Saturday, July 13, 2013

Further Animadversions On Pacific Rim

Well, again, I predicted that it wasn't going to be good, and I regretfully conclude that it was a good guess...

But the fights and visuals were pretty damn cool... 

Jeez, I ought to be more grateful to people for making a giant-robot-vs.-Cthulhu-monsters movie...

But a few more complaints:

My primary complaint about the movie was that it skipped right over the best part of a giant monster movie, to wit: the reveal. IMHO, people tend to think that giant monster movies are intrinsically more like adventure movies than they are like horror movies. That is, they ignore the creepiness factor. I still remember (or seem to remember...) being a kid and first seeing the reveal in Godzilla, with Raymond Burr & co. watching Godzilla appear over the top of a mountain...  Man, that was great stuff... And IMHO Cloverfield is genius in that respect (and many others). Anyway, I do respect the attempt to make a different kind of movie...but when you've got huge, dark storms in the Pacific as a backdrop, and creepy Cthulhuesque monsters emerging from the depths of the ocean...wasting the awesomeness of the reveal is just pure loss.

And, since most of the first hour of the movie is just a bad soap opera, that time could have been devoted to a slow, scary build-up to the reveal.

And what's with the brain stuff? The load on the operator's brains is too heavy if there's just one pilot...so we need two pilots, one controlling the right side of the 'bot with his right hemisphere and the other controlling the left side with his left hemisphere? So...isn't the load on the relevant hemispheres exactly the same as it was before?

In fact, the two-coordinated-operators system was what made me think that the movie was going to suck. The same cringey sappiness that made Hellboy 2 not good was, I feared, going to infect PR. Man, I hate being right all the time...  There's obviously no reason for the two pilot system other than kicking the emotometer up to 11... That's what I feared from the trailer, and that is, indeed, what happens...

I've already complained about felony commission of The Nuclear Reactor Sin... But it's worth another brief mention...so consider it mentioned...

Another sci-fi no-no involves the just-in-time revelation of previously unmentioned powers.

Spoiler Alert!  Spoiler Alert!

WTF is the deal with the sword? It like turns out to be their most awesome weapon, but they don't even deploy it until like halfway through the movie. And what happens to the rockets? I'd think you'd want to keep using your, y'know, rockets against the giant extra-dimensional monsters...  But they just kinda...stop...  Worst of all, though is the use of the bizarre jet nozzle thingy in the final fight. It burns right through like 100 tons of monster flesh in like two seconds...underwater...and without causing a gigantic explosion...  Dude, I'd be using that jet nozzle thing the whole damn time if it were me... That monster survived a humongous nuclear explosion, right at ground zero...but the nozzle thing cut through it like a a hot knife through...some kind of...of...I don't know...some kind of room-temperature, semi-solid, lipid dairy emulsion...I can't think of a good example right now...

Then there's the interminable whimpering of the Japanese co-pilot in her dream sequence... man, that really, really, really went on and on and on and on...

And what's with the "every one of these monsters is completely different from every other one" / "they're all clones of each other" business?

sigh

I kinda could go on, but I won't.

I still enjoyed the fight scenes anyway. I might see the thing again when it's out on Netflix just to see whether my current opinion survives a second viewing.

So don't make too much of my cranky assessment.

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