Recently David and I watched the Cinemasins for Pacific Rim and one of the points that was made is that the movie told the wrong story. We spend so much time to explain how dangerous the Kaiju and then show this one battle with the two brothers. In the end the story they told is of Raleigh a Jaegar pilot who loses his brother during a Kaiju fight and ends up working on building the wall. Then he is called up to help save the world because he is seen as a really good pilot for this one moment. Raleigh shows the general story of what is happening in the world and the audience can kind of connect with the struggle, but his story is tragic at the same time it is a little bland.
This is where Cinemasins brings up a good point, in that Mako is the better story for us to follow. (Spoilers for Pacific Rim after the jump.)
The story could have started with Mako as a little girl when her city was attacked by the Kaiju. They could have explained the origin a little bit and shown the devastation that the Kaiju attacks caused. In that attack Mako loses her family and almost gets killed by the Kaiju. She is only saved by Stacker coming through in a Jaegar and killing the Kaiju. We as the audience can connect with Mako’s story and what happens to her when she is a little girl.
The story could have progressed as we see Mako growing up obsessed with stopping the Kaiju. Her passion being driven from the fact that the Kaiju attack killed her entire family. Then we can see as she tries to become a pilot and keeps getting refused. This would bring us to the final push where they bring in Jaegar pilots from all over the world. Mako of course would be on the planning team because where else would she be as more and more Kaiju keeping coming through and keep attacking more cities.
Stacker will have brought in Raleigh and during Mako’s and his interactions we could learn about his experience as a pilot and she could show sympathy for what he went through. They could find out that they are compatible for driving a Jaegar together and have the issue of her having already been refused for pilot duty. So you still have the tension of finding two pilots that work together, but from someone who has been trying to become a pilot versus someone who had been. After that most things can progress as expected, I could even accept Raleigh making Mako go back while he makes sure they destroy the connection.
From what I can tell, the things that change are the character we connect with initially and how you explain the initial story. With Raleigh’s story we took almost twenty minutes to give back story. I think you could have told Mako’s story in a way that did not have to have as much supposition. Raleigh is the fight, but Mako is the reason that we need to and want to keep fighting. She had to grow up so fast the day the Kaiju attack and seems to have spent most of her life working with the Jaegar program to try and stop the Kaiju attacks. She has wanted to be a pilot, but had never gotten the opportunity. Mako has the potential to be a more complicated character and they seemed to decided to go simple.
I enjoyed Pacific Rim, partly because the fight sequences were fun to watch. It is giant mechs and giant monsters, which is awesome. The story on the other hand was not as interesting as it could have been. I do wonder if they had chosen to do Mako as the main protagonist instead of Raleigh how it could have changed the depth and structure of the story itself.