Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pacific Rim (part 2)

As I said last time, Pacific Rim was an amazing movie to watch. Seriously impressive visual display. And it leads off with it, too, as we start out right at the first Kaiju attack. The problem is that it's a prologue, and a prologue with voice over, at that. I really don't enjoy that kind of thing in movies. To compound the problem, it was the prologue to the prologue. Yes, the movie had to have two prologues. Just about the time I was allowing myself to get into the movie and be unannoyed by the prologue, we find out that what should have been the beginning of the movie was just another prologue. So, now, we're something like 20 minutes into the film, and the actual movie hasn't even started.

That issue with the storytelling ends up being the movie's greatest flaw. Basically, they started what was an epic tale spanning years and skipped to the last battle. There's no emotional connection to any of the characters, no foundation for the arbitrary scientific-sounding crap they fling at you in the same way that chimpanzees fling poo (and, yes, I have a story about that... for another day), and no logic to the things that happen. IF they had started at the beginning of the story or, at least, closer to it, they could have built something more believable. It's kind of too bad, because, like I said, visually amazing.

I'm not even going to get into the specific story issues. They are just too numerous to list. In fact, I'm sure I've forgotten most of them. Let's just say this movie is more hole than cheese (Swiss cheese, you know).  I'll sum it up this way: After the movie was over and my friends and I were comparing notes, so to speak, they were all about how great they thought it was. But I wasn't saying much. Not much more than it was amazing to look at, at any rate. And they're used to this from me, to me being the one most likely to not like a movie, but I was really trying not to say anything, but I guess I had this look on my face, because they were all like, "What? What was it that you didn't like? Because it was amazing." So I said I would share the one thing I thought was the most stupid (the arbitrary choice to have two pilots because the "neural load" was too much for one pilot (like I said, there's a lot of scientific-sounding crap flung at the audience to achieve what they wanted in the story, but that "neural load" crap is just that: crap)), and one of the guys started to respond with "but the right hemisphere and the left...," and I just kind of looked at him, and he stopped, and, then, all three of them started spewing various stupidities from the movie. And that lasted for something like half an hour, and I never brought up another thing. So, see, all three of these guys that walked out of the theater loving the movie couldn't hold the stupid back once the gate was open, much like the Kaiju gate in the movie.

I wish I could say something positive about the acting, but there's nothing there to talk about. No one was horrible, but no one was great, either. Or, even, all that good. It was a 'fest of mediocre. Okay, Charlie Day was good, but he was as good as it got. I mean, Idris Elba was so flat, they had to give him a nose bleed to pass for emotion.

The whole movie was like getting a giant present wrapped in the most awesome wrapping ever: glittery paper, bows, a great card, but, when you open it, you find an open package of chewing gum or something. To put it another way: big hat, no cattle.

But I'd still say to go see it at the theater, because it's just that kind of movie.

So... The movie ended, and we were heading out, trying to follow this other guy that had been with us, but he was on call there at LucasFilm, so he was heading back to his desk, so we started out going that way, too, so we ended up going off through the building into areas I had never been...

And there was just so much cool stuff! Around one corner was a display case with a tyrannosaurus Rex model in it from Jurassic Park and, down the hall, a case with a model of the foot structure of the T. Rex. And, of course, more movie posters. And, in a little lounge area, a suit of silver robot armor from some commercial ILM did at some point, and, on the other side of that, a set of Tatooine Stormtrooper (sandtrooper) armor! I so wanted to touch it; I mean, it was right there, but I restrained myself. There were display cases of models all down the halls; I don't even remember them all. And, in a room that I could see into (but the door was locked), a full-sized model of some Sith Lord. It was dark in there, so I'm not sure who it was, but the red lightsaber was very visible. It might have been Darth Maul, but it could have been one of the characters from Clone Wars, too.

The walk through the hallways of the LucasFilm building was more than worth any number of bad movies. Next time, I have to make sure I have my camera with me.


  1. Certainly a good write up Andrew. Effects are just not enough of a draw for me either. Especially now that there are no theaters close. I think the one in Haleyville has been condemned. It is really sad because once upon a time, the movie theater was the most impressive building in many small towns.

  2. Walking through Lucas Films, now that sounds epic. Well worth a not so good movie methinks.

  3. Did you at least take pictures? At least one of you guys had a cell phone with you.
    The movie was light on plot, but I didn't go to it for anything in depth. Some movies are so spectacle, they get a pass. However, my wife had the same issue with they movie you did - she said they started it in the wrong place.

