Pacific Rim (2013)

Anyone had the chance to see Pacific Rim yet? If you need that big-summer-action-movie itch scratched, I highly recommend it. But while watching the film, I also noticed some tropes that we discussed in class these past few weeks. While much of the film is set in Hong Kong, meaning that the Asian influence is to be expected, one of the central characters, Mako Mori (played by Rinko Kikuchi), seemed to play by the book when it came to Asian stereotypes. Without spoiling too much of the film, let’s just say that Guillermo Del Toro managed to fit both the timid Asian girl and the fiery kung-fu mistress into the same character. These tropes don’t feel forced though, and given the setting, the choice to cast Kikuchi in her role feels completely natural. As the film progressed, we do see Kikuchi paired up with the “ideal white male protagonist,” perhaps necessary to appeal to the majority. The film was well-received by most viewers, and seeing the white hero stand triumphant after his fellow ethnically diverse comrades fall probably contributed.

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All in all, seeing Pacific Rim was an enjoyable experience. If you want to see giant robots beating up giant monsters over the Asian coast, it’s probably the best film for years.

And props to Del Toro for actually casting a Japanese actress to play a Japanese character.

1 thought on “Pacific Rim (2013)

  1. *Spoiler alert*:

    I generally enjoyed the film, but am still working through my reactions to it. For a film called “Pacific Rim” it’s sad how so few prominent Asian or Pacific Islander characters there are (considering how many of these nations are on the Pacific Rim), with the heroes still being predominantly attractive heteronormative white males, and the only one who strays from this is the Asian female/romantic interest (the only acceptable interracial pairing). And aside from Mako (Kikuchi) none of the other Asian characters have any spoken lines (barring minor ones re: Charlie Day in the shelter). These details are especially problematic considering how liberally this film borrows from Asian media (particularly anime like Gundam). There are also other things that I’m still mulling over… but aside from these problems (persistent and recurring in US media in general) it was an ideal summer action blockbuster. I did really like Mako’s atypical multi-ethnic family. It’s not a huge giveaway, but I won’t spoil it to much for others. Any other reactions to the movie?

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