Pacific Rim is probably my favorite movie I’ve seen so far this year. Not only does it have godzillas fighting gundams, possibly THE SINGLE MOST ATTRACTIVE CAST IN RECENT MEMORY, and a really kickass soundtrack by Ramin Djawadi, I felt a strange connection with the movie that I didn’t expect but probably should have, considering Guillermo del Toro makes the movies that consistently explode my heart.
It wasn’t perfect! I’d have loved more women in any capacity (unrelated, but my personal feeling is that a majority of the jaeger pilots were female, but then everybody on the front lines kinda kept dying all the time). The diversity was great but I’d have liked a) more of it and b) for the other pilots to get more screentime and development–though I hear there’s a lot to play with in the supplementary materials and novelization, so I’ll be checking those out posthaste. But, on the whole, it’s a movie about robots punching monsters during the apocalypse that has a wellspring of emotional power and resonates very deeply with me and a lot of people I know. del Toro said he needed children to leave this movie wanting to be jaeger pilots. I am 24 goddamn years old and I left this movie wanting to be one, too.
Before we get started, it is UTTERLY NECESSARY to talk about the 4th-string jaeger meme that cropped up .02 seconds after someone realized that the awesome Jaeger Creator doesn’t allow cussing, but can’t figure out where the cusswords are if you combine them. So you can’t call your jaeger Fuck Shit, but you can call it Shitbitch B. Fucknards with no problem. It really fosters a sense of creativity, and that’s beautiful (here are my contributions).
HOP IN OUR GIANT ROBOTS AND GO INTO THE PACIFIC OCEAN CLICK THE CONTINUE LINK BECAUSE THERE ARE NO GIANT ROBOTS AND OUR LIVES ARE ULTIMATELY SMALL AND SAD BECAUSE OF IT. :(
Green computery words on a black screen inform us that KAIJU means GREAT BIG FUCK-OFF MONSTER and JAEGER means HUNTS DOWN & PUNCHES GREAT BIG FUCK-OFF MONSTERS. Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam), narrating, tells us that when he felt scared or lonely, he used to look at space and wonder WTF was up there, but when it came time for aliens to invade, they actually came from a fissure between two tectonic plates at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
The first kaiju popped up in San Francisco in 2013 when Raleigh was 15.
It pushed over a bridge and screamed a lot, and was immediately attacked by fighter planes. “By the time tanks, jets, and missiles took it down, six days and thirty-five miles later, three cities were destroyed. Tens of thousands of lives were lost. We mourned our dead, memorialized the attack, and moved on.” Raleigh’s narration is interspersed with news clips and video footage of world leaders and terrified people, respectively. One of the news clips is KAIJU EXCREMENT CONTAMINATES CITY. What do they even EAT.
Six months after the initial attack, another kaiju came. Then another, and they kept coming until someone was like “Shit guys. Hear me out. FUCKIN’ GIANT ROBOTS.” The robots were built, and it was established that two pilots were necessary to shoulder the neural load of piloting a jaeger, because having only one pilot would cause that pilot’s brain to melt out of his/her facial orifices probably. Definitely a nosebleed and a gnarly burst eyeball vein.
One pilot controls each hemisphere, and with that, humans started winning fights with kaiju. As a result, the threat seemed downgraded, so the pilots became celebrities and the kaiju became marketing opportunities, for shoes and toys and game shows, etc. Bustling cities build up around their bleached bones, and a healthy trade in kaiju parts starts up.
Into the story proper! A bunch of klaxons go off as a lady’s voice requests the presence of the jaeger named Gipsy Danger at Bay 08 for a Category 3 kaiju. Gipsy Danger is a super shitty and racist name, so from now on, we’re gonna call it Gringo Menace. Raleigh hops out of bed, yelling for his brother Yancy to wake up. I’m sorry, there are a lot of abs and biceps and pectorals happening and I can’t really concentrate. Raleigh says excitedly that the kaiju is codenamed Knifehead, and Yancy’s like “Greaaaat. It is 2 a.m. and you’re LITTLEBROTHERING ALL OVER THE PLACE. Oh, now we’re forearm-pounding. Good. Just what I wanted.”
“Hey, kid,” Yancy says. “Don’t get cocky.”
THEN THEY PUT ON MATCHING FLIGHT SUITS AND BOMBER JACKETS AND STRUT DOWN A HALLWAY IN UNISON AND IT’S THE BEST THING EVER.
Raleigh voiceovers that nobody would have picked him and Yancy for heroes, because they weren’t very athletic or hard-working, even if they could hold their own in a fight, but they ARE drift-compatible, which is what you need to pilot a jaeger. Technicians drill them into their super sexy robosuits, complete with awesome metal spines.
They load into Gringo Menace, and greet their communications bro, Tendo Choi (Clifton Collins, Jr.). They goof around a little until THE ACTUAL VOICE OF GOD, Marshal Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), pops in like “Engaged to drop, Mr. Choi?” Tendo straightens up, confirming that they are, indeed, engaged to drop. Gringo Menace’s head, containing the Beckets, literally drops onto the rest of the jaeger.
Pentecost announces the initiation of the “neural handshake” and the drift, which Raleigh explains is a mind-meld between the two pilots so that they can synchronize their thoughts and memories and movements between themselves and with the jaeger completely. Oh, man, imagine drifting with your brother? I couldn’t. Too embarrassing.
Pentecost is sending the Beckets into the ocean off the coast of Anchorage. Yancy points out that there’s still a civilian vessel in the water, and Pentecost immediately tells them not to worry about it, because they can’t put a big city at risk for just ten dudes on a boat. Yancy’s like OK FINE but as soon as the comms are off, he and Raleigh agree that they’re going to save the little boaty guys anyway. Off they go, into the ocean, with Raleigh telling us that being in a jaeger makes you feel like you can fight God and win.
A TINY FISHING BOAT
Fisherman 1: Let’s go to that island that wasn’t there like four seconds ago! It’s three miles away!
Fisherman 2: Good plan, but it’s two miles away! Yay!
Fisherman 1: omg one mile away! We’re so lucky!
Fisherman 4: UM.
Kaiju: WHAT UPPPPPPPPPPPPP
Fishermen: /pee /scream /pee /scream /pee /scream
Jaeger: [emerging from the ocean behind the boat] LEAVE THOSE GUYS ALONE THEY’RE JUST TRYING TO CATCH SOME FISHES
Kaiju: I’M JUST TRYING TO CATCH SOME FISHERMEN
Jaeger: [grabs boat & sets it gently down behind himself] GO ON NOW LITTLE BOATY YOU’RE FREE
Ocean: [is now 690% fisherman urine]
Knifehead and the Beckets battle it out. They punch the kaiju twice, then slam both fists down on its head before blasting it away with some sweet handlasers. It sinks into the ocean. Pentecost is PISSED, and yells at them for disobeying a direct order. Instead of just being like “LOL I forgot,” Yancy says they saved everyone on the boat and killed the kaiju. Pentecost just snaps for them to get back to base.
Tendo notices that Knifehead is still alive, though, and Pentecost is all GRAB THE BOAT AND BUG OUT OMFG while the Beckets, who are pretty but not that bright, just kinda look around for the kaiju. It rises up out of the water and bitchslaps them down, and clearly has the advantage here–particularly when it rips Gringo Menace’s left arm off. Raleigh starts screaming, presumably because it feels like his own arm has been ripped off, and Knifehead tears a hole in the jaeger’s head. Yancy starts to tell Raleigh something, but is dragged out of Gringo Menace and killed, leaving Raleigh to take the entire neural load AND Knifehead AND the busted jaeger AND having just watched his brother die all on his own. When I saw this in the theater, with zero context as to how anything worked in the Pacific Rim universe, I still went “Yikes.”
