Friday, March 23, 2018

Triple Event: Pacific Rim

"Go big or go extinct." This tagline is more of a philosophy than a teaser for a summer blockbuster; why? What was the great "victory" and solution to human survival in World War Z? Weakness, sickness, blending in and becoming invisible; those aren't American virtues and they certainly aren't capitalist virtues either, in fact, they aren't virtues by anyone's standards at all, they are vices and that's why the pro-socialist WWZ embraces them. Pacific Rim, on the other hand, is the exact opposite: when Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) is at his sickest from radiation poisoning years before, he rises up to make a last fight of heroic proportions and inspire everyone else to do the same. THAT is an example of American heroism and it utterly counters the,... "tactics," to put it nicely, in WWZ
I won't pretend to even begin analyzing everything within this symbolically and culturally rich film, but there are some important points Guillermo del Toro makes within Pacific Rim catapulting the film from an awesome action-blockbuster to a political manifesto, and the first of these points are the characteristics of the kaiju which establish them as agents of socialism:

1). The kaiju destroy cities: socialists, specifically the liberal branch of socialism referred to as "progressives," don't want technology and they certainly don't want big cities, which is where the kaiju always attack. Cities also attest to the power of the upper-classes, many of whom have built the towering skyscrappers creating the individual skylines of urban areas, and socialists want to destroy the monuments to wealth as much as the wealthy themselves (we see this in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises).

2). The kaiju themselves are like dinosaurs, again, because that's the time-period progressives want to digress back to, when there was no technology, free market or monetary systems. (We see these themes in the pro-socialist films of The Lone Ranger and Gravity).
There are two important colors associated with Mako: blue--the tips of her hair--this isn't a great image of her, and I apologize for that--and red, the shoes she had when kaiju attacked and killed her family. Her blue hair is a compound symbol, meaning there is a symbolic meaning for her hair, and a separate symbolic meaning for the blue, so we have to combine the two meanings to make a complete thought. We know hair symbolizes the thoughts because our thoughts originate in our head and anything on our head then manifests what kind of thoughts we have or don't have. The color blue simultaneously symbolizes both wisdom and depression: because wisdom is the greatest treasure there is, it can only be bought with the greatest hardship, which is our suffering, so where there is wisdom, there is suffering, but hopefully, where there is suffering, there is also wisdom. So, Mako's suffering (the blue) is always in her thoughts (the hair) but she has tried to put the suffering (blue) as far away from her thoughts (her hair tips rather than the roots of her hair) as possible. Pentecost (Idris Elba) however, knows that she wants vengeance and vengeance is "an open wound." Why does she want vengeance? Her red shoes. When we see her as a little girl, she wears one red shoe and carries the other one; the color red symbolizes blood, because we either love someone/something so much, we are willing to give our blood for it, or we hate someone/something so much, we are willing to spill their blood to appease our wrath. The shoe Mako holds symbolizes her love (red) of her family (because we know they were killed and when she kills the kaiju, she says, "For my family!") and her hand in which she holds the shoe symbolizes her honor, so her honor binds her to avenging the death of her family by killing a kaiju on their behalf. The shoe she wears, however, symbolizes what drives her: our feet symbolize our will, because our will takes us in life where our feet take us in our day-to-day affairs; so, Mako wills (her shoe on her foot) to kill the kaiju (the red shoe) and it's this shoe which Pentecost gives back to Mako when he tells her she can co-pilot with Raleigh because he knows that is what has led her hard-work and dedication all these years.
Why is Mako Japanese? As in the film Battleship (which was also pro-capitalist) the Japanese are natural allies in the fight against socialism because--had it not been for the US police presence after World War II--Japan likely would have fallen to socialism/communism like so many of its Asian neighbors, and this comes across in Japanese films of the time. The US symbolizes Godzilla in that great saga of films: in the first, the Japanese admit that, had they been faced with the same decision as the US, they, too, would have dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (the only way to destroy Godzilla is to launch a massive bomb into Tokyo Bay, which will destroy all the life in the Bay--like the atomic bomb killing all the people--but they have to or Godzilla will destroy all Japan); in later Godzilla films, other monsters like Mothra and Rodan, are a greater threat to Japan, and the Japanese actually seek out Godzilla to save them from these other monsters, which symbolize the spread of socialism throughout the Pacific Rim during this time. So, Mako being Japanese attests to the historical allegiance between the Japanese and Americans because they both managed to avoid socialism and built up strong economies and cultures without socialism. This is also why the last stand against the kaiju takes place in Hong Kong: Hong Kong has the freest free market in the world and proves the great advantage of capitalism (whereas places like the US have a crony capitalist system in place due to decades of corrupt politicians making deals that are not in the interest of the free market). 
3). The kaiju are clones, they are not individuals. Socialists abhor individuality. They might make statements that a transgender man has the right to think he's female if that is what makes him individually happy, however, the liberals use the disenfranchised political minority for support, not because they actually support them, and because the sexual minority of gays and transgenders helps create even more divisions in society, which favors an atmosphere for socialism to take-over.

