In all honesty, I was already going to see this movie, and it had nothing to do with the movie itself. The trailers for Pacific Rim haven’t really been all that great, in my opinion. They purport a movie about mechs vs. monsters, and little else. None of them gave any sense of the actual plot or characters, and made the movie seem incredibly one dimensional. Hey, I have nothing against spectacle, and watching mechs beat up some monsters would probably be pretty cool to watch, but “cool” doesn’t usually equal “good.” High concept movies usually rely too heavily on the concept, and forget things like a sensible plot, and characters arcs. It’s unfortunate, but more often than not, it’s the way it goes.
The reason I have been excited about this movie, even before I had seen a single frame of footage, all comes down to one man. Guillermo del Toro. I’ve been a big fan of his for a long time. Actually, I’d been a fan of his even before I was aware that he was the director of a few movies I really liked. The first movie of his that I had seen was Mimic. Which isn’t perfect, or anything( The movie was taken away from him during production and post-production, but about a year ago he was able to get a hold of it and reconstruct the movie as close to his original vision as was possible. Seriously, it makes for a much better movie than the theatrical cut, and addresses a lot of the inconsistencies that were present. Also, he’s very candid about his experiences on making the film in the special features segments. It’s an interesting “sneak peak” into movie making. ), but it showed some a real talent for atmosphere and tone. It wasn’t long after that that I saw Blade 2, which is a great “comic book” movie, and shows his aptitude for exciting fantasy action. Again, not a perfect movie, or anything, but it’s one that I unabashedly enjoy. I would also include his Hellboy flicks in the same line of thinking.
Even when Del Toro works with “high concept fantasy” stuff, he always pays attention to character, and that can make or break these kinds of movies. He never allows spectacle to over take the narrative. The obvious example of a movie that doesn’t understand this basic tenant of story telling would be the Transformers movies, but the less said about those the better. So, like I said, I was already going to buy a ticket to this. He’s a film maker that has never let me down, and I get why they are marketing the movie the way they have. It’s worked in the past. Well, kind of. Other movies that have been marketed this way(Transformers… Last time I bring it up. Promise.) have had an already established fan-base, and they were probably going to see those movies no matter what, and guess what? They did. Pacific Rim doesn’t have the benefit of nostalgia, but the powers at be seem to think “Hey, it worked for those other giant, mechanized things movies! Just do that! You know, BWAAMP! CRASH! BROOOMP! Other onomatopoeia! That’s what the kids like! Right?”(I know, I’m just as shocked as you are that they knew what “onomatopoeia” is.) There is a lot of pressure on this movie to perform, and they are just “going to the well,” so to speak, in terms of selling the flick. It’s unfortunate, because this trailers shows that there might actually be an interesting plot, and likable characters existing along side all the awesome looking action.
So, the trailer! It finally shows us more than a “cool” speech, and monsters getting smashed, or about to be smashed, I guess. I mean, you have to save something for the actual movie, so I’ve been happy that they haven’t really “shown” much. This trailer doesn’t spoil anything, but it still gives us at least a sense of what’s going on in the actual plot. It looks straight forward, but honestly, I’m thankful for that. I could use something that isn’t incredibly convoluted and hard to follow. It looks like a story about all of humanity coming together to “Cancel the apocalypse.”(Dammit! I guess I’ll have to get a hold of Ticket Master…) There is a few quick shots of the pilots in action controlling the mechs, and while the trailer never brings it up, it would seem that each of these Jaegers requires two pilots working together in synchronicity. Considering that this flick is about people coming together to fight a greater evil, I’m sure this will present some drama for the pilot characters to overcome, and maybe actually, I don’t know, have some thematic cohesiveness. Sure, it may end up being “predictable,” but that doesn’t mean it will be bad. Simple stories told well are just that, told well. As long as this has some likable characters, that I can get behind and empathize with, I’ll be good.
Also, the tag line “We created monsters to fight monsters,” seems to imply that maybe these Jaegers have some sentience to them, but that might be just me reading too much into it. Also, I recently watched one of the Evangelion Rebuild movies. So, it might have just brought my mind there. It would be kind of cool if they go that direction though. I could get into that. If you’re going to do “sci-fi,” you might as well go all the way with it. That’s just me though, and would kind of contradict what I said earlier about “convoluted” stories, but I don’t know. If it was done right, I would be down. I’m not opposed to being a little more “complex,” as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the stuff I was talking about before.
Apparently, this movie hasn’t been tracking super well, and that’s kind of a bummer. It’s an original story, and I fear if this tanks we’ll just get more re-makes, re-boots, and re-treads. I’m not saying that YOU MUST GO SEE THIS, or anything. If it doesn’t appeal to you, then it doesn’t appeal to you, but considering the director and his body of work, I have a feeling it’s going to be at least worth our time. Even if it ends up being some passive entertainment and that’s all. I have a sneaking suspicion that I wont be walking out of the theater feeling like I was just talked down to, and that’s saying a lot these days.
One quick thing! Idris Elba being allowed to use his own accent in an American production is pretty sweet. Well, to me anyways.