Friday, July 26, 2013

Pacific Rim

About four years ago, I got a late-night phone call from the great Guillermo Del Toro - I thought, "How cool is this, the director of "Pan's Labyrinth" and the "Hellboy" films wants to work with me on his next film!  He said a lot of nice things about my work and then moved on to the reason for calling me - he wanted to do a voice for "The Simpsons" and needed Matt Groening's phone number.

Typical - why does everyone think I have Matt's number?  The only times I see him are at animation events - the Annies, Comic-Con, the Annecy festival - so I sadly told him that I didn't have Matt's personal number, and that was the last I heard from "Mr. Bull".

Then, last week I saw his new film "Pacific Rim", his labor of love that finally hit the big screen.

First, the bad news.  There are a number of facets of the film that I have problems with, such as: 

1) Why do they need to build these giant robots ("Jaegers") to fight the Godzilla-like monsters, when an attack helicopter, jet fighter or even a drone plane could incinerate them in seconds? 

2) Why couldn't a nuclear submarine eliminate these "Kaiju" as they escaped from their breach (a fissure in the ocean's bottom)?

3) Why did two of the stars who are antagonists look exactly alike?  Were they twins?  It was very confusing to tell who was who.

4) Why was it impossible to understand anything that is said in the film?

5) What's the reason they needed two people to run these Jaegers?  It seems that coordinating the legs, arms, eyes, weapons systems would be doubly impossible.  They showed one operator with gouged retinas - I didn't get the connection.

OK, now the good news.  "Pacific Rim" is the most fun, kick-ass film I've seen all year.  It makes "Transformers" look like a bad 1950's TV show.  The look, the character designs, the imagination, the battle scenes and the humor are all wondrous. 

Plus, Ron Perlman is hilarious as a sleazy con-man/body parts salesman. 

This film is a geek's delight!  It's going to make a fortune.

I give it an "A".

--Bill Plympton


  1. 1. It was established in the first few minutes of the film, that the army, navy and air force were "barley able" to fend off one such monster. They took heavy casualties in each encounter and thus needed a comparable monster to fight the creatures.

    2. Conventional nuclear weapons are delivered from planes, or subs and detonate above a target. The ridge is too deep for any normal method to reach. If bombs were lowered down, then detonated, the resulting radiation from multiple bombs would eventually cause radiation poisoning on a global scale.

    3.The team of guys who looked alike were father and son.

    4. Many of today's films have that problem, too much background sound and lot's of action can get confusing quickly.

    5. The strain of controlling the machines proved too much for one persons nervous system to handle, hence the need to distribute the load to two minds. Also, makes an easy plot device for building the relationships between the characters.

    Overall, I thought it was a great movie.

    Hope this helps.

  2. #1 is explained clearly in the novelization, but not very well in the movie. The missiles used to stop the Kaiju were nukes. Nothing else the human militaries had did anything more than piss the Kaiju off. Another thing mentioned in the novelization was that the Kaiju were silicone-based lifeforms, not carbon-based, FWIW.