Pacific Rim (2013): Hm— I don’t know. I can’t say it’s not fun because it’s really fun during the special effects. It’s miserable any other time, but isn’t that just true of the genre? I’ve seen plenty of kaiju movies but how many do I remember character or story or anything else…? Not really why I see them. On the other hand, those movies didn’t cost $180-220 million dollars, and aren’t some dumb nerd cause celebre.
But yeah: I’m very, very much the target audience for a movie about robots fighting godzillas— I can see a DVD copy of a late-90’s Gamera movie from where I’m typing this. (Gamera was the turtle…? He was a very likable alternative to Godzilla whose late 90’s movies were, uhm, those were good ones). So I liked all those bits. I like Guillermo Del Toro in general. (I like hearing him talk about Hitchcock?). I mean, yeah, I like his Spanish movies more, though that seems like an effete snob thing to say— “Lord Fluaunteroy drinks his tea with his pinky out.” His American movies though, the most they’ve ever been interesting is… like, the way looking at a D&D Monster Manual is interesting if you’re a nerdy little kid. That’s about it. And this was like that, like getting to look at his sketchbook or whatever. But so was Hellboy 2 and… who remembers Hellboy 2??
But then everything else is just shitty. Or at least stuff I’m personally not into with movies, like when a movie starts with having to wade through a wall of exposition at the beginning— I hate that. Stories with no discernible point of view, weak non-characters, nonsensical fight tactics, dumb world-building logic (e.g. we had to build robots to fight the monsters but then the robots fight the monsters most effectively using pulse cannons so… why didn’t we just build a shit-ton of pulse cannons?). The line “Cancelling the apocalypse” was OK but they’d wasted that on trailers— that was about as good as any of that got. Plus, we can debate the importance of character arcs in movies like this but man, in this one, they spend all this time setting up an arc for various characters and then never pay off on any of them, even a little… I found that just sloppy.
On the other hand, you get to see a robot drag a giant boat through a city. Okay. I’m in. That’s who I am. I’ve liked that kinda shit my whole life, and it’s a first time they poured money at it…? Then again, that’s what people were saying after that shitty first X-Men and now look at what those assholes did to the culture, you know? I don’t know— that’s the weird thing about this movie how… It’s like the Internet’s Movie…? I feel like there’s this weird alternate reality some people live in where this movie’s success or failure means something. People who probably know more about youtube web-stars or Wil Wheaton or Neal Gaiman or Penny Arcade or whatever than I do. Like, I don’t read Badass Digest, but I feel like … like how super right-wing people have their own newspapers and TV and stuff so sometimes you’ll be talking to someone and they’ll make these bizarre points to you because that’s what they hear in the world they live in…?
And I get the impression in that world, Pacific Rim is “important” because it’s an “original idea” this summer. Which is nutty because a LOT of original movies came out this summer— the Heat, Whitehouse Down, After Earth, Oblivion, Now You See Me, uh— Side Effects; dudes weren’t repping Side Effects and that was some original-ass shit to me. But even if that were true… do I care whether they make more $180 million dollar movies that are “original”? A little yes because I think the way our culture worships fucking old shit is sick and disgusting and boring. But a little no because… dude: give Guillermo Del Toro LESS money and let him be creative instead. As you’re watching this movie, there are parts you look at and just go— “oh, that’s cool but they didn’t need to spend money on that and I wouldn’t have missed that.” (e.g. setting up an arc for the girl you never pay off on). I mean, maybe that’s just a Channel 101 mentality, but… like, I liked the characters in Gigabots as much if not way more than Pacific Rim, so…
(Also, I’m a gross old man, so a lot of movies are plenty original to me because I don’t know what the hell teenage shit is. I don’t know the fuck a “Mortal Instruments” is or a “Beautiful Creatures” cause I got hair places the target audience for those movies don’t. If I were to see those, they’d be totally original to me… Hunger Games was an original movie to me except to the extent I’d already seen Battle Royale…).
Or… I just don’t think Big Special Effects movies are in any danger of not getting made. They’re going to keep making those. You know what they don’t make any more? Like… Penelope Ann Miller movies. Man, in the 80’s/90’s, Penelope Ann Miller had a whole career. Those movies are gone. Shit, nobody’s making the Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag. When was the last time we even saw a movie where Amy Adams cried because she couldn’t bake a cake good? I like those movies. Those were good times. Instead, she’s playing second fiddle to Superman while he’s all murdering people and being like “Grawr. I listen to iTunes! System of the Down is my favorite band!"
I mean, yeah, I’d prefer that if we’re going to have tentpole blockbusters, not all of them be fucking dumbshit superhero sequels. I don’t think that’s good for people— I think it’s actively bad for people, like, spiritually. I’m just not sure “Hey, let’s make a movie that’s sort of like anime even the parts that don’t work"— how much better is that? (Is some of it that, like, the nerdy parts of the internet all have "original ideas" they’re hoping to sell…? "I have an idea for a movie!" I don’t even know).
I don’t know. I liked it— I liked it because it’s the Kind of Thing I like. I just— I feel like it’s this year’s John Carter not in the sense of “Oh nerd-famous director bombed” because I don’t know what the box office is or whatever (I just know when I brought it up with my friend who all he sees are special effects movies, and has Battletech novels on his shelf even though he’s a full-grown married adult, his response was “Absolutely Not”, emphatically, because it “looked shitty”). I feel like it’s that because that was another movie that this sector of the Internet just got over-emotionally behind for reasons I totally didn’t comprehend even though it was just really shitty, just a movie that did not work once you subtracted the “this pushes my buttons” from it (and that movie didn’t push any of my buttons because I was never a Frazetta guy, at all). The weird bit being when I went looking for people comparing the two, I found more than one tweet that was like, “Don’t let the media kill Pacific Rim like it did John Carter.” LIke there was a media conspiracy”! Like— I don’t know, I grew up geeky and I know from geeky, I’ve been around that noise my whole life (TO MY REGRET! OH GOD, THE REGRET!), so it really shouldn’t be as weird to me as it is that being geeky ended up being like a Republican just with another set of talking points… That comparison should be the 100% opposite of surprising. (Though: “crazy people are on twitter, said person on tumblr”— I’m sure that’s some regrettable stereotype too… Was that how the Whigs were? Probably. ”Hello. I’m a nouveau Whig”)
I don’t know— normal people don’t feel the need to get all weird when they half-like a movie, do they? This is no good. ANyways, Pacific Rim— see it if you like robots fighting godzillas, but hoo-boy, that story, pee-yew, plus Charlie Hunnam’s Mark Wahlberg impression made me feel weird and a little sad because I liked that dude in Undeclared. The end. Sorry to go on and on.