pacific rim

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pacific rim

Post by spaz » March 14th, 2014, 2:36 pm

ok, as usual, i am behind the times. i have been doing a lot of '20th anniversary of Jurassic' talks with Mark Dippe and Stefen Fangmeier. we were in Vancouver doing a SPARK conference. we presented Abyss, T2 and Jurassic behind the scenes. me and Fangmeier had dinner with John Knoll who was presenting Pacific Rim. it was good to talk to John after many years. last night i finally watched Pac Rim. with all due respect to the people who worked really hard on the film, in my view it is an example of the reason why the vfx industry is self-imploding. the film is terrible. in the current climate of film making, story lines have to reflect video game lines and vice versa. has anyone watched the 1979 film Alien lately ? what happened to pace ?. Alien by example, played on imagination; it supplied bits of information that your brain had to fill in. years ago i got into trouble when doing an interview (i was suspended from ILM 3 times for what i said in the press... freedom of speech... right?) , i referred to the film Twister as tornado porn. the documentary that Scott Leberecht had just done, called Life After Pi, is a good reflection of what has happened to this industry. once again, with due respect to my friends who worked hard on Pac Rim, it is an unfortunately grotesque example of how dumbed down film has become. this film leaves no room for imagination. again, i am sorry to be so opinionated about this, but this industry used to be great. Pac Rim is so overboard with visual and terrible acting that i had to get drunk just to watch it.

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Re: pacific rim

Post by Dacey » March 14th, 2014, 5:19 pm

Finally. Someone on the site who will actually agree with James about this movie. ;)

I literally JUST watched this again last night, by sheer coincidence, and I still love it. Just an unapologetic summer blockbuster with fun characters and terrific, imaginative action. I've found it's not nearly as full of destruction as its reputation suggests--much like Man of Steel, it takes roughly an hour for the fighting to really get going--, but the sheer scale of its central battle sequence alone makes it worth a look.

I'm actually kinda baffled this didn't get a visual effects nod at the Oscars. The monsters are really great creations.
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Re: pacific rim

Post by droosan » March 14th, 2014, 8:07 pm

I was disappointed .. to the extent that the trailers and early buzz had led me to believe that Pacific Rim might be a 'cut above' such mindless standard summer blockbuster fare as Transformers or Battleship .. when -- in actuality -- it was (story-wise) every bit as insipid and cliché as those films. :|

On the one hand (to Dacey's point), it's a 'giant robot vs. kaiju' movie, and -- in its Hong Kong battle, at the very least -- it delivers what is expected of that genre.

But on the other hand, I can agree somewhat with spaz's lament; most of the climactic finale battle, in particular, is poorly-staged (I realize the ocean depths are featureless and murky -- but it should still be important to establish who-is-where, in relation to each other, when depicting a fight) .. and there are many cases throughout the movie in which the VFX seem used less in terms of 'serving the story' than "OMFG ain't dis @#!# Awexome?!!" :roll:

To be clear: I did enjoy Pacific Rim, on a 'mindless summer popcorn flick' level. I was just kinda disappointed that that's all that it was. It really coulda/shoulda been more than that. :mrgreen:

---------------------------

One possible solution might be to place artificial limitations upon the insane number of VFX shots in these films.

As spaz indicates -- way back when (and it was actually not all that long ago), VFX required a much greater effort/investment .. and the decision of whether to employ VFX in a given shot was weighed much more carefully. The story-telling was arguably improved, as a result .. since sequences built around these few VFX shots necessarily were often constructed in such a way to give the film the 'biggest bang for its buck'. Character reactions, 'in-camera' tricks, and etc in the shots immediately preceding or following brought the VFX shot 'into' the story (and -- when done well -- could sometimes give the impression that there were more VFX shots in the movie than there really were).

Consider that the original 1977 Star Wars had about 300 VFX shots, total. By contrast, Pacific Rim has over 2,500 -- only about 1,500 of which were actually created at ILM. Rodeo FX -- an outside vendor -- contributed over 400 VFX shots.

Even some of the cheapo SyFy 'DTV-of-the-week' movies that I've worked on can flirt with the 300-400 VFX shot range. :?

This almost inevitably results in lazy story-telling .. and (often) much harder work for VFX artists, with less 'payoff' for the film's story.

