There’s a saying in Hollywood that if a film is bad critics blame the screenwriter, but if it’s good, it’s the director who gets the credit. There’s a certain amount of truth in that, and it’s something that would be easy to do with Pacific Rim. The action scenes are terrific, it looks amazing and the world building is impressive, but the characters feel a bit like action figures.
The problem is that the film tries to create archetypes more than people – the hero with something to overcome, the damaged love interest, the grizzled commander, the arrogant colleague who’s convinced the hero with fail. It’s a common tactic with big tentpole films, and writers Guillermo Del Toro and Travis Beachman have certainly been thumbing through their copies of Joseph Campbell’s Hero With A Thousand Faces to try and understand the archetypes they need to fulfil the hero’s journey – from being reluctantly called to action, to a flirtation with resurrection – however the result is characters that don’t feel quite real. [Read more…]