Be more Pacific: Thoughts on Pacific Rim

I shall summarise: It's awesome. This probably contains spoilers. If you're not into having things spoiled, then, uh, stop reading. Or don't. Your choice.

It's like Real Steel meets Transformers meets The Abyss meets Cloverfield meets other stuff.

Pacific Rim is one of those films that takes an utterly ridiculous premise and puts all its chips in, producing something completely enjoyable. The premise, such as it is, is that there are a bunch of gigantic electric dinosaurs emerging from a hole at the bottom of the ocean, and man has built a bunch of enormous robots to fight them with. Because nothing else worked. Because there can't possibly be a simpler solution than gigantic super-complex machines that mimic the human form. It's a bit like The Core in this regard, in that it takes something ludicrous and plays it for all it's got.

I think the entire film can be summed up in one scene from the trailer: The giant robot walks calmly out of the ocean into the streets of Hong Kong, dragging behind it an ocean liner, whilst the enemy dinosaur grins at it from the far end of the street. After raising the ship like a baseball bat, the robot then swings the boat at the dinosaur's face -- all of this occurs to the film's theme music (all six notes of it), and they properly chose to play it, for the only time in the movie*, on guitar. Proper, old school, heavy-ass guitar. This is robot violence porn at its finest.

Everything about the film is massive, awesome and fun. It goes boom, and it goes boom a lot. There're explosions, missiles, electricity, dinosaurs, alien entrails and whacky scientists. The heroes are appropriately heroic, and the villains are massive and hideous.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film.

I feel bad, but I can't help it. It's expected of me. I have a couple of nitpicks. They're not big deals, though.

Hollywood is currently drowning in Australian actors. Everyone who's ever appeared in Home and Away or Neighbours seems to currently be starring in a superhero franchise (except Alf Stewart, who should be). Somehow, the creators of Pacific Rim couldn't find any actual Australians to play their Australian characters, so they settled for an American and an Englishman, both of which proceed with the most embarrassingly atrocious attempts at the Australian accent I've heard in a long while. There's also an "Australian" newsreader and interviewee, both of which sound terrible. Surely it wouldn't have been too hard to cast a couple of Australians as the Australians.

I also found the two whacky scientists were a bit too whacky for my liking. A good comedy duo has an idiot and a straight man, but these two were both the idiot. Sorry.

Also, the bends apparently don't occur in the future.

* until the end credits, but y'know.

Judging books by their covers, 1

I need to quit spontaneously spending money on things I don't need. Case in point: I recently bought a bunch (and by "a bunch", I mean 300) old science fiction novels, second hand, in differing states of disrepair. Some of them are recognisable, most of them aren't. Most of them are actually components of series' of novels, never with their appropriate predecessors and successors, thus making them largely pointless to read. I'm impressed, though, by the cover art on some of the "pulpier" novels, so I'm going to feature (read: mock) it here. In fact, the artwork reminds me to plug Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw's old Cowboy Comics, which are still hilarious. I've included Amazon links where I'm able to, in case you feel the need to support the authors and cover artists by buying their splendid work.

I'm going to present these in the following scenario:

  1. What's the book?
  2. What's on the cover?
  3. What conclusions can I draw about the plot based on the image on the cover?

The logical follow up point would be "and how accurate were those conclusions?", but quite frankly, the likelihood of having time (or willpower) to read these books is insignificantly low.

The books!

NowhereManDetails: "Nowhere Man" by Jerry Oster, 1989

What is there to work with: Either a ninja, or a man in a wetsuit. He's armed with a 9mm. He looks depressed. The novel is a humdinger.

Therefore the plot must be: A manic-depressive scuba-diving ninja floats on his back in a pool of red custard, contemplatedly scratching his cheek with his 9mm. Nothing happens, though, because he is Nowhere Man, a superhero so ineffectual that even non-sequitir situations fail to create drama.

Click "Read more" to see another couple.


Details: "Lord Tedric: Black Knight of the Iron Sphere" by Gordon Eklund, 1955

What is there to work with: Captain Beardy Leatherpants slapping a sword-wielding child, while a pink bikini-wearing Viking crossdresser approaches with a stick, hoping to offset Captain Beardy Leatherpants already questionable balance.

Therefore the plot must be: Looks like a family drama. Mother is a crossdresser. Son, genetically inheriting father's bad balance, tries to protect a stain he's made on the carpet, all the while hoping his dumbass transvestite mother doesn't just walk into dad's sword, as (s)he's clearly paying no attention to her inner GPS.


Details: "Warrior's Blood", by Richard S. McEnroe, 1955

What there is to work with: Luke Skywalker, now inexplicably portrayed by Scott Bakula, leans italic-style into the background to dodge a flying sun pellet. Mistress McFaintyFaint, dressed in yellow and wearing a convenient dream catcher to hold the ensemble together does her best to keep her left thigh from collapsing.

Conclusion: It's the story of an interstellar chiropractor, travelling from planet to planet curing ailments and encouraging people to engage in fitness routines. He also sells fetching white leotards and pale yellow dresses, neither of which are designed to fit particularly well. When not performing chiropracty, Doctor Skywalker flies around space in his shoe-shaped-ship, leaving behind gigantic exhaust plumes of orange debris, which dissipate into neon space signs that advertise his business. Back pain? FOLLOW THAT NEBULA.

There will be more. (Unfortunately.)