Knifehead just starts whaling on Gringo Menace. It’s brutal. Knifehead shoves its knife head through the jaeger’s chest, and Raleigh manages to power up the itty bitty nuclear reactor in his chest to blast it one last time. The Anchorage base loses all communications with Raleigh (and all life signs of the kaiju), and Pentecost just walks away unhappily while Tendo freaks out. IT IS THE SAD. :(
A CHILLY ALASKAN BEACH
A boy and his grandpa (or old dad) are metal-detecting on the beach. They dig up an old jaeger toy, and the kid is like “Aw fiddlesticks we never find anything cool.” SHUT UP YOU UNGRATEFUL LITTLE BASTARD. SOME OF US REALLY WANT JAEGER TOYS.
Out of the misty ocean comes most of Gringo Menace. It plants facefirst onto the beach, and Raleigh emerges, banged up and bleeding. He stumbles around, notices he’s been mildly disembowelled, and gasps Yancy’s name twice before collapsing. Grandpa yells for the kid to get help. Which brings us into the main title.
SO 17 MINUTES OF EMOTIONAL TRAUMA IS ENOUGH RIGHT??? NOTHING BAD IS GONNA HAPPEN NOW?!!?
5 YEARS LATER SO 2025 I GUESS
Pentecost glares at the screen full of concerned-looking UN representatives. One of them is telling him that the jaeger program is no longer viable, since the kaiju are learning their tactics and responding accordingly. All the shots of fucked up broken jaegers makes me so unhappy.
Pentecost points out that he knows what’s happening, considering it’s his rangers who are dying every time a jaeger is destroyed, and the UN reps aren’t interested in hearing anything he has to say. They’ve decommissioned the program, and order Pentecost to get all the remaining jaegers to the base in Hong Kong, and they’ll have funding for another 8 months. The British representative is like BUT CHECK THIS OUT, WE’RE BUILDING A COASTAL WALL! And Pentecost is like
A WALL? REALLY? EVEN IF YOU BUILT IT AS TALL AS THE KAIJU, IT WOULD ABSORB SO MANY RESOURCES AND STILL BE CLIMBABLE. Walls are a dumb idea, always.
All of the UN reps disappear, and Pentecost turns around. Tendo, upset, says “So that’s it? It’s over?”
Pentecost calls them suits and ties, and a hot piece of Australian DILF action agrees: “That’s all they are, Stacker.”
do u think he calls him that when they’re doin it
“We don’t need them.” Pentecost says, popping a pill of some kind out of an Altoids tin.
WALL OF LIFE, SITKA, ALASKA
I mean, I think it’s called the Wall of Life? My rip is Italian and I don’t know what “muraglia” means.
But Sam, you could google it, you’re on the internet right now
NO YOU ARE.
Raleigh eyes a WORK FOR RATIONS sign and steps into the thronging mass of dudes looking for work/rations. The foreman announces that three men died working on top of the wall the day before, so coincidentally there are three job openings! (That’s how I got my job.)
We next see Raleigh welding at the top of a supremely useless wall. He slides down it at the end of the day and drops off his equipment, taking notice of the television when a panicked news anchor says that a kaiju breached an anti-kaiju wall in less than an hour.
Striker Eureka, Australia’s remaining jaeger, is piloted by DILF/SILF team Hercules(!!!) and Chuck Hansen (Max Martini and Rob Kazinsky).
HOLY SHIT, IMAGINE DRIFTING WITH YOUR DAD. I’d rather drift with my brother. I’d rather drift with a pile of kaiju poop. Dad-drifting would be the worst. Unless it’s with someone else’s hot dad–then it’s on. Does the jaeger program have sexual harassment via neural handshake guidelines?
Anyway, this kaiju’s name was Mutavore, but it was also called SYDNEY. All the other kaiju have really badass names. Sydney was probably always the one who volunteered to bring egg salad to the company barbeques. NOBODY FUCKING LIKES EGG SALAD SYDNEY.
Chuck Hansen, who is hot but a total dickhag, gives a brief interview I can only describe as “Violet Beauregarde-y” and tells the gathered press that this is Striker Eureka’s 10th kill. The reporter asks if he’s still going to Hong Kong, and Chuck says “Orders are orders.”
Raleigh has noticed helicopters landing outside, and goes to greet Pentecost as he steps out of one. It’s been five years and four months since they last saw each other, and Raleigh’s still kinda prissy about it, but he takes Pentecost inside to talk anyway. Pentecost cuts to the chase, asking Raleigh if he’d be willing to come pilot the restored Gringo Menace again, because all the other Mark III pilots are dead.
Raleigh says no. “Look. I can’t have anybody else in my head again. I’m done. I was still connected to my brother when he died. I can’t go through that again, I’m sorry.”
Raleigh starts to walk away, but Pentecost raises his voice to Motivational Dad Speech and tells Raleigh that the world is coming to an end, and “Where would you rather die? Here, or in a jaeger?”
Raleigh’s like “Shit. You’re right. Jaeger. It smells like ball sweat and crying men in here, constantly.”
I like that they got this done with quickly. If Idris Elba tells you to hop in a giant robot and fight monsters and you even THINK about saying no, you are not a character I can understand or sympathize with on any level.
HONG KONG SHATTERDOME
The chopper lands in the rain, greeted by A MAJESTIC LADY
Pentecost introduces her as Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), his apprentice, who is also in charge of the Mark III restoration program. “She personally handpicked your copilot candidates.” he finishes.
Mako blinks at Raleigh for a second, then says to Pentecost, in Japanese “I imagined him differently.”
Raleigh, also in Japanese, says “Better or worse?”
Mako is slightly taken aback, and apologizes in Japanese. They incline their heads respectfully toward one another (Raleigh first). Raleigh can’t stop making doofus faces at her. I press my hands to my fat little cheeks and have an aneurysm.
Everyone heads into the Shatterdome’s elevator. They’re joined by Drs. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman).
del Toro chose Charlie Day based on this scene in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and then had a cameo in an episode as a McPoyle. IASIP is one of my favorite shows so this is all very delightful to me.
Both scientists are delightfully twitchy weirdos. Imagine a literate Charlie Kelly and a fussy old 1930s scientist bickering with each other, and that’s exactly where we are. Geiszler warns everyone away from his preserved kaiju specimens, and waxes on about how awesome they are and how he’d like to meet a live one up close. Raleigh recognizes one of the kaiju tattooed on his arm as Yamarashi, which he and Yancy killed. Gottlieb says he’s a kaiju groupie, and he denies it (not that vehemently). It’s adorable. Everything is so cute. Raleigh assures Geiszler he doesn’t want to see one up close as the elevator stops and Mako, Pentecost, and Raleigh go into the more dome-y portion of the Shatterdome, which contains all the jaegers.
It’s incredible, huge and full of bustling activity and giant robots. Pentecost explains that the countdown clock on the wall is reset after every attack, and that the attacks have become more frequent–the next is coming in a week, at the outside. Pentecost says that they used to be able to launch thirty jaegers from the Shatterdome’s five bays, but now there are only four jaegers left.
“I didn’t know it was that bad.” Raleigh says. THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU WORK AT AN ALASKAN CONSTRUCTION SITE THAT SOMEHOW ONLY GETS AUSTRALIAN NEWS STATIONS. YOU MISS SHIT.
Pentecost introduces us to the Jaegers:
+China’s Crimson Typhoon, piloted by the Wei Tang triplets, has three arms and has “successfully defended Hong Kong seven times.” The triplets are playing basketball in red outfits that match the jaeger. CUTE.
+Russia’s Cherno Alpha, piloted by Sasha and Aleksis Kaidonovsky (del Toro let the actors choose their characters’ relationship and keep it a secret, and they chose marrieds. D’aaaw), is a Mark I and the biggest jaeger around, and under the Kaidonovskys’ watch, the Siberian perimeter wall stayed unbreached for six years. “Six years,” Pentecost repeats, impressed.
+Australia’s Striker Eureka, piloted by the Hansens and a;;ALKepfjoijoerigjoij;LDSKFJ THEY HAVE A LIL BULLDOG CHUNK WAH. His name is Max and he loves Mako, as all right-thinking people and lil bulldog chunks do. Sigh.
