Pacific Rim (2013)
December 4, 2023 3:05 AM - Subscribe

Using massive piloted robots to combat the alien threat, earth's survivors take the fight to the invading alien force lurking in the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless enemy, the forces of mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes who now stand as earth's final hope against the mounting apocalypse.
posted by autopilot (35 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'm really surprised that Pacific Rim has never been posted here, although I guess that might be because it predates the creation of fanfare...

After watching the latest episode of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters and commenting that what it needed was less talking and more monsters, I realized that if that is what I wanted for the evening's viewing, I should rewatch the one movie that understood that sometimes you just want to see giant robots fighting giant kaiju. If you fast-forward through the few talky bits, except of course for Idris Elba's inspirational "today we are cancelling the apocalypse" speech, then it's a really tight 90 minutes of action.
posted by autopilot at 3:10 AM on December 4, 2023 [12 favorites]

While it is not a "good" film, I think it is a wonderful movie that delivers on its premise and then some. Despite not passing the Bechdel test, it "smashes gender-based action movie tropes like they’re Kaiju skulls" (The Mary Sue), inspired it's own Mako Mori test (Autostraddle) and can be considered a good example of positive masculinity (Dr NerdLove, previously).

So, come for the spectacle of massive Jaegers using their Rocket Elbows to punch giant Kaiju, stay for the critiques of the standard action movie cliches. And also for the ion cannons, chain swords, oil tanker bats, underwater nuclear explosions, acid attacks, etc....
posted by autopilot at 3:37 AM on December 4, 2023 [8 favorites]

“Stacker Pentecost” remains an all-time sci-fi name in my book.

posted by potent_cyprus at 4:27 AM on December 4, 2023 [22 favorites]

One of my all time favourite movies. To quote a MeFite with a tumblr, "I love everyone in this Shatterdome."

When GdT had an exhibit of his movie props and personal memorabilia a few years ago at the AGO, I got to see a lot of Pacific Rim stuff. It was AMAZING.
posted by Kitteh at 5:17 AM on December 4, 2023 [9 favorites]

This movie rocked so hard from the first viewing through the last. GDT really managed to balance everything throughout it, we appreciated the characters that were important, and still felt bad when the Russians went down with their jaeger. What really worked was that GDT understood the need for proper perspective, offering that understanding of place and environment so we could understand the size and scale of the kaiju and the jaegers. The movie was also lifted by the awesome guitar riff based soundtrack by Ramin Djawadi, who later got into everyone's brain with his Game of Thrones work.

I always liked how Mori and Becket did not kiss at the end of the film.

Weirdly, not great sequels can bring down the enjoyment of the predecessors, but in this case, after watching Pacific Rim 2, you can only appreciate the original more because it's clear making that type of film is just not something anyone can do, like bashing giant figurines together.
posted by Atreides at 7:40 AM on December 4, 2023 [8 favorites]

I appreciated the scene of Gipsy Danger collapsed on the beach with her pilot crawling out onto the sand. It's easy in these titanomachy fights to normalize the size of the kaiju and the jaegers and forget how huge they are in comparison to objects on the human scale.
posted by SPrintF at 9:29 AM on December 4, 2023 [3 favorites]

this movie is very silly and dumb and I realized after I watched it that I should have been stoned too, like my friends who liked it so much. giant robots!! giant monsters!! Idris Elba being a daddy (oh yeah!) its very fun and does what it does well.
posted by supermedusa at 9:32 AM on December 4, 2023 [3 favorites]

I thought the movie was awful, boring, and borderline nonsensical, but I realize I am pretty much alone on this. Oh, well.
posted by kyrademon at 9:34 AM on December 4, 2023 [2 favorites]

I thought the movie was awful, boring, and borderline nonsensical

Perhaps you inadvertently watched Pacific Rim 2?
posted by potent_cyprus at 9:50 AM on December 4, 2023 [17 favorites]

I thought the movie was awful, boring, and borderline nonsensical, but I realize I am pretty much alone on this. Oh, well.

Don't worry, we'll keep you safe with our giant robots with rocket punches.
posted by Atreides at 10:08 AM on December 4, 2023 [10 favorites]

I have seen this movie an embarrassing number of times, and when I read "Pacific Rim" my brain immediately piped up with a "do do do do DOOOOO." I deeply love the soundtrack to this movie, which is goofy and obvious (and perfect for cardio).

Affectionately as possible: Charlie Hunnam is terrible playing Americans. At minimum, the accent doesn't work. I never watched Sons of Anarchy, so I don't know if he figured out something there, but his whole thing doesn't sell me in an apocalyptic alien attack future (or Gilded Age upstate New York) . Glancing at his IMDB, it also...looks showbiz folks have given it a rest casting him as an American, thank God.
posted by grandiloquiet at 11:24 AM on December 4, 2023

This movie is pretty much a gold standard for what a giant monster movie should be. It realizes that what we want is a lot of monster fights and to see lots of the monster and lots of fights with minimal human story around it. I am not here for character development. I am not here to see how well Idris Elba or anyone else emotes in the face of monsters. I am here strictly for giant robots punching giant lizards, etc., and this movie did not let me down.

