Pacific Rim

Saw Pacific Rim last night, and I had some things to say about it. Spoilers ahoy!

First up, I really enjoyed it. It could not be said in any way to be an intellectual or thought provoking film, but if you go into a movie about giant robots whaling on giant monsters expecting to be intellectually stimulated, you are going to be disappointed. For what it is – a sci-fi action movie – it’s pretty damn good, and highly entertaining.

That said, there were a number of things in it that rankled, and some that didn’t make even a lick of sense.

The weapon systems on the jaegers for instance. Every battle seems to reveal a new weapon. The first battles consist of hitting the kaijus with giant robot fists. Then in the next battle they’re using giant swords. Then they’re deploying rockets to make the fists and swords hit harder. Why not use all of the available weapons from the start? Sure, they were probably doing it to try and keep the jaegers interesting to the audience, but it didn’t make any kind of strategic sense. I mean, why pick up a cargo ship and use it as a club when you can push a button to deploy something just as big, much sharper, and which is specifically designed to beat monsters around the head with?

Another thing. At one point a kaiju deploys what appears to be an electromagnetic pulse and disables a bunch of jaegers. The focus character demands that he be sent in to fight because his jaeger “isn’t digital”, it’s “nuclear” and hence “analogue”. What does that even mean? Is Gypsy Danger packed full of vacuum tubes? Vacuum tubes that not only keep a nuclear reactor running, but can survive repeated arse kickings from monsters the size of sky scrapers? What?

And the whole dinosaurs thing. I suppose I can reluctantly accept the idea of the dinosaurs being the first attempt at a kaiju invasion – although it strains my suspension of disbelief right to the limits – but the idea that dinosaurs had “two brains” was thrown out years ago. And while we’re on the subject, if the kaiju are the same thing as dinosaurs, then surely they should have had feathers?

Then we come to the nuclear bomb. I actually thought the weapon they were deploying was substantially larger than the Tsar Bomba, but I’ve just gone and checked some online sources, and it’s actually a lot smaller – only 1.2 megatons – so a lot of the criticisms I was going to raise are actually not as serious as I thought. But I still find it hard to believe that Gypsy Danger was able to survive being at about 50 metres from ground zero just by kneeling on the ocean floor. Additionally the movie showed the explosion as being a massive rush of water – that close to the detonation, all the water should have instantly flashed into superheated steam. At least the writers were scientifically literate enough to have the explosion followed by an inrush, although at the depth they were supposed to be at (at the boundary of two tectonic plates) there shouldn’t have been shoals of cooked fish floating around in the aftermath.

It was nice that Australia featured so heavily in the plot, although as usual the accent work was not good. “Australian” accents in Hollywood movies tend to range around randomly between Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, London’s East End and God knows where. This was no exception. I suppose we can be glad that no one said “crikey”, and at least they got the pronunciation of “arse” correct.

(While we’re on the subject of Australia, why were they building the Sydney wall four kilometres inland and at right angles to the ocean? What’s that about?)

Also on accents, Idris Elba’s seemed to drift all over the place. At first I couldn’t tell where he was meant to be from, then he settled down into an American, and towards the end started going British. Maybe his unspecified, radiation induced illness was a brain tumor in broca’s area?

My final criticism is related to the portrayal of the other jaeger crews. Both were complete cliches – the inscrutable, identical triplet Chinese brothers who never spoke, never showed emotion  and walked around all the time in clothes embroidered with dragons, and the Russian brother and sister, him like some kind of bear-man and her a bleached blonde ice princess. I think they must have spent all of five minutes coming up with them. And of course, the Russian and Chinese teams are killed whereas the Australian and US jaegers save the day. In a movie featuring the theme of countries coming together to face an alien threat it would have been nice for the US’s rivals to be portrayed as people, not comic book cliches who prove to be useless in their first outing. But then I suppose Joe Sixpack from Toad Fart Idaho would have demanded his money back if the Commies hadn’t got what was coming to them, so what can you do?

All those criticisms aside, I actually really enjoyed the movie. I was particularly and pleasantly surprised by the presence of Ron Perlman, who I didn’t know was in the film until he turned up. The two scientists were annoying cliches at first, but they grew on me and did a good job with the comic relief – the bit with the toilet was a wonderful moment of silly comedy. Rinko Kikuchi, well I’m a straight guy and she was the eye candy of the film, so no complaints there. I was actually quite impressed that she and the lead didn’t actually get it together until the end, and even then they just hugged – the temptation to have them hop into bed halfway through, and/or end the film with a big romantic kiss must have been there, but was masterfully resisted.

