Hold on, we’re going in.

Gypsy Danger

First up: here’s my [expletive free] first reaction:

And I’m not kidding. PACIFIC RIM was incredible. Just incredible. It’s everything you could want from a GIANT ROBOTS vs MONSTERS movie and more. Much, much more.

First off, if you only take one thing away from this review make it be this:


(you can tell your friends I said that too)

Both the Kaiju (the monsters) and the Jaegers (the robots) are huge. Monstrous even. And they have to be seen in IMAX to fully appreciate the magnitude of it all. But the spectacle of it all isn’t the only thing worth investing your time in, oh no. The story is actually fairly awesome, as is the emotional centre that sits within, underneath all that armour. As much as the trailer(s) would have you believe otherwise, PACIFIC RIM is not 131mins of non-stop gigantic city battles. It really isn’t.


There is humanity and story underneath and that itself is brought to life by a trio of decent leading actors. First, Charlie Hunnum, as our number one guy, Raleigh Becket,  holds the film together really well and is not only our way in but also our way through this brave new world that we live in; supporting him we have the bloody fantastic Idris Elba (as Jaeger veteran Stacker Pentecost) and Rinko Kikuchi (as mystic Jaeger research assistant, Mako Mori). All three are great independently, but par excellence when thrown together – and it’s fortunate that that happens often.

The supporting characters are slightly one dimensional and, in places, seemingly only around for light relief. However each has a bearing on the story in some respect (again – I mention story – there is a lot of it here, and some smarts behind the Why? too) and each is given their time to shine… just.

The Good:

  • ALL OF THE GIANT THINGS (I may have mentioned this already)
  • The lead characters are, as mentioned, all really well fleshed out.
  • The title sequence: when it hits, it blows you away how much prologue you’ve just been given.
  • The CGI is second to none; you will believe these robot,s and these monsters, exist.
  • On a related note: this isn’t Transformers. The fight scenes are clear, there are rarely any cutaways and basically, you get to see EVERYTHING.

The Bad:

  • The story might be pretty good but the script, in places, is shockingly bad. If you’ve seen any of the trailers then you know that CANCELLING THE APOCALYPSE is possibly the singular most ridiculous line you’ve heard all year (well, outside of ‘UNLEASH THE WORLD ENGINE’ anyway). While they are few and far between, there are some humdingers in there and they CLUNK when they hit.
  • I mentioned one-dimensional characters earlier, there are a few – given the effort that goes into making so much of this world believable (especially the monster-ravaged China Town), it’s frustrating to experience so many unbelievable characters – and the acting isn’t super either.
  • There’s a bit, that I can’t talk about because it’s a bit spoilery, but when it happens you will, like me, scream at the screen: ‘WHAT?! WE HAD THAT THE WHOLE TIME?!’ – you wait, you’ll see.

The good news is, the bad is so far out-weighed by the awesome you can forgive PACIFIC RIM its shortcomings. It is an astonishing film and it is, without doubt, the best giant robots vs monsters film you will have ever seen.

I’m going to close off with something I read recently over by Tyler Cowen (on a blog post about how China is reshaping Hollywood):

You will note that in Pacific Rim they do not kiss, respect and loyalty to family are major motives in the plot, and there is nothing approaching a nude scene, except when the female lead sneakingly admires the torso of the male lead.

In a summer of mega-superheroes and leading men who always get the girl, PACIFIC RIM is a respectful giant of a movie, that stands up not only against the blockbusters of its ilk, but also against the better natures of some of the more lower budget efforts floating around too.


Five things on Friday #48

Things of note for the week ending November 30th, 2012

[click to embiggen]

1. Pacific Rim
I first blogged about Pacific Rim back in July (when it was merely a launch poster at Comic Con), and this past week a blueprint for one the giant robots – or ‘Jaegers‘ – that feature in the film has turned up as well as the first part of the teaser campaign, below –

A few things –

  • I love Guillermo Del Toro and I’m quite close to believing that he’s never made a bad film.
  • The tech blueprint is a MUCH BETTER example on how to do tech blueprints (back of the class please Prometheus).
  • I’m well up for this film, 3D-post-conversion and everything.