4). Kaiju are marked with identifying "bar codes" (the phrase used in the film) to identify them, because they are more like the kaiju government commodities rather than valued and loved individuals. (We literally see a bar code on the back of #47's head in Hitman: Agent 47 even though he manages to establish his own identity and individuality in spite of efforts made to keep him from doing so).

5). After Newton drifted with the kaiju secondary brain, the kaiju come looking for him but when the kaiju finds him, it's not smart enough to figure out what to do with him, the way Newton was smart enough to figure out what to do with the kaiju brain. Kaiju, like socialists, are copy cats, because individuality and originality are never rewarded in socialist societies, rather, being as mediocre as everyone else is what is rewarded. (Consider how, after President Trump won the November 2016 election, Democrats are trying to find their own celebrity billionaire to run against Trump in 2020, because they don't have any ideas, they have to copy off everyone else's).
When Raleigh and Pentecost argue about Mako, Raleigh touches Pentecost's arm and Pentecost warns him twice never to touch him again; why not? Touching is a sign of intimacy with someone, but our arms--in this case, Pentecost's arm--symbolizes our strength, so Pentecost gets his strength from not having intimacy with anyone. When Pentecost tells Chuck that he will be his co-pilot since his father Herc has a wounded arm (the source of Herc's strengh [symbolized by his wounded arm] is wounded, that is, Chuck himself and how difficult Chuck is to get a long with everyone is the wound in Herc's arm because his son is his pride and job but also his embarrassment because Chuck is such a jerk) Chuck asks Pentecost how they will make the neural handshake and Pentecost replies that he doesn't take anything with him into the Drift, no fear, no memories, no rank, and that includes no intimacy, because when you are intimate with someone, you have a fear of losing them, and Pentecost is afraid of losing Mako. When he agrees to let her pilot with Raleigh, it's because Pentecost has said good-bye to her in his heart, knowing he will likely loose her OR seeing how desperate they are, that he himself will have to pilot a Jaeger and it will kill him.
Why does Pentecost die? We know a character never dies unless one, that character is all ready "dead," i.e., they exhibit certain traits or habits which the film condemns and does so through that character's death; the only other reason for a character to die is when they sacrifice themselves for the greater good, and we know Pentecost is doing that. Chuck, on the other hand, has basically been a jerk from the very beginning; however, we can say that because Chuck willingly sacrifices himself--he says it has been a pleasure working with Pentecost and understands they have to detonate the bomb that will kill them--his character finds redemption because of the sacrifice. One could say, "But Pentecost was dying anyway, he had that radiation poisoning, so it doesn't matter if he died being blown up or dying of cancer," and that's a point, however, consider Matt Damon's character Dr Mann in Interstellar: he knew he was going to die, but he didn't want to die alone, so he tried to kill those who had come to save him just so he could possibly get back to a dying planet (Earth) to die with others. It's our survival instinct to cling to life as long as possible; Pentecost transcended his death by making it count, and we can validate this with his bleeding nose. The face symbolizes our identity, and because the nose is the most prominent feature on our face, it symbolizes our character and honor within our identity. We see a lot of nose bleeds in the film, but when Pentecost's nose bleeds, it's a sign that he's a man of blood, both because it's his pilots that die in the clashes with the kaiju, and because he himself is willing to spill his own blood to save others; again, we can validate this because we see Pentecost taking yellow pills from a silver case each time his nose begins to bleed. The "silver box" symbolizes the Word of God Pentecost keeps in his heart (in Hebrew, the word "silver" sounds like the word for Word, which is why the Body of Jesus is often depicted in silver on Crucifixes, He was the Word made Flesh, and it's also the reason why you can stop a werewolf with something silver, you are giving the man turned into the wolf the "Word of God" and bringing him out of his animal appetites and back into his human senses). So, "Pentecost," which invokes the birth of the Catholic Church and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, takes the yellow pills (yellow symbolizes our dignity) he keeps in the silver box (the Word of God) and that prepares him for the act of laying down his life for others.
6). Kaiju scream really loud, just like liberals: neither say anything intelligible, but they can certainly scream.

