i love science in movies because i’m not a science/logic person.
like, sometimes i use my calculator to do 40+9-9 before realizing that yeah no i don’t actually need a calculator for that, and when i have to figure out timezones i start counting on my fingers even if it’s just a - 6 hours difference. i’m the kind of asshole whose brain registers words like enzyme and antimatter and suddenly puts up a “closed for business” sign.
so i love science in movies because it’s awesome. it’s like. there’s people who can figure things out from numbers and, i don’t know, synthesize a cure for diseases i’m ??? amazed. like, genuinely so.
by the way this is not about the virtually comatose state of my left brain, it’s about pacific rim.
there’s only one critique i have to move against how science/logic people are represented in movies (even and especially in this kind of action/apocalyptic scenario sort of movies), and it’s one, yes but it’s also category 5 kaiju-sized.
nine times out of ten science people are just there for comic relief.
you have characters who can do things like come up with entire new algorithms while waiting in line at starbucks and work out nuclear physics while doing the laundry and most times they’re depicted as slightly emaciated, gangly men with poor social skills and a marked inclination to stammer and blush and trip on their limbs whenever a woman is nearby. it’s like being stuck in a perpetual episode of the big bang theory.
it’s an annoying, trite and poorly scripted nightmare is what i’m saying here.
and then you go see pacific rim, and you have newt and hermann, right. bert and ernie. that is, if bert had a cane and ernie had a full body tattoo of animal angrily playing the drums. but still.
they bicker. that’s the first thing they do. they bicker “like an old married couple, deciding which of their ancient quarrels to restart”. so you think “oh here we go. burn gorman is gonna say bazinga and charlie day will be lactose intolerant and i will cry into my 3D glasses because we could have had it all, rolling in the breach.”
they bicker, and it’s fucking adorable, sure, but they’re also in charge of secondary exposition. they are in charge of that. you have pentecost and hansen in the room with them but k-science gets to talk, and no one makes fun of them like ???
this is real, this is new.
no one questions the scientific validity of dr gottlieb’s assertions because he is a respected and valued member of k-science division and has been since the beginning. his personal file reads “wrote programming code for first-generation jaeger operating systems. has constructed highly accurate models predicting frequency of kaiju attacks. also responsible for advances in understanding the physics and structure of the breach itself"
hermann is undoubtedly brilliant. think about what usually happens to brilliant science men like him. men like pentecost and hansen listen to them but still treat them with condescension - because they’re not physically dominant, they’re not soldiers, their numbers and microscopes and flimsy conjectures won’t actually help during wartime because this is ~~~ real life, doctor, and you don’t know what war is!11!!!1!!!
but nope. both pentecost and hansen respect dr gottlieb and his opinions.
in the book, the chapter dealing with secondary exposition (frequency of kaiju attacks and kaiju drift theory) is told from everyone’s favourite hot dad’s point of view and even if herc finds k-science peculiar to say the least, he respects them. he respects hermann because of his way with numbers, but he also respects newt.
newt, who is this agitated, tattooed ball of sass and crazy theories and wild dreams of being a rockstar - a science rockstar - and shows them that different kaiju specimens, collected in different parts of the globe several years apart, share the same exact DNA. and herc is genuinely interested in hearing what newt has to say.
even after newt starts rambling about clones and cellular memory, pentecost listens to him with “a little bit of hope,” because yeah it sounds crazy but it could also be an incredible breakthrough that would help them destroy the breach and save the world. everything helps. everything is possible.
of course pentecost chooses to favor gottlieb’s theoretical approach to the matter but not because he thinks geiszler’s ideas are just “science crap” and “nobody needs visionary theories at the eleventh hour,” simply because from where he stands, hermann’s option seems safer and more immediate.
even after this, even after ernie and bert resume their loving bickering, herc thinks about newt with respect, he approves of newt’s attitude, of his “never give up” positive and refreshing brand of science fighting. it’s like. science people are always those that get overlooked, and it angers me because i have so much respect for them. sometimes they’re literally just there to be the assholes who get scolded for thinking in theories and abstractions.
but pacific rim is different.
pacific rim offers you newton geiszler, “second youngest student admitted to MIT. received six doctorates by 2015, taught MIT 2010-2016,” and then gives him depth by adding “psychological profile indicates profound ambivalence toward kaiju resulting from conflict between childhood adoration of monsters and contemporary observation of kaiju attacks.”
and then, icing on the cake, “borderline manic personality”. this is. this is a character with mental illness. this is a character that gets to be the rockstar, and his mental illness does not define him, just as much as hermann is not ridiculed because of his disability.