Raleigh knows Herc already, as they killed a kaiju together. Raleigh calls him sir and Herc expresses his condolences about Yancy. I have a lot of feelings about Raleigh Becket’s characterization, but I really love how respectful he is to everyone. Most of our standard white boy heroes are…uh, Chuck Hansen, whether it’s narratively acknowledged or not, but not Raleigh–and in fact, it’s expressly stated that you CANNOT be like Chuck Hansen if you want to be truly useful in this movie’s universe. It’s nice and refreshing.
Anyway, Striker Eureka is the “Fastest jaeger in the world; the first and last of the Mark Vs.” Raleigh finally decides to ask WTF he’s actually there for, and Pentecost explains the plan: they’re gonna strap a nuclear warhead to Striker Eureka and drop it into the rift, detonate it, and destroy the interdimensional bridge. I’m not super up on my quantum physics, but this seems wrong. HOWEVER IDRIS ELBA SAYS IT WITH SUCH AUTHORITY THAT I’D PROBABLY BE LIKE “YEAH OK OMG WHEN DO WE LEAVE??? CAN I LISTEN TO SOME HOT BOOTY JAMZ ON THE WAY DOWN?”
Pentecost dismisses Raleigh with a “Be ready” and leaves. Chuck calls Max back and mean mugs Raleigh, who makes a hilarious “LOL” face that this camrip is too shitty to adequately convey in a screencap, and walks off.
Pentecost and Herc visit the scientists. Gottlieb is writing frantically on some huge chalkboard, and tells them that there soon the kaiju attacks will increase exponentially, eventually leading to one every four minutes or so. Geiszler tries to call bullshit on the predictions, and Pentecost asks for more to go on. Gottlieb shows them an animation of the bridge, which he assumes is atomic in nature, and says that the frequency of the kaiju “events” will lead to the bridge stabilizing itself in order to send kaiju through more efficiently, and that’ll be the time to drop the bomb.
Geiszler somehow manages to out-mad scientist that idea by pointing out that, despite how different the kaiju look, their DNA is all the same–they’re clones. He wants permission to drift with a tiny portion of still-living preserved kaiju brain he has (it’s got tentacles that keep smooshing up against the glass tube behind him, aaw!). Pentecost and Herc are both like LOL no, we’re doing it the mathy way. Geiszler is so dejected.
BACK IN THE SHATTERDOME
Mako takes Raleigh to his jaeger, and he falls in love with Gringo Menace once again. Mako tells him about the changes she made, finishing with “She has a double-core nuclear reactor. She’s one of a kind now.”
“She always was.” Raleigh says.
I bet Mako is a little bit in love with Raleigh’s jaeger, too. She’s been working on it for a while. TENDO CHOI THEN POPS IN TO JOIN THE LOVEFEST. Mako smiles as they bear-hug, then stares curiously.
She takes Raleigh to his room, where he asks her what her deal is, and if she’s a pilot. She says she isn’t, despite being 51 for 51 on simulator drops/kaiju kills, and that Pentecost has his reasons for not approving her. DAD REASONS.
Raleigh asks for her honest assessment of him, and she completely annihilates him. She points out his unpredictability and tendency to take risks and get himself and his crew hurt. “I don’t think you’re the right man for the job.” she says, quietly but not meekly. She knows her shit and is comfortable giving him her honest opinion. Even more wonderfully, he’s comfortable taking it, only offering an argument in the form of “it’s different in the field.” He’s going through a stack of photos, and quickly passes the one of him and Yancy to the bottom of the pile.
Mako bids adieu and goes to her own room, which is right across the hall. Raleigh has IMMEDIATELY popped his shirt off without closing his door, so his abs appear and Mako is like “…omg?!” and quickly shuts her door. Then she looks through the peephole, because she is a champion. OSTENSIBLY she’s concerned by his extensive scarring, but peeping the musculature is obviously not out of the question here.
Mako informs Pentecost that all the candidates are ready for testing, and tries to ask him when the f she’s gonna be allowed to try out. Pentecost is dismissive, and explains that her need for vengeance is still too strong. “Vengeance is like an open wound. You cannot take that level of emotion into the drift.” She tries to argue, but he tells her it’s not the time and walks away. :(
Raleigh swaggers hotly but kind of out-of-his-depthly through the mess hall, past the Wei Tang triplets and the Kaidonovskys, until Herc comes down the stairs with two trays and offers him a seat at his table. He tries to decline, but then he sees MAX THE LIL BULLDOG CHUNK and who could say no to that?!!? Also haha I think Herc literally gives him Chuck’s dinner.
Chuck starts hassling Raleigh immediately, asking when the last time he jockeyed was (five years) and what he’s been doing in the interim (construction).
“That’s great! That’s really useful! If we get in a fight, you can build our way out of it, eh, Ray?”
Herc remains silent. I honestly doesn’t know why he refuses to reach across the table and slap Chuck’s face off his face (Raleigh’s character development won’t let him at this point–imagine the Raleigh from the beginning of the movie, how he would have reacted to this situation, and look at him now. That’s how you respect an audience’s ability to figure out characters on their own. We know he wants to staple Chuck’s balls to his forehead, but he won’t, because he’s been through something that completely changed his life and personality. And we don’t have to explicitly be told that, because we can see it! FILMMAKING!), especially when Chuck tells Raleigh that people like him are the reason the jaeger program is now defunct.
“To me, you’re dead weight. You tie me down, I’m gonna drop you like a sack of kaiju shit. [fingerguns] I’ll see you around, Raaaaleigh.”
Hercules exhaustedly says that he never knew whether to give Chuck a hug or a kick in the ass.
“With respect, sir, I’m pretty sure which one he needs.” Raleigh sasses.
SEXY MARTIAL ARTS ROOM FOR THE SEXY DRIFT CANDIDATES
Raleigh fights and beats some dudes with staffs, and Mako is critical of every performance. The fight choreography is stunning, even for the sparring. Raleigh notices that Mako is supremely unimpressed at everything, and assumes it’s his opponents. She’s just like “No, it’s you, you could have finished every match two moves earlier, slackass.”
Raleigh, chagrined, invites her to spar with him in the ring. Mako’s hilarious “OMG CAN I????” face at Pentecost is my favorite thing in the world, but he’s immune. Until Raleigh goes “What’s the matter, Marshal? Don’t think your brightest can cut it in the ring with me?”
Pentecost takes Mako’s clipboard, all “We shall feast on his remains, but bring me his head to adorn the Wall of Those Who Did Not Respect This Hustle.”
Mako’s all FUCK YEAH and takes off her shoes and jacket, squaring off with Raleigh as Pentecost explains the terms (one point per blow, first to four wins). Raleigh reminds her that it’s not a fight, it’s a dialogue, and says he’s not going to dial down his moves. Mako brightly says “Okay! Then neither will I.” Then she proceeds to literally step into his first strike and let him take the first point, before whipping her staff up to take the second point on his forehead. That’s when I fell full-on batshit in love with Mako. All of my binders say MS. SAMANTHA J. MORI now, sorry.
I can’t put fights into text, but look: watching people this beautiful and graceful fight each other is its own kind of love scene, and THEN IT KINDA TURNS INTO A REAL ONE WITH MAKO’S STRAIGHT-UP PORNO MOVE:
Pentecost, sensing that every single person in the room has a tender and furious fightboner right now, says “Enough. I’ve seen what I need to see.”
“Me too,” Raleigh begins as Mako bows to Pentecost. “She’s my co-pilot.”
Mako looks at him in shock, but Pentecost shuts them both down. “That’s not going to work.”
“Because I said so, Mr. Becket. Report to the Shatterdome in two hours to find out who your co-pilot will be.”
Our babies are brokenhearted. Chuck is smug. Get the fuck outta here, Chuck.
CORRIDOR OF AWKWARD CONVERSATION
Raleigh comes up to Mako like the JV football player who just got hazed by someone on the varsity team that he thought was his friend: plaintive, clutching the strap of his backpack, literally saying “Mako! What was all that about?”
“I mean, I’m not crazy. You felt it, right? We are drift-compatible.” he continues, flopping into Mako’s space like an overgrown golden retriever. She backs into the door.
