Telling the stories of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia

Here come the machines – again

Pacific Rim
To the rescue: computerized machines as tall as skyscrapers and piloted by humans in the machine’s brain.

Peter Veugelaers  |  13 Dec 2013

Pacific Rim (2013)

DVD released November 20, 2013. Rated M, violence, and a profanity. From a story by Travis Beacham. Running time, 2 hours. Starring Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi. Director Guillermo del Toro

Rating: 4/10

New Zealand gets an American summer blockbuster, but on video rental.

Standing out are clunky, highly computerized machines as tall as skyscrapers, piloted by two humans in the machine’s brain. The pilots connect by a ‘neural handshake’.

There is something fascinating and disturbing about getting inside someone else’s brain, but the consequences are left to the imagination.

Pacific Rim still maintains a familiar air of all futuristic world-ending scenarios: stop the apocalypse from settling down.

The piloted machines are sent to defend the earth from aliens running amok.

The aliens are like sea creatures from a Japanese monster movie yet computer generated to the hilt.

The movie disappoints when shades of current events are trivialized. The opening montage is like media coverage of incidents plucking a viewer’s heartstrings, but when the mayhem comes, it’s supposed to be entertainment.

The opening montage does evoke about cataclysmic tsunamis, though.

There is life after an apocalypse and there are points where Christians could relate – such as salvation through sacrifice and replenishing of life. Is it no coincidence that the hero’s name is Pentecost? 

The overall idea may be good for the community, too.

Yet Pacific Rim sticks to the stock traits of blockbuster science fiction: nerdy and uptight scientists, shady kingpins, and heaps of artificial body wrestling and fisticuffs that happens on the sea.

Yes, there is plenty of violence in that – along with the slick humour evident in other films from the director but out of place here.

I like to think that Pacific Rim didn’t make the gateway to God through numbers. But it makes its own conundrums when God says of himself in the Bible, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end’. Go figure.

It may turn aside what is ‘written’, but at least this seemingly secular humanist story is both spiritual and theological.

Peter Veugelaers writes poetry, stories, devotionals, and non-fiction, as well as reviews