Again I’m just home from cinema. Watched Pacific Rim, an action flick with Jaegers, some kind of two-legged battle mechs.
And, since I watched it: there will be spoilers. You have been warned.
I saw the trailer a few weeks ago and decided I wanted to see it, even though I did not expect too much from it. And it didn’t disappoint: the story is shallow and predictable, most characters are one-dimensional at best, and I won’t even mention the Bechdel test.
That being said, the story is interesting enough, does not have too many or too bad plot holes, and the visual aspect is extremely well done.
You can find the plot here, I will not recount it in detail.
I wondered quite a while why those beasts are called Kaijus. The first attack was on Los Angeles, why in the world would the Americans call those things by a Japanese name? I think they should have relocated the first attack to Japan. It wouldn’t have been the first time, they have enough experience with Godzilla. ^^
Also, someone had way too much fun destroying cities around the world (even though (or because?) they have been evacuated). Even though there is a lot of debris and dust blocking the view, the overwhelmingly greatest part of those fights Kaiju vs. Jaeger in various cities looks quite realistic, if excessively destructive. It is really fun just to watch, to notice all the little details, and it does not look fake for one minute.
I like the idea of two-legged battle mechs, but I do not think they would be the best option in a situation like the one described in the movie. One of the hardest things to teach a robot is to walk on two legs, to hold its balance. This cannot be outsourced completely to the pilots, as the Jaegers locomotory system is quite different from that of a human.
Most Jaegers are piloted by a team of two, seemingly mostly relatives. Two brothers, or father and son. There is one team of three brothers piloting a three-armed Jaeger. Did they honestly first find the pilots and build the Jaeger to their specification? That does not seem very effective for an expensive warmachine like that.
Most fights take place in (for the Jaegers) knee-deep water around the coast. I refuse to believe most coastal lines are that shallow that far out. The showdown is supposed to be on the bottom of the pacific, so underwater fights are possible (though the Jaegers seem not to be able to swim or float).
The pace picks up when it becomes apparent that the time between appearances of the Kaijus is decreasing. And the Jaegers are decreasingly effective against them.
So it is decided to build a wall around the pacific.
Sorry, but if I have an offensive tactic that proves to be ineffective, it is not a good idea to try a defensive tactic with means that have proven ineffective (no building withstood a Kaiju for any length of time yet) while dismantling any offensive weaponry.
And of course, it only takes the Kaiju 1 hour to break through. Surprise!
Fortunately, the commander of the Jaeger forces, Pentecost, preserved all Jaegers he could get his hands on. He made a deal with a mafia boss, consigning him all Kaiju carcasses for financing his Jaeger operation. And for once, this does not backfire. Hurray!
At some point, one of the Kaijus releases some kind of EMP that kills all thigs digital. But of course, the one Jaeger they still have in their bay, the one belonging to the hero Raleigh Becket and his new partner, is not digital. It’s analogue.
Pentecost introduced all remaining pilots and their Jaegers when Raleigh arrived. Raleighs Jaeger is a Mark 3, and Raleigh the only remaining Mark 3 pilot, all others are dead. But they even have a Mark 1 in their ranks (and it looks like Rusty from Starlight Express…). Why is the Mark 3 the only analogue one?
On the other hand, what really impressed me where the little things. For instance: The mental shift that linked the pilots together is supposed to make them share their minds and enable them to pilot the Jaeger in unison. When inside the Jaegers cockpit, all movements were astonishingly synchronous, even from pilots with different body types. This really impressed me, it looked real.
What I completely did not understand was the part with the scientist Dr. Geiszler. He mental shifted with a part of a brain of a Kaiju, and during the next attack (where he was in Hong Kong, unfortunatly), the Kaiju was quite determined to find him. And when it did, it screamed at him and „sniffed“ (?) him out, but left him alone.
Which ultimately led to the Kaiju’s downfall. What was that about?
Geiszler finds out that the Kaijus are created for the sole purpose to attack, but when two appear simultaneously, one of them is pregnant? Fortunatly, the baby Kaiju is a plot device to provide Geiszler with a functioning Kaiju brain, to ferret out their secret in time to save the world.
Of course in the end, Pentecost heroically gives his life to enable Raleigh and Mako to blow up the rift. And of course Raleigh, being a hero and a gentleman, first ejects an unconscious Mako before heroically blowing his Jaeger to the high heavens – but of course, he makes it out in time, too.
Ok, I will say something about the women in the movie.
I think I counted two.
In the whole movie. Both were pilots. One, Mako Mori, the rookie partner of Raleigh, the other one belonging to the russian Jaeger team. I think I heard her utter one complete sentence. During battle. To the computer.
Seriously, Mr. del Toro, that counts as a mega-fail.
(And I chose to believe that Becket and Mako are not becoming an item in the last minute of the movie.)
All in all does this count as a pretty decent movie, counting as a popcorn-worthy action flick. If you don’t expect Goethe, you can actually enjoy a destruction fest with reallyreally pretty imagery.