Episode 263: Pacific Rim: Kaiju, Job Creators

The Overthinkers tackle “Pacific Rim.”

Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, John Perich, and Jordan Stokes overthink Pacific Rim.

→ Download Episode 263 (MP3)

Rejected titles for this episode:

  • The synchronized running man
  • A tenable long-term geopolitical solution to the robot impasse
  • I did not care for those hats
  • Spike equilibrium of combined robots
  • We have the missile technology to hit buildings
  • Captain of the New Zealand synchronized swimming team
  • Consider this a mitzvah
  • Suppose the dodgeball is full of high explosives
  • Britain needs to recognize its role as father of Australia
  • It’s an analog nuclear reactor
  • They certainly run like a young Steven Seagal

Also, be sure to read #RejectedJaegerNames on Twitter.

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27 Comments on “Episode 263: Pacific Rim: Kaiju, Job Creators”

  1. Tom #

    You guys brushed over the Raleigh and Mako relationship, I just wanted to touch on it for another moment. You seem to take the stance that they OUGHT to have hooked up. I thought it was admirable that they didn’t. They only know each other for a short while, so why would they hook up? Yes, they have to sync, and maybe that lowers the activation energy needed to want to bone, but I thought it was positive that they didn’t. Just because two people know each other and are of compatable sexuality doesn’t mean that they should hook up. Can’t they just chill and be friends?

    This is consistent with the story because success in the story comes from overcoming personal anxiety and acting for the sake fo the whole. Raleigh needs to get over his brother’s death to save the world, Mako needs to get over her childhood fear and abandonment, Stacker needs to get over his need to be a father to Mako to let her save the day, the Australian guy needs to realize that his dad always loved him so he’ll stop being Ice Man and just let Raleigh be Maverick, the scientists need to get over their professional pride and work together to learn the nature of the threat. They all have to get over their personal baggage to save the day, and introducing romance doesn’t always make that story more compelling. Granted, they could probably get away with introducing a romance and still prove that point, but I thoguht it was a smart move to avoid sexuality just for the sake of sexuality or to add another anxiety.

    Also, someone argued that Mako was a walking talking fan service, I think because she isn’t just The Love Interest means that title isn’t totally fair. The Avengers is the only other recent action movie that comes to mind where a woman is a main character but not The Love Interest.


    • phizzled #

      I thought it (positively) evoked the karate kid and danielson’s plucky upstart nature by not ending with the obvious romantic entanglement. I also thought it returned some of the agency instantly lost by most women in science fiction to the threat of being a man’s prize or trophy, if not his victim.

      of course, because mako was not originally a candidate for the fight, I didn’t think of it as a requirement for drift compatibility to have shared memories. I thought people were family members because there would be a shared tendency in the way they thought, not what they previously knew. your fighting styles could sync because you both improvised the same way, or both processed a known strategy the same way. Mako demonstrated her understanding of Raleigh by deconstructing his fighting style while he faced the other candidates – none of whom he had met. Would he have developed his shared memories by marrying or spooning with the men he fought before her, had the film not gone as we predicted?

      Of course, I only saw it once. maybe you guys were right about the shared memory philosophy. although, that would seem to negate charlie day’s drift attempts with the kaiju, there being no shared experiences between them.


  2. fenzel OTI Staff #

    I don’t think it’s fair to say they “avoided sexuality” or that Mako wasn’t a love interest. If they’d kissed at the end, like everybody expected them to, then that’s what it would have been. As it was, she was introduced as a stereotypical sex object, he was introduced as a stereotypical sex object, they were shown attracted to each other, they had a sexy stick fight, they got to know each other a bit, aaaaaand… nothing.

    It’s not like they actually became close friends, or that being close enough to drift together even ended up mattering at the end of the story, as Idris Elba drifted with a guy just because that guy was a shallow character with no complexity — it’s kind of amazing that he actually said that in the movie.

    I definitely see it more as a love plot without an ending than as something more substantial than that. Each character is framed to the other by the camera in a sexual way, and they never really sit down and have what seems like an honest or vulnerable conversation where they drop their posturing. Raleigh talks about losing his brother the way a surfer talks about waves in Hawaii.