Somebody needs to learn from this and remake / make a new Alien vs. Predator movie or series.
posted by jzb at 12:45 PM on December 4, 2023 [5 favorites]

I really liked what they did with the idea of drift compatibility in the film too. Special telepathic link / destined soulmates is just as fun a sci-fi / fantasy trope for a lot of people as giant robots punching monsters is, and I thought they did a deft job of showing a bunch of different kinds of trust and intimacy beyond romance - siblings, parent-child, even the possibility of deep but platonic friendship.
posted by sigmagalator at 1:04 PM on December 4, 2023 [7 favorites]

I think I mentioned once before that I have a friend who was really excited to see this but he turned down a chance to go with a couple of us aiming for opening night (a Thursday, to maximize the opening weekend figures) because he “[didn’t] want to fight the crowds.”

The teeming crowds swarming the Guillermo del Toro movie starting Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi. On a Thursday, long the deadest night for box office sales.

I went with a couple of other friends. There were a few other audience members, making maybe nineteen of us total in an eight-hundred seat auditorium.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:32 PM on December 4, 2023 [2 favorites]

Pacific Rim is a great popcorn flick. Better than most Marvel movies for sure. I remember watching the sequel and that it was terrible but that's about all I remember about it.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:57 PM on December 4, 2023 [3 favorites]

Pacific Rim is one of my all time favorite movies. I first saw it in a movie theater in Kenya, as one of only four audience members.

When that one Kaiju spread its wings and started flying (against the hovering moon) I jumped up, fist in the air. So. Fucking. Metal.

This movie gets so much right. It's a go to example of how to do battles in movies: everything has consequences which last the entire fight (or much longer), geography and train matter, and you can tell what's happening, where things are relative to one another, etc.

I'm pretty sure drift compatibility is an extended riff on that one episode of Evangelion where Shinji and Asoka have to perfectly corporation their moves to fight off a certain Angel. (Episode 9, it seems.)
posted by kaibutsu at 2:12 PM on December 4, 2023 [8 favorites]

Watching Pacific Rim in the theater was the most unpleasant theater experience of my life. I wasn’t alone, as other people had the same reaction—the theater played it so goddamn loud it caused actual pain in my ears, which rang after I walked out. I saw it later streaming and loved it! The closest I’ve come before or since was seeing Matrix 3 in IMAX, where the 30-foot robots were, in fact, 30 feet tall… but that had no rocket punches, so…
posted by cupcakeninja at 3:22 PM on December 4, 2023

I saw this at a MeFi meetup and it was an absolute hoot. I miss meetups.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:06 PM on December 4, 2023

The way I've always described this is that it's not a good movie exactly, but it's a movie that's very good at being exactly what it sets out to be. You don't go to watch a monster movie for cinematic artistry, you go to a monster movie to see fun monster fights, and this thing delivers in spades, with so much style. Soundtrack? Check. Visual effects? Check. Enough interesting going on with the human characters? Check (and credit Jill Bearup's analysis of the Raleigh / Mako sparring scene for making me more aware of what's going on there).
posted by Alterscape at 6:47 PM on December 4, 2023 [6 favorites]

I've been making my way through the Ultra Seven series after finishing up my umpteenth watch of the original Ultraman. They're both this amazing mash of enjoyable practical effects with rubber costumes, often amazing direction, flat characters and terrible, terrible scripts. Pacific Rim manages to take all the things that are great about these early kid oriented tokusatsu TV shows, while vastly improving on problem areas.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that the oil tanker bat business is a homage to Ultra Seven.
posted by ursus_comiter at 10:20 PM on December 4, 2023 [4 favorites]

A delightful Pacific Rim read over coffee is The Visual Intelligence of Pacific Rim:

"I want to talk about the visual cues surrounding this character. Mako's character development is actually almost entirely visual in nature--no one talks through her memories or explains her motivations aloud. What's more, her personality and character arc is defined strongly by color symbolism. So, while she doesn't have a huge number of lines, that doesn't make her shallow."
posted by ewan at 5:17 AM on December 5, 2023 [7 favorites]

kyrademon, you are not alone.
posted by biffa at 6:17 AM on December 5, 2023 [1 favorite]

Pacific Rim is probably my favorite movie. The opening is a huge info dump, but it's so well done, no one cares. I could watch it daily. Yes, the fights are well done, but so are the non-fighty bits. The middle of the movie hardly has any robot/monster action, but there's important emotional stuff going on which keeps the audience engaged. Plus it's driving us to the end fight, which is where we want to go.
Bits I didn't like: GD's name hasn't aged well, Mako doesn't get many lines in the robot, although she does get the SWORD reveal, which is cool. Also, I headcannon that she's busy driving GD underwater after Raleigh's side of the robot's shredded.
And while I didn't care for PR2, PR: The Black was interesting, with some really weird bits.
posted by Spike Glee at 7:08 AM on December 5, 2023 [3 favorites]

One of the best movie themes this century.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:21 AM on December 5, 2023 [3 favorites]

What a great reminder of fantastically fun movie! It's streaming on Hulu so might have to go over my bud's house and check it out.

