Pacific Rim: A Very Short Review

By Brenda W. Clough

I do not usually go for the kind of movie in which the salient feature is explosions, mayhem, or things being crushed. These things are like capers, in cooking, or decollettage, in fashion — to be used judiciously, so that the palate shall not become jaded.

Nevertheless it is clear that every young writer should view Pacific Rim. There is no movie on the screens today that could give you a better survey of plot holes. It’s like a colander, a gap everywhere you look, so many that one must classify and sort them into piles like seashell collectors. Over here is a big pile of defiances of the laws of physics, the square cubed law, and materials science.  On that side, a stack of of tactical and conflict issues — why, if these giant robots are essentially waldoes, is physical strength or dexterity at all called for? Even if you did not care to wire them directly into your brain, you could run them with your fingertips — the way we do run 747s and ocean liners and trucks. But there would be much less room for video games, if the competition to be a robot jockey involved crochet hooks at five paces.

And let us not neglect the incredible number of cliches, so many that it is impossible to believe that they were all not deliberately inserted. See if you can spot all the people who are doomed to die.  There is also a clear pandering to a number of niche markets. Guys, must we be so crude?

And there is an ugly unwritten hierarchy in the characters.  Scientists, geeks and brainboys are all short, brunette, and figures of fun; the lesson is that you use their intelligence but never respect them.  Women are tokens; there has to be one of them but never ever more, and they had better be good looking and wear makeup. All the main male characters must have great physiques and, ideally, be blond. There must be a term for this, a more encompassing word than racism or sexism or classism  — movie-ism? The only redeeming point is that there is no gratuitous T&A

I mentioned video games. This movie is in essence a video game in embryo, and should be regarded as such.

My newest novel Speak to Our Desires is out exclusively from Book View Café.

I also have stories in Book View Café’s two steampunk anthologies, The Shadow Conspiracy and The Shadow Conspiracy II, as well as in BVC’s many other anthologies, including our latest, Beyond Grimm.




Pacific Rim: A Very Short Review — 5 Comments

    • How did you derive “kyriarch?” It caught my eye because that’s a word we used as a royal title (= queen) in Sherwood Smith’s and my Exordium space opera series.

    • No, this is definitely a check-your-brain-at-the-door kind of film. If you can’t do that you will be sad. Interestingly, people with other kinds of expertise see quite different things. There’s a guy somewhere on the interwebs who has closely analyzed this film purely from the visual aspect; apparently a great deal more work was put into the look than the plot.

  1. I think brevity and simplicity is key here. I am going to name the syndrome ‘pulpism’ — when something partakes in every bad feature of pulp fiction. Works with the good features have other descriptive words — snappy, dramatic, etc. — and so we have coverage there, but there is no word for the bad end of the spectrum.