Thanks for Mako Mori

Dear Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro,

Thank you for Mako Mori.

Sincerely yours,
Me

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Mako Mori is one of my favorite movie characters of all time.

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The way GdT and Beacham made her a kick-ass heroine without making her a sex object is just fantastic. Also, the way you write about her is exquisite – her somewhat platonic relationship with Raleigh Becket is wonderful, although in my heart I do believe they did fall in love with each other.

When I remember how she looked up eagerly to her mentor and surrogate father, Stacker Pentecost, during Raleigh’s trials in the movie, I couldn’t stop smiling because she was so adorable. Even more fantastic is the way she corrected Raleigh when he told her that she didn’t have to obey Stacker’s orders. “It’s not obedience, Mr. Becket; it’s respect” is a line that will stay with me forever. It is Mako who makes both Raleigh and Stacker such awesome characters, because they both treat her with the same respect that she shows them.

And when I read in Tales Of Year Zero that Stacker adopted her, and how they stood embracing Tamsin Sevier like a family of three, the tears just won’t stop. Because then it made Mako’s “Goodbye, sensei” in the movie all the more poignant.

Poetic is also how I would describe Mako’s appearance. She’s not sexy, she’s not cutesy, she’s just Mako. The image of little Mako wearing blue coat and holding her red shoe is powerful. Del Toro said that the shoe represented her heart, something she lost (because the shoe was off her feet) because she lost her family from the Kaiju attack. She grew up to be a restrained and closed off woman, represented by the way she wore the all black and the umbrella in her first scene in the movie. Only when she joined Raleigh in the drift did their colors blend and mix, thus signifying Mako finding her heart once again.

This is too sweet for words. I don’t know how GdT and Beacham did it but they did. Pacific Rim is an all-out action movie that’s big and noisy but it has such a big heart in the form of Mako Mori. I wish more filmmakers would make movies this way!

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?

Prometheus: Film Review

Prometheus

Destination: Paradise. Arrival: Ridley Scott’s purgatory.

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WARNING: This review may contain spoilers.

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Here are a few things to do before watching Prometheus:

1. Watch Alien, Ridley Scott’s first sci-fi epic that launched his career. But just Alien.

2. Forget Alien.

3. Free your mind.

Because Scott opens his film with a scene that would give Charles Darwin, had he been able to watch, reason to have strong words with writers Jon Spaihts (The Darkest Hour) and Damon Lindelof (Lost) for even thinking of ruining his theories. A man with chalk-white complexion – not exactly human, but entirely humanoid – took a sip of a mysterious dark liquid. Then he fell and his cells disintegrated… and most probably created life on Earth.

Then he moves his movie to 2080, where we are introduced to Elizabeth Shaw, a religious scientist that Swedish actress Noomi Rapace plays. She and her lover, Logan Marshall-Green’s Charlie Holloway, have apparently found evidence that the aforementioned being, whom these scientists then referred to as ‘the Engineers’ are none other than our makers. Shaw, Holloway and a number of crew then shipped themselves off in Weyland Corp.’s research vessel Prometheus to a distant planet in a distant solar system that cost them two years of hypersleep to reach to seek the truth of their claim. And because this is a Ridley Scott movie, what ensues is a tale straight out of a Lovecraft-induced nightmare that will shake you no matter how firmly you are holding on to the edge of your seat.

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