Do Movies Always Need a Script?

gmceyesPacific Rim delivered what was promised – giant robots beating the phosphorescent guts out of giant monsters. Was this a good movie? Well, I’d call it Armageddon meets the second half of the Avengers, but minus the genius of Joss Whedon.

I mean that in the best way possible. But, frankly, Pacific Rim had no script.

The dialogue deadpanned one cliche after another and the “plot” felt borrowed. It was better than a Michael Bay film, Del Toro’s thumbprint made sure of that, but I found myself wondering if the movie would have been helped or hurt by a better attempt at writing an actual script.

There were some awesome concepts that begged to be explored – like the concept of drifting consciousnesses between the brain-wired pilot and co-pilot of these giant Mehca. This held amazing potential for character development, however what little they explored felt rushed.

The protagonist’s complication, an antagonistic relationship with another pilot, was solved in a single scene very early on. Then, out of the blue, the big conflict became about his co-pilot, who also put her issues aside at the drop of a hat.

There was of course a budding romance which took all of a minute or two to bloom and the obligatory crazy scientist guys that threatened to steal the show character-wise.

With a lack of plot and character, the screen time was mainly reserved for stomping and smashing cities into rubble. In this case however, I think that is as it should be. The script was almost (but not quite) optional and the intriguing elements, even if short-changed, kept Pacific Rim from being a Transformers movie.

Still, I’ll take this over unoriginal movie adaptations of existing properties any day of the week. I mean, movies such as Lord of The Rings were spectacular to see on screen (The Hobbit, not so much…). The Avengers was another source material adaptation that bucked the trend. When done right, these big screen adaptations can be some of the most gratifying movie moments as things you’ve only dreamed of seeing in a theater come to life. When done wrong, well, you get things like this –

“Guys, it’s a western, we need a train fight scene.”

“Hasn’t that been done to death?”

“How about we put a freaking horse on the roof. NOBODY’S done that!”

“Awesome!”

So screw the adaptation plague. Yes, Pacific Rim mashes together a few Japanese-inspired tropes and has a giant robot picking up a freaking cargo ship and clobbering kaiju with it. And that’s f@#$ing sweet.

Script or no, this crazy ode to Godzilla and all those Gundam-esque mecha animes that have become so ingrained in geek culture is worth watching. So turn off your writing brain and settle in for one hell of a spectacle. Of course, chase it with a round of Godzilla flicks too. Nothing like seeing a guy in a rubber suit flop around somebody’s highly detailed train set. While CGI is sweet, that is plain EPIC.

2 thoughts on “Do Movies Always Need a Script?

  1. benjamininn

    One of my favorite parts about Yojimbo was that it was a western without a train or a train fight scene.

    My problem with the recent bout of reboots is that they no longer have the feel of reboots. With Star Trek re-doing Khan and Superman re-doing Zod, it almost seems more of a re-do than something fresh.

    • Russell Linton

      Completely agree there. It’s directorial dick-wavery. They all gotta put their own mark on something, the story or franchise comes in second at best. Looked up Yojimbo – looks badass 🙂

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