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Visual Intelligence of Pacific Rim

2013-07-25 19:15:39.553313+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

Okay, I've been hearing good things, but now I'm going to have to go see Pacific Rim[Wiki]: Storming The Ivory Tower: The Visual Intelligence of Pacific Rim [warning: some potential spoilers]. Great essay on feminism, visual film, the Bechdel test, literature criticism and more.

[ related topics: Writing California Culture ]

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#Comment Re: made: 2013-07-26 02:47:45.437719+00 by: meuon

After all the talk, and because I'm "batching" it for a couple of days, I went and saw Pacific Rim at the downtown theatre tonight.

I'm not a good movie critic, but: The plot could be summed up in 2 pages of a comic book, the parts were all cliche tropes, the engineering, science and physics could be picked apart for, the visual gags were trite, childish and hilarious.. and it was all so marvelously well done in such detail that it was a complete blast, atomic, at least 2 gazillatons worth.

But then, I liked Expendables 2 also. So my tastes for a couple of hours of suspension of belief aren't very "high brow".

#Comment Re: made: 2013-07-31 15:55:52.530213+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

Pacific Rim was marketed as the wrong kind of movie.

A few months ago, Charlene and I ended up watching a Jerry Bruckheimer film, something about limited time travel and bombing a ferry in New Orleans or somesuch, and about mid-way through I said "Oh, come on, with that plot hole the movie just became a set of disjointed images trying to pull an emotion out of me".

For all of the possible hole poking that Pacific Rim could be subjected to, I didn't have that response because it was internally consistent on such things. Why build giant humanoid robots to fight these things? Not the purview of the movie, that's where we are, deal with it.

What most impressed me though is how well it did all of the tropes of a B monster movie. One of my least favorite is "black guy sacrifices himself to ensure the success of the mission". Hated this in Final Fantasy (the movie). Hated this in several other audio books, books, movies where I've seen the trope played out. In this one I was midway through the credits before I realized that that bastard Del Toro had played that one on me, but played it so skillfully and in a new way that I didn't see it 'til after the end of the film.

And we could go back through other tropes and homages that were there, but were fresh and new rather than old and tired. Or where the movie left room for us to think and puzzle; when Raleigh strides into the canteen and Sasha Kaidanovsky drops that arm over her partner and husband, what's the message she's sending? Is this a sexual statement? A testosterone challenge statement? Fear?

Yeah, the whole damned thing was a comic book that could have been dreamt up by a 9 year old, I think the Saturday Morning Cartoon comparison is apt 'cause it was Voltron or Transformers or whatever, but it was so consistently and unabashadly that, unafraid to say "this could have been a guy in a rubber suit" and then emphatically isn't, that, yeah, the whole damned movie just worked.

Not a great movie; I doubt be watching it and disassembling it years from now for reasons other than the filmmaking technique. But definitely an action movie from which I got my tickets worth, and, yes, one that I might stand to see again because the filmmaking was so damned good.