[Contains spoilers for recent episodes of Steven Universe]
I know I’ve talked a lot about Pacific Rim on this little corner of the internet, and some of you are probably getting sick of watching me figuratively roll around on the cyberspace floor gushing about how cool it is. One of the things I want to zoom in on though, something quite fun and interesting it gave us and the collective consciousness of recent media, is the concept of Drift Compatibility and everything it and its ilk means for discussions of soulmates, character dynamics, and intimacy that has absolutely nothing sexual about it.
The motto of the Pacific Rim apocalypse response squad is “go big or go extinct”, but it seems the technology they built was too big for one human alone to handle—thus the Drift was invented, a dual-piloting system where one person controls one hemisphere of the mech each. In theory, it leads to perfect balance and less of a risk of brain-melt due to the neural load being shared by two people, but it requires the two pilots to be Compatible.
What exactly this means is never explained entirely, but we can easily infer that it involves a kind of understanding and alignment of personality. Drift partners are also often related in some way, with a father and son team on deck as well as a trio of brothers. Blood ties aren’t required, though, since the Russian Jaeger is piloted by a married couple. Essentially, every Jaeger we know serves as some sort of ludicrously high-tech and enormous family car at this point, until we get to Raleigh and Mako. Continue reading
Hold onto your proverbial butts, friends, Guillermo del Toro has announced a continuation of his pet project Pacific Rim—and this isn’t even an announcement we can dispute or pore over on the internet, because it is literally GDT telling us there’s going to be a Pacific Rim 2 and an animated series based on the prequel comics, with the most adorable geeky teddy bear grin. You can’t argue with a grin like that, people. The question is, now what?
Pacific Rim gave us a world surprisingly and lovingly well-developed for a one-shot (then, anyway) sci-fi blockbuster about giant robots punching giant aliens, so despite the fact that the story as we know it wrapped up (more on than in a second), proposing a spinoff and sequel is not actually an air-grabby gesture since there’s room to explore and expand the existing universe. The prequel comics Year Zero, which the animated series is being based on, are the best example of this, showing us the backstory of a lot of the characters and the beginning of the kaiju war that we get shown briefly in the opening sequence of the movie. For the show they can adapt and extend what they put in the graphic novel, to cover and flesh out every possible detail of the evolution of the war and the characters and technology within, because Travis Beacham and co. are wizards, or at least very dedicated writers, and if you pull a detail out of a hat to ask him about there’s a solid chance he will be able to answer you.
So we have the building of a whole world to watch—in animation too, which will be interesting, and lend itself well to the fun and games and anime homage of a battle of mechas vs monsters—in prequel form. It’s a virtual smorgasbord of potential plotlines, as long as it doesn’t contradict what happens in Pacific Rim itself, so both writers and viewers will go into this with an open imagination. This, I have confidence, will be at least a little bit awesome. What I’m most curious about is Pacific Rim 2, where story potential wise, they’ve somewhat rocket-punched themselves into a corner. Continue reading
Let’s talk about utopias, giant robots and pop culture.
There’s been much talk surrounding the recent hit Pacific Rim, and how, in all its giant-alien-clobbering awesomeness it was very quick to be dismissed as a shallow creation by critics. Fair enough, I suppose, Pacific Rim isn’t exactly an award winning struggle with the Great Themes and overall the movie was pretty simple, especially in terms of its black and white morality (humans = good guys, giant poisonous aliens = not so much). It’s a lot of fun, plain old monster fighting fun, not exactly gritty, dark or deep. But here is the question: must it be, in order to be accredited any artistic merit?
Apart from, of course, the awesome characters, worldbuilding and immensely creative design of the whole thing, you could argue that one of the big appeals of Pacific Rim is that it’s an optimistic science fiction, where humans and their inventions and relationships actually end up saving the world instead of trashing it. Raleigh and Mako, the main Jaeger team, could be given the title of the heroes of the movie and could convincingly hold onto it, being heroes in the regular sense of wanting to save people, do good and being genuinely likeable characters along the way.
They aren’t twisted or cynical or even snarky, and they don’t have fathoms of shadowy depth and inner turmoil. Neither of them is Christopher Nolan’s Bruce Wayne in terms of dark, brooding complexity, but rather than making them immediately seem shallow and boring it made them part of the overall enjoyability of the movie. Perhaps, if nothing else, it’s because they stood out of the crowd. Continue reading
Look out Thor there’s an attempt at widening the demographic stuck to your chest!
I gripe and grumble a lot about romance on here, and I just want you all to know that I do not actually hate it. I am not a pointy-nosed cynic with a shrivelled soul and a vendetta against any film that isn’t black-and-white and so artistic it’s incomprehensible, and any book that isn’t a first edition, weighty philosophical tome of mournfulness and dry social commentary from at least a hundred years ago. I am not only a modern movie buff and reader of things with shiny covers but a giant bloody sap, and I adore the love story in all its incarnations. I just hate it when it’s done badly.
Within the fictional realm you can barely budge an inch without bumping into some semblance of a romantic plotline. Love is a universal human theme, one of those few, bizarre and magical natural occurrences that manages to be common as mud but still unique every time it appears. Love stories are everywhere because they resonate—by and large, love is something that everyone can relate to (in some way or form), so we form an immediate empathetic connection. They’re pretty great, really.
But. But, but, but. We are so in love with love that we feel the need to put it everywhere, even where it doesn’t belong. Are we in our own obnoxious stage of our relationship with romance where everything must relate back to the object of our desire, whether it’s really relevant or not? We can’t shut up about it and, though the infatuation is endearing, it’s starting to annoy our friends. And ‘our friends’, for the purposes of this post, means this blogger. Continue reading
Giant badassery, anyone?
I’ve never been one for giant robots. There has always seemed something impersonal about their metallic exteriors—as a young thing I was drawn to much squishier fare, the children-aimed toy-selling fiction I latched onto starring fantastical animals in place of transforming vehicles. Even now I’m not so much into the whole mecha thing, and unless it comes highly recommended (see: Neon Genesis Evangelion) or is reportedly so delightfully terrible it shouldn’t be missed (read: Transformers 3), I won’t send my focus in its direction.
I also don’t necessarily have a fixation with giant monsters attacking cities either, or a combination of both the aforementioned. So Pacific Rim pretty much passed by my radar. Until, naturally, Writing Buddy leapt forward and redirected my radar to encompass it. Reportedly, it was actually good. Reportedly, I was to go and see it right that instant.
In WB we trust, let me tell you, because it was several different kinds of amazing.
Good Thing #1: Awesome World-building
In the near future, the daily life on earth has been somewhat disrupted by giant alien creatures popping up from an interdimensional rift between two tectonic plates, leading to awesome Del Toro-designed monstrosities looming out of our most iconic and picturesque oceans and smashing up everything they see. In response to this, mankind put aside its old rivalries and came together to combat their giant funky foes, creating the Jaeger program: a taskforce of giant human-piloted robots to punch these extra-terrestrial enigmas in the face. Continue reading