i’m just so happy about these two characters? i’m always drawn to science personnel but after years of shitty science characters i learned not to expect anything other than the usual “you do science but you’re useless and i will not respect you because you spent your life poring over books while i was out in ~~~ real life fighting things so my experiences count more than yours by default” charade.
and pacific rim really slapped me in the face with these two amazing characters, and the book did nothing but make me love them even more (which i honestly thought was impossible) because hermann is an “inveterate filer of complaints, primarily against k-science colleague dr geiszler" and newt’s file "contains written complaints from k-science colleague dr gottlieb regarding geiszler’s laboratory procedures, personal demeanor, taste in music, and other minor issues" and they bicker, they have hazmat tape physically separating the lab into two different areas, "gottlieb’s prussian fantasy of scientific order and newt’s intuitive maelstrom,” and they are brilliant, they are geniuses, they are
they are real to me? they are more than their numbers and kaiju samples. more than their bickering. more than a cane and mental illness. they are tridimensional, numbers and bickering and OCD and cane and samples and bickering and gray morality and mental illness and what’s even better is that they are respected.
science is respected.
technology is what made jaegers possible, and technology is often a consequence of science - science that implemented jaeger operative systems and worked hard to learn as much as possible about breach and kaiju.
rangers do not dismiss k-science department even though scientists have never actually piloted a jaeger and have never really experienced the power of the drift first-hand. one exists because of the other. in pacific rim they are two sides of the same coin.
this is not some bullshit apocalypse movie with a faux optimistic message like TOGETHER WE CAN DO IT but then it’s white manpain soaked dude™ that actually saves the world with his heroic courage… this is a movie where everyone saves the world. they do it together, like jaeger pilots. science and military. together.
can you tell i have feelings about this
also i have this mental image of newt parading around the lab with a lab coat that has “i’m with tsundere” on the back and hermann smacking him with his cane before saying “i’m not with you, you idiot,”
i don’t even know anymore
The most painful thing for me is that they were so close to falling into those stereotypes. Even though their narrative does give them actual roles in the film, their character types and dialogue could so easily have made them flat characters meant to be just comic relief. But they didn’t!
(Newt based on Alienfirst’s wonderful sketch)
It’s so early no one but a handful of sailors are up when Hermann leans over the bow, looking down into the water, the boat has been bobbing at anchor for days, and Hermann had insisted against using an outboard motor, insisting it risked damaging the fragile reef- the only time he had seen them before was when the ship had broken down and been becalmed for days-
Hermann leans over the side and looks over into the deep, dark water where the reef overhangs the deep pacific rift, the sun only just up, shafts of light sweeping down into the darkness.
He isn’t sure how long he waits there, hardly breathing, when he sees them, the slow stirring so deep they are barely visible even in the crystal clear water; it had been only a glimpse that last time, but that was enough- he had moved heaven and earth to scrounge up the money for another expedition- just to be make sure- to be certain he had not been seeing things-
The water flickers with phosphorecent brightness, dancing so deep that Hermann cannot make them out- but for them to be visible so deep down, they must be of considerable size;
Then, when Hermann begins to wonder if he will be able to get back up for the cramps in his legs, one of the clusters of light begins the swirl up-
Hermann forgets the breathe at the sight, the lower body like that of a blue-ringed octopus- but huge, tentacles spanning three meters in width as they expand to their fullest- and the upper body-
Hermann looks down into the smiling face of a young man, hands outstretched to touch the hull of the ship, human body glowing with bright blue stripes, back fanning out in delicate spines like a lionfish.
His mouth moves soundlessly when he sees Hermann, tentacles fanning around him to keep him in place, he looks as startled as Hermann is and Hermann reads the slowly growing delight on his face in the same moment he feels and answering wave of joy well up inside him; he reaches down and touches fingertips to the water-
The man’s smile widens and his blue-ringed fingers come up to press against his, slick and grainy, and Hermann again forgets to breathe as he swims closer, their faces only inches apart-
A loud clatter from the galley breaks the silence, and Hermann jumps, when he looks down, the man is drifting back down to the rift, still smiling; he touches one hand to his chest, and points to the sun, tracing an arc before pointing to the west;
Hermann nods furiously, smiling uncontrollably and holding up his hand to wave goodbye as the mysterious- beautiful - man slips away into the darkness.
headcanon that scotty has to say goodnight to the enterprise every night before bed or he won’t be able to sleep. (◡‿◡✿)
goodnight, space jelly glowing blue
goodnight jim, goodnight spock
This just made my LIFE.
Leonard Nimoy’s awesomeness overshadows the horrible music.
Bruno Mars’ The Lazy Song [Official Alternate Version] featuring the almighty Leonard Nimoy.