Escape Velocity

A curated Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction Media

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For several years now, giant monsters (Kaiju) have been coming up from the ocean and attacking coastal cities. Humanity built big old robots (Jaegers) to fight the Kaiju. Each Jaeger was piloted by two pilots who used a special connection to control the giant Jaegers. Shortly after Jaeger pilot Raleigh Becket loses his co-pilot, and brother, while killing a Kaiju, the Jaeger program is discontinued in favour of a wall shielding the coastal cities. That is, until the Kaiju start breaching the wall and Raleigh and his former colleagues are called back to protect humanity once more.

Pacific Rim is one of my absolute favourite movies of all time. I can mouth along the words to most of it, I’ve seen it so many times. I’d say Pacific Rim isn’t just some action movie, but the strange thing is that it is. It’s just an action movie that’s really well-made and has a great sense of humour. What is especially great about Pacific Rim is that it knows what kind of movie it is, and it doesn’t fight that. Guillermo del Toro isn’t afraid to be a little silly, which really helps to balance the drama of the story.

The cast of Pacific Rim is amazing, and what I particularly enjoy about the characters is that they all somehow seem to live in different genres. Mako and Raleigh seem to be in a completely different movie than the scientists, and it’s not even weird.

Above all, I would say this: If the idea of giant robots fighting doesn’t really appeal to you, don’t let that put you off from watching Pacific Rim. I like watching things get destroyed on a big screen, but robots don’t really do much for me.

Pacific Rim is so much more than that, though. The emotion of this movie is surprisingly real. You don’t learn that much about some characters (like Herc and Chuck Hansen or the scientists) but they’re not flat either. The characters that you do really get to know have interesting backstories that really drive the plot forward. Please watch this movie. Please please please please please.

I added Pacific Rim to the collection. To read my full thoughts on the movie, click here.

Pacific Rim is a movie that has no right to be anywhere near as good as it is. The plot is wafer-thin. The worldbuilding is mostly unoriginal. There isn’t the slightest attempt to deviate from the tropes in a meaningful way. The execution, however, is near perfect. If I had to describe Pacific Rim in a single sentence, it would be that nothing makes sense, but that everything is awesome.

In Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro takes two Japanese genre tropes, the mecha and the monster,  and he mashes them together, he marinates them in a Hollywood sauce, and he lets them loose on the big screen in an unapologetic way that wakes the seven-year-old in the viewer and gives them what they secretly crave.

Pacific Rim is not for everyone. It requires you to shut off the logical part of your brain. It strains your suspense of disbelief. Every aspect of plot or logic is subservient to the rule of cool. But then, Pacific Rim is honest about it. The main title only flashes onto the screen some twenty minutes into the movie, after we’ve already witnessed the destruction of the Golden Gate Bridge and the centre of Manila at the hands of a terrifyingly large Kaiju and seen a super-robot clash with a giant otherworldly hammer-headed monster in a storm off the coast of Alaska. By this point, the movie has telegraphed what it is going to be about, and there is no point watching on if you haven’t bought into it yet.

Those who are willing to go along will witness the apotheosis of the tropes the movie is based on. Yes, big robots will have boxing matches with big monsters. Yes, monsters will topple skyscrapers. Yes, there will be big explosions. Yes, there will be a desperate last battle. There may not be any twists, but it is all highly satisfying. In a movie like this, even the comic relief scientists that may have felt cringey in any other movie are in the right spot.

When you’re in the right mindset, if ever you want to shut off the thinking part of your brain and just watch something really, really cool, don’t hesitate, put on Pacific Rim.

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