“Thank you for standing up for me. But there’s nothing to talk about.” Mako says. She goes to open the door. Raleigh makes a sweet face says “That’s my room.”
Mako crosses the hallway to get to her door. “I thought you wanted to be a pilot!” Raleigh continues. “Mako. This is worth fighting for. You don’t have to just obey him.”
Mako steps away from the door and says, firmly “It’s not obedience, Mr. Becket. It’s respect.”
“Would you at least tell me what his problem is?” Raleigh asks. Mako shuts the door in his face.
Pentecost is so bangin hot he gave himself a nosebleed. He takes another pill.
Raleigh is so bangin hot he gave me a nosebleed (he has removed his sweater and then put it back on for no reason). He listens to a broadcast about protests of the defunding of the jaeger program in the wake of the Sydney wall failure, and touches the picture of himself and Yancy that he’s tacked onto his wall.
Geiszler has built a drift machine! With a box of scraps! He’s talking directly to Gottlieb in a voice recorder, saying that if Gottlieb is listening to it, then Geiszler has either succeeded and thus won, or he has failed, died, and now Gottlieb feels guilty, which means he also won. I like the way you think, Geiszler.
With some trepidation, he straps his head into the contraption and hits the button. We see the blue flashbacks of his life, then into the kaiju homeworld–not enough to really make out anything, but there are some little aliens as well as the big ones. Geiszler’s eye fills with blood.
Gottlieb finds him and sort of angrily strangles him while checking his pulse. IS THIS HOW THE GERMANS EXPRESS AFFECTION!?!? Anyway, it’s not looking good for Geiszler.
She watches Raleigh approach through the peephole. He wants to knock, but stops at the last minute and leaves–she doesn’t see the last part though, and assumes it’s him when someone DOES knock at the door. It’s Pentecost. HE RESPECTS HER PRIVACY BY ASKING TO COME IN BUT ASSERTS HIS PARENTAL AUTHORITY BY COMING IN ANYWAY. He tells her that he made her a promise a long time ago, and gives her a wee red shoe wrapped in a hankie. She is startled.
Gringo Menace is being prepared for a test drive. Inside, Raleigh is walking around dejectedly but very sexily in his shiny robosuit. He hears the announcement that there’s a second pilot onboard, and asks if he can take the right side, because his left arm is shot.
“Sure.” Mako says.
RALEIGH’S WHOLE FUCKING SOUL LIGHTS UP ON HIS FACE IT IS THE BEST. “Aren’t you going to say anything?” Mako asks, cutely nervous.
“No point. In five minutes, you’re gonna be inside my head. You look good.”
SHE DOES. EVERYONE LOOKS HOT ALL THE TIME.
anyway this is how they look at each other or whatever
Pentecost gives the order to prepare the neural handshake. Raleigh reminds Mako that they’re not in the simulator, and that she can’t “chase the rabbit,” or latch on to random memories.
The drift hits Mako kinda hard, but she stays upright and they end up connected. They raise Gringo Menace’s fists in unison.
In the control room, Gottlieb runs in frantically, yelling for Pentecost. Pentecost is like NOT NOW, NERD, I’M WATCHING SOMETHING AMAZING HAPPEN. Gottlieb says “Newton created a neural bridge from garbage and drifted with a kaiju.”
I imagine Pentecost is at the same emotional level as watching your kid’s first football game and getting interrupted because your dumb nephew blew up the concession stand. Pentecost whirls around and follows Gottlieb back to
THE SCIENCE LAB
where Geiszler is shaking and drinking water. “I told you it would work,” he says, pretty cocky for a guy who’s bleeding out of 40% of his face holes.
Pentecost gently says “Yes, you did” (god, is he EVERYONE’S dad??) and tells Geiszler to tell him what happened. Geiszler starts babbling, and Pentecost pulls up a chair, asking Geiszler to calm down and look at him.
Geiszler only got impressions from the kaiju brain, but he got enough to feel like the kaiju are attacking under orders, instead of just randomly. Gottlieb protests, saying that’s impossible, and they start screaming at each other until Pentecost is like “SHUT UP GOTTLIEB GO TO YOUR ROOM.” Gottlieb obeys, and Geiszler continues:
“These beings–these bastards, they’re colonists. They overtake worlds, they just consume them, then move on to the next. And they’ve been here before, as sort of a trial-run. It was the dinosaurs! But the atmosphere wasn’t conducive, so they waited it out, and they waited it out. And now, with our ozone depletion and carbon monoxide-polluted waters, well, we practically terraformed it for them. And now they’re coming back. It’s perfect! See, the first wave was just the hounds–categories I-IV, that was nothing! Their sole purpose was to aim for the populated areas and take out the vermin, us! The second wave, that is the exterminators, and they will finish the job. And then…the new tenants will take possession. The reason I found the identical DNA in two separate kaiju was because they ARE clones.”
“Newton, I need you to do it again.” Pentecost says.
“I can’t do it again. I mean, not unless you’ve got a fresh kaiju brain lying around.”
Pentecost makes a face, it is silly, but says nothing. Geiszler goes “Do you?”
Gringo Menace’s movements are perfectly in sync. Chuck’s not impressed, but Herc says he needs to show some respect, and tells him that Raleigh’s one of only two people who ever piloted a jaeger alone. (They don’t explain it in the movie, even though the implication’s there, but it’s Pentecost–the prequel comic has his partner Tamsin, who has cancer from the high radiation levels int he jaeger, pass out during the attack in Japan) (I think)
Pentecost gives Geiszler the rundown on Hannibal Chau (Ron Perlman), a black-market trader in Hong Kong with first rights to all kaiju corpses. Pentecost warns Geiszler not to trust him.
Everything’s going great until it’s not–Raleigh looks over and sees Yancy die again, jerking him out of alignment. He manages to bring himself back, but Mako has chased the rabbit, and is now walking down a snowy street in her suit, dazed. She’s holding her shoe.
We go to Mako as a little girl (Mana Ashida, who is Quvenzhane Wallis levels of amazing, holy shit), crying for her mother and walking down the middle of the empty street. Her red shoe is in her hands and there are sirens in the background. She stops when fighter planes fly by overhead, and turns to see their target–Onibaba, a giant crab kaiju. They shoot missiles, but Onibaba spots Mako, and Mako runs into an alley to hide behind a dumpster. Raleigh is there in his suit, and he tries to draw Mako out of the memory, reminding her that it’s not real–but she’s in too deep, and when the Kaiju tries to get into the alley, baby Mako screams and raises her hands–which big Mako has also done, activating the jaeger plasma cannons. Everyone on the catwalks in the Shatterdome NOPEs out of there pretty quick, except the Kaidonovskys, who are just hilariously disdainful as the stroll away.
In the control room, Tendo sends all the other workers away as Pentecost runs in, like OH MY GOD, I LEAVE FOR ONE SECOND. There’s nothing they can do from the control room (the Hansens have also stayed, trying to help). At one point, Tendo even rips out the power cable, but the plasma cannon remains ready to ruin everybody’s day. Mako manages to get herself back under control after seeing the jaeger Coyote Tango get airdropped in to fight Onibaba. She deactivates the cannon, and Raleigh pulls off his helmet and goes to catch her as she collapses.
HONG KONG CITY
This is the most del Toro-y scene in the movie, almost reminiscent of the goblin market in Hellboy 2. Geiszler wanders around, searching for a marking matching the one on the paper Pentecost gave to him.
He manages to find a storefront with the marking on a pillar, and goes inside. The counter guy immediately asks if he wants kaiju “bone powder,” which I have taken from context clues to actually be boner powder, and Geiszler declines. He says he’s looking for Hannibal Chau—the salesman wishes him luck and sends him into a huge, beautiful specimen room. GEISZLER DOESN’T NEED THE BONER POWDER ANYMORE. He nerds around, getting thoroughly ignored by the people preparing the specimens. He finds a guy with a live kaiju louse, and asks how they managed to keep it alive without the kaiju. He’s answered by Hannibal Chau and Hannibal Chau’s AMAZING GOLD SHOES (dunk the bug in ammonia).
Geiszler asks if Hannibal Chau is there, and Chau asks who wants to know. Geiszler tries to be cagey, but Chau puts a butterfly knife up his nose until he says “Stacker Pentecost!” Chau takes the knife back and tells Geiszler he found him.
Chau asks if Geiszler likes the name (from Chau’s favorite historical character and second-favorite Sichuan restaurant).
Going by that criteria, my Hannibal Chau name is Hatshepsut Super Buffet. sigh.
“Now tell me what you want,” Chau says. “Before I gut you like a pig and feed you to the skin louse.”
Raleigh paces and Mako stands completely still while Pentecost and the Hansens yell at each other behind a door. Chuck gets sent out into the hallway for being a douchebag, and because the DILF squad needs a quiet makeout sesh probably.
Chuck immediately calls Raleigh and Mako disgraces, and tells Raleigh to just disappear, ’cause “that’s what you’re good at.” Mako tells him stop, and Raleigh reaches out wordlessly to keep her from doing something dumb. Chuck notices and says “Yeah, that’s right. You just hold back your little girlfriend. One of you bitches needs a leash.”
Max is somewhere pooping in shoes and being like DADDY YOU’RE A FUCKING TOOLBOX. STOP CALLING WOMEN AND BEAUTIFUL NICE MEN BITCHES. GRANDPA TAUGHT YOU BETTER THAN THAT.
Anyway, the tension (SOME SEXUAL??? IDK MAYBE IT’S JUST RESIDUAL FROM THE DILF CONFERENCE BEHIND THE DOOR) in this scene is at like 1790% so Raleigh has to step forward and beat the balls off of Chuck obviously IT IS AWESOME. I was hoping Charlie Hunnam would get to do some Jax Teller shit. Raleigh and Chuck fight very beautifully. It’s worth pointing out that Raleigh’s holding back, because he can’t hurt Chuck due to Striker Eureka’s being integral to the plan, so this fight is a lot like trying to teach a dog not to fight. I like that Raleigh threw the first punch, because he’s gone through all this character development but there’s only SO MUCH ASSHOLE you can take–Chuck has been digging into him for the whole movie, and Raleigh was willing to let it go, right up until Chuck insulted HIS DARLING SOULMATE BFFL ROBOPARTNER MAKO. It’s not a macho thing, like I’ve seen some people saying–Mako looked like she wanted to beat the shit out of Chuck, too, and I feel like Raleigh only really stopped her because he wanted to keep her from getting in more trouble with Pentecost. YOU CAN LITERALLY SEE HER STANDING WITH HER FISTS CLENCHED AND UP IN THE BACKGROUND, IN THE EVENT SHE HAS TO TAG IN AND FINISH CHUCK OFF. And anyway, if someone calls your best friend a bitch, and you don’t at least want to punch that person in the face, then one of you is not as good of a friend as you should be. (Also, it’s really nice to see WOC being defended in movies, considering how that almost never happens. It makes me feel good.)
“Apologize to her.” Raleigh snaps.
“Screw you!” Chuck yells back, attacking him again.
They knock each other around a bit (Chuck ends up with a faceful of steam from a broken pipe that is apparently refreshing instead of scalding), until Pentecost and Herc dad their way out into the hallway and demand to know WTF these idiots are doing.
Pentecost disappointedly sends Mako and Raleigh into his office. Chuck tries to go back for more, but Herc grabs him and sends him off, also disappointed. Pentecost and Herc smolder at each other in the hallway.
In Pentecost’s office, Raleigh tries to take all the blame for what happened in the jaeger, but Pentecost says it’s his own fault for letting Mako go in the first place–and he’s grounding her. Mako’s eyes water, and she stonily asks for permission to be dismissed. She leaves with Raleigh calling for her. NO I’M NOT OKAY WITH THIS.
Raleigh isn’t, either, and he gets up to annoy Pentecost, saying stuff like “She’s the strongest candidate, by far! What other options do we have, huh? Tell me!” and “BUT DADDY I LOVE HER.”
Pentecost starts quietly, but then yells, which is terrifying. “Do not let my calm demeanor fool you, Ranger! Now is not a good moment for your insubordination! Mako is too inexperienced to rein in her memories during combat.”
“That’s not why you grounded her. I was in her memories. I saw everything.” Raleigh says, prompting Pentecost to walk back over to him.
“I don’t care what you think you saw.”
What Raleigh saw was baby Mako walking out of the alley to find Onibaba’s corpse in the street. Coyote Tango is behind her. Pentecost emerges, smiling beautifully at her. He’s backlit by the sun like some terrible sexass avenging DILF angel. It’s a pretty powerful memory, obviously.
Back in the present day, Raleigh says “I know what she means to you. I saw it, I–hey! HEY!” Pentecost LITERALLY RUNS AWAY FROM RALEIGH TO AVOID TALKING ABOUT HIS FEELINGS. I LAUGHED SO HARD OH MY GOD.
“This conversation is over.” Pentecost says on the way to the elevator.
“Marshal! Can we please talk about this for one second!” Raleigh says, grabbing Pentecost’s elbow. I’m really angry that I can’t make gifs, because the face Idris Elba makes at this and the face Charlie Hunnam makes at Idris Elba’s face made me see the light of God in a perfect world.
“You rescued her. You raised her. You’re not protecting her now, you are holding her back.”
“One: don’t you ever touch me again. Two: don’t you ever touch me again.” Pentecost says. Raleigh is a strong man. I would have fallen to the floor and started wailing at the loss. “Now, you have no idea who the hell I am or where I’ve come from, and I am not about to tell you my whole life story. All I need to be to you and everybody else on this dome is a fixed point. The last man standing. I do not need your sympathy or your admiration; all I need is your compliance and your fighting skills. If I can’t get that, you can go back to the wall that I found you crawling on. Do I make myself clear?”
Raleigh, pissed that Pentecost isn’t bending re: Mako but unable to fight it out, nods tersely. Pentecost does that hotass alpha-personality thing where he taps his ear because he wants to HEAR YOU SAY IT. Raleigh’s like “yes sir >:(” and just super furious about the unwanted authorityboner he now has for the love of his life’s adopted dad. Hate it when that happens. Pentecost gets into the elevator and leaves Raleigh fuming in the hallway.
COMMISSARY/HIGH SCHOOL CAFETERIA
Raleigh gets his dinner and looks for a seat, and has wave after wave of awkward frozen stares sent in his direction. He spots Mako across the room, where she is receiving the same vibe. The dialogue from the next scene starts over this scene of them staring at each other, and for a brief, glorious second, I thought Raleigh and Mako were telepathically communicating. MAIS NON, they have just gone to eat dinner alone with Gringo Menace.
Raleigh apologizes to Mako, saying he should have warned her about how intense the first drift was, particularly because “you weren’t just tapping into my memories, you were tapping into my brother’s, too. When Yancy was taken, he was still connected. I felt his fear, his pain, his helplessness, and then…he was gone.”
“I felt it. I know.” Mako whispers.
“You know, you live in someone else’s head for so long, the hardest part to deal with is the silence. To let someone else in, to really connect, you have to trust them. And today, the drift was strong.”
They smile sweetly at each other. Mako looks up at Gringo Menace. “Her heart, when’s the last time you saw it?” she asks.
“It’s been a long time.” Raleigh admits.
Tendo walks in with four coffees and a donut in his mouth, just as the GLaDOS voice alerts him of movement in the breach. It’s the double event Gottlieb warned about. OH NO.
Raleigh and Mako make their way to the room, where the Kaidonovskys, the Wei Tang brothers, and the Hansens are already suited up. Tendo says that the signatures are both category IV kaiju, codenamed Otachi and Leatherback.
Pentecost orders the gathered people to get every civilian into a shelter. He sends Crimson Typhoon and Cherno Alpha to take the kaiju out, with Striker Eureka on the sidelines only as the absolute last resort. “You two, stay put.” he says to Mako and Raleigh, who are like UGH FINE DAD. Cherno Alpha and Crimson Typhoon are airdropped into the water.
