Pacific Rim: A Reaction

Just came back from the screening and I am frankly baffled.

I am baffled by the hate that some people have for Pacific Rim. I’ve seen it before in the internet. People calling this movie stupid and noisy and comparing it to Transformers. I understand that yes, people have different tastes and some people’s tastes don’t run to robot movies with sea monsters in it. But, this time around, I’m just not getting the reason behind the negativity. It’s like I don’t understand either how some people can be so hateful toward The Hobbit. To criticize a movie, that’s good. We could all use some criticism in our lives… but to hate a movie? Gee. Do the haters have nothing else to do?

The thing with Pacific Rim is that yeah, it’s super huge and metallic and shiny and noisy, but it’s also so much fun. It’s like when you eat a particularly delicious meal or find money in your pocket that you’ve forgotten you put there a long time ago. It’s a movie that gives you a rush, makes your heart beat a little faster and internally cheer at the movie heroism of it all.

There are robots – or, more accurately, Jaegers – that mimic the personalities of their pilots. There’s the rowdy Australian Jaeger, Striker Eureka, and then there’s the stiff Russian Jaeger, Cherno Alpha. You’ve got the small but ambitious Chinese Jaeger, Crimson Typhoon, and the underdog star of the ocean, Gipsy Danger. And the names! Even the names give me a rush! They go pow pow pow, bang boom bam, rip-that-Kaiju-apart-mofos! One’s got a sword and the other has knife-shaped arms. Then Idris Elba goes “we are cancelling the apocalypse!” and the words are not just a gimmicky tagline – it’s a moment achieved through the build-up of his character’s journey that feels so rewarding at the end.

It’s like, DEAR ZACK SNYDER, THIS IS HOW YOU BUILD UP A MOVIE AND MAKE THE ENDING WORK.

And also, DEAR MICHAEL BAY, THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE A ROBOT MOVIE.

(I’m actually a fan of the Transformers movies and I don’t hate them like most people do. But Pacific Rim is just on another level.)

The movie is geeky, yes, and non-geeks (or, rather, non-otaku) will probably not get it. But not getting it is no reason to hate. Or maybe it is. Because ignorance breeds hatred, most of the time, and that’s a problem many people seem to have with Pacific Rim. But personally, I feel that even if I hadn’t grown up with Neon Genesis Evangelion or Mobile Suit Gundam (I certainly didn’t like kaiju movies when I was a kid), or any kind of otaku (and J-pop) stuff from Japan, I still would’ve the film. I would appreciate its ability to make me forget the woes of the world for 131 minutes and its genuine effort at giving us an original script that doesn’t come from a book, a comic book, a previously made movie, a TV series, a radio show or a theater play.

Or maybe I’m just that big of a GdT fan. Hm.

Really, though, this is Travis Beacham and Guillermo del Toro saying, “Hey, kids, don’t plagiarize… but get inspired.” (Very similar to what Gore Verbinski and Jerry Bruckheimer did with the very first Pirates movie.) It’s all about honoring the idea that inspired you, not copying what others have done before you. I can only wish I had an imagination like that.

What I’m trying to say is: keep an open mind and try it out. Of course, if you don’t like robots and monsters, don’t go for it… but don’t hate. Is that so hard to do?

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