Thursday, June 6, 2013

Monsters over Giant Robots

As long as I've liked gigantic things destroying buildings, I've preferred the monsters over the robots. The giant robot genre has never interested me, and I think I finally know why.

A huge monster is what it is. A giant radioactive lizard, a gargantuan moth, a massive alien from another planet, it doesn't require an explanation. It just is, and it's coming to tear down the city, and it has to be stopped. The giant robot, on the other hand, is made by human ingenuity, and the director always feels the need to show off how awesome that creation is. What we inevitably get is the overlong deployment.

Mechagodzilla being repaired

Here's Mechagodzilla ("Kiryu") from the 2003 Godzilla: Tokyo SOS. It's being repaired from it's last encounter with Godzilla (Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla, 2002). It's big, the third Mechagodzilla, and it looks pretty cool. However, how long are you interested in staring at it? Because the filmmaker, like many before him, gives us plenty of time to look at the mini-maker's handiwork.

We hear the command to deploy Kiryu at 46:20. And then we begin a long series of beauty passes, intercut with people looking or saluting the awesome vehicle.

Begin deploying Mechagodzilla!!

Which goes on...

Isn't Mechagodzilla huge?

And on...

Dear viewer, we really want you to be impressed with Mechagodzilla.  Please be impressed.

And on...

Problem is, if you're not interested in Mechagodzilla, this is excruciatingly dull.

As it continues to happen...

Still deploying Mechagodzilla

Until it finally ends at 48:50, a full two and a half minutes after we hear the order to deploy.


The problem is that nothing interesting has happened. I love suitimation more than most, but the long passes don't impress me. I'm more interested in what it does. Heck, you don't even have to tell me all of it's Checkov's Guns. The giant robot is going to pour a bunch of different-colored special effects into it's opponent, and that's going to make explosions. That's what I want out of a giant robot. Imagine a two and a half minute scene, with cuts, of someone awesome standing in an elevator, saying nothing. That's excruciatingly dull. The fact that the character is huge and a robot does not make it any more interesting.

I'm hoping that with the plot elements and human drama that are integral to the the giant robot deployment in Pacific Rim, it will be less excruciatingly wasted time.

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