    Neither Raleigh nor Mako have any real depth, and both are played as charicatures. Their main purpose in the movie is to be attractive. So I really hesitate to give the movie credit for being progressive in how it frames male/female relatiobnships.

    But that’s not even why we expected them to hook up — when we talked about it in the podcast, we were talking about family relationships. Up until the point Raleigh and Mako get together, everybody else who does the neural handshake in the movie is related by blood. How do a man and a woman become family or share genetic information and/or bodily fluids? The obvious answer is marriage and sex — “getting together.” The “family of choice.”

    Now, the movie _could_ have pulled a Fast & the Furious and shown that, since Mako and Raleigh are both without a family and kind of lost souls, in piloting the robot together, they can forge a bond that’s as strong as family and that isn’t sexual — but they don’t do that in the movie. We can assume it happens in order to patch over the hole in the script, but it doesn’t — there’s no speech where Raleigh or Mako talk about how close they are to each other, how glad they are to be piloting the Jaeger together as a family, or anything like that.

    In order for a man and a woman to have a credible friendship, they have to do more than merely not sleep together. They also have to establish a bond, share themselves, be vulnerable to each other, etc. The technology of the movie invited them to do this, and while I literally saw Raleigh inside Mako’s head, I didn’t see characters that actually connected as people, even when they were connected by analog brain connection technology.

    This is all exacerbated by the fact that Mako didn’t _choose_ for Raleigh to witness her memory of Tokyo. It’s not like she opened up to him voluntarily — either in service of the mission or in service of their relationship. She had an involuntary flashback he happened to be there for. And at the end of the flashback, it’s not Raleigh she’s revealed to have a bond with, it’s Stacker II Turbo Pentecost.

    I still think Pepper Pots from Iron Man 3 is much more substantial a character than Mako from Pacific Rim, even if she does have sex with Tony Stark. So is the other scientist who is working with Guy Pearce, even though she also slept with Tony Stark. I mean, he is Robert Downy Jr. — it’s hard to hold sleeping with him against someone.

    As for Mako, I think she and Raleigh hook up not that long after the end of the events of the movie, since they were about to hook up at the end of the movie anyway.

    Of course, maybe Raleigh is gay — there’s a 1 in 10 chance of that happening, as we don’t know anything about what he wants or believes as a character, except that he fights a fair amount, likes his robot, and is vaguely sad in a sort of casual way about his brother’s brutal death.


    • fenzel OTI Staff #

      With this in mind (both that Mako was never really bonded credibly with Raleigh, and that Raleigh is kind of a homoerotic character already), let me add one more idea to the many ideas I already mentioned that would have made the character arcs in Pacific Rim make more sense.

      When the final fight shows up, you have 4 Jaeger pilots left — the hotshot Australian, the hotshot American, the Japanese survivor, and her mentor who runs the program.

      How about at the end you pull a switch — you acknowledge that Raleigh can’t really understand what Mako’s been through — but one man can, because he was there. Stacker II teams up with Mako in Striker, and the Australian douche has to team up with Raleigh in Gipsy Danger.

      You have to add a little speech from the Australian dad, maybe over dinner — that really you two hotheads are much more similar than you are different, and if you just both drop your guard and work together, you’re 9/10ths of the way there.

      You already share memories (remember they’ve been inviting Raleigh to eat with them the whole time and have actually bonded with hmi over the food and the other the similar experiences they’ve had over the years they’ve all been jaeger pilots) — I admit I’m stealing this plot twist from Dragon Ball Z, where Goku and Vegeta fuse into a super-powerful fighter because they can match power levels and their rivalry gives them something in common.

      Then of course you have Stacker II eject Mako from Striker and pilot it alone into the breach — she says a tearful goodbye through the glass, he sacrifices himself to close the throat — and then you have a final epic battle between Gipsy Danger and the final Kaiju, where the two flyboys have to Top Gun Volleyball their way to a 100% synchronization to defeat the final boss, with Mako pitching in — maybe by jumping up onto the back of the Kaiju, facing her biggest fear, and stabbing him in the eye with some sort of expandible stick-fighting stick before diving to safety.


