The Truth Behind ‘Pacific Rim’
When I’m not writing about video games and drinking, I volunteer to pilot experimental giant robots, because the start of this sentence proved that doing awesome things is my entire job. What follows is a record of my time with the Pacific Rim giant robot squad.
Scene: We skip all the mysterious reveals and discovery and go straight to the White House War Room. Because a movie about giant robot suits using supertankers as baseball bats does not screw around. Or have any other kind of room.
Colonel Kickass: Mr President, we’ve found a portal to a hostile alien world and they’re already attacking us with giant monsters.
President Explosion: Sweet!
Colonel: I know, right?
President: Get me the hotline to whatever countries we’re at war with right now. We’ve got to team up to fight this.
Colonel: Actually, every nation in the world has already declared a total truce and alliance because we finally have something worth fighting now. Every single declaration also included the word “Awesome” in their native language.
Scene: A high tech training facility. Assembled are the finest recruits the military could produce, and me. (Elite soldiers get just drunk as the rest of us, aren’t fussy about who they bring back to barracks, and no security guard in the world is going to argue with a horny female officer who can bench press a fridge.)
Colonel: Welcome, recruits, to Operation Pacific Rim.
Me: That’s really what you’re calling it?
Colonel: Is there a problem?
Me: No, no, I’m really excited to be signing up for an international Rim-job.
Colonel: Now hang on …
Me: We’re really going to kiss some ass. I mean kick.
The Colonel glares at me, but leads the assembled – if now snickering – cadets into the command center.
Scene: the command center is set up around an array of Jaeger control bays. Each has a central space for two pilots to stand and pilot the mech, surrounded by dozens of desks for scores of background characters to run around contributing absolutely nothing. A viewscreen shows an array of utterly, utterly sweet giant robots.
Me: Why do they have fingers?
Colonel: I’m sorry?
Me: Fingers. Digits. The things have to cost a few million dollars each, and they’re incredibly easy to break. Why does the giant robot have fingers? Does it need to tie giant shoelaces made out of transatlantic cables? Does it have a vast robo-nose to pick at the aliens? I suppose we could give them the finger, but since we’re already firing giant robots at them I think they’ll get the message. We’re just going to punch them anyway, why not have giant maces or hammers?
Colonel: Never mind that. And someone tell the design team that they absolutely should mind that. If you will now step into your assigned bays, we will calibrate the neural links which will allow you to merge your brains to pilot the mechs.
The connections are made and various flashy computer lights do their flashy computer thing.
Me: Wait, you only have two people controlling each of these?
Me: This thing the size of a city, and the entire planet depends on it?
Colonel: Yes. What’s the problem?
Me: Man, a cherry-picker has two people working when you’re in control of it. This should be mission control of kung fu. You should have entire teams commanding every limb. Every rocket punch should be a NASA mission to land a fist on the enemy’s face. Also: rocket punches! Awesome!
Colonel: Just get in the rig!
Me: Please, just tell me that none of these pilots have shadowy pasts, or deep dark confidence issues that they need to resolve.
Colonel: No comment.
Me: At least tell me none of your teams are complete opposites. You’re not going to connect a retired expert with an untested cadet, but only as a final hope?
Colonel: Double no comment.
Me: Well, s***. Since the rest of us are going to die until they get their chance,we might as well have fun with these. Right everyone ?
Two of the giant robots are immediately destroyed as their pilots run and do a chest bump. The sonic shockwave released by the colliding robots destroys windows for a five mile radius, but the noise is simply so awesome it cures every disease on Earth.
Me: Woohooo! Who’s up for a high five?
I whip my arm out up high, accidentally knocking out my paired pilot.
Me: If he’d played more Wii Tennis he’d have known that would happen.
Within minutes every other Jaeger has been rendered inoperable by what can only be described as “tectonic roughhousing.” I’m the only one still standing as the aliens appear.
Colonel: Dammit, I can’t have you shot now. Can you do this?
Me: Don’t worry sir, I’m about to take control of a giant robot. I’ve been ready for this my whole life. There’s only one way to deal with this properly.
The Colonel walks out of the room, as I open the bottle of bourbon.
The control center is covered in empty bottles, “SUCK THAT ALIENS” victory banners, and half-clad support staff who finally found something useful to do with each other and all those desks. The Colonel is reading from what appears to be a very large checklist with lots of very large red marks on it.
Colonel: … Brazil are upset about you high-fiving the Cristo Redentor …
Me: Hey, by definition he’d forgive me, so should they.
Colonel: Also, no-one was impressed when you ran up the Pyramids to win the world giant robot long jump.
I just stare at him.
Colonel: Okay, everyone thought that kicked ass. And when you commandeered the USS Roosevelt aircraft carrier to go surfing. But we still have to fire you. If it helps, you’re #1 on YouTube worldwide now.
I gathered my stuff. I’d beaten both giant aliens AND cute cats – that’s double-impossible. I walked towards the door.
Colonel: Oh, one more thing.
Colonel: The Statue of Liberty said you’d call in the morning.