Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim

On Saturday, friends of ours generously offered to babysit our three so David and I could go see Pacific Rim. The best time for us ended up being an afternoon showing in 3D–and we very nearly had a private viewing. My thoughts:

1. *squee* giant ROBOTS!

2. Wow. I have NO interest in ANY of the movies they’re showing previews for

3. I’m glad it’s dark–these 3D glasses aren’t really fashionable, are they?

4. EEEEEE! GIANT ROBOTS!

5. Hmm, this 3D thing isn’t half bad…

6. GLaDOS!

6. GIANT ROBOTS BEATING UP GIANT MONSTERS!

So, ahem, yes. I really enjoyed the movie, but then I imprinted on giant robots very early. When I was a wee Montessori-going tot (3 or 4), my absolutely favorite video was Mazinger Z, which I watched every single day after school–all four episodes we owned. Later on, I graduated to Voltron and Transformers. I love my robots.

And I loved the homage this movie paid to the genre. There was one scene where

**spoiler**

 

I almost jumped out of my seat, wanting to yell out, “Form blazing sword!”

But I’m a grownup, so I restrained my inner eight-year-old.

 

/spoiler

 

I almost always find character development lacking in movies (well, yes, I do write novels, after all), so the fact that it was on the light side in Pacific Rim didn’t bother me too much. There were characters I wish we’d spent more time with and premises that I couldn’t help extrapolating in my head (I’m a writer, I can’t help it). I liked that piloting a jaeger was an intense physical and emotional experience. I was fascinated by the two-pilot system and I felt that there was a LOT of interesting conflict in the Drift premise that didn’t get explored, but I appreciated they kept the movie focused on the “last man… er, robot… standing between humanity and extinction” plot.

Oh, and the movie also automatically got points for not being a reboot, a sequel, or an adaptation, all of which I’m rather sick of, even though I watched The Hobbit this year and will probably go see Ender’s Game (does that make me a hypocrite? But I’m also passing on Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Man of Steel, Star Trek, etc.).

But what made Pacific Rim for me?

Awesome giant robots fighting awesome giant monsters.

childhood influences: why I write what I do

In the past few weeks, I posted about why I think I write science fantasy. When that turned out to be a discussion on how to define the genre, I went on to elaborate how the different languages and vocabularies of fantasy and science fiction are blended in science fantasy.

Today I have a confession: The reason why I write science fantasy has very little to do with a reasoned, thoughtful approach to writing fiction and everything to do with my childhood influences. Behold.

(Note: science fiction elements in red, fantasy in blue, science fantasy in purple)

Exhibit A: ThunderCats

Feline humanoids with super powers flee their dying planet in spaceships and crash-land on another planet. There they encounter new friends  (unicorn-herding sorcerers, warrior maidens, galactic cops, and robotic fruit-harvesting bears), make a powerful new enemy (a five-thousand-year-old living mummy), and build a fortress and a cool tank. Their leader, a hotheaded young warrior with a magic sword, is constantly in and out of trouble.

 

These robotic bears must run on ethanol

 

Exhibit B: Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer

A magical girl who brings spring to earth travels across the universe to confront an evil space princess who is bent on adding a diamond planet to her collection of jewels. Features talking horses, both real and robotic, robots and spaceships, lizard creatures and magical belts.

I may have been one of the few people who, upon learning of the discovery of this planet, exclaimed, “They found Spectra!”

 

“Nobody can own Spectra! It’s the light of the whole universe!”

 

Exhibit C: Warriors of the Wind

I know, I know this is the horribly-mangled English-language version of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, but I loved it as a kid and I don’t care that it cut out all the heavy-handed environmentalism. I’m grateful to the newer English version of Nausicaa for clearing up some plot points that had always puzzled me, but the dialog of Warriors of the Wind was funnier and I knew most of it by heart.

So. Blurb: In a post-apocalyptic world taken over by a toxic jungle and giant insects, a small peaceful kingdom is brutally attacked by a warlike state (with airplanes, tanks, and guns) when an ancient weapon is uncovered within its borders. Nausicaa, the princess of the Valley of the Wind, who has a strange connection with the giant insects, struggles to bring peace between the nations, and between humanity and the denizens of the jungle. There is also a prophecy.

 

I covet that glider.

 

It’s no wonder that I write genre soup, happily tossing fantasy and science fiction elements into my fiction.

What were your childhood influences? How have they affected your writing or other art?