I recently saw Pacific Rim with Allie and her family. They asked if I wanted to go along, and explained that it was about “giant monsters fighting giant robots.” I decided it would be a fun lark, expecting a sillyass popcorn flick with good special FX. To quote director Guillermo del Toro, “We cannot pretend this is Ibsen with monsters and giant robots. I cannot pretend I’m doing a profound reflection on mankind.”
If you haven’t seen it yet and plan to, you might wanna stop reading here.
Even though it was live-action, this was the biggest, baddest, most hardcore anime ever. Giant monsters and robots, explosions, cities being razed, incredible effects, insane weapons, and a battle cry of “This is for my family!” Some of the action scenes are a little too dark, but the colors are so vivid it almost doesn’t matter. Amazing camera work as well. There’s minimal blood and guts – children around 8 years old or older should be able to handle the movie just fine.
But what surprised me a little was that there was an actual story, and how it was handled. Del Toro said, “I shot about an hour more of material than is in the movie. Every character had a bigger arc, the characters were more complex. But I was really trying to strike the balance where I said,… let me try to get each character to its minimal requirements to have an arc that has a beginning, middle and end, and a payoff.”
I think this helped the movie quite a bit. None of the navel-gazing or handwringing that can be found in nearly any other movie these days. No overblown soliloquies about courage, duty, or sacrifice – they just do it. If a movie with themes like this can be made (by a pacifist, at that) and do well, then maybe Western civilization isn’t totally down the crapper yet.
This is the movie that “Man Of Steel” should have been.