So, all in all, if you’re looking for a couple of hours of pleasantly mindless entertainment and like the idea of giant robots beating the crap out of giant lizards, Pacific Rim is an excellent choice.

PS: I also meant to say that there’s no way that winged kaiju could take off so easily, and no way it could fly into space, which it apparently did. Particularly silly scene that one.

I’m So Very Sorry…

In the Isles of Japan,
There’s a place called Tokyo,
That’s where we wanna go,
To get away from it all…

Bodies in their pods,
Temples to the Shinto Gods,
We’ll be falling in love,
To the rhythm of a taiko drum,
Way down in Tokyo…

Matsudo, Machida
Oo I wanna see ya!
Yao, Yokahama
C’mon pretty mama!
Kyoto, and Edo,
Baby why don’t we go?
Down to Tokyo,
We’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow!
That’s where we wanna go,
Way down in Tokyo…

If you say hello to the dwarf, turn to page 8. If you kick him, turn to page 10.

This is hilarious!

If David Cameron must ban anything, let it be Warhammer fantasy games

But even more hilarious are the hopeless Aspies* in the comments who can’t seem to grasp the idea of satire, or who can grasp the idea of the satire but are so in love with the hobby that it deeply wounds them to see it maligned so!

(* I’m an Aspie, so I get to call other Aspies out)

Sweet Liquor Eases the Pain

Goddamn I love codeine!

That sounds good doesn’t it? What I actually mean is that my shoulder (which has been problematic for years) has really been playing up for the last couple of days and making my life a misery. I popped into the pharmacy this morning, bought some codeine and now I can actually use my left arm without feeling like someone’s been hammering nails into my scapula.

Now of course, I’m being careful. Codeine is one of those drugs that you don’t mess around with. It actually only does what it does because your body metabolises it into morphine (assuming you have the correct genes of course – some individuals lack the requisite enzymes and hence codeine does nothing for them), and we all know how badly that stuff can mess you up. I also have what is commonly referred to as an addictive personality type, so I’m generally reluctant to break out the serious medication without carefully watching what I do with it. But hey, for now my pain is relieved and I’m a much happier chapie.

(I’ll let you know if I feel any sudden urges to wrestle octopuses…)

Oh yeah, new heir to the throne and such. Boo! Hooray! Boo! Hooray! Call me when you’re finished…


I know temperature isn’t as simple as marks on a thermometer. I know buildings in the UK are built to retain heat, while ours are built to repel heat. I know acclimatisation, habit and even wardrobe have a big effect on how people perceive the weather. I know people are genuinely suffering. But despite all this I can’t help but snort with laughter on seeing headlines like…

Send workers home if temperature hits 30C, say MPs who fear heatwave will cause accidents and deaths

Seriously – if we sent people home at 30C here in Perth, nothing would get done from August right through to March.

Also, the definition of a “Level Three Heatwave” makes me have to bite my fist to avoid bursting into fits of giggles…

Level three is triggered as soon as the Met Office confirms that threshold temperatures have been reached in any one region […] the average threshold temperature is 30ºC during the day and 15ºC overnight.

Here, that’s not a “Level Three Heatwave” – that’s unexpectedly mild summer weather where the days aren’t too hot and the nights are cool enough to sleep comfortably. In the heights of summer when a high pressure system is stalled in the Bight we’d kill for temperatures like that!

Cross-cultural hilarity aside, stay indoors and keep cool Britons. And look after those hedgehogs!

500 XP for Dancing on the Table

Speaking as a veteran Dungeons and Dragons player and Dungeon Master, I can confirm that this is exactly what game sessions are like…

I can’t count the number of times I ordered my players to murder small children!

I’d like to get back into it, but I can’t find my sinister robe anywhere. Additionally the cost of candles these days is ridiculous.


Today’s Google Doodle (commemorating 66 years since whatever the hell happened at Roswell happened) is fantastic. It took me a little while, but I figured out how to recover all the alien’s ship parts and send him safely on his way.

I particularly liked the reference to the legendarily awful E.T. computer game 🙂

For a sadder look at Roswell, here’s the Pixies…

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