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Re: pacific rim

Post by EricJ » March 14th, 2014, 11:17 pm

Given that this was Guillermo Del Toro's shot at the mainstream BIG TIME, I put it in the same category as Peter Jackson with King Kong:
A director finally being given the studio keys to his own lifetime-dream pet project, using every crayon in the 64-box, and ending up with too much of a good thing for the director and not enough of anything for the audience.
(And that's just the impression I got from the trailer, I should probably finish the disk sometime.)

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Re: pacific rim

Post by Randall » March 15th, 2014, 12:50 am

Eric actually has a pretty apt analogy here. However, I LOVED Jackson's Kong--- overblown, perhaps, but tons of fun. Pacific Rim, though I quite enjoyed it, is far from being a great film, particularly given the reputation of its director, making it a disappointment. As droo said, Pac Rim failed to rise above its premise to become the Alien-level classic we wanted it to be.

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Re: pacific rim

Post by Dan » March 15th, 2014, 1:57 pm

I really liked Pacific Rim. I felt del Toro did a great job of making a mech movie work in a live-action environment. I personally felt it could have been a little longer to explore the mind-melding process a little more, but I enjoyed the heck out of what he presented.

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Re: pacific rim

Post by Dacey » March 15th, 2014, 2:55 pm

Peter Jackson's King Kong absolutely blew me away. An event film that truly felt like an event, it was the kind of old school film making on a grand, grand scale that we really see too rarely these days. The only recent movies that I can think of off the top of my head that matched it in scope were The Avengers and Avatar.

But honestly, I don't get the expectations for Pacific Rim. It's a movie about giant robots fighting giant monsters. I don't expect it to be Alien, I just expect it to be fun. :)
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Re: pacific rim

Post by Randall » March 15th, 2014, 2:59 pm

I think we did get the film that was advertised. Some of us just expected something different based on the pedigree of the director.
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Re: pacific rim

Post by James » March 15th, 2014, 3:56 pm

spaz wrote:...terrible acting...
Maybe even more so than story, if the acting in a film is bad the whole movie is almost irredeemable. And this film had probably the worst acting I've ever seen in a major studio release.

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Re: pacific rim

Post by Dan » March 15th, 2014, 11:48 pm

From my perspective, the acting was fine. I wasn't expecting fantastic acting given that del Toro was clearly paying homage here and there to the classic B-movie monster flicks he grew up watching. Furthermore, most English speaking films by del Toro hardly feature masterful acting to begin with. I believe working with del Toro gives actors a chance to simply play as opposed to working so hard to put on "critically acclaimed" performances, probably a reason why Ron Perlman likes working with him so much.

But then that's just an opinion.

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Re: pacific rim

Post by Randall » March 16th, 2014, 12:33 am

The acting didn't bother me either. But then, in my mind I was comparing it to dubs of Godzilla movies, so maybe my expectations were not too high.

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Re: pacific rim

Post by spaz » March 16th, 2014, 1:20 pm

Pan's Labyrinth by contrast had great acting. the whole film was great. very different than the MacDonald's we seem to be getting from hollywood these days. also , someone mentioned King Kong. Kong's acting as a cg element is amongst the best i had ever seen. the creature had so much emotion. unfortunately Avatar, by contrast, was silly in my view

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Re: pacific rim

Post by Vernadyn » March 18th, 2014, 1:19 am

I just watched Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Whatever one thinks of the acting in Pacific Rim, it is stellar compared to the painful posing found in Sea of Monsters. In any case, I would find it hard to argue that Pacific Rim has the worst acting of any major studio release. Though granted, it would take me some thinking to find more examples because I tend to forget films with bad acting, just like I'll probably forget this Percy Jackson atrocity in a few weeks.

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Re: pacific rim

Post by Dacey » March 18th, 2014, 2:25 pm

Honestly, I really don't know where the "bad acting" was in Pacific Rim (or in Percy Jackson 2. Sorry). In any case, it's nothing compared to stuff like After Earth, which somehow transformed the always capable Will Smith into a terrible actor (although the blame falls on Shyamalan's shoulders for that).
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Re: pacific rim

Post by Dan » March 19th, 2014, 1:08 am

I think I'm getting this much closer to a rant about the atrocity that is Battlefield Earth the more we talk about bad anything in movies.

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