      • fenzel OTI Staff #

        Then there can be a moment where we think Mako is dead, but she’s alive! We can even have a funny shot where we use a wide-angle lens very close up to show Hong Kong in the background, and her foot stomps up onto the shore.

        Either that or when they all get back to base, everybody salutes Mako, as we all realize that, as the highest-ranking survivor, she’s the new commanding officer. The two dudes salute her gratefully, and she tearfully salutes everybody and says something cool about how awesome Stacker II was and how he taught them all to work together or some other crap.


        • Sylvia #

          These are nice ideas, but you’re running into the realm of thinking about what the movie could or should have been rather than what it is.

          I’m really glad there was no kiss at the end and just a tender moment. Relieved actually. There was enough cliche in the movie without shoe-horning in a romance. It was really nice to watch a male and female character merely get close. Maybe they get together after the story, that’s fine. But my reading on their relationship was much closer to the initial poster. I think that just because it’s a male/female relationship it’s just easy to put romance on it.


        • Tom #

          Thanks for the quick and thoughtful reply. As a two year listener, first time commenter, this is engaging

          Mako might have a crush on Raleigh, but I’m not convinced. She spends a lot of their introduction time spying on him through the hole in her door, but that wasn’t enough to make me feel like she is in love with him, just awkwardly curious (Although to be honest I could have just as easily seen that as schoolgirl crush behavior and gone the other way).

          As for syncing as a means to develop a relationship as a couple who are not already related by blood and are of the right sex, that didn’t make me believe they are developing romantic feelings either. I thought it was an oppurtunity for Raleigh to see Mako’s childhood fear, which was Del Toro’s way of saying ‘he is pissed because the Kaiju killed his brother, she’s pissed because a kaiju destroyed her home, now watch as they can Inception-bond over their senses of revenge and abandonment!’ Platonic mutual respect deployed!

          But maybe Del Toro does want us to think that she loves him and he just didn’t direct that message as bluntly as other directors, which I’d still say is a plus for the movie.

          I guess I wasn’t trying to argue that Mako is a progressive icon. Pepper Pots displays more intelect and diplomacy for sure even though she is also Tony’s girlfriend. Mako only shows that she is really good at faux kendo and off screen she knows her way around the simulations.

          I moreso wanted to convey that I thought it was refereshing to not be burdened by a love plot when I don’t think the story needed it.

          Thanks again!


        • Lavanya #

          As it turns out, Del Toro filmed an alternate ending where they did kiss:

          >>“When I was working on the movie we had three or four different versions of the relationship between Charlie and Rinko because I wanted to see if I could make a story about two people liking each other without having to end in a kiss. So when I shot the ending we shot three versions. I’ve never done this before, but instinctively I thought we should do three versions. We did one version where they kiss and it almost felt weird. They’re good friends, they’re pals, good colleagues.

          >>But the thing that stayed in the movie is the hint that there may be a love story one day, but it’s not there yet. Maybe in the sequel perhaps…if it gets made.”


          (I wonder what the third version was. Kiss, don’t kiss, and…???)


          • fenzel OTI Staff #

            Interesting! Yeah, that seems clear enough.

            If I had to guess, in the third ending maybe she revives him with mouth-to-mouth, so it’s sort of a kiss, sort of not.

  3. Nathan #

    Thanks for the great response to the physical scale question! It has me thinking. Immense size effectively inspires awe no problem, and a film can direct that awe along different thematic schemas.

    Consider contrasting the cinematic chaos of Transformers’s fights against the more-orderly, understandable fights of mecha. Mad-man-made mechas function as a practical (straight-face) monument to the persistent, hardy ingenuity of humanity. Their movements and elbow rocket-punches are birthed from the systematic human intellect (and fighting improvisation). In this way mechas can be reminiscent of another genre, the space/astronaut films of Apollo 13 or Armageddon.

    I wonder if the transformer fights were so blaring and jagged because transformers were deity-like and alienatingly organic, fighting above puny humans over our miserable fate. Except this feel doesn’t work well when you bring out the rocket launchers.


    • fenzel OTI Staff #

      Immense size is a little trickier of a thing than all that though.

