28 July, 2013

Kaiju!!!

Don't you just hate it when you come back from a movie with a head full of ideas?

Maybe you love it?

Three movies watched in a marathon viewing session, three heads full of wildly conflicting ideas.

Despicable Me 2, The Wolverine, and Pacific Rim.

There is so much storytelling potential in all of them, each a rich world with a dozen story or more ideas. Each at a different point in it's mythos.

(I'm not going to produce many spoilers here, especially if you've seen the trailers for these movies).

The Wolverine was nothing much new...Logan starts as a loner, gets swept up in events, meets a mutant who wants him dead, comes close to death at some stage, then overcomes this to engage in a big fight scene at the end. The setting has been thoroughly explored in the other movies from the X-Men series, and this only really deviates because the majority of the action happens in Japan rather than in North America. We've seen it all before, but you get what you expect...if you go in looking for mushy romance, you're an idiot. If you go in expecting some cool fight scenes and some brooding, you'll get it in abundance.

Despicable Me 2 was (wait for it) a sequel...we know the world of Gru and his three adopted orphans, the first movie set up the world nicely. It does all the things we expect from a sequel, much like Shrek 2 or Toy Story 2, it draws on the mythology of the first movie then expands it in some way. Old characters keep their defining shtick, but develop in some way. New characters are introduced. It's clever, it's fun, it's a kids movie with a few jokes that an informed geek parent will appreciate (but will probably go way over a child's head). It did the right thing by starting the explore the world beyond the first movie.

Pacific Rim was just starting it's journey as a mythology, but as a story it felt comfortable. As someone who is a fan of anime and kaiju movies, I thought it was awesome. I was especially happy that it didn't do the thing that's common in far too many pieces of sci-fi these days...it didn't try to preach or add a blatant religious message into the narrative. It felt fresh, even though a great deal of the old tropes were liberally scattered through it, it was comfortable and played to all the right beats. It could easily stand alone as a movie, much like the first Alien movie; also like the first Alien movie, I could imagine someone in Hollywood taking the base concept and twisting it into a franchise. It's a world that feels like it has untapped depth, but whether it would benefit from revealing that depth I just don't know. Leah and I were discussing it in the car on the way home...if anything, a prequel movie might be a good option (we'd love to see some of the stories that led characters to their current situations).

All three movies in their own ways could form the basis for a great gaming campaign (each very different in flavour and feel).

All in all, a good day of movie viewing.

But now I want to write (or run) a Kaiju/Giant-Robot game.
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