De-Emphasize All Conventional Monsters

A thoroughly adolescent, borderline-retarded thought flashed through my head a while ago, to wit: I’d be far more interested in seeing Guillermo Del Toro‘s Pacific Rim if it was re-titled Pacific Rim Job. A joke for sixth-graders, okay, but I felt an agreeable surge when it hit me. Yes! Better title! But why?

In fact my reasons for entertaining this dopey-sounding thought are entirely reasonable.

One, a consensus is building in the blogosphere that Joe Cornish‘s Attack The Block has exposed the utter worthlessness of spending mountains of money on CG monsters by reminding us that it’s the victims of the monsters (their lives, issues, thematic currents, fears) are what matter most, and in fact are the only things that matter.

Two, the ludicrous CG alien craft in the trailer for Peter Berg‘s Battleship made me sick, and convinced me all the more that Cornish’s film is a breath of fresh air and may in fact represent a kind of nouvelle vague in monster films. It certainly revives a George Romero-ish feeling and reiterates what’s best in this genre.

And three, Guillermo del Toro declared during last weekend’s ComicCon that he feels duty-bound “to film the finest fucking monsters ever committed to the screen, and the greatest fucking robots.” The instant I heard that I said to myself, “Who cares? Monsters are over. They’ve been over-created! And your duty, Guillermo, is to engage and move your audience like you did in Pan’s Labrynth, Chronos and The Devil’s Backbone…okay?”

Which is why if given a choice between Pacific Rim and Pacific Rim Job, I would definitely prefer the latter.

  • JLC

    Normally I would agree with you, but in terms of monster creation, Guillermo del Toro has always been one of the best. Plus, while he’s certainly used CGI, he’s also done terrific practical work.

    I’m not particularly excited by Pacific Rim (Job), but if we have to have a giant monster movie, we could certainly do worse than del Toro. And who knows? Maybe it will allow him to finally get At the Mountains of Madness made.

  • Markj74

    “And who knows? Maybe it will allow him to finally get At the Mountains of Madness made.”

    Exactly. This is why we need Pacific Rim to be a big hit.

  • Cobraverde

    That’s essentially what I was reminded of recently in that excellent book on 70s ‘new’ horror, “Shock Value”, to wit: less is more. No CGI monster will ever match the one in our head. So, don’t bother. Or at least don’t bother too much, a la Attack the Block. I just showed John Carpenter’s The Fog to my son last night for the first time. All it took was for the film maker’s skill and some shadowy ghosts for his imagination to run riot.

  • cyanic

    Which is why if given a choice between Pacific Rim and Pacific Rim Job, I would definitely prefer the latter.

    Grinning ear to ear.

  • http://moviebob.blogspot.com/ THE MovieBob

    Agreed in-principal, but “Pacific Rim” isn’t really an apt counterpoint – it’s not a ‘scary monster’ or ‘survive-the-monsters’ movie, where the point IS the people.

    “Rim” is basically a Godzilla movie; where the monsters ARE the stars and/or main-characters, and the whole point is to see as much of them and their rampage as humanly possible. Hell, the human heroes in it are supposed to be driving monster-sized giant-robots, so really even the “people” are “giant-monsters” at that point.

  • Owen Walter

    Usually “less is more” is better, but always “smart and imaginative” is best. The monsters in “Attack the Block” sound smart and imaginative because they’re not stuck in the hypertrophied CGI muck. Del Toro sounds as though he got caught up in the pressures of ComicCon conformity. He must know that “Pan’s Labyrinth” is great not because of the effects but because it was so deeply and organically imagined.

  • Citrus Maximus

    We should chip in send LexG to the Philippines for a week. Pacific Rim Job, indeed.

  • PastePotPete

    Pacific Rim sounds like a cool concept but I am wary. Del Toro’s strength lies in his ability to build a somber, believable tone for his dark fantasies, but whenever he does action that ability goes out of the window.

    Blade 2, Hellboy 1 and 2, they were subpar action movies imo. The fight scenes reminded me of pro wrestling – blatantly choreographed and predictable.

    So I can’t imagine the fight scenes in Pacific Rim will be much more than an episode of Kaiju Big Battel slathered with $100mil of sfx.

  • cricket

    There have not been all that many well-designed monsters recently. And I think the “freedom” of CGI is actually counterproductive to the ingenuity and inventiveness of, say, Carpenter’s “Thing” — which has amazing and terrifying practical monsters throughout. (Well, one monster with different shapes, I guess, but whatever.) BUT, that doesn’t mean a well-designed monster can’t still be made. And if anyone today can do it, it’s probably del Toro.

    BTW, does anyone know if H.R.Giger is working on Prometheus?

  • PastePotPete

    Giger is working on it, last I heard.

  • Jeff and/or Danny Is Always Wrong

    One, a consensus is building in the blogosphere that Joe Cornish’s Attack The Block has exposed the utter worthlessness of spending mountains of money on CG monsters by reminding us that it’s the victims of the monsters (their lives, issues, thematic currents, fears) are what matter most, and in fact are the only things that matter.

    Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, the Mummy, the Creature, the Fly, the Thing, Giant Atomic Sewer Ants, King Kong, Godzilla, Gamera, Mothra, Rodan, Q the Winged Serpent, the T-Rex, and Giger’s Alien all called to say, “Whiny fuck.”

    Whatever their myriad sins, “CGI monsters” does not equal “movie monsters.”

  • Jeff and/or Danny Is Always Wrong

    As for Pacific Rim, I’d rather get At The Mountains of Madness. NOTHING is as whacked-strange as Lovecraft’s aliens and monsters.

  • bluetide

    I make an exception for del Toro. If your monsters actually look original and use effects economically – as del Toro’s did in both Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth – I’m in favor of it.

  • Zach

    Read The New Yorker’s piece about his monsters. Then revise your statement.

  • http://www.incontention.com Kristopher Tapley

    The Pacific Rim script is actually a great character piece, too, so it’s more than all that.

  • markj

    “And who knows? Maybe it will allow him to finally get At the Mountains of Madness made.”

    Exactly. This is why we need Pacific Rim to be a big hit.

  • Gabe@ThePlaylist

    Look, shit like Pacific Rim is bound to happen. Why not let Del Toro make it? If he doesn’t, we’ll end up with someone like Rob Cohen.

  • Rashad

    Del Toro only cares about monsters, f/x and makeup. The pass he gets from critics and blogs is a joke

  • dkaye

    Rashad, have you even seen a Del Toro movie? He’s had his misses, but why don’t you take a look at THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE, CRONOS and PAN’S LABYRINTH before making an asinine statement like that.

  • Kakihara

    I’d dig the title change, too, but the MPAA wouldn’t.

    :( Personally, though, I wish Del Toro would just set up a Paypal account so we could all send him the money he needs for Hellboy 3 and ‘Madness.

  • MechanicalShark

    I hope Pacific Rim is successful so that Del Toro can do what he wants to for a while without much interference. He’s a terrific filmmaker on the verge of being a great auteur.

  • http://www.android-tablet.org/ JonasWhity

    You are going a bit hard on the movie, Pacific Rim wasn’t that bad last time I watched it.

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