Southern Man

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Movie Review - Pacific Rim

Southern Man gets the feeling that he's going to be posting a whole series of scathing review on the upcoming crop of sci-fi movies. He already knows that Elysium is awful and he has a very bad feeling about Ender's Game but we'll kick it off with the CGI-laden atrocity that is Pacific Rim.

The plot is intriguing: alien beasts (called Kaijus in the film) from another dimension invade not from the stars but through an interdimsensional portal at the floor of the Pacific Ocean. They are large and ill-tempered and have the annoying habit of rampaging Godzilla-like (but without Godzilla's charm or occasional redeaming features) through whatever coastal city they encounter.

Now Southern Man will point out the golden rule of storytelling: once you have your premise (unbelievable or not) the rest of your story must be consistent with a world in which that premise is true. It is here that Pacific Rim fails, and fails miserably. And the first failure is the beleagured human's choices of defense: high coastal walls around vulnerable cities and enormous robot war machines called Jaegers.

Bzzzt. Wrong. When alien beasts emerge from the middle of the Pacific you do not watch for days as they swim for shore and bash their way through your walls. You nuke the hell out of them. And as soon as you figure out what's going on you station, oh, five or six aircraft carriers a hundred miles from the entry point and nuke 'em as soon as they emerge. Every time. Eventually, they'd figure out that Earth was not a very friendly place and move on. There were any number of instances where a well-placed tactical nuke would solve the immediate problem.

It turns out that the monsters are biological creatures that, while immense and strong, are vulnerable to physical damage. So rather than engage them from a distance with the aforementioned nukes or, if that's inconvenient, several helicopters with anti-tank missiles, the humans instead battle them mano e mano with their giant Jaeger robots.

Which are armed with giant swords.

Why, no, that robot doesn't look one bit like Iron Man. Not at all. Please don't sue us.

Now all of this looks absolutely terrific. The monsters and the robots are all exceedingly cool and there's plenty of interesting plot, like the requirement that the robots require two mentally-linked pilots (a subplot revolves around finding a suitable co-pilot for the protagonist, and in another a scientist links with a Kaiju brain and thereby gains valuable plot-saving intel to go along with his bloodshot eye and psychic nosebleed) and there is the usual love interest and plenty of absolutely epic property damage. But there is nothing new here; while quite the homage to giant robots and monsters this is just a big senseless action flick. Other reviewers have noted the awful dialog and lack of chemistry among the actors. It is in Southern Man's nature to note the usual Hollywood defiance of the basic laws of physics; for example, in several scenes the enormous Jaegers are impossibly transported by a handful of helicopters. For whatever reason Pacific Rim is getting fair reviews. It shouldn't. Save this one for a rainy night and a free RedBox code. And have plenty of popcorn!


At Thursday, August 15, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the monsters were nuked, how would the robots fight them? Hmm? You are WAY too logical for this kind of movie. GP

At Thursday, August 15, 2013, Blogger Southern Man said...

It's true - I would be a TERRIBLE sci-fi action movie scriptwriter.

At Saturday, August 17, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anything is possible in science fiction.


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