      You can make something look big, no problem. The sci fi movies in the 50s that put ants under a magnifying glass and superimposed that over cities did that.

      But it doesn’t look _credibly_ big. Making something look credibly big is harder, especially when the frame stays the same size. The way they do it in Magic the Gathering cards, for example, is to put reference objects — most commonly birds — in the frame so you have a basis for comparison. Camera angles also help in any medium – the most obvious being the “megazord” low angle shot used in Power Rangers and a lot of other daikaiju.

      But in movies, you have a lot more tricks — you can use sound. A thing should move in a way that makes it look heavy. In Pacific Rim, they use water a lot to give the impression of size — the way it flows up and around the robot body gives cues as to its size and shape.

      I do think the crazy transformers stuff does have something to do with what I mentioned on the podcast – techniques developed to do fight scenes with old action stars. It’s also there to hide flaws in the computer imagery — if you are totally disoriented, it’s less of a question what is real or fake. But that’s less of a concern nowadays than it was when the first transformers movie came out.

      But I think the idea of disorientation also can be used to communicate size — shots that are dizzying in their nature can create the feeling of being high up (Peter Jackson uses this a lot in The Hobbit). And a robot you can’t quite ever see all of chasing Shia LeBoef maybe looks bigger than a robot that fits entirely in the frame — even if it’s standing next to a skyscraper.


  4. madiq #

    Quick hits:
    – I really do want to see the Fast & Furious team as Jaeger pilots. “American Muscle” indeed.

    – I remember reading somewhere that there was a Mexican Jaeger team composed of luchadors, which would in fact be awesome.

    – I also want to push back at the idea of Jaegers not being the best way to fight Kaiju. The Powers that Be have come up with a category-based system for describing Kaiju, but it’s established that the exact for of the Kaiju is unpredictable, which would mean that their strengths and weaknesses would be unpredictable as well. Jaegers are essentially Iron Man suits scaled up, with the primary advantage being human creativity and ingenuity. In fact, Maoki says pretty clearly to Raleigh that his unconventional style is risky to other Jaeger pilots, but having lost all but 4 of their 51 Jaegers due to Kaiju evolution/adaptation, Raleigh’s ability to improvise is likely the X factor that makes all the difference. (And yes, that’s probably a LOT of Anglo-Americanism/Australianism in the subtext, as the Kaiju evolve past the efficiency and excellence of the Russian & Chinese Jaegers, who were all seen as the “best” at some point, and cripple the Stryker model, which was seen as the best in the moment.) But military precision and awesome weaponry would probably lay waste to the cities in order to defeat Kaiju, which kind of defeats the purpose of each region having a protector.

    – I do kind of hope we somehow see the stories of the other 47 Jaegers depicted, because the questions raised about the nature of The Drift could be better explored. I never assumed that you had to be related to drift well (as presumably Iceman’s Dad was co-pilot with someone else before his son, and the first time I saw the movie, I thought the Russian Jaeger team was a married couple), but the movie could have better fleshed out what makes people better-suited to neural linking. I agree that dancing would have been pretty cool (maybe there’s room for a “Step Up”-themed Jaeger team), but Hollywood loves a hand-to-hand or sword-based fighting scene with sexual tension, so I went with it.


  5. Tulse #

    “I also want to push back at the idea of Jaegers not being the best way to fight Kaiju. […] having lost all but 4 of their 51 Jaegers due to Kaiju evolution/adaptation”

    I would think the second sentence would indicate the truth of the first. When your enemy destroys over 90% of the weapons used against them, it seems like that’s a pretty good indication those aren’t effective weapons.


    • madiq #

      But Jaegers were successful for about 5 years, and we don’t know how many Kaiju were killed in that time frame. I’ll grant that stationing weapons system close to the breach might be successful, but Kaiju could destroy those weapons systems. Instead, I guess they’ve invested in a fairly-sophisticated Breach monitoring system, and assume that weaponry would make those scanners and drones and such into targets for Kaiju.

      Another thing that Jaegers can do is provide a point of engagement for Kaiju, and steer them away from more densely-populated areas, or where civilians are bunkered. A Large Laser Weapon would be reactive to the path of the Kaiju, and not really be able to react to on the ground conditions.

