sovay: (Rotwang)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote2013-07-17 02:58 am

Numbers are as close as we can get to the handwriting of God

Thank you to everyone who commented last night for Abbie—if you sent wishes, thoughts, love, or just the recognition of reading, thank you. Rob has an update on the situation here. The short version is that we are to consider the cat on hospice care. The salient fact is that there is still a cat. We were very surprised: we did not expect him to live until morning, and then we did not expect the veterinarian's house call to end in anything other than the difficult decision Rob had spent the night accepting he would have to make. Instead, there's a cat under Rob's bed as I write—it's one of his traditional hangouts on hot days or nights. He is still not really eating, except for a little licking of tuna liquid, but he has been seen to drink water, wander around the downstairs in an aimless, jingling fashion, and when we got home from a 2-D showing of Pacific Rim (2013) tonight, Abbie was in the dining room, being made much of by [ profile] ratatosk and [ profile] laura47. We are waiting on some test results from the veterinary hospital where he spent an overnight this weekend and then we will see what comes next. For the time being, however, a cat is here.

The thing to understand about Pacific Rim is that I cannot write a comprehensive review of it tonight. I want to write a post just enthusing about all the major or minor details, the realization of the world in in its casual scruffy lived-in-ness and the way it begins where a stupider movie would have tried to throw a late-act twist, the coherently staged fight scenes that are of genuinely epic, elemental scale. The kaiju do not move like weightless computer modeling; they shoulder up out of the sea, snap bridges like wires, grind skyscrapers to ash-glass with the awful immensity of volcanic eruptions or tsunami, things that overwhelm. There is something a little frightening about the Jägers, too, with their nuclear chest-cores and huge sliding hydraulics: I got little flashes every now and then of the God Warriors from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984). The film never loses track, though, of the fragile human bodies being slammed all ways within the blind metal armor as they animate it, or the even greater vulnerability of the three-way neural link that allows two pilots to bear the strain of controlling a Jäger where a solo operator would start to bleed from the brain (even if I would have liked the script to take a little more time over what the Drift actually entails and the implications of its slightly Cronenbergian form of telepathy. There is a casual, haunting mention of a dead pilot's memories remaining within the mind of his surviving partner, because they were in the Drift together when he died: there's an entire story in there that is not quite this film). The character backstories have been pared down to the strictly functional, but the worldbuilding is sprawling and meticulous. The genre shout-outs are so numerous and so affectionate that I'm almost waiting for the drinking game. The World War II echoes are almost more intriguing to me: there is nose art on the Jägers, ration cards and work projects, Burn Gorman's kaiju-predicting mathematician is nearly a cartoon of a Bletchley eccentric right down to the tweeds and sweater vest. I did not expect to see a perfect realization of St. Michael and the dragon iconography in a grappling-tailed monster and a giant robot. (I did not expect to see, either, the closest I ever will to the Sea's Tooth of Deep Wizardry (1985) where the Lone Power lies burning in a basalt-stacked canyon at the bottom of the sea, the water bursting into sullen blue flame all along its lava-black and deadly length. I do not believe this is an allusion Guillermo del Toro intended, whereas I'm pretty sure about the other, but it was still an amazing thing to find on my screen.) There are splashy horror-comic setpieces and moments of unexpected understatement. Ron Perlman plays a Tom Waits role. And it's a movie that knows exactly which clichés it wants to honor unashamedly and which ones it wants to subvert or entirely ignore, meaning Rob and I applauded our way through a number of scenes. It's not a romance, for example. Except for the alien monsters rising from the deep, it's not a movie with villains, either. The recurring motif is the sharing of memories, the bridging of minds. Rob noted afterward, approvingly, "Nobody gets betrayed."

We went to the movie in the first place because Abbie was stable and we needed to do something completely different. Pacific Rim was exactly the correct thing to do. About a minute in, I started grinning. I don't think I stopped until the house lights came up. It is dedicated to the right people.

I am going to bed.

Post a comment in response:

Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
Account name:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
HTML doesn't work in the subject.


Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.