2.  Deadmau5 + Nokia
The Lumia 920 launched in the UK this week and, to celebrate, Nokia threw a(nother) Deadmau5 gig somewhere in the south of London.


It was a bit nippy, but overall we had a good night. I grabbed an awesome video and a decent collection of photos too. Check it.

I’m using a Nokia Lumia 920 myself at the moment and, if you’re interested, initial thoughts are up over on The Voicemail

3. Is Twitter ruining the celebrity endorsement?
This article, from The Verge, dissects the current trend of celebrity / technology placement and is fantastic food for thought, in more ways than one.

“As sales of physical recordings continue to decline, it no longer makes sense to spend six figures on a video that might not pay. That doesn’t change the production cost of a video, however, so product placement is increasingly used to fill the gap. Nokia has been particularly active in this space, with Lumias popping up in videos for Flo Rida, M83, Ke$ha and Katy Perry. Often, the deals are limited to the budget of the video itself, which can leave the performer unsure of his or her obligations once production is done. Was Flo Rida just playing a character who loved his Lumia phone, or was the “Whistle” video really a window into his life? Either way, it’s hard not to feel like someone’s pulling a fast one. Finding him tweeting from an iPhone would be like catching Bad-era Michael Jackson drinking a Coke. We can overlook a low-level sellout, but switching sides is just bad form.”

That last sentence kind of nails it for me. ‘Bad-era Michael Jackson’ wouldnever have been caught drinking a Coke because Bad-era Michael Jackson was around in the disco/pop, cash-rich, yuppy/money-can-buy-me-anything world of the 80s. NOT the new media/capture-and-share-anything-and-everything world of the post-noughties social media generation.

Basically, what I’m saying is, there’s nothing wrong with these placement deals – of course there isn’t. It’s just another form of marketing and advertising and, believe it or not, it does actually work. However, what’s required is a more in-depth contractual commitment that lives past the 4min music video. An arrangement that not only guarantees that you hold device X for one shot, but also defines that you throw device Y in the bin as you do.

The answer to the question is: NO, Twitter isn’t ruining celebrity endorsement. Poorly thought-through modern-day endorsement contracts are ruining celebrity endorsements; Twitter is just pointing out the holes.

When it comes to placement, brands need to think harder, and work smarter.

The end.

Sidenote: I love you Mike.

4. This Cheetah is Beautiful

Play it fullscreen, in HD.

You won’t regret it.

4. Live from New York
This gorgeous anecdote, via Bill Murray, over on HuffPo made me add ‘Live From New York‘ to my Amazon wishlist (hey, feel free to buy it for me won’tcha?) – and I’m fairly sure it’ll have the same affect on you too.

5. Laker Bros

For no reason whatsoever.

Like Deadspin, I just can’t stop looking…


Before I dive into this week’s bonuses, a moment to pause –

This week I realised that this post marks the 48th part of a 52 week promise I made myself at the start of the year. A blogging challenge if you will, to reflect on the week that was and – at the end of the year – have a single blog post for every week that would show what I’ve achieved and/or done with my time on this earth.

I won’t lie. This year has been tough. For both me, and my partner. As we head into December reflecting on 2012, the year of awesome, is hard. Professionally I’ve had ups and downs, winning my first major pitch for Ogilvy was a definite highlight, but the low-points – in general – include more character assassination attempts than I’d care to shake a stick at (from friends, (ex)colleagues/girlfriends and enemies alike), as well as dealing with a few health issues affecting the one I love…

Somewhere along the line the Five things on Friday changed. Changed from things I found awesome and wrote in my Moleskine, to things I’ve found on the internet and thought you should read. I don’t know how I feel about this change. I don’t even know if I want to continue with the weekly thing [once the 52nd week comes to an end].

I guess my question is, to you dear reader, what do you think? This project was going to be a one year only deal, things have been mad – hectic even – is it worth carrying on into next year and beyond?

Let me know…


Bonuses this week; Mark Ritson on John McAfee is an incredible read; if you’re a Mac user and need to brush up on your Lord of the Rings knowledge, it’s OK there’s an Easter Egg just for you; and finally, and rather unsurprisingly, China has a food problem.


Whatley out.