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Suspension of Disbelief: Pacific Rim

Welcome to suspension of disbelief, a weekly segment where we review movies, books, games and anything that takes our fancy.

When my flatmate first suggested we go see it, I pulled faces. What’s it about, I asked? WELL, He said, THERE ARE ALIENS. AND THERE ARE ROBOTS. AND THEY FIGHT. I continued to pull faces, but let me say this: I’m really glad I went to see it, and if you haven’t already you should see it too.

I’m not going to say it wasn’t exactly what I expected. It was. There were aliens and robots and they did fight, and I have to be honest and say it is exactly the kind of action blockbuster movie I find hard to follow and don’t normally really care for. But Pacific Rim was great.

Here’s the thing, it was everything a blockbuster movie should be (you know: aliens, robots, fighting), but it also had a whole lot of subtly unusual and awesome things that you just don’t see in hollywood blockbuster movies.

Emotional strength and connection with another person is more important that physical strength. One of the main protagonists (Mako) is an Asian woman who isn’t exotified or reduced to a love interest, who is tough and has her own semi-complex backstory (I mean, as complex as a movie about aliens fighting robots will allow. Even though the main dude protagonist (Raleigh) was a fairly typical buff blonde-haired chisel-jawed dude, the way he interacted with Mako, and really wanted her to drift with him because he thought she was talented and strong, was just cool. No harrassing her to go out with him or anything, and the only time he comments on her appearance is when she is kitted up in her suit before they head out to drift. Also, a couple of scientists save the day. That’s cool, right?

The acting is great too. Giggles all round at the Australian dude who couldn’t quite hold onto his accent when yelling, but seriously: Rinko Kikuchi is perfect as Mako, and Idris Elba? ’nuff said.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a robots vs. aliens movie without some spectacular CGI, and it had just that. The cool thing, though, is how it wasn’t all glossy and perfect in the way that CGI always is. For the more experienced Jaeger (they’re the robots) their suits had plenty of wear and tear in the way they would if they’d seen a few battles in their time.

A couple of things I would have liked to see, though, would be MOAR LADIES. Mako was fab, but there could have easily been more support staff characters who were ladies. I was also under the impression that South America has an entire coast that lies along the Pacific rim, so it would have been cool to see a Chilean or Peruvian Jaeger. That said, you can create your own Jaeger on their website, and fix that glaring omission.

Anyway it is still pretty great and worth watching so just go see it already, damnit!

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Lauren is a Maths and Physics student from somewhere in the southern hemisphere. She has an affinity for reality, and you can find her on twitter @lolrj, or Google+.

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