Pacific Rim has had critics and audiences alike battling like Jaegars and Kaiju all across the web for the past week.
It may be more 'heated discussion' than 'global destruction' but people are passionately fighting, not for the sake of mankind, but for that of the Hollywood blockbuster (which some may even consider the sake of mankind.)
Guillermo Del Toro's epic is really separating viewers. Some folk are shouting adoring praise, whilst others are vehemently tearing it apart.
Is Pacific Rim our Noah's Ark amongst this sea of Hollywood monstrosities or is just another nasty Kaiju in disguise? Valid opinions are being heard on both sides of the fence, but instead of more of that, how about we try list some reasons as to why this movie is important and why we care so damn much about whether Pacific Rim is good or not.
An original property
Star Trek Into Darkness, Man of Steel, Furious 6, Iron Man 3, Oz the Great and the Powerful, Jack the Giant Slayer, The Hangover Part III, World War Z, Monsters University, The Lone Ranger, The Wolverine. Just listing those is tiring, and I apologize for bringing back numerous bad memories and regretfully lost coin.
As we are all well aware of, the franchise and the sequel are huge movie business epidemics. They are generally sure-fire hits for the studios, but that doesn't necessarily guarantee quality and it really stifles the potential for new creativity. Not to mention that we are being spoon fed the same movies time and time again.
Pacific Rim may take a lot of influences from many properties in the past, Del Toro's wide range of interests are definitely put on display here in this which so many are calling a love letter. But the mere fact that Pacific Rim is a 200 million dollar movie that did not exist in any way shape or form 10 years ago is nothing short of a miracle.
A niche blockbuster
Niche blockbusters do not exist. By nature they are designed for as wide of an audience as possible. Take a look at Transformers, the original franchise was aimed at kids, but they bumped the movies up to a teenage focus group. You have to wonder why there's a parent sub-plot in all three movies. No young person enjoyed these parts, they were clearly there to entertain the parents bringing their kids along.
This is unacceptable tripe clogging up these movies. Why can't we have a Superman movie aimed purely at comic book geeks?
Pacific Rim is made for children and the few of us adults that can tap into their inner-child. It's filled with the same level of cheese that a saturday morning cartoon would be. It's pretty much a 200 million dollar Power Rangers, without the “transformification” (you can add that new term to your movie-speak glossary) seen in the live action Transformers.
For those that the silly plot and stereotypical characters worked for, I suspect it's because they fit the niche. They just wanted to have pure childish fun, and checked their big boy pants at the door.
Blockbusters being made for minority groups is a step in the right direction to making better big movies.
This one may be controversial. Due to some of the dulled projections cinemas use to save costs showing in 3D, some of the battles set at night may have been completely incomprehensible for some. But for those whose cinema didn't screw them over, what we got was glorious slow moving action.
In many action films today, the cutting is rapid and often incoherent. Take a look at the opening of Quantum of Solace. Explain to me what is happening past 'James Bond is driving a car real fast, and so are other people, I think...'
By the nature of the colossal battles taking place in Pacific Rim, every movement is a lot slower. It takes a large amount of heft to raise an arm as big as a building. What some folk are calling the most intense action of the year is also the slowest action of the year. Take a second to let that sink in.
This leads into the next reason, but take this tidbit into account too: Del Toro actually planned the action sequences so specifically, that even when they cut to the inside of the Jaegars, the characters would be facing the same direction, so as not to confuse audiences. For the film students out there, that's the 180 degree rule taken to the extreme.
Destruction weighted with consequence
Star Trek into Darkness and Man of Steel are both culprits of not really caring that the actions in the films likely killed thousands of people. In Man of Steel there isn't even a throwaway line of recognition to the leveling of an entire city. We get an awkward kiss instead.
Pacific Rim is set at the end of these Kaiju attacks. Entire city's have been destroyed by these beasts all around the world and that's lead the world to join forces, set aside their differences and fight back.
It's mankind’s last stand. The losses are too great, and every single human knows this.
This is also true in the smaller (heh) sense. What makes the epic fights between robot and monster so engaging is that there is physical damage shown on each party which influences the direction the battle takes.
One swipe from a Kaiju easily takes off a Jaegar's limb. This is still a kids movie, but they really get away with a lot of dismemberment. It's refreshing to see real damage being done, and to batter Man of Steel even further; it was pretty boring seeing two indestructible beings fight each other for 20 minutes.
Kaiju's are a global threat - Jaegar's are a global response
Del Toro has envisioned a world where the center of the universe is not America. It's a relief to see other countries joining in to save the world. There's a Japanese Jaegar, a Russian one and even an Australian one (unfortunately actual living Aussies were not cast as these characters, and what resulted were some pretty iffy accents.)
Pacific Rim truly felt like the whole world was responding to a giant global threat. For an international audience like us, it's much easier to become invested when your home is just as much at stake as the character's.
I think we can forgive the bad accents, seeing as Striker Eureka was a pretty badass Jaegar.
Just as the movie itself is, the discussion surrounding Pacific Rim is also important, and likely has legs to continue on for years. We are yet to see the cultural impact this new property could have.
What are your thoughts? Is this the next Star Wars, as it's being claimed as? Or will this fade as quickly as that last original blockbuster we got. The one with Tom Cruise. I forget it's name...