      Plus, thinking about it more, the Jaeger system is incredibly an effective propaganda tool, as it raises the morale of an area in constant fear of Kaiju incursion to know that it is guarded by a champion whose efficacy is the fruit of local talent, craftsmanship, and ingenuity. Nationalism hasn’t gone away, so you have to think that governments would need to placate its citizenry and promote regional pride somehow.


    • phizzled #

      If you operate from the basic assumption that mankind is inevitably doomed because the kaiju are smarter, more adaptable, and more plentiful, in addition to having a hive mind mentality, i dont think you can criticize the jaegers for failing, slowly and eventually. In apocalyptic films and television, from independence day to buffy thw vampire slayer, mankind loses the manjority of it’s resources to resist and it takes a christ-like sacrifice and unconventional tack to win. You seem to be falling into the trap of thinking the only acceptable solution is the perfect solution. a desperate man doesn’t need to be perfect, he just needs to act. If all solutions lead to death, the one that preserves your ability to keep testing other solutions is by several metrics the best solution available.


  6. Tim Peever #

    Quick note about Evangelion: it isn’t really a spoiler to say that the Eva aren’t robots, because Ritsuko introduces unit 01 saying it’s a “synthetic life form.” In the second or third episode, the angel it’s fighting explodes, destroying all of the eva’s armor, and the people who see it remark that they’re seeing it in its “true form.” (The viewer doesn’t get to see much more than a dark silhouette.)

    That being said, I think the fact that it’s easy to forget the eva aren’t robots is intentional. There are characters who refer to them as robots, for one thing. And some of the most striking moments from the show come from the scenes when the units behave more like life forms, as if the writers made you forget they were alive to make it that much more surprising when they acted like something other than a robot.

    The real spoiler, of course, is in exactly how the eva units were made in the first place. I recently watching the series with my girlfriend (first time for her, third time for me), and I told her that one of the elements of the series is that, while everything seems effed up from the very beginning, as the show goes on, you start to realize exactly how effed up that really is.


  7. shinyemptyhead #

    I did disagree with a lot of your niggles in this episode (for example, they do specifically address in the movie how the Jaeger organisation is getting funding from Chau’s black market organisation by giving him information on where to harvest Kaiju parts), but I will forgive all those niggles for the joke about Great Britain accepting its role as Australia’s father.

    I do think this movie is very much a Kaiju movie with giant robots in it than a robot movie, so I’m wondering if (and correct me if I’m wrong) your lack of Kaiju fandom impacted on your enjoyment of the movie? I love Kaiju movies, and I utterly loved this movie.

    I’m glad you spotted the XCOM references, too – that and them having Ellen MacLaine as the computer voice were two of my favourite nods in the movie.

    One final note – if the Pacific Rim wiki is to be believed, the Russian pilots _are_ a married couple, so madiq up above is correct (and only 50% of the pilot groups are related).


    • Stokes OTI Staff #

      The idea that Chau could be funding the Shatterdome, though, is absurd. The Jaeger program was originally funded with the entire combined defense budget of the developed and developing world. That’s the size of the budget shortfall that Chau is supposed to make up for.

      Grant that, running only four Jaegers, their budget is now only eight percent of what it used to be. Even so, if there’s an organized crime organization active in the world that can afford to front that kind of cash, the Kaiju may not be the biggest problem that society is facing!

      Hey, so, question for you : as a Kaiju fan, can you give us a list of five or ten movies that we really need to see to understand the genre better? (Not necessarily the best movies, and certainly not the most historically consequential… just the Kaijuiest.)


      • shinyemptyhead #

        Oh yeah, I’ll agree that it’s absurd, but at least it’s a nod towards it. Realistically it just exists to set up how they can get to Chau, but at least it’s a nod towards their need for running costs.

        As for Kaiju film recommendations – well, that sounds like a challenge to me. Major caveat though – I am a Kaiju fan, but by no means a Kaiju expert. The list below is based on personal knowledge but if anyone wants to suggest alternative I’d be delighted to hear them.

