. a martial-arts fighting monk. I don't think
that's a spoiler!) who comes to aid of a beleaguered village... sort of like The Seven Samurai
, I think. This is more movies than I usually see in six months. :D