7). Parasites are parasites, so just as the kaiju have parasites on their bodies, so they, too are parasites, just as liberals are parasites on the wealth and achievements of others.

8). The kaiju destroyed their world and have come to earth to destroy it for us (we saw this in Warcraft with the fel "magic" that destroyed every place it went). I know liberals want us to believe that capitalists are the great enemy of nature, but again, this is well-targeted propaganda. In a capitalist society, when a company dumps toxic waste, for example, they are accountable to the government and the government can regulate them and hold force them to comply with standards; in a socialist society, the government owns everything and is not answerable to anyone, anyone, including the people, the people are powerless to get any change, so the kind of waste and environmental decay which was prevalent in the USSR (and still is in modern Russia) was just going to continue, whereas in the US, when there is the unfortunate accident or even intentional act of pollution, individuals like Erin Brockovich can stand up to the companies and force the government to intervene on behalf of the people.
Hannibal Chau is an interesting character, and because he's depicted by Ron Perleman, it's quite possible he links into Hellboy, however, I have not seen that film, so I apologize, this might be an incomplete analysis. "Hannibal," of course, refers to Hannibal Lecter from Silence Of the Lambs; why? Hannibal the Cannibal ate people, and is one of the most famous villains in cinematic history because of his "appetites"; "Chau" refers to Hannibal Chau's second favorite Chinese restaurant, so his second name, too, refers to something to do with the appetites (not to mention that "Chau" sounds like the American slang word "chow" referring either to "food" or the act of quickly eating, as in "chow down").  Just by looking at him, we can tell that Hannibal is a man of appetites, from his gold-plated shoes (again, feet symbolize the will, so his will is to acquire "gold," i.e., money) to his gold-colored neck tie (the neck symbolizes what leads us in life, like a leash, so instead of being lead by his dignity, like the yellow pills Pentecost takes, Hannibal is led by his drive for gold) to his tacky red suit that indicates he's willing to spill anyone's blood to get what he wants, which is gold. It's men like Hannibal Chau who have caused capitalism to be under such attack, because they truly embody the very worst of it, and this is why Hannibal dies the way he does, with that infant kaiju devouring him: that little infant symbolized Hannibal himself, so Hannibal's own appetites did him in: had he not been so desperate for money, Hannibal wound not have been down there and wouldn't have run into the infant kaiju, but his greed and arrogance caused him to be cocky and that's why he was eaten.
What about Hannibal's glasses and scarred eye? The glasses, while rose-colored, doesn't indicate that Hannibal sees the world in a friendly light; rather, because the lenses are red, he again, sees everything in terms of how it can feed his appetite for money and success; I haven't the slightest idea what to call it, but the lenses of his glasses have those black edges to them, like blinders, making his glasses almost like goggles, so that he can't see anything else except what is right in front of him. When he takes his glasses off, we see the scar over his eye; this symbolizes that what he has seen in life has scarred him and he intentionally chooses not to see things in any other light because decisions are easier this way. 
9). The kaiju are colonists: the act of settling in other places isn't inherently socialist--think of the ancient Greeks--however, all socialists are going to be "colonists" in the sense that they are desperate to spread "The Gospel of Marx" to every other corner of the universe as fast as possible; why? Because anywhere capitalism or the free market exists--like Hong Kong, where most of the film takes place--is going to threaten the existence of socialism because those living under socialism will know "something better and more free is possible" so they will revolt against socialism until they get a better life; it is, therefore, in the best interest of socialism to destroy any and all other capitalist societies as quickly as possible.

10). The kaiju are a matriarchal society. When Gipsy Danger drops into the breach and is about to melt-down, we see the "queen" looking at Gipsy Danger trying to figure out what is going on; we also see "queens" in Transformers The Last Knight (the home planet of Optimus Prime) and Ender's Game.

Pacific Rim: Uprising opens this weekend, and I can't wait, I know it's going to be a fabulous film, so I will get that post up asap!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner