WHFS: Pacific Rim Uprising; Heartbreak of the ‘Next’ Gen

[Min 12. Tap tap tap’s on Scrapper’s “chest”]
November Ajax: Alright let’s go

These campy, romanticized-terror flicks include volcanic, terraforming aliens, so I’m in. It’s a seamless enough of a continuation between the stories that it’s worth watching them as a pear.

I agree with Robert Ebert’s Review, “Younger kids might like it, and it’s probably a safer bet for that age group than the “Transformers” films, which are strangely filled with racist and sexist images as well as a needlessly sleazy undertone.” I’d piggyback by adding that though there is way less sleeze in this duet the darwinian competition between characters is passe, the attempts at sexual tension are blase, and while they’re wasting time failing at those tropes they both miss the opportunity to fully engage the science fiction elements of the narrative. It’s as if they were scared to dig too deep into what and how a neural handshake is even though it is the lifeline of the characters in their survival of Kaiju invasion (i.e. the crisis humanity faces after realizing there are consequences for poking the proverbial climate bear) and potentially part of the reason Kaiju are able to meld their biology with the Jaeger technology.

The movie has a lot of dill moments. Some of its strengths are its multilingualism, that each character has their shining moment, no one actor holds the movie alone, and for an action film a good amount of attention is placed on the monsters and battle scenes. Personally, I enjoyed how Pentecost’s precocious potential is explored through heartfelt mentoring sessions with the young geniuses like Namani. John Boyegas’s performance, like Caliee Spaeny’s (Amara), brought love into the character. He delivers refreshingly felt script such as, “Don’t let what other people think of you define who you are, you won’t like where that takes you. Do you understand?” (Min 56) Pentecost’s willingness to work out his reluctance to be a leader, similarly to his sister Mako Mori (played by Rinko Kikuchi), gave depth to their compassion and highlighted the compassion of others.

Whisky
Last month we went the way of the minor but during this Transformers offspring
you might find your attention wandering towards the adult
drink balanced
consensually on your fingers.
Taste time
in a dram of
Suntory Whisky Toki
“Silky with a subtle sweet and spicy finish.
Color: Clear gold
Nose: Basil, green apple, honey
Palate: Grapefruit, green grapes, peppermint, thyme
Finish: Subtly sweet and spicy finish with a hint of vanilla oak, white pepper and ginger”

Let’s go a little deeper than surface level. Both films hint towards a great deal of heartache earned from losing many friends and family during the height of the previous ecological crisis now reoccurring in the sequel. Heartache is a completely sensible feeling and yet I understand heartbreak as easily as I understand the permeability of consciousness (aka collective consciousness aka entanglement aka collective subjectivity aka groupthink aka neural bonding). I don’t need to understand it to be able to recognize it. There is a unique kind of heartbreak in these films that I have empathy for. I too have suffered the loss of privacy and the bootlegging of my intellectual property. I think a good amount of heartbreak in the world occurs over issues of theft of intellectual property and privacy. I can imagine that the technology that allows humanity to create a neural bond in the films would create a significant amount of issues regarding ownership of thought and experience. The tech has massive implications for Knowledge.

It is not insignificant that, in the films, allowing someone into a mind is a vulnerability, a strength, and a potential brainwash. The latter of which is hinted at in the following scene where Amari begins training with the fellow cadets:

[Min 21ish. In Jaeger simulator]
Electronic Voice: Hemispheres out of alignment. Warning
Suresh: We need to reconnect!”
Amara: I know! I’m trying!
(Screams)
Amara: “I just can’t get this”
Suresh: “That sucked”
Electronic Voice: Drift simulation terminated
[Outside of Jaeger sim]
Ranger Lambert: You know, when I heard you gave November Ajax a run for his money I thought we might have something here. Now I’m not so sure.”

[To Pentecost] Ranger Lambert: “Well maybe she’s not the only one who doesn’t belong here.”
Ranger Pentecost: “Wow. See, Nate, I know you have a problem with me but Come on, she’s just a kid.”
Lambert: “So were we. That’s the point. You make stronger connections when you’re young. And that kind of bond makes for a better drift pilot.”
Pentecost: “Yeah. I remember the pitch. Thanks.”

The significance of Heartbreak / Mindbreak in these films is not just because it emphasizes the emotional connection between the characters and the audience but it is one of the plot drivers alongside fear. The antagonist is not Human or Kaiju, but chaos. The protagonist is not Human or Kaiju, but trust. To create a neural bond strong enough to pilot a Jaeger the two/three pilots need to, at least, trust one another.

The neural bond is one of the most provokative elements in this duet. Though I don’t have time to flesh this out entirely here, I think there are intentional implications in the dramatized stigma of Dr. G’s decision to share a neural load with a Kaiju. It begs questions on what it means to exist here on this planet in relationship.

Thanks for reading and watching.
Raise hell peacefully,
Anne Arkhane

 

Other References

Photography by Seth Nagle

Ebert, Robert. Pacific Rim Review. July 12, 2013
“If I were nine years old, I would see the monsters-versus-robots adventure “Pacific Rim” 50 times. Because I’m in my forties and have two kids and two jobs, I’ll have to be content with seeing it a couple more times in theaters and re-watching it on video.”

Internet Movie Database, Pacific Rim (Uprising).

Roelofs, Luke. Why Think about Composite Subjectivity? The Brain’s Blog. Jan 3 2019
“In the last few decades, philosophers interested in the hard problem of consciousness have been paying more attention to ‘panpsychism’, the surprising idea that consciousness is pervasive in nature.” (e.g. Nagel 1979, Chalmers 1996, Seager 2006, Strawson 2006, Goff 2017).

Roelofs, Luke. Composite Subjectivity and Functional Structure. The Brain’s Blog. Feb 5 2019
“Hang on – one body controlled by two brains working together? Isn’t that our actual situation?”

After all, both cerebral hemispheres have some capacity for consciousness independently of the other. I’m happy to accept this (though nothing I say requires it), but it raises some hard questions for functionalist combinationism.

The obvious difference between us, with our two hemispheres, and our imagined person with two separate brains, is that in the former but not the latter case the whole’s consciousness is unified. Even if we accept that each hemisphere (or even smaller brain structures) is a subject in its own right, its experiences are intimately interwoven with those of its neighbour, in a way that goes beyond just coordinating to control the body.

Williams, Eric. Capitalism & Slavery.

Democracy Now with Noam Ch. on Climate Change

Ethics and Ecological Economics Forum, Denver 


Earthquake News Report — SNL 

History of Godzilla in Film: Movie Monsters

Daily Show, Trump Contradicts His own Administration Climate Change Report

Brought you by The Mining Co. ‘Go for the jarred drinks, stay for the dull pickles.’

Side Notes:
Seems like they allocated more money to the soundtrack.
What kind of energy are the Jaegers fueled by? Bananas?

Steve job-esque boss lady
Military industrial complex

‘Caused by humans’ (Min 45 ish)
Climax of film is on Mount Fuji

November Ajax: Seriously? Stop (Nin 11)

 

 

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