Geek Girls Rule! #281 – Pacific Rim

This movie was everything I had ever wanted from giant robot/kaiju anime.
This movie was everything I had ever wanted from giant robot/kaiju anime.

OMG!  YOU GUYS, YOU GUYS, YOU GUYS!!!!  I HAVE FOUND MY NEW FAVORITE MOVIE!!!!!

I am not even kidding.  So, a friend of ours rented a small local cinema for the afternoon to screen Pacific Rim on a big screen for his wife’s birthday.  We went, and all I have to say is WHY WAS THIS NOT THE HIGHEST GROSSING FILM OF THE FUCKING YEAR?!?!  WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?

Granted, it does not pass the Bechdel test, or even come close, but I forgive it.

First, the opening sequence when they’re panning up and down the giant robot suits?  I had tears running down my face because this was everything I had ever wanted from giant robot films ever.  I grew up on Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot and I loved that show.  But it was made in the 60s and looks it.  But to a five year old kid, that show was magic, and I have harbored a deep love for giant robot suit media ever since.  Voltron, Transformers, hell I even watched Mighty Morphin Power Rangers because they had a giant robot.

Second, the acting was fantastic.  Charlie Hunnam did a fantastic job as Raleigh, Rinko Kikuchi was amazing as Mako!  And of course, Idris Elba as Stacker Pentecost.  I love that man.  He is an incredible actor.  Also Burn Gorman, who had been Owen on Torchwood, and then there’s Charlie Day.  The Geek Husband What Rules recognized him from Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but I’ve not seen it.  Now, Charlie Day’s character, Dr. Geiszler was awesome!  For not one second did I doubt that this was the kind of man who would try a mind to mind link with an alien brain.

This film is really damn good at playing on your emotions.  from Raleigh’s brothers death in the first fifteen minutes of the movie, to Mako’s memories, to the end.  I cried a lot in this film, and I didn’t mind it or feel particularly manipulated.  All of the characters felt genuine.

And I know that for some people, introducing the romance angle between Mako and Raleigh rubbed them the wrong way, but looking at the rest of the film, I felt it was pretty organic.  I mean, look at all the other drift teams:  Yancy and Raleigh, brothers, the three man team from China, triplets, the team from Russia, husband and wife, the team from Australia, father and son.  I felt, after watching the interactions, that the qualities that made a good drift team were largely the qualities that made good relationships.  So, that didn’t feel forced to me at all.  And it never advanced past pretty natural feeling “feeling out a new relationship stuff,” like hanging out together.  I’m not even sure they kissed at the end.  She hugged him tight, but at no time did I feel like, “And now is where they hop into bed.”  I felt more like “Now is where they have coffee and talk about all their favorite stuff and get to know one another, long before the hopping in bed part comes.”

This man here?  This man is a badass!
This man here? This man is a badass!

Also, in a genre filled with white dudes doing awesome stuff, I was gratified that at least two of the Jaegr pilots were women, even if they never spoke to one another.  But then again, apart from Raleigh and the Australian team, none of the other teams seemed to have very much to do with one another.  They kind of existed in their own little spheres.  Also, when you consider that two of the three main characters were POC, this film stands head and shoulders above much of the rest of the films in this genre.  The faces in the background were exceptionally diverse, which was a big bonus.  And as a friend of mine said during the filming, “I’m really glad that they used Asian extras in the Hong Kong scenes.  There’s nothing worse than watching a film set somewhere in Asia and everybody’s white.  That’s stupid.”

Ron Perlman was his scenery chewing best as Hannibal Chau, a kaiju parts dealer.  Burn Gorman played a character very unlike Owen on Torchwood, and was fantastic.  Like I said above Rinko Kikuchi was utterly fantastic as Mako.  And I love that subtle reversal of the Sleeping Beauty myth at the end, where she wakes up Raleigh.  I’m trying not to be too spoilery, but if you haven’t figured out that they win in the end, you’ve never watched one of these movies before, have you?

Ok, I think that’s it.  I need to finish laundry, do scheduling for Norwescon and take a shower, not necessarily in that order.  Everyone have an excellent day, and watch this film if you haven’t already.  Preferably on the biggest fucking screen you can find.

And Guillermo del Toro is my most favorite human being in the entire world right now.

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Oh, and Honey Badger’s first two songs are available for download here, for free or pay what you want.  We’re also part of a larger compilation to benefit a local venue, with a song written by yours truly.  Check it out (we’re track 16).  We’ll also be playing at the Kraken on January 24th. 

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