HANNIBAL CHAU’S PLACE
Chau disdainfully tells Geiszler about the religious cult that sprung up around the kaiju, which believes that the kaiju are sent as punishment.
“What do you believe?” Geiszler asks.
“I believe that kaiju bone powder is 500 bucks a pound. What do you want?”
Geiszler says he needs to access a kaiju brain, intact. Chau says that’s impossible, on account of how thick the skull plates are. The kaiju are basically lethal in all aspects, and once they die, their bodies break down into a toxic kaiju soup. The brain apparently rots before the skull can be drilled through. But Geiszler is talking about the second brain, like dinosaurs have.
Chau: WHY THE FUCK DO YOU EVEN WANT A BRAIN
Geiszler: IT’S REALLY AWESOME. I CAN’T TELL YOU. I FIGURED OUT HOW TO DRIFT WITH A KAIJU.
Haha, Chau’s disgust is hilarious.
THE OCEAN HARBOR THING
Crimson Typhoon and Cherno Alpha work together to fuck up Otachi. OH MY GOD IT’S AWESOME. Crimson Typhoon’s three arms all have spinning sawblades for hands, and “thundercloud formation” apparently means “slice kaiju flesh until there is a cloudlike miasma of viscera in the air.” At one point, there is a handstand on top of Otachi’s head, and Cherno Alpha pick her up and throw her.
But then things go wrong. Otachi manages to break Crimson Typhoon’s helmet, killing the Wei Tang triplets, and then spits acid onto Cherno Alpha’s face and burns a hole into it. Striker Eureka, against Pentecost’s initial orders, tries to come help. Leatherback bursts out of the water in front of them and helps Otachi pull Cherno Alpha apart, then forces it under the water, drowning the Kaidonovskys as well. HOLY SHIT NO I DIDN’T WANT ANY OF THIS TO HAPPEN. GODDAMMIT. GOD. DAMMIT. Farewell, my sweet baby triplets and marrieds. I loved you all dearly, despite your 1.5 lines of dialogue each.
Striker Eureka tries to go after the kaiju, Leatherback sends out a huge fucking electrical pulse through the water, completely frying Striker Eureka, the Hansens and, additionally, blowing everything out at the command center. HOW DID THAT EVEN HAPPEN. I DON’T CARE IT WAS RAD.
Tendo says frantically that it’ll take at least two hours to get everything back online, because Striker Eureka is digital. Everything’s digital. EXCEPT GRINGO MENACE, Raleigh says. Gringo Menace is analog (nuclear). Pentecost is super bummed out about this whole situation.
Otachi heads toward the city.
HANNIBAL CHAU’S PLACE
Geiszler asks what’s happening, and Chau informs him that there are two kaiju headed for Hong Kong. Geiszler says that’s impossible, and Chau was like WELL MAYBE IF SOMEBODY HADN’T DRIFTED WITH ONE. He reminds Geiszler that a drift is a bridge that goes both ways. “Maybe those kaiju are trying to find you.” Chau snaps.
“What are we gonna do?” Geiszler asks, panicking.
“I’m gonna wait out this shitstorm in my own private kaiju bunker. But you are going to a public refuge. I tried it once.” Chau yanks off his sunglasses, revealing a gnarly scar. “Once.”
DUDE MAYBE IF YOU WEREN’T A TOTAL ASSHOLE SOMEBODY WOULDN’T HAVE KNIFED YOU IN THE EYEBALL. JUST A THOUGHT.
He tells Geiszler to get the hell out, and his lackeys all pull weapons on Geiszler immediately.
HONG KONG, GROUND LEVEL
Otachi stomps all over some (empty) buildings and causes a lot of damage. Everyone goes into the subways VERY CALMLY. Like, I get that this is something they have to do a lot, but dang. Geiszler seems to be the only person panicking. I work retail and tax-free weekend starts tomorrow and I feel like there’s going to be more death and horror and stampeding then than there is here.
Leatherback stalks around the disabled Striker Eureka. Is he…gonna try and fuck it? That would be so hilarious.
Inside, Herc and Chuck are fruitlessly trying to figure out how to improve their situation. Herc gets out of the harness, despite Chuck’s yelling not to, and Leatherback chooses that moment to slap Striker Eureka, which sends Herc into the wall and busts up his arm.
“GIT UP AUOLD MEAAN” Chuck yells.
“DAINT COAAL ME THEAT” Herc yells back.
Herc and Chuck argue some more, culminating in this masterpiece of an idea from Herc: “YOU AND ME ARE THE ONLY THINGS SITTING BETWEEN THAT UGLY BASTARD AND A CITY OF TEN MILLION PEOPLE. NOW WE HAVE A CHOICE HERE. WE EITHER SIT AND WAIT, OR WE TAKE THESE FLARE GUNS AND DO SOMETHING REALLY STUPID.”
They take the flare guns, go out onto Striker Eureka’s shoulders, and shoot them at Leatherback. One of the flares lands in its eye socket and it gets real mad. DO YOU BOYS FEEL BETTER NOW? JESUS.
Leatherback is about to smash them to pieces when it’s interrupted by approaching helicopters, bringing Gringo Menace! Mako and Raleigh start the fight by ripping Leatherback’s electricity sack off and throwing it away, then do some gentle hugging and a little bit of friendly jaeger-tossing. Gringo Menace takes out a bridge with its body, and Leatherback comes to make a run at it.
“Come on! Let’s do this, together!” Raleigh yells. Mako’s probably like OMFG RALEIGH SERIOUSLY SHUT UP WE ARE MENTALLY CONNECTED AND YOU ARE STILL TRYING TO HAVE CONVERSATIONS WHEN YOU LITERALLY TOLD ME SPEAKING IS UNNECESSARY. WAIT WHY ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT MY ADOPTED DAD.
And Raleigh’s probably like THAT’S NOT IMPORTANT
And Mako’s probably like YOU CAN’T JUST GO LALALALALALALA AND THINK ABOUT ALGEBRA. IT DOESN’T WORK. I AM IN YOU.
Leatherback and Gringo Menace slam each other around a little more, until Gringo Menace gets the advantage. “ELBOW ROCKET,” Raleigh yells. They elbow rocket punch it in the face, then trade blows some more (Gringo Menace boxing its ears with shipping containers at one point). They blast it with a plasma cannon (“EMPTY THE CLIP” Raleigh yells, and I am so surprised Mako didn’t shoot him in the eye with a flare gun. Raleigh I love you baby but you are annoying).
Leatherback falls, and before Mako and Raleigh head off after Otachi, they decide to shoot it some more, just for funsies.
Otachi finds Geiszler, breaking a hole in the ceiling and flopping her giant creepy beautiful tongue down there to say what’s up. Nothing terrible happens. I am shocked.
Haha, holy shit, Mako and Raleigh are dragging an oil tanker through the streets. When they find Otachi, they start beating her with it like a baseball bat. EAT SHIP & DIE is obviously the name of this attack strategy.
Otachi grabs the tanker and throws it, then knocks Gringo Menace down and starts walking away. Gringo Menace chases her down, but loses her in the city. This is…the biggest kaiju we’ve seen, HOW DO YOU LOSE HER. Well, they find her quick enough since she was hiding behind a building that was half her size. She emerges through the building to fight them again, attacking from both sides with her claws and tail. I know it has to be clear for audiences or whatever, but I wish they just hadn’t spoken to each other in these scenes, because Raleigh literally does not shut up ever.
They manage to break out of her grip, but then she GROWS WINGS OMG. She picks up Gringo Menace and flies into space. It is amazing. Not for Mako and Raleigh, because their oxygen’s depleting and the jaeger is fucked up, but still. Raleigh’s like SHIT’S BAD and Mako’s like CALM YOUR TITS I MADE THIS THING and reveals that there’s a sword (this becomes more significant when you find out through the book that Mako’s dad made swords).
Mako snarls “This is for my family,” and cuts Otachi in half. YESSSSSSS. But now they are freefalling from the stratosphere. NOOOOOOO.
Everyone runs out onto the deck of the Shatterdome. Pentecost orders Gringo Menace to do something gyroscope whatever, and it slows them down for only a second before they hit the ground in a giant cloud of dust and probably fear-pee, if those suits are not water-tight.
They stand up to cheers, and Raleigh and Mako ask each other if they’re all right, then laugh, relieved. Pentecost orders the technicians to get the jaegers back to 100% functionality.
HANNIBAL CHAU’S PLACE
Chau delegates kaiju duties (thankfully none involving kaiju doodys).
“HEY.” Geiszler yells from the doorway. “GUESS WHO’S BACK, YOU ONE-EYED BITCH.” Ahahaha, that was some Charlie Kelly shit. “You owe me a kaiju brain.”
Chau smiles slightly, probably impressed that he survived getting tongued at.
Everyone cheers a lot for Raleigh and Mako as they are paraded inside. It stops as Pentecost approaches, but he just tells them he’s proud of them, and of everybody. “But there’s no time to celebrate. We lost two crews. There’s no time to grieve. Reset the clock.” Everyone is like “aw dang, bonerkill” and Mako quietly points out that Pentecost is bleeding from the nose. “Reset the clock.” he repeats, making his way out with a handkerchief pressed to his face. Raleigh gives Mako a confused look (I guess everything doesn’t get shared in the drift? That’s interesting), and she just looks exhausted and sad.
Otachi gets taken apart by Chau’s crew. Geiszler impatiently asks WTF is taking so long to get the brain out, and Chau explains the process (mainly pumping the insides full of CO2 to keep them stable/fresh). He talks to his dude on a radio where a small group is literally walking around inside Otachi’s dead body. They’ve found the brain, but it’s damaged–and there’s a weird noise. Geiszler steals the radio and listens. He frowns. “It’s pregnant.” he says. OMG.
The workers look around and see movement in a fleshy thing, which reveals an eyeball. They start screaming and the radio goes to static. Everybody starts running as Otachi’s body starts twitching, and out bursts KAIJUNIOR, THE CUTEST LIL KAIJU OF THEM ALL
Kaijunior chases Geiszler down, probably because he imprinted on him like a little duck baby, but ends up strangled by the umbilical cord before it can reach its new dad. :(
Chau comes back, saying he knew all along it wouldn’t make it. He puts his knife into its face, and when he pulls it back out, CHOMP. HE HAS BEEN EATEN. Kaijunior spits his awesome shoe back out, then dies again (for real). Geiszler picks the shoe up (it is…like half the size of Charlie Day, who is one VERY TINY BRO) and tosses it back down.
Pentecost washes the blood off his face in the bathroom. Raleigh comes in (because Pentecost’s bathroom is obviously open to visitors) and says “How sick are you? And why didn’t you tell me?”
“BECAUSE YOU JUST WANNA TALK ABOUT STUFF ALL THE TIME” Pentecost yells, backflipping out of the window and into the sea.
He tells Raleigh that the Mark I jaegers were “scraped together in 14 months,” and that nobody was thinking about radiation shielding at the time. He went on a bunch of missions until his final one in Tokyo, where he piloted the jaeger alone (making him and Raleigh the only two to ever accomplish that). He was then told that if he went in a jaeger again, he’d definitely die.
Oh noooo, the bad beeping from the control room starts up. Tendo, over the screen in Pentecost’s…bathroom? Totally empty room? I don’t get the layout of this. There’s like a window and a sink. Anyway, Tendo says that two category IVs have come through the breach, but they’re just…hovering. “Like they’re protecting it.” Tendo says. Pentecost orders Gringo Menace and Striker Eureka to be prepared for battle. IT’S BEEN LIKE 20 MINUTES THERE’S NO WAY THE JAEGERS ARE WORKING AGAIN.
Tendo reminds Pentecost that Striker Eureka only has one pilot, with Herc’s arm all fucked up, but Pentecost grimly tells him “You heard me.” Aw dang.
Gottlieb, upset about his incorrect calculations, finds Geiszler jamming a neural USB port into Kaijunior’s brain and complains about how his math was off. Geiszler reacts like I do when someone starts talking about numbers, and tells Gottlieb that he’s had kind of a crappy day, and if he’s not willing to help, he needs to go away. Gottlieb, still angry, is like “I KNOW I’M RIGHT AND THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY TO PROVE IT. WE’RE KAIJU DRIFTING TOGETHER.”
Geiszler says “You would do that for me? Or, you would–you would do that with me?”
“Well, with worldwide destruction a certain alternative…do I really have a choice?” Gottlieb asks, smiling wryly.
“Then say it with me, my man.” Geiszler says, lifting his hand for a bro shake. “We’re gonna own this bad boy.”
“By Jove, we are going to own this thing for sure!” Gottlieb says, unable to appropriately respond to the bro shake and just kind of clutches Geiszler’s hand. It is pretty adorable, I must say.
Chuck stalks across the busy floor with Max in tow, yelling at Tendo, who’s just like “OMG dude orders were to suit up JUST GO FUCKIN DO IT.” Chuck whines that he can’t pilot a jaeger by himself, and since Herc is hurt, who’s his partner?
But it is not Max. The doors slide open and everyone stops to stare at Pentecost in his suit (walking next to Herc, so the amount of raw DILF power here is alarming).
Pentecost stops in front of them, and since it would be dangerous for everyone to be more furiously aroused than they already are, he kinda tugs at the suit and says “I don’t remember it being so tight.”
He steps away, and Mako follows. “Getting into that jaeger will kill you.” she says.
“Not getting into one will kill us all.” he answers. He reaches out and touches Mako’s hair, then puts a fatherly hand on her shoulder. She’s about to cry. “Listen. You are a brave girl. I’m so lucky to have seen you grow. If we’re going to do this, I need you to protect me. Can you do that for me?” A tear rolls down her face, but she nods. He taps her gently under the chin and squares his shoulders–she does, too, instinctively. IN THE THEATER, I BASICALLY STARTED WEEPING AT THIS PART AND DIDN’T STOP UNTIL I WAS IN MY CAR. Literally. I sat in the corner of the theater at the top row of balcony seating and this was the first point I had to duck down and smash my face into the nasty fuzzy wall that was most assuredly covered in years of old semen and Sour Patch Kids residue so my sobs would not be heard by all the other fucking nerds who were there to see it on the day-early release.
“Everyone,” he says, moving away from her. “Listen up.” He walks over and stands on a jaeger foot, and everyone follows him. “Today…today. At the end of our hope, at the end of our time, we have chosen to believe not only in ourselves, but in each other. Today there’s not a man nor woman in here that shall stand alone. Not today. Today we face the monsters that are at our door, and bring the fight to them! Today we are CANCELLING THE APOCALYPSE!”
Guys, there is NOBODY who can sell this shit like Idris Elba can. Even the music is super fucking pumped. Later, after Chuck’s suited up and found Pentecost in the hallway, he sort of snidely congratulates him on the speech and asks how they’re supposed to drift.
“I carry nothing into the drift. No memories, no fear, no rank.” Pentecost says. BUT HOW. “As for you,” he says, rounding on Chuck. “Well, you’re easy. You’re an egotistical jerk with daddy issues. A simple puzzle I solved on day one. But you are your father’s son. So we’ll drift just fine.”
Chuck’s emotionally destroyed but physically aroused probably. “Works for me.” he says.
Pentecost leaves Chuck so Chuck can talk to Herc for a minute. Herc, tears in his eyes, tells Chuck that in the drift, it feels like there’s nothing to talk about, and he doesn’t want to regret the things he never said out loud. Chuck, also tearful, says “You don’t have to…I know. I always have.” Max, being a bulldog (they love attention and hate being excluded), barks, and Chuck kneels down and says “Hello, handsome. I’m gonna miss you.” and kisses his wrinkly lil bulldog face.
