So, I watched Pacific Rim for the first time the other day. It was a tad disappointing. I didn’t think it would be that easy to make a bad film about Robots fighting Monsters, but they managed to make it fairly naff. The action was pretty good, even if all the Robots managed to do was box while the Monsters jumped all over them, but hey, it’s hard/expensive to animate that kind of stuff in 3D I guess. I hear people say they didn’t like the Transformers films because the fighting was just a blur. Each to their own. I can’t help but feel the creators of Pacific Rim missed a trick by not making a westernised version of Evangelion, the cult classic anime created by Hideaki Anno. When I first saw the trailers I thought it WAS the live-action Evangelion film that had been rumoured for years.
Granted, Evangelion was actually pretty weird, all things considered, but the basic premise matches that from Pacific Rim and they could have incorporated some elements which I feel would have made for a more interesting film, or at least made some of the more obvious plot devices a little less obvious. I know this post is probably going to sound very self-aggrandising, but I’m seeing this as an exercise in creative adaptation more than anything else. Here is how I would have made Pacific Rim:
* WARNING: Will contain mild spoilers of both Pacific Rim and Evangelion. You have been warned *
Create Monsters to Fight Monsters – The tagline for Pacific Rim is kind of rubbish, in hind sight, as humanity didn’t end up creating monsters at all: they created giant robots. Everyone loves giant robots (true fact). Looking at Evangelion though, the EVA’s are actually part-biological, and psudo-clones of the First and Second Angels. Translating this into Pacific Rim would be easy, as the film takes place many years into the ‘Kaiju War’, and you see several sub-plots of scientists and black marketers playing around with and using Kaiju Bio-Materials.
What I would have done is changed the first and only Mark 5 to have been the first Jaeger to not need two pilots, as it has Kaiju bio-matter integrated into it. Specifically a cloned brain which is meant to ease the neural load of the human pilot. This would eliminate the painfully cheesy co-pilot selection process mid-film, where it (painfully) obvious that the cute Chinese girl with inexplicably blue-tipped hair was going to be the go-pilot. I mean it seemed like those other candidates weren’t even trying. Anyway – you could still also keep the disastrous start-up test sequence as well, as obviously this has never been done or tested before, and wrestling with a Kaiju brain is probably going to be traumatic, at best.
Hell, you could even use the Mark V as the plot device that reveals the Kaiju origins and purpose as well, as like some kind of residual memory from the brain it was cloned from. Would be preferable to having that really annoying scientist/fanboy go on his pointless quest because he’s a bit of a dick. Obvious sub-plot is obvious.
Plus, a great ‘fan service’ moment of Evangelion is where Shinji’s (and on occasion Asukas) EVA goes berserk, where the EVA itself takes over (kind of) and just beats the holy crap out of the enemy. You see plenty of examples of the Jaeger’s controlled, boxing/wrestling combat style, but this set-up would allow the Jaeger to act more like the Kaiju, which could be a bit of a visual treat.
You could still keep the set-up more or less the same – The Jaeger program being shut-down, the last stand in Hong-Kong. You could even blame the development of the Mark 5 on the program’s demise, as too much money went into creating that ‘machine’ whilst Jaegers were being torn apart left right and centre, and the Kaiju’s getting bigger. I think the ‘Wall of Life’ project was a pretty weak justification on its own, especially once that one Kaiju tears through it fairly early into the film. It annoyed me that no-one really addressed that. Reactivating what’s-his-face would still make sense as well. Perhaps they felt they needed to tie the (not)romance plot into a buddy plot with the whole co-pilot thing, but you could also argue that an inevitable evolution of the Jaeger’s would be to find a way around the neural load problem. The Kid, being the only Jaeger pilot left alive who wasn’t already part of a team (And one of only two to have piloted a Jaeger single-brainededly), would be the perfect choice.
Considering the romance plot isn’t really acted upon, it doesn’t really matter that it’d get reduced a lot by not having blue-tip in the centre of it all. Or maybe you could have her as the back-up pilot, if you really wanted to keep her in that sphere.
Hmm, I thought I’d have more to write than that. It’s really just the part Kaiju/Part machine thing that I reckon would have made Pacific Rim a whole lot better, and it would hold together quite well with what they ended up doing. You can carry on with your day now.