        Godzilla (1954)
        The original Godzilla is highly similar to John Carpenter’s film Halloween in a lot of ways. Both founded a genre (Kaiju and “slasher” films), both are essential viewing to understand that genre, and both are not really members of the genre they founded. Godzilla is a lot more serious than most Kaiju films, and the monster within is never portrayed as anything but a force of nature – born from atomic fire, and almost unstoppable. As with Halloween a lot of the conventions of the genre (conventional weapons being useless, a side story that eventually leads to the means of destroying the monster, weapons of mad science) are born here, but here they are things of narrative weight rather than parroted clichés.

        Rodan (1956) and Mothra (1961)
        These two movies are more steps on the journey towards the Kaiju genre. If Godzilla is Halloween, then here we have Friday the 13th – embracing the new genre while helping to redefine it. Both introduced new Kaiju who would become classic characters in the franchise, though they are very different in tone – Rodan is very serious in tone, while Mothra has an odd campness to it (personified in two diminutive “fairy guardians”).
        Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
        This is the first of these I’d consider a true film in the genre. All the elements are there – multiple monsters (Ghidorah, Godzilla and Rodan), the first “monster versus monster” fights, a batshit insane plot reminiscent of 1950s serials (with time travellers and a superhuman humanoid “android”) and the first attempt to rehabilitate the popular Godzilla as a protector. The first Kaiju movie I ever saw and still possibly my favourite.
        Destroy All Monsters (1968)
        Intended to be the final Godzilla film, this reunites all of Toho Studio’s monsters for a “battle royale”. (Toho Studios are the classic Kaiju film studio, the equivalent of Universal Horror in the US or Hammer in the UK.) Filmed with a higher budget than usual, this one’s a classic.
        Ultraman (TV series)
        The biggest influence on Kaiju outside of the movies is probably the Ultraman TV series, which featured a world where Kaiju, alien invasions and mad science had become commonplace. (It was filmed in th 60s and set in the 90s.) Fighting these threats is the Science Patrol, one of whose members winds up merging with an alien and gaining the power to turn into a Kaiju-sized superhero. I’m sure you can see how this influenced Pacific Rim. Ultraman was actually a spinoff of an earlier TV show called Ultra Q, which had the Science Patrol facing down Kaiju and other monsters, though without Ultraman to confront them directly.

        Hopefully that’s enough to give you an idea of what’s out there – that’s really just scratching the surface but these are the things that I think Pacific Rim shows influence from the most!


      • Howard Member #

        I got the feeling that they were just hanging on by the skin of their teeth, and it’s somewhat defrayed by the fact that they aren’t building new Jaegars, just trying to keep old ones running, but it is pretty ridiculous.


  8. Howard Member #

    I watched Pacific Rim twice in one day and loved it, so I have a hard time being objective about it…but then, what’s the fun in being objective?

    You guys talked a lot about the Kaiju side of it, but the nostalgia button it was pushing for me was for giant robots, and specifically super robots. Gipsy in particular is very reminiscent of the Mazinger universe, though the whole Jaegar program takes the more militaristic flavor of something like GaoGaiGar. Certainly the structure of the movie would fit right in with a super robot show (ie monster of the week). Eva is something of an outlier and I’ve only seen it once, so I can’t really talk about that.

    Thematically, I think in broad strokes it’s about how the problems we face are too big for any one nation to grapple with – Charlie Day kind of gestures at climate change, which is the example that readily comes to my mind, but it’s not explored in any way. By the end of the movie, all the single nation teams have been killed or disabled, and the two remaining Jaegars are piloted by an American, an Aussie, a Brit, and a Japanese woman. I thought it was a nice touch that the guys in the control room were speaking different languages.

    I’ve read a lot of teeth-gnashing about how movies are all reboots and sequels now, but given that Pacific Rim went directly against Grown Ups 2 – by all accounts a terrible movie – and lost, what does it say about the movie-going public? Is it just a small, vocal minority of the audience complaining on the internet? After all, Iron Man 3 made a billion dollars, and nobody’s complaining about that.

    And on a technical note, I really loved how the fight scenes were shot. Knowing what’s going on at any given time? Sign me up! And a lot of action directors could learn from watching the human-human fight scenes (and some Hong Kong kung fu movies).


