I’ve watched Pacific Rim a acouple of months ago, and while it aired another movie which I hadn’t watched was airing – Kick-Ass 2. The reason this is relevant to my story is that my write-up of Kick-Ass 1 is very relevant to this post. Kick-Ass had been a B-movie that had been proud of it being one, with constant winks by the writing and acting cast to the audience. I think Pacific Rim would’ve benefitted from feeling the same way.
I feel this movie doesn’t really know what it wants to be, it has top class production values, lavishly (computer-)generated fights, it has a serious tone to it – the shots are dramatic, the lighting is dramatic and somber, with top class filmography, and most of the cast portrays its role in a serious manner, as if they believe their lines, and that the world they’re acting in is real – some of them are in no way or form good actors, but it’s the thought that counts – serious movie.
(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be a few spoilers in this post.)
You know how in various media you hear about people confusing fear for respect, and not understanding the difference? Django Unchained is very much a movie like that – if you see me squirm or flinch back due to gore and sympathetic pain, it doesn’t mean I actually care for what I see on screen. You need the emotional attachment to be there to begin with and to be enhanced by those sympathetic pain/music sequences, they can’t replace them completely.
I think back to Prison Break, there’s a sequence where they cut off Scofield’s toe, and he’s a character we can relate to, and they do it slowly – so even though we don’t actually see the deed – we’re hugging the back of our seat. Also think of the ending of Requiem for a Dream, where horrible things happen to many of the main characters of the show. Finally, think of Fairy Tail – I touched on how influential the music was on my enjoyment and emotional participation in the show – I’ll be frank, without the music I’d have probably cared for the show a whole lot less.
But that’s just the point, if you see us flinching back or squirming in our seats and you mistake us not enjoying what happening to the people on screen with us actually caring for the characters and the story, then you are mistaken. Django Unchained kept hammering us with big sequences that were supposed to make us care – an epic story, horrible things being done to people, decadence most extreme – but it never did the small thing first, it never created an emotional attachment with us.