Pacific Rim 2: Drift Again Like We Did Last Summer

stock: digital comics museum, Robotmen Of The Lost Planet 001 (1952)

The news is all over the internet:

Visionary director Guillermo Del Toro and Script writers Travis Beacham and Zak Penn are reuniting with Legendary Pictures to bring giant robot action sequel Pacific Rim 2 to theaters in 3D and IMAX on April 7, 2017.

Pacific Rim poster, Travis Beacham, Guillermo del Toro, Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros, 2012The 2013 film Pacific Rim, starring Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, and Charlie Hunnam, only did modestly in the US with $110 million; it did better internationally, topping $300 million.

Fans of the film loved it for its message of how humanity can only face its greatest obstacles when everyone is working together, rather than having an “everyone for themselves” attitude. When I say everyone, I mean everyone. The people on the front lines included women, people of colour, disabled people, and neuroatypical people, all showed on screen to make contributions. The representation of usually marginalized groups was one of the most well-received features of the film.

The Pan Pacific Defense Corps was created from every country on the actual Pacific Rim, as those were the ones most endangered by the giant Kaiju that came from a rift in the ocean floor. The method used, as anyone who has seen the original film knows, for fighting those monsters was giant robots called Jaegers.

Some fans even loved it for Raleigh and Mako developing a deep close relationship that was never portrayed romantically.

Rinko Kikuchi as Mako Mori, Pacific Rim, Travis Beacham, Guillermo del Toro, Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros, 2012In a “stunning” change from Hollywood’s normal formula, the apparent hero of the movie, Raleigh Beckett (Hunnam) lost his brother early in the first film. He turns over the hero role to Mako Mori (Kikuchi), and they both answer to Stacker Pentercost (Elba).  That the emotional core and heart of the story revolved around a woman is still unusual in Hollywood, despite the success of female-led films like Frozen, The Hunger Games, Gravity, and even Twilight.

The original movie was embraced by fans for the positive messages above. Tumblr is full of fan art, fan creations, cosplay, and even a convention — Shatterdome Atlanta took place in June 2014. Another positive aspect the fans responded to were the accessibility of cast and crew on social media.

The film was not without flaws: the main Jaeger piloted by Raleigh, and later by Raleigh and Mako together was called Gipsy Danger. The original screenwriter had meant it as an homage to WWII fighter jet deHavilland Gipsy Moth, but the word is problematic as it is also a pejorative descriptor of the Romany people. Once this was pointed out by fans, the screenwriter Travis Beacham responded with appropriate sensitivity, humility, and apology — a good sign for the crew seeking to do better.

The first movie had a prequel graphic novel Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero, and a novelization by Beacham himself, expanding the universe a little. The expansion continues; in addition to the sequel, there will be a comic series and an animated series, giving fans all the Jaeger vs. Kaiju action they could ask for.

We will have to wait a little longer to see which of the cast members from the first film will be returning for the new one, though Kikuchi, Hunnam, Day, and Gorman are expected to return despite the original film’s grueling work requirements.

Jamie Kingston

Jamie Kingston

Jamie Kingston is a Native New Yorker, enduring a transplant to Atlanta. She’s a lifelong comic fan, having started at age 13 and never looked back, developing a decades-spanning collection and the need to call out the creators when she expects better of them. Her devotion extends to television, films, and books as well as the rare cosplay. She sates her need to create in a number of ways including being an active editor on the TV Tropes website, creating art and fan art, and working on her randomly updating autobiographical web comic, Orchid Coloured Glasses. As a woman of color, she considers it important to focus on diversity issues in the media. She received the Harpy Agenda micro-grant in November of 2015 for exceptional comics journalism by a writer of color.

One thought on “Pacific Rim 2: Drift Again Like We Did Last Summer

  1. And the fact that Mako spends the entire movie being protected by various men, crippled by emotions and obsessing/stalking Raleigh is not an issue at all? Just saying.
    Really disappointing considering the rest of the movie, and Torro’s work in general, are simply amazing…

Comments are closed.