Monday, May 28, 2012

Pacific Rim - Script Review

Pacific Rim - Sript Review

Short Review: Paying homage to the Japanese 'Giant Monster vs. Giant Robots' Genre (Wiki: Kaiju) Guillermo del Toro not only takes over the insane fights, but also the flat characterization and linear plots. Unfortunately, the script uses every known cliche available and thus fails to connect with the audience.

Plot: When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes - a washed up former pilot (IMDb: Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (IMDb: Rinko Kikuchi) - who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse. (Official Plot Synopsis by Warner Bros.)

How does it end?
(BEWARE: SPOILERS!)  The B-Story delivers - without making any effort to feel organically to the story - the solution to the problem, when a young scientist discovers that a nuclear bomb will close the rift between the universes. But someone has to bring the bomb to the other side and set it off. This isn't exactly a new idea (especially now that everybody and their mother has seen 'The Avengers', which used the exact same idea recently). Of course, our unlikely heroes have to go into the 'Pacific Rim' and set off the bomb, fighting of giant monsters on their way. But in the end they succed, close the rift and return home.

Guillermo del Toro - Director of Pacific Rim
Guillermo del Toro
Project: Originally, del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy 1 + 2) was set to direct an adaptation of 'At the Mountains of Madness', however, after Universal closed down the project, he switched his attention to 'Pacific Rim'. Originally, Tom Cruise, who was going the play the lead role in 'At the Mountains of Madness', was going to star in the film, but he was replaced by Idris Elba. Ron Perlman, who has worked with del Toro on several occasions, was confirmed to have joined the cast on November 17, 2011. Industrial Light and Magic was chosen to do the visual effects for 'Pacific Rim'. Guillermo del Toro hired Oscar winners John Knoll and Hal T. Hickel, both known for their work on the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' films. Legacy Effects was hired to do the special and practical effects on the film. Shane Mahan, known for creating the armoured suits for 'Iron Man' was hired on as effects supervisor. John Rosengrant was also brought in for his work on 'Real Steel'. Oscar winner Clay Pinney, known for his work on 'Independence Day' and 'Star Trek', was also brought on board. (Source: Wikipedia)

Screenplay Structure: Travis Beacham's 'Killing on Carnival Row' (Read my review) was a fantastical ride into a bizarre and dangerous world. His words made this unique world come alive. Sadly, not much of this brilliance comes to play in this by-the-numbers script.
But the screenplay follows a clear-cut structure, which I will demonstrate for the first half of the screenplay.
In quick succesion we meet: 1. Raleigh, our male protagonist; 2. Mako, the female protagonist; and 3. Flick, the B-Story. After that, on page 9, comes 'The Catalyst' (Snyder) or 'Call to Adventure' (Vogler): Raleigh has to go to Tokyo and pair up with Mako to defend the city.
In the 'Debate' Section, a question is posed. Not 'Will he do it?', but rather 'Can they do it?' - for  few pages the odd couple goes through a training montage, showing how they come closer and closer and finally can work together. The act break comes with the first Kaiju fight showing the audience the massive scale of the monsters coming out of the Pacific Rim. Exactly following Blake Snyders Beat Sheet the B-Story plays a prominent part now, before going into the 'Fun and Games' part: Raleigh and Mako have to complete a few simulated training missions, before - right in the middle of the script - the stakes are raised and the unlikely heroes have to go on their first real mission.
This quick outline shows how the script follows every step in the screenplay book, although this doesn't guarantee a good movie.

Will 'Pacific Rim' bomb like 'Battleship'?
Outlook: In an age of Mega-Spectacle-Movies like 'Battleship', which bombed at the box-office (with $44 mill domestically in its second week for a €209mill budget) - movies need to offer something more. 'The Avengers' had wits and humour in addition to an stellar cast. Big explosions and splashy effects alone are not enough anymore. So, Guillermo del Toro will have to find a way to set his new effort apart from all the other disaster movies.


  1. your review made me want to read the script. Do you know where I can find it? Thanks

    1. I am afraid, you have to google your way to it. It is out there...

    2. Hey can you e-mail me the script? I really want to read Pacific Rim, i would be happy to trade screenplays with you if you like :)

  2. Somehow a cliche script worked for Avatar. All they need to do now is hire Sam Worthington as the lead male.

    1. Yeah, you're right! 'Avatar' was full of chliches and tropes and still worked pretty good.
      I am pretty confident of the work del Torro will deliver, even though the script is pretty lackluster.

      Thanks for visiting my blog!

    2. Pacific Rim will definitely better that Battleship due to Guilermo Director and massive robot me everyone,this at least can earn mopre than 700million worldwide

  3. hey can someone e-mail me the PACIFIC RIM SCREENPLAY? I want to read it, I'd be happy to trade for scripts i have too.

  4. Saw the movie this weekend. In summary - a horrible script. Just dreadful. Decent acting, amazing special effects...but basic logic gaps and stupidity:

    1) Lots of narration at the start. Movies almost always fail when a majority of the story has to be told to the audience via narration.
    2) Why can't they nuke the Kaiju? How about just having really big guns shoot the kaiju when they come out of the water? The basic need for the jaegers was never fuly developed - Why giant robots and not jets with missles?
    3) Stupid science. Why are the Kaiju invading again? They said something about carbon MONoxide in the oceans when I THINK they meant carbon DIoxide. The dinosaurs were a failed Kaiju invasion in the past? Why are the kaiju genetically identical? They are created - so why was one of the Kaiju pregnant? (Striker Pentecost - stupid name) can't ever get into a Jaeger because he was exposed to radiation 20 years ago? Huh? Either he gets sick and dies 20 years ago, or gets better - there is no such thing as one more ray of radiation will kill a man. Spekaign of which - nuclear reactors are NOt nuclear bombs. They are just two different things completely.
    4) How does the jaeger program work? Who runs it? How can Penetcost be told he is "shut down" then assemble Jaegers from several contries for one last battle? In a large super cool base no less.
    5) The "mind bridge" makes no sense - why do the two pilots need to talk to each other if they are sharing minds?
    6) Hannibal Chow - what a waste of an actor.

    Anyway, I could write additional paragraphs on the basic stupidity of the script, but suffice it to say the whole thing is nonsense.