Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pacific Rim looks amazing and I can't wait to see it

I have been geeking out about the upcoming movie Pacific Rim ever since I first heard of it If you haven't yet, you owe it to yourself (and your inner 12-year-old) to watch some of the Pacific Rim trailers on Apple's iTunes Movie Trailers site. Pacific Rim features giant robots fighting to save the world from giant monsters, and it is directed by Guillermo del Toro, so you know those giant robots and monsters will look great. Best of all, Pacific Rim comes out this week!

With the movie so close to release, my geek-out level is approaching dangerous levels, so I thought it might help stabilize my inner fanboy to talk about my expectations. To keep things simple, I will use an approach that my 12-year-old self would have approved of, and split my thoughts into things that are awesome and things that are dumb.

Awesome: Giant robots

While I have never tied my giant robot flag to any franchise such as Gundam, Transformers, or Battletech/Mechwarrior, I love both the idea and the visuals of giant robots. I especially love the idea of a brave pilot, all too human, sitting inside this gargantuan, powerful machine. No matter how strong the machine is physically, armor and weapons are nothing without the courage of the person inside.

Dumb: The mental link

Let's get this one out of the way. In the film, each giant robot, called a Jaeger, is piloted by at least two people. The pilots' minds are connected to each other and to the robot itself. Apparently, having a single person try to pilot a Jaeger would overwhelm that person's mind. In order to create this mental link, the pilots share deeply personal memories with each other, so that they experience each other's memories as if they were there. I would have much preferred it if each Jaeger had a single pilot, and I suspect that the mental link is designed for plot purposes, so that when the heroes finally learn to trust each other fully, they will be ready to kick butt in the final climax.

Awesome: Giant monsters

I still remember watching a special showing of a bunch of Godzilla movies on the SciFi Channel with my brothers as a kid. I think the main reason we were watching it was that it was hosted by Mark Hamill, but we ended up totally digging the various giant monsters in the series. I remember drawing pictures of Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah afterward. The local library had a few book versions of classic horror movies, illustrated with images from the films, and I remember reading the Godzilla one often. Giant monsters rule. To pay tribute to the classic monsters, Guillermo del Toro designed his monsters with a thought to how a person might fit inside the monster suit, if it were a suit instead of a CG creation. I think that is a great idea, and I can't wait to see how it looks on the big screen.

Dumb: The tagline

"To fight monsters, we created monsters." No, you created robots. Why would the robots be monsters? Are they going to go bad? GLaDOS is the voice of the computer controlling the heroes' robot, but I don't think there's going to be any trouble. "To fight monsters, we created robots" may sound super cheesy, but when I'm about to see a movie featuring giant monsters slugging it out with giant robots, that's what I want.

Awesome: An international effort

I love the idea of countries from all over the world uniting to face a common threat. It is one of my favorite things about X-COM as well: seeing soldiers from all over the world fighting alongside each other, any old rivalries or prejudices placed aside for the common good. In Pacific Rim, as the title implies, the main nations are near the Pacific Ocean: Russia, China, Japan, Australia, and the good old United States. Each country has its own Jaeger, and each Jaeger has different strengths and weaknesses. I love it.

Given that this movie promises 2,500 tons of awesome, I'd say that the awesome clearly outweighs the dumb! I could go on and on, but I am afraid that the more I do, the more this will turn into frothing at the mouth. So instead I will ask you: are you looking forward to Pacific Rim, and why?

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