“Stacker.” Herc calls down the hallway as Chuck heads to the elevator with Pentecost. “That’s my son you got there. That’s my son.”
This prompted my second wave of godawful peacock sobbing in the theater. I am crying now, as I recap this. dont fuckin look at me.
GRINGO MENACE’S COCKPIT
“You know, Mako, all those years I spent living in the past…I never really thought about the future. Until now.” Raleigh says, with a small smile. “I never did have very good timing.”
The jaegers are dropped into the ocean.
Geiszler and Gottlieb are hooked up to the kaiju brain. “You ready for this?” Geiszler asks.
Gottlieb is like NO, OBVIOUSLY. Then they drift with Kaijunior after a five-count. It looks like Gottlieb had a pretty sad/lonely childhood, and then there’s some incomprehensible stuff about the kaiju before they’re out of the drift again. Gottlieb barfs in a convenient rubble-toilet. Geiszler and Gottlieb are both VERY CONCERNED. “We have to warn them! The jaegers–the breach–the plan–” Geiszler begins.
“It’s not going to work.” Gottlieb finishes.
The two kaiju guarding the breach are named Scunner and Raiju. RAIJU, REALLY? The jaegers make their way slowly toward the breach, all while being circled in the water by the two kaiju, who they can’t see in the murk. Back at the control room, Gottlieb and Geiszler run in yelling about how it’s not going to work, because the throat of the bridge requires kaiju-specific genetic codes to open, so just dropping the bomb into the breach will have no effect. Geiszler says if they can ride a kaiju down into the breach, they’ll get in. WOW IT’S THAT EASY.
With that new information, a third energy signature comes up in the breach. It’s a category V (Slattern), and it’s HUGE AND AWESOME. It has a hammerhead shark head and a bunch of tentacles, and it’s like 3 times the size of Striker Eureka. It swims up out of the breach right in front of Striker Eureka. Raleigh tries to say that they’ll flank Slattern, but is taken down by Scunner before Gringo Menace can take another step. Slattern slaps Striker Eureka halfway across the Pacific Ocean with its tentacles, and Scunner bites Gringo Menace’s arm off. Raiju is probably off being a slackass somewhere.
Gringo Menace takes its other sword arm and impales Scunner’s neck, forcing its face onto a volcanic vent until it escapes.
Raiju finally deigns to make an appearance. Tendo yells for Gringo Menace to get out of the way, but Raleigh and Mako decide to just plant their feet and let Raiju’s momentum do the work for them. It swims into their sword mouth-first at full speed, and is cut in half longways.
Over at the breach, Chuck tells the control room that they can’t get the payload into the breach with Slattern being an enormous doucheballs and hovering in there. Slattern probably hears this and tackles them, doing some cute somersaults before Striker Eureka manages to slit its throat and stab it several times. Slattern yells through the ocean like HEY BRO I NEED HELP and Scunner’s like I GOT YOU BABY and leaves Gringo Menace to attack Striker Eureka.
Raleigh tells Striker Eureka that they’re coming to help them, but Gringo Menace’s arm is missing and right leg is all fucked up, bent sideways at the knee. They struggle across the ocean floor until Pentecost yells for them not to get any closer. He reminds Raleigh that his jaeger has a nuclear heart, and that they need to take it into the breach and end this. Raleigh is devastated, but agrees, and Pentecost talks to Mako over the comms.
“Mako! Listen! You can finish this! I’ll always be here for you. You can always find me in the drift!” Pentecost says. Mako just breathes, unable to say anything.
“We’re a walking nuclear reactor,” Raleigh says. “We can destroy the breach.” Mako nods once, and they take off toward the breach.
“What do we do?” Chuck asks as Scunner and Slattern circle them.
“We can clear a path. For the lady.” Pentecost answers.
“Well, my father always said, if you have a shot, you take it. So let’s do this.” Chuck says. In the control room, Herc shuts his eyes. “It was a pleasure, sir.” Pentecost just nods. Of course he could drift just fine with Chuck–he knows what it was like to be a father.
Slattern and Scunner attack Striker Eureka, and just before Pentecost and Chuck set off the bomb, Mako says “Sensei. Aishite imasu.”
Raleigh and Mako plant their sword in the ground and brace themselves as the bomb goes off, killing Scunner and seriously wounding Slattern. The second wave of the explosion (the displaced water coming back, I think) knocks a bunch of their systems out.
“What are they doing?” Geiszler asks.
“Finishing the mission.” Herc answers.
“LOCCENT,” Raleigh says. “We have the kaiju carcass. We’re heading for the breach. You guys better be right. One way or another, we’re getting this done.” They drag Scunner across the ocean floor toward the breach. Before they can reach the edge, Slattern pops up like HEY BITCHES, but Mako and Raleigh are having NONE OF THAT, and rocket-propel the jaeger into Slattern’s body, anchoring into it with the sword and kinda boogie-boarding down into the throat while Slattern stabs its tail into their back 140 times.
Gringo Menace vents off some fuel and burns Slattern to death as they fall into the kaiju side of the bridge. It’s super pretty in there, kind of like I imagine running around inside a giant illuminated model of a brain would be. Mako’s oxygen tube is broken and leaking, so Raleigh gives her his. “It’s okay now, Mako. We did it. I can finish this alone. All I have to do is fall.” He gently touches her helmet. “Anyone can fall.”
Tendo warns him that his oxygen level is critical, and yells for him to drop the core and get the fuck out of there. Raleigh ignores him, pops Mako into an escape pod, and sends her up through the bridge.
Raleigh sets the self-destruct, but with all the system damage, it has to be done manually. Everyone at the control room freaks out, but Raleigh just scrambles through the terrifying deathtrap of a jaeger (SERIOUSLY WHY SO MANY ENORMOUS GEARS TO FALL INTO?) to set the reactor.
He goes back up to get into his own escape pod with sixty seconds until detonation, and finally Gringo Menace lands in the kaiju homeworld. It’s not as pretty as the bridge. The normal non-enormous kaiju are cuties though, until they get exploded.
The bridge collapses, and Herc yells for everyone to get to the choppers to pick up Mako and Raleigh. Mako pops up out of the water, doing pretty okay, and sits up. She looks around frantically for Raleigh. Herc asks where the second pod is, and Tendo says that they’re tracking it, but there are no vital signs.
It pops up soon after Mako’s, and she swims over to it, climbing on top and shooting the lid off. “I can’t find a pulse. I don’t think he’s breathing.” she says. “Raleigh?”
She pulls him halfway out of the pod and clutches him in the world’s most desperate hug while Tendo tries to talk to her. She cries. I am ready to go get into a fistfight with Guillermo del Toro. BUT THEN:
“You’re squeezing me too tight.”
Mako pulls off of Raleigh, and he grins at her like a total asshole. “I couldn’t breathe.” She laughs. At LOCCENT, everyone cheers, hugging each other in relief.
Herc grabs the microphone. “This is Marshal Hercules Hansen.” he says. “The bridge is sealed. Stop the clock!” More cheering, and the clock runs down to zeros all across. Geiszler throws an arm over Gottlieb’s shoulder; Herc smiles sadly down at Max when he barks.
“Mako, Raleigh, we have your position. The choppers are on their way. Just–just hang on.” Tendo says over the radio, and is basically ignored. “Are you okay?”
At this moment, I’m like, damn, I’m totally fine if they kiss, but what if they didn’t? How much more amazing would that be? AND THEN THEY FUCKING DON’T.
And then we end. There’s a credits scene that shows Chau surviving, but I’m still riding this high of FOREHEAD TOUCHING AND HAND HOLDING ON A LIFE RAFT IN THE OCEAN.
This movie was so good, you guys. I don’t know what else to say. I love the worldbuilding, I love the characters, I love that it was truly an optimistic, hopeful movie about people loving each other in many different ways and working together to save the world with their feelings for each other. And I love that all of these things could be framed in two hours of robot-on-monster violence. Good job, Guillermo del Toro.
PLEASE FIND A LEGITIMATE REASON FOR A SEQUEL WITH THE SAME CHARACTERS.