Pacific Rim: Thought bucket

What is a Kaiju image from Pacific Rim's Facebook page

I finally decided to watch Pacific Rim in IMAX on a whim yesterday. My initial reaction was one of absolute squee and enthusiasm; I’ve not been tossed into a world where I can suspend my disbelief and just simply watch a movie without my brain automatically engaging the analytics engine in a long time.

Besides the fact that it was IMAX and thus everything seemed real, Pacific Rim did a pretty damn good job of distracting me from the plot holes. Here’s the spoiler-free things you SHOULD know before you watch the movie:

  • Mako is a badass and everything is visual in this film. Pay attention to the way shots are composed, colours are used, and body language is emphasised.
  • The action distracts you. Really! If you grew up watching Ultraman and other monster series I did, the action here is fast, furious, and AWESOME! So distracting my brain didn’t have time to process it all.
  • As much as it pains me, I find it much easier to enjoy Pacific Rim than I did Star Trek. The latter had so many plot holes, I found myself enjoying it for no other reason than Benedict Cumberbatch and watching Spock get his ass handed to him by Uhura. Pacific Rim, on the other hand, was pure, unadulterated violence and bashing. They were unapologetic about it too.
  • Leave your brain at the door. Watch it in IMAX. Be prepared to squee. Also cute yaoi couples everywhere!

And this goes into spoiler territory:

One of the things that surprised me about Pacific Rim was just how much discussion it took. Almost everyone I know (excepting Tyzro and [Marauderz]) agreed that Pacific Rim is a pretty good walk in the park. It is pretty much a popcorn movie; you go in, be wowed by the effects, the actions and the robots, and you walk away with a good feeling.

Oh yeah, I need to mention, Pacific Rim actually ends on a GOOD NOTE. Despite the darkness, it is quite cute in its light. It’s one of the reasons why I like this show.

That aside, like I mentioned earlier, I’m surprised by the amount of discussion that has taken place. Everyone takes different things away from the movie, things they noticed that other people didn’t, things they thought were incongrous which others found congruent, and so forth.

For instance, I had a fascinating discussion about memories with the Wind Goddess when we discussed Mako’s memories. It seemed odd to her that in Mako’s memories, she was the only one who was running through the street, and there was no one else around. We’re shown that Onibaba chases her till she hides behind a dumpster, and the monster is then eventually beaten by Pentecost. When he steps out of his mecha Jaeger, he’s bathed in golden, heroic light.

The thing to remember is this: We’re seeing things through Mako’s memories. Memories, as we all know, are not the most reliable of things. Anyone who’s watched any crime drama will know that you cannot simply rely on eyewitness testimony; people’s memories can and will be tainted. Our brain automatically filters, deletes and distory the information we consider irrelevant. Thus, I think, it is with Mako’s memories.

She was relieving the fear, terror and nightmare that probably haunts her of that day, which ends with Pentecost saving her. There’s also the fact that she keeps her vengeance close at hand. Sam Keeper has a great article on how we see this with Mako.

There are several inconsistencies with the way Drift is explained in the movie. My view of the Drift is this:

When the pilots first sync with each other, the memories we see are the ones that is close to the heart of the pilots. For Yancy and Raleigh, it’s their growing up together. For Mako, it’s her family that became the impetus for her joining the Rangers. For Newt and Hermann (damn nice naming, by the way), it’s their childhood and their motivations for joining the PPDC.

So when Yancy says “I’ll know what you’re thinking in a moment,” to Raleigh, I’m inclined to believe what happens is NOT a complete transfer of memory. Having two pilots share the neuron load is already quite taxing on the brain. What happens is that it’s a memory or thought that Raleigh’s keeping close to the surface of his mind, so when they meld, this is what happens.

It also explains Random Access Brain Impulse Triggers and how pilots can be taken away. When you Drift, there is a transfer of memory and emotion, but there is no transfer of facts. That deep melding is at the conscious level only at first contact.

Thereafter, your subsconcious takes over. That’s why being Drift compatible isn’t just about the relationship and trust you have with your partner; it’s also psychological. You’re engaging both the subsconcious and the conscious mind in melding. So when they move, they move as one. Their subsconcious has melded, which is why they can act the way they do.

This is a scene that had [Marauderz] riled up. His point was, “If they were mind melded, how come Raleigh didn’t know about the sword?”

My answer to that would be, “Because Mako was not thinking about the weapon capabilities when they were syncing.”

I’m putting ahead this explanation: that when they were syncing, Mako would have been thinking about how disastrous her last sync would have been. Raleigh should have picked up on that and reassured her.

Which brings me to the next point: Why were the pilots still shouting commands and flicking switches?

Re: Flicking switches, I need to double check, but I believe this was because there were commands that were inefficient to be relayed simply by mere thought. There could be functions that required the switches as it involved transfer of power or confirmation. This, I have to rewatch Pacific Rim again.

As to why the pilots were still shouting commands, I took it on two levels.

Level One: Remember all those fighting movies where they shouted the name of their move before attacking their enemy? Yes, that.

Level Two: They were relaying to LOCCENT what they were doing.

I’m also suggesting that at this point, they are working subsconsciously. Our brains are one side dominant. What the shouts are doing is telling the entire body what the next steps are going to be. So when the Wei Triplets say “Thundercloud Formation” and all three blades come out, the actual vocalisation kicks the subsconcious to start moving the parts into place.

But yeah, mainly I thought it was because shouting “THUNDERCLOUD FORMATION” and somesuch was cool and a nice tribute to anime.

There are more thoughts but they will have to wait till tomorrow. This thoughtbucket is already over 1,100 words and it is pretty much a dump. Thanks for reading! PS: This post was also submitted to #Suvudu.

Naoko @ Geminianeyes