After Christmas I have finally seen one of the big sci-fi mega-budget movies of last year, Pacific Rim. Yes, sadly somehow I did take probably far too long to view this movie, and had been keen to see it as it seemed to be extremely influenced by a few classic Anime features of which I am a fan.
Is that the problem with Pacific Rim?
Did you enjoy it, or find it far too simplistic, borrowing far too much from known Japanese Manga and Anime such as Gundam, Patlabor, Robotech? Would it be such a terrible thing to attempt to create some of those epic and awesome tales with real actors and live-action sets and locations?
Now that computer CGI graphics and film animation has moved and progressed so amazingly far, this is what we get here.
Another big issue here was that it was not really initially expected. Had had cult genre director Guillermo del Toro on board, but only after another large project finally fell through. So there was some feeling that he was doing this mostly for the money, but of course it still has much to admire and del Toro always puts love and great effort into all of his works.
There are nowadays so many huge CGI Hollywood fantasy/scifi movies every year, special effects are in such great state and allow just about kind of tale to be depicted up on screen. One of the biggest problems pulling this film down was, yes it did have very amazing special effects, so jaw-dropping and epic but that seemed to almost possibly hide the possibly not so amazing acting and screenplay.
Many moaned over the lack of any quality of depth to the screenplay, with it being very simple, straight forward, giant robots-smash-giant-monsters and that is all.
Well, there is more at work, but maybe only just. It shares many similarities with the genre classic Godzilla movies of course, which suggested fear or nuclear war or disaster. It comments on war, military force, invasion, fear, gender roles at war and more. But did it even need to say much more or anything?
We have had many years without a good, quality big simple monster smash-up movie such as the Godzilla films (with the notorious previous Hollywood version pleasing barely anyone at all years ago). Unfortunately, we now do have a new Godzilla movie due out this year, which many are excitedly waiting for and Pacific Rim may have taken some of the awe away from that big release sadly. We will see soon.
With the Manga/Anime classic animated features like the Patlabor movies, Akira, Robotech, Gundam and more being loved by so many for years and since crossed over the seas successfully, we could take this movie as a loving tribute or as a good few have suggested, a problematic political tool on some level, marketing and pleasing cinema audiences and international relations between East and West. In some ways, I am glad that a movie like this has been made, before or instead of a terrible live-action Patlabor or Akira hits cinema screens.
However you might view this movie, it thankfully can be greatly enjoyed as one of the most absolutely epic, visually stunning science fiction movies we have seen for a couple of years.