    • Megan from Lombard #

      I think most of the blame for Pacific Rim taking 3rd in the box office goes to Warner Bros because they and Legendary Films had a massive falling out so WB decided to do the bare minimum of promos for the movie. I mean, Lone Ranger got more promos and it was a huge flop.

      And I agree with you, the fight scenes were amazing. Much better than the current trend where directors feel like there have to be all kinds of fancy camera angles and lots of movement (which honestly more often than not leave me feeling motion sick *coughmanofsteelcough*) where as simple tracking and such makes for a much better experience.


  9. Megan from Lombard #

    Listening to the podcast and then seeing the movie for the second time, I have to say that a few issues that the panel had with the movie were talked about, in just a few passing lines but were still dealt with.

    One thing that Fenzel mentioned, that the “wall of life” not being dealt with after the first quarter/half of the movie, while that’s true at the same time it was mentioned a bit when Raleigh first joined the rest of the pilots at the Shatterdome; indirectly when he’s eating with the Aussies and is asked what he did after leaving the program, and then when he’s changing in his quarters and the American UN official is saying that despite the kaiju breaching the wall in Australia it’s still the best course for them to follow, even though it’s obvious that the “unbreechable” wall was breechable and the kaiju went through it like it was a kid breaking down a cardboard block wall. The wall in the movie was there to serve as a metaphor for the remaining pilots who had to break down their own walls that they had built to protect themselves in order to defeat the kaiju’s.

    Also the fact that the panel scoffed at the fact that Gypsy Danger was analog instead of top of the line. Gypsy Danger was an older model (a Mark 3 I believe), built when the “war” was five years old so of course it wasn’t fresh off the line by the time the rest of the movie rolls around however many years later. What I took away from the analog line was that despite Gypsy being an older model it still used the same technology, just not the most up to date version of it (plus it was nuclear powers vs. whatever the Australian jaeger used that allowed it to be disabled via a EM pulse). It was backwards tech, but still ahead of the current timeline.

    (that was another thing I’ve been loving in the recent sic-fi movies that take place in the near-distant future. It fits with the government agency that needs it yet at the same time it’s not wide spread.)


    • Stokes OTI Staff #

      They made it pretty clear that Gypsy Danger was a slightly older model, but that doesn’t stop the “analog” line from being ridiculous. Here’s why:

      1) Analog vs. digital is a distinction that applies to data storage and computing, not to the workings of heavy machinery.

      2) Analog computers went out of date sometime around the 1950s. (It’s possible, of course, that some technological revolution would bring them back into relevance… technology goes in cycles, as we learned from 30 Rock.)

      3) In the film, they imply that Gypsy Danger is analog because she’s nuclear, and nuclear because she’s analog. This is nonsense: again, analog has to do with computing and data storage, not electricity generation.

      4) There are in fact analog computing systems that would be EMP proof, but this is only because computing systems that do not use electricity (such as slide rules, and the Antikythera mechanism) are, perforce, analog. Electrical analog computers — which we have to assume Gypsy runs on, because she has a power plant! — would almost certainly be MORE vulnerable to EMPs than digital systems. With a digital computer, the main worry is that the current spike from the EMP will melt through a wire somewhere, causing the circuit to short out. With an analog computer, the same risk exists… and even if the wire doesn’t melt, your system is going to be jacked because an analog computer derives its output by combining and separating flows of current and voltage. (The analog computer is like a water clock, the EMP is like a tidal wave.)

      5) Finally, and probably most importantly, “analog” is ridiculous because it’s an unforced error. They could have just said “Gypsy is EMP shielded, because of her nuclear power plant,” and we would never have thought twice about it.


  10. Lazer Mike #

    The origin of the Kaiju also reminded me of Chrono Trigger. Lavos was the original Kaiju. Crazy other-world being who feasts on unsuspecting planets. Think about it. If only magic and triple techs were real. Then we’d have a chance.

    Also, hunting down black market Kaiju parts is Charlie Work.


    • Stu #

      Did you notice the sound effect when the Class 5 died? Sounded a lot like the Lavos sound effect to me…


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