01 September 2013

I'm Pretty Sure it was Supposed to be Bad

Pacific Rim

Yes, the movie.

Some have called it Mecha vs. Monster porn.  I can see that. Others simply called it bad. I can see that too. The “live Anime” tag is pretty accurate as well.

I’m not going to review Pacific Rim, I’m going to rant about a few things.  Problems that I see in a lot of stories today, and especially in action movies.

Plot.  Oh for a plot!

Pacific Rim had a plethora of interesting hooks and gotchas:

There are huge monsters coming from a crack in the ocean floor, attacking major cities
Humans built giant robots to combat them
Because the interface with the robots is so intense, it takes two humans to pilot one robot
The two humans have to share a consciousness in what they call the drift
The monster attacks are becoming more frequent and more powerful
Our main character’s brother dies at the beginning of the movie—they were still linked
The main character pilots his heavily damaged robot by himself (supposedly not possible)
The governments shuts down the robots and starts to build a gigantic wall along the entire Pacific coast—both sides
There is an entire black market industry around the monster leftovers
We have a general who is dying and is the only other person to pilot a robot solo
There is a girl the general rescued years ago who desperately wants to be a pilot
There are pilots from different countries who have different experience as well as egos
We have brother and sister pilots, father son pilots
Two cracked scientists figure out part of what is going on, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to figure out the rest
The monsters are going to kill us all if these pilots don’t stop them

You see, there are a lot of interesting hooks in there, that could have taken awesome twists and turns. Just think about the repercussions alone of sharing a conscious with another person...

But NOOooo…

We get the very simple plot of “Monsters are going to destroy the world unless we beat them up a lot” glued together by pretty much what I typed above.  Given in just as much time.

My question is this…when will the movie-goers of the world rise up in retaliation and ask for 15 more minutes of plot and that much less CG action?  Focus, curse you!

The same is true in books, and most venues for stories.

My hope as both a writer and a reader is that this trend will change. It’s not just great action or a great voice or a quirky character that makes a story, it’s a balance between them all that gently leads the reader through the plot and delivers them at the end with a new perspective on some aspect of life.

Giant monsters vs. huge robots is cool, but if I don’t care about why they’re fighting or the people involved, then I’m going to change the station.

Although I do have to admit that Pacific Rim did wash away most of the girlie-ness that I accumulated over the two months before my wedding. So I guess it did it's job.

1 comment:

Elsie Park said...

This post made me smile, Jo! I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'll probably wait until it come out on Redbox or Netflix. I agree that these movies today seem to have shallow plot that the movie makers try to fill in with CGI (TOO MUCH OF IT!). Personally, I'm waiting for the second part of THE HOBBIT. Now THERE'S a great balance between plot, characters and CGI :)