True story: I can't help but think of Florence and the Machine's "Heavy in your arms" and consider it commentary on the relationship between the sorely underused Cherno Alpha team. Except the female pilot is speaking of the actual robot instead of her partner, who understands her love of the machine and is always there for her.

No doubt they survived and made their way to shore and another Jaeger.

posted by autopilot

I see what you there and it is glorious!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:09 AM on December 5, 2023 [2 favorites]

Fanfic of the Cherno Alpha couple's survival and life afterwards is definitely a thing.
posted by Spike Glee at 12:03 PM on December 5, 2023 [5 favorites]

I liked it a lot, almost as much for the fandom shipping (the jaeger pilots, Burn Gorman and Charlie Day's characters) and the sheer joy of kaijus and mechas going hammer and tongs at it in urban landscapes as anything else. "Drift compatible" briefly became a way of describing a relationship with someone, and people mashed up other fandoms with it. And, you know, rocket punch.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:36 PM on December 5, 2023 [1 favorite]

I'm still angry about the politicians who want to build the wall and retire the Jaegers. That obviously was never going to work!
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 6:48 PM on December 5, 2023 [3 favorites]

I love this film so very, very much. Between the giant robot awesomeness, GLaDOS as a guest star, Ron Perlman and Idris Elba competing for who can have the coolest name or single scene, and drift compatibility, it has a lot to offer.

Like others, I have a head canon that Cherno Alpha's crew survived, dammit. I dunno how, they just did.

None of the follow-up properties have grabbed me as much as the first film did — I think it may be the film I've seen most in the theater, slightly edging out Star Trek (2009).
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:03 PM on December 5, 2023 [2 favorites]

Before watching this movie I had very little experience of Kaiju movies, but I trust Del Toro's instincts (mostly) as a film maker, and he seemed excited so I tried it and really enjoyed it.

It felt very much more of a ~vibe~ than a coherent narrative though, but that was okay because it was committed wholeheartedly to the ~vibe~ and it wasn't winking at the camera it was a filmic love letter to a certain type of genre.

Initially I thought the bit at the end with the sword came from nowhere, but have since learned that no, that was definitely on theme.

Del Toro and everyone else involved understood the assignment, and delivered on it.
posted by Faintdreams at 5:35 AM on December 6, 2023 [2 favorites]

I had been really out of sorts for a long time because I didn’t have a fandom to be excited about and was kind of depressed that I was never gonna find another one. But then I went to see Pacific Rim and I left the theater just absolutely thrilled and excited and all the things you feel when you get hooked into a new fandom.

I also was kind of surprised at how deep my emotions were tapped by the movie, particularly the scene where Raleigh and Mako are talking about what happened with her in their test run. When he talks about the emptiness and that he was connected to his brother when he died, and Mako says she felt it, I knew that in my bones because it was like they were talking about how it felt when I lost my twin sister. It made me cry in the theater the first time and I still can get emotional about it when I watch those scenes.

I really think that that’s Guillermo Del Toro‘s superpower — that he is able to take these outlandish and wild stories and make them so human. I was definitely a Team Hot Dads shipper and I’m still so glad that it brought me back into fandom, because a year later Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out and here I still am almost 10 years later, stuck in that fandom.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 11:20 AM on December 6, 2023 [7 favorites]

A few years back a buddy of mine was able to get his (our) first big TV and we wanted to break it in, and I said "so how about this Pacific Rim eh?" and well fuck buddy.
posted by LegallyBread at 10:56 AM on December 8, 2023 [1 favorite]

I saw it in IMAX 3D on a date and we sat too close to the screen, so some of the fighting at night in the water was just a blurry mess, I came out of that movie with a headache, and I still really enjoyed it. It gives me the same kind of feelings as watching Robotech on Sunday mornings or whatever other awkward times I had to chase it down when I was like eleven.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 7:33 PM on December 10, 2023 [1 favorite]

It’s a fun movie, but I haven’t seen it since it came out. I remember thinking that much of it doesn’t really work, namely the human drama and characters. When the giant robots are fighting the giant monsters, it’s pretty great. The CGI is excellent, but at the same time I never felt totally immersed in the world; too often it feels like a GCI world, lots of obvious blue screen. But having said that, the sets and production design are fantastic. The best part is that the movie gets better as it goes along—the climax is great.
posted by zardoz at 4:45 PM on February 2

I watched this recently with my ten year old son. I thought it held up. He absolutely loved it.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:07 PM on February 2 [3 favorites]

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