  4. It would have taken too long to introduce the kaijus and then introduce the building of the Jaegers and all that stuff. You'd need basically a whole other movie to do it. Which is obviously something they could do in the future.

    Really you're not going to say what you think all the "holes" in the story are? Weak.

  5. Well, since I never see any movie until three months after it hits Netflix, I can't comment on the stupidities of left brain/right brain stuff. But, hey, walking around Lucas Films sounds like a stupendous kind of neural load. :)

  6. Sounds like the walkabout was the most interesting part of your visit. Spectacular effects just don't make a good film do they?

  7. I was waiting for pictures in this post but they never came. But you had fun, and that's good. :)

  8. David: I like good effects, but the story has always been the most important thing to me. Back when I was into comics, I knew a lot of people that followed comics for the artists (it's always issues drawn by particular people that carry the most value), but I always followed for the writers.

    Anne: It was pretty cool.

    Alex: The other guys have no need for pictures; they work there. And I don't have a cell phone, so I don't carry a camera around with me.

    PT: It wouldn't have taken too long if they had just built the first movie around the time period when the attacks began and built up from there. As it is, I will be completely uninterested in any kind of prequel because they have already established the stupid.

    I couldn't cover all the holes and stupid without doing a whole series on them. And I would have needed to take notes to keep track of them all.

    L.G.: I'll tell you what, standing in front of that suit of stormtrooper armor was enough all by itself.

    Jo: It was! I'd go see PacRim again if it meant I could walk the halls again.

    Damyanti: I wish I had pictures. My kids were upset with me, too.

  9. I'm glad I read this. I'm thinking my hubby will want to see this film and I already had my doubts. Walking through that hallway sounds like a blast - my inner geek would have been jumping for joy!

  10. Elsie: It was. But I don't really have an inner geek, just a geek.

  11. Sounds like the theater itself was the highlight of the trip - I've suspected as much. Thanks for your thought. I expect we'll avoid this one.

  12. Its so hard not to notice plot holes and story issues in movies. Writers tend to be over analytical when it comes to anything story, and it makes us tough customers.
    Awesome that you got to browse the LucasFilm building!!

  13. Plot holes always grate on my nerves, so I think I'll skip this one. Too bad because I really thought it had potential. Yes, I'm the kind of girl who will skip action movies with bad storytelling. Die Hard 5 taught me a lesson I won't soon forget.

  14. Ah, the other shoe drops. You echoed what Filmdrunk said, too, and as I read your review I kept thinking of "We've got to Science This Science Thing With Science!", a logic I kind of hate.

    So I'm sure I'll maybe see this one day, possibly? Probably not, I guess because when it comes on Netflix I'm likely to remember all the negative stuff people said about it.

    Too bad. But there's always "Gravity" coming up!

  15. Charlie Day is in this? I'd go see it just for him. Yeah, I'm a fanboy. At least I admit it. The guy is just plain awesome.

  16. TAS: Oh, it was. It was.

    Pk: Stupid science is my weakness.

    Jeanne: I haven't seen that one, yet. Die Hard 3 (that was the one with the boat, right?) was bad enough.

    Briane: If you're not going to see PacRim in the theater, there's probably no point in seeing it.

    ABftS: I've only seen him in Horrible Bosses. He reminds me of Bobcat with that squeaky voice thing he has going on.

  17. Good points Andrew. I've heard there are plot holes, but none have really stood up to me. Neural load doesn't make sense, but then, the technology to control machines with our minds still is in its infancy. Who knows what would happen if we got it right. Frankly, I agree the story is very weak because they had so much going on they couldn't get into everything. Like the world after the destruction. What is it like for the man on the street? I'm hoping the sequel, that he's currently writing for the green-lit sequel, will have a better story since he got the exposition or if the way. I'm so jealous you went to LucasFilm. I've heard some great stories of the trophies there.

  18. Maurice: I'm not looking forward to any kind of sequel to this, and I can't understand how they could justify it considering the amount of money it lost. At any rate, this movie really felt like an end to the story. If they wanted to make more than one, they should have started at the beginning and this one should have been a sequel.

  19. I absolutely LOVED this movie. I'm with you on the acting, though. Especially those Aussie accents! My partner and I were looking at each other saying, 'what the hell did he just say?' Haha and we're Australian.

  20. Hmc: At least the "Australians" had lines. The other Jaeger pilots didn't get to do more than mumble a bit before they died.