Monday, July 15, 2013

Pacific Rim

Holy. Schnitzelwich.

This movie is so good, I've already seen it twice.  Jamie Rich let me tag along to an advance screening in 3D, and I saw it again on Friday in 2D.  I have to say, though I prefer 2D, this was the best use of 3D I've seen yet.  It was integrated flawlessly into the film and didn't pull me out of the movie.  Without further ado, let's get to some spoiler-filled reaction comics!
So actually, I don't think it's stated in the film that they're married, but I found it on the film's wiki Monday night while I was fresh out of the screening and wanting more Pacific Rim, like, immediately.

Guillermo del Toro may not have been influenced by Evangelion, but members of his staff CLEARLY were.  The similarities were all over the place.
I've spoken with ladyfriends who feel differently, but I was totally pleased with this female lead.  When you compare her to Raleigh, I think she's even more fleshed out than our main-main character.  You know her motivations and they make sense.  She has relationships to other characters, but she has an identity without them as well.  I REALLY liked the humor she was allowed, and the expressions on her face in scenes like when Raleigh suggests that she step into the ring.  It felt totally human and real.  Not everything she did had to be attractive or cool or demure or whatever.  She could be silly and she could reproach the main character.  There was SOME objectification, but come on, she wasn't in a pink suit with cut-outs and body oil.  She also wasn't the one we saw shirtless when she didn't know we were watching.

Also, while I acknowledge that my standards have been lowered by 25 years' exposure to misogynistic media, I loooved the inclusion of lady extras in roles like the televised U.N. meeting, the screens of world leaders talking to Stacker, the propaganda footage of building the jaegers, the interior of the shatterdome, Hannibal Chau's thugs, and the kaiju bunker.  Every one I saw made me smile and feel included.  No eye candy, no prostitutes, no prizes to be won, no damsels in distress.  Just lady-people everywhere!!!  More speaking roles would have been nice, but... *throws up hands*

It's kind of incredible that a movie like this, which seems to really be trying to be inclusive, could fail the Bechdel Test, but alas, it does, largely due to there not being many speaking ladies.  However, it passes the variant of the Bechdel Test which requires two named people of color to discuss something other than a white person, and that was exciting and wonderful.  Stacker and Mako were great characters and I loved seeing them get screen time and character development in the movie.
I love love LOVED the multiculturalism in this movie.  Virtually all of the main characters spoke multiple languages, and characters showed respect for one another by speaking in one another's languages.  I particularly liked the scene with Mako powering the arm phaser/cannon thing inside the shatterdome, where Tendo shouts the evacuation order in Chinese (to well-cast extras who I would actually believe were Chinese).  The idea that people from so many countries are working together is really exciting and fun to see.  I want to believe in a 2025 where people get along like that.

....But, it was kind of hilarious that Mako and Raleigh could never seem to pronounce each other's names. xD

Special highlight for me: Stacker's motivational speech scene.  So great.
1) Acknowledges dead main characters, which is weirdly rare in movies
2) Says "man or woman" instead of just "man"
3) Says, "we have chosen to believe in one another"

The whole movie just had some really lovely underlying messages.  Humans are at our most powerful when we cooperate, trust one another, and allow ourselves to be vulnerable with each other.  Families come in all shapes and sizes.  Giant robots are rad.

I'm a fan!

Monday, July 8, 2013


Guys, I have three problems.
  1. You have tons of great suggestions for movies I should review, but I just can't get around to them all.
  2. I need to raise some money for relocating to France.
  3. I need 14 more posts with comics content to join the Project Wonderful adshare program.
 I think I've found one fun solution for all of them:
THAT'S RIGHT.  It's reader's choice here at Spoilers!  Click on this button in the right sidebar, donate $50, tell me any movie you'd like to see given the Spoilers treatment, and I WILL GIVE IT JUST THAT.  Any movie.  Any.  Movie.  As long as I can find it, I will review it.  And I have some crafty friends who can help me find movies. (Full refund if we can't, of course.)

So what are you waiting for?!  Nothing?  That's right!  Because you KNOW you want to see me review D2: The Mighty Ducks, Garfield, and The Happening (oh god, wait, please be kind).

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Heat

Portland was in the 90s this week, so watching The Heat on Saturday was a welcome break from, well, the heat.  And I loved it for much more than the 3 hours of air conditioning--this movie was SO fun!  It's a vulgar summer action/comedy to be sure, but it's a GREAT vulgar summer action/comedy.  There were plenty of satisfying surprises, juicy jokes, and memeable moments.  Highly recommended.

The screenplay is by Katie Dippold, who has been a writer on Parks & Recreation since 2009.  Smart and hilarious buddy-cop / chick flick / blockbuster deconstructions abound.  Get thee to a theater if you haven't seen it yet.  If you have, read on for reaction comics~!

Since I often have to point out how movies FAIL to so much as pass the Bechdel Test, let's take this opportunity to celebrate and praise one that gets so many things right:

+Two developed, interesting, and different female protagonists
+Both have flaws and experience growth
+Neither is characterized solely by gender or romantic interest to another character
+Both have high levels of agency and specialized skill making them valuable in their work/life and allowing them to solve problems and resolve the film's conflict almost entirely on their own (the precision driving scene, all of the fight scenes, the torture scene, the scene where Ashburn responds to a potential home invader by seamlessly reaching for her concealed refreshing)
+Sisterhood / ladybroship / lady-collaboration as a central theme
+Oh hay, a coroner only in the move for 2 minutes who is female, not eye candy, good at her job, and speaks only with other women about work and helps them solve a problem?  What is happening?!
+Mullins taking a protective/leadership role in her family, giving tough love to her brother and doing what's right despite her family's ungrateful response

And the car explosion scene!  AAH!  I was so lulled by the drunken montage that I jumped in my seat!! xD I also liked the torture scene, because while that's normally incredibly creepy and gross, it was treated with this equal tone to the rest of the film, not sexualized or anything.  The characters are in REAL danger; they're being taken seriously by the villains and they have to be very clever and brave to get out of it.  Female protagonists aren't often injured in movies, and if they are it's used as a way to sideline them from the action and/or motivate another (usually male) protagonist, so seeing Ashburn get a knife in the leg (three times?  four??) and then keep crawling around and eventually take out the villain, it was SO great.  Just another nice surprise for me, seeing something turned on its head in a really satisfying way.
The knife stuff was even done in a laugh-out-loud funny way!

 And the baddie doesn't have one!  Did any of the baddies, come to think of it...??

Marlon Wayans you have the cutest wink I have ever seen.  Love that this possible romance was left open-ended.


 Also, Taran Killam you are the best twist villain.  I totally called this, because you hadn't spoken much in the movie yet, but still.  No less satisfying.

One thing I kept noticing was how great the pacing was.  We kept at a great, brisk clip throughout, and jokes that I expected would return again and again often only showed up the once (THANK YOU).  Some of my favorite jokes were the spoofs on cop procedurals, with Ashburn giving one-liners but then her cool exits being foiled, or the scene with Levy dishing the scoop on the location of the killings, and Ashburn and Mullins being decreasingly able to finish his sentences.  There was also this fantastic comedic tone where things could be very weird or awkward or just subvert expectations and not end in a predictable punchline.  Ashburn failing to save the choking victim was such a shock and a hysterical, unexpected scene!
Sooooo I'll be laughing about this movie for a good long time.