The Rimming Franchise–Wait, No

Pacific Rim

“To fight monsters, we created monsters of our own” might be the most Guillermo del Toro thing anyone has ever said in a Guillermo del Toro movie.

“There are things you can’t fight, acts of God. You see a hurricane coming, you have to get out of the way. But when you’re in a Jaeger, suddenly, you can fight the hurricane. You can win.” Why can’t that be what the sequel is about? I would watch the fuck out of that movie. I’m still watching Uprising, obviously. It’s infuriating to me that the biggest thing that held it up is that Legendary was doing the Godzilla movies and they didn’t think public interest could sustain two completely different kaiju franchises. Hey, Legendary: eat me. How many different versions of “strong dude (or sometimes dudette) wearing bright spandex underwear punches people” do we get at the same time on a yearly basis? I think we can have as many as two (2) wildly dissimilar kaiju franchises going at the same time. I think we’ll be okay.

Maybe that’s why I love this movie so much. The idea of a world where kaiju are so in people’s faces that they’re forced to know the word “kaiju,” to deal with it on a daily basis. To build their entire lives around this thing I’m a massive nerd about. Though, in that regard, I do have to say: as counterintuitive as this is going to sound, I don’t entirely love how visually creative the kaiju in this movie are. I know that’s a weird thing to complain about, and I 1000% understand why this is exactly the right approach for this movie (and the only one you can even imagine del Toro taking), I’m just a huge sucker for more classic-looking kaiju. But that’s just me, and I’m not holding that against this movie even a little. It’s just silly personal preference.

Really, though, everything about this movie (including its kaiju design) is alarmingly cool. Blue glowing blood that’s also toxic? That’s cool. A base called the “Shatterdome”? You better believe that’s cool. “We’re not an army anymore, Mr. Becket. We’re the resistance”? Sign me the fuck up. At one point a jaeger punches through a building and its fist stops just at the right point to tap one of the balls on a Newton’s cradle. It’s always raining during jaeger vs kaiju fight scenes. Hell, it’s always thunderstorming during them.

The protagonist is fine or whatever, but he has a serious case of Protagonist Who Is the Least Interesting Character in the Movie syndrome. He’s a generally good guy and all, and I really appreciate the way he stands up for Mako. But I also appreciate how blatantly obvious Mako’s competency is to the audience. It feels like a genuine injustice that she’s being held back by Marshall Pentecost.

Marshall Pentecost himself… man. This is one of Idris Elba’s finest hours. There are long stretches of this movie where he’s just a total asshole, and I admire Elba being willing to take a role like that, but when the time comes he steps the fuck up. His delivery of that speech, and especially the line, “Today, we are cancelling the apocalypse!” moved me on much deeper levels than anything in a movie that’s this aggressively cool should ever be able to.

I’m an easy mark for a movie whose central premise is “robots vs giant monsters,” sure. But there are so many ways to fuck that up (stay tuned for two examples of those). Del Toro didn’t find any of them. Instead, he approached the entire idea with the same big-hearted sincerity that makes me love The Shape of Water, and consequently I just love this movie so goddamn much.

(B-Rank)

Atlantic Rim

Okay yeah this isn’t part of the franchise, but I couldn’t not. I do believe this is the first Asylum “movie” I’ve ever subjected myself to, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say unless there’s a very, very good reason to the contrary, it’s not an experience I’m likely to repeat any time soon. This movie has, actually, zero redeeming qualities. There’s no one thing I can point to and say, “Oh yeah? Well, at least it has (that thing)!” There’s nothing. It’s just a barren wasteland of nothing.

Like, I guess if you’re really easily amused you can point and laugh at the awful line readings. Or the “military command center” that’s clearly a college classroom no one was using. Or the fact that everyone is wearing army camo regardless of what branch of the service they’re supposed to be in and driving around a “military base” in black SUVs because they couldn’t afford and/or borrow something that looked like it actually belonged on a military base. I guess that’s a thing you could do. That might keep you amused for like five minutes. What are you going to do with the rest of your hour an a half though?

(D-Rank)

Pacific Rim: Uprising

Oh no, it’s bad.

Pacific Rim: Uprising is a bad movie and I literally glared at the screen in frustration like some passive-aggressive girlfriend reaching her boiling point for half of the movie. It’s not a few tweaks away from being a good movie, either. The dialogue is full of heavy-handed exposition. Concepts are explained the moment they become relevant without any setup or payoff. Characters are constantly reminding you of who they are, what they did in the last movie, or who they’re related to from the last movie and what that person did in the last movie. No one involved in any stage of this film’s writing demonstrated an even elementary understanding of how human beings talk to each other. Almost every scene lacks any sort of natural rhythm, and that makes it hard to fault the editing for “pacing problems.” There were, however, a few heavy-handed jump cuts that seemed like they were supposed to provoke a laugh from the audience, and I just wanted to scream at the screen, “You didn’t set that up! There’s no joke! What am I supposed to be laughing at right now?”

You know what this is? This is a dramatically less bad Independence Day: Resurgence. It even has the same title scheme. And a character death that should’ve absolutely ruined me, but instead I just stared at the screen and nearly said, “No, you don’t get to kill that character” out loud. I do mean it when I say this is dramatically less bad, but that is still not a film you want your film to be compared to, even if the comparison is favorable.

I did admire this movie for pulling off a minor sleight of hand in hiding a plot twist I genuinely didn’t expect inside of another “plot twist” that I think probably literally everyone expected. It just would’ve had more impact if I hadn’t already decided the movie was total bullshit like half an hour before that happened.

(Okay, okay, I’ll say one nice thing: the massive kaiju nerd in me was happy that Mt. Fuji ended up becoming a major factor in the plot, even if I’m not sure it made any sense the way they tried to use it to explain the events of the first movie.)

(D-Rank)

,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: