Pacific Rim

This is a 2013 science fiction/monster movie from director Guillermo del Torro.  It’s an ode to the old Godzilla movies of Japanese cinema, as well as to the Japanese manga centered on giant robots.

In 2013, the Earth is attacked by giant monsters, called Kaiju, that come out of a portal at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.  These monsters attack coastal cities, and to combat them the nations of the Earth join together.  They eschew traditional military armaments in favor of Jaegers, which are massive robots piloted by pairs of pilots.  The Jaegers are built and stationed around the world to protect cities on the coasts of the Pacific Ocean, and they initially have success.  However, by 2025, the monsters have increased in their size and abilities, and attack more frequently. To combat this, the Jaegers are being phased out in favor of giant walls around cities.

One of the leading proponents of the Jaegers, Marshal Pentacost, has the idea of gathering the remaining Jaegers, which are currently assigned to protect Hong Kong, to assault the portal and to close it by detonating a nuclear bomb near it.  The Jaegers end up being destroyed, but one is able to enter the portal and to detonate its own nuclear core to shut down the portal.


Problems:

The Idea of Jaegers is Stupid. 

This is a problem in every giant robot anime, movie, manga, or whatever.  Centuries of warfare have shown us that the best method for killing something while staying alive is to hit it with something as damaging as possible, from as far away as possible.  I just can’t imagine that the only way to defeat these monsters is with blunt force trauma from a giant metal fist.  The creatures, as depicted in the film, are biological, like the denizens of the Earth.  So, you’d kill them the same way you do any other multicellular organism – by punching holes in it.  To do that you need enough force focused at a point on the creature to penetrate its skin/armor.  Why then would you design a big fist, which spreads the force out making it less effective at penetration? Some Jaegers do have swords, a la Voltron, but they only use the swords after the punching proves ineffective.  If you insist on engaging giant lizards in melee combat, why not start with the sword?  Also, why wait until you’re underwater to use the sword?  There is one Jaeger that relies on attacking with spinning blades. Melee combat with spinning blades against a giant lizard!

Wouldn’t missiles or large cannons be more effective?  You can see how slowly the Jaegers punch; they’re not going to do any damage.  If you’re relying on a Jaeger  to punch, at least give it a spike so it can do more damage.  Of course, the Jaegers  also have missiles and projectiles.  This reduces the Jaegers to a delivery system, and a piss poor one at that.  These giant robots have to be airlifted into the part of the ocean where they fight by a team of helicopters, and then they have to run through the water to the monster.  Why not just put the weapon systems on the helicopters, or on a boat, or a plane, or just have them in fixed positions around cities?  It would save you the trouble of needing to create a neural link.

Also, the Jaegers are extremely dangerous.  One Jaeger saves a fishing boat at the beginning of the movie, but the rest of the film shows them falling into buildings, crushing cars, and breaking everything around them.  There is no effort to reduce collateral damage.  Who pays for all the homes and businesses destroyed when a Jaeger falls down (which happens regularly)?

Notice in the above video, all the destruction to the city, as well as the Jaeger using a ship as a club. Then notice in the video below (1:00 mark), the same Jaeger breaks out dual forearm blades. Why destroy some company’s freighter when you already have much more effective weapons installed?

Also, why are all the Jaegers different?  Did the world hold some sort of contest for “Best Jaeger”?  If you find something that works, start making more of that.  I mean, they have twelve years’ worth of experience and data on which weapons work best, so why all the needless variety?

 

The Wall Idea is Stupid.

Now, if you’re only trying to protect the coastal cities, that’s fine.  What happens when the monsters sniff around the wall, can’t make it through, and just go inland and start leveling everything in their paths?  Having oceans full of giant monsters is really going to hamper the fishing and transportation industries.  Also, what if three of them appear and make a monster-ladder?  What you want is a dome, people – even though, that will leave the countryside destroyed.

The Alien Tactics are stupid.

As it turns out, the monsters are sent to Earth by aliens from a different dimension.  The monsters’ goals are first to scout, and then to destroy the Earth so the aliens can come and take over.  The problem is that the initial Kaiju don’t scout for shit.  They don’t spy on the Earth and report back.  They just attack.  If you’re going to have them just attack, why bother sending the weaker ones first?  Send your best, and send them all, not one at a time.

What’s with the humans’ categorization of the Kaiju? Humans have a scale, which starts at 1 and ends at 5 – only because a 6 has never appeared.  On what is the scale based?  When the Category 5 shows up at the end of the movie, the technicians know IMMEDIATELY, even though it’s the first Category 5 they’ve ever encountered.  They don’t even have to see the Kaiju’s capabilities before they can label it. Look below and you see how the Breach opens up and the Kaiju are immediately categorized and named.

There is Only One Goddamn Portal!

Why are there Jaegers all over the Pacific when there is only one portal, and the humans know where it is?  Every time the portal opens up, the humans know that it’s open, and they immediately know what category of Kaiju it is.  So, why the fuck are the Jaegers stationed around the ocean?  Just position them, and everything else, right outside the portal.  Why bother with the helicopters transporting the Jaegers all over the ocean; just have them manned and waiting with their stupid pugilism and swords?  Or, have submarines patrolling that area non-stop.  Here’s an even better idea: put bombs all around the portal area, so that as soon as a Kaiju shows up, you just blow its ass to bits.  The whole portal thing is just whack-a-mole, with only one hole.

Why did it take the humans so long to think to try to close the portal?  They know where it is, they can just have a nuclear bomb on stand-by to shove in when the portal opens.  Sure, it wouldn’t have worked, but why didn’t they TRY it?  At a minimum, the humans should have just back-filled and buried that portal.  Drop as much rock and cement as exists in the world on top of it.  Let each Kaiju tire itself out having to burrow though miles of stone before coming up.  Or have each bump its head as soon as it comes out of the portal.  Once it has burrowed its way out, you can have your Jaegers on hand to pummel it to death.

How Deep is the Water?
Every battle between the Kaiju and the Jaegers has them standing ankle deep in water, but on occasion, Kaiju come bounding out of the water, like Free Willy. These bodies of water are bays and beaches, where the ground slopes towards the mainland. How does the Kaiju in the clip below erupt from the water (2:00)?

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