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Want More Out of Pacific Rim? Read the Novel
As much as I loved it, it’s hard for me to defend the structural integrity of Pacific Rim’s plot. It’s shallow, it’s predictable, and the dialogue sounds like something a seventh grader would have written for a creative writing essay.
That’s not to say that it’s bad, however. In fact, it’s Pacific Rim’s ability to be self-aware and not try to be anything other than an over-the-top action film that makes it such a successful fun summer blockbuster.
But if you’re a bit of an analytic nerd like myself and found that you were nitpicking the film to hell after watching it, I’d like to go out on a limb and suggest something here: if you want to have more details about the story and have some of those gaping wounds in the plot filled in, pick up the official movie novelization.
Now, this isn’t normally something I do. Unless the film itself is based on a pre-existing work of fiction, I’m not typically inclined to head over to wherever paperbacks are sold and look for the official movie tie-in novel. As much as I love both films and books, I’m usually content with just letting a standalone film stay in my mind rather than try to re-live the experience all over again through the pages of a book.
But Pacific Rim had such a punch to it that I found myself thinking about the movie long after I’d seen it, wanting to see it again just to re-witness the epic action that Del Toro delivered with such bravado. And since I’ve been on vacation and unable to make it to theaters for a second screening, I actually found myself going back on my typical practices and cracked open the novelization of Pacific Rim. Interestingly enough, it not only gave me a second chance to re-live the action of the film, it also helped me get more out of the experience as a whole.
The book is actually written by Travis Beacham, who co-wrote the film’s script alongside Guillermo Del Toro. The reason this is important is because Travis is not an outside party who’s adapted the script in a novel form; rather, he’s one of the core writers of the film, and thus understands the complete vision of Pacific Rim and its fiction. And believe it or not, there is quite a bit of fiction in this universe that becomes more well-developed and interesting once you’ve had the chance to sit down an digest it in book form. You’ll get firsthand accounts from newspapers that illustrate the culture surrounding the Kaiju worshippers and the fragile political climate caused by the Jaeger program, learn the actual nature of Kaiju Blue, get more emotion and internal dialogue than the somewhat flat and rudimentary lines of the characters in the film, and even learn more about each character’s past from dossiers inserted within several chapters. Plus, it gives you a chance to enjoy Pacific Rim again. And really, you shouldn’t need a whole lot of convincing to want that.
Although not groundbreaking in any way, the writing itself is solid enough to weave the narrative together in a more cohesive way. And with only 337 pages, it won’t take you months upon tedious months to finish.
Of course, there’s really no book that can amply deliver the same amount of great visuals and fun action in quite the same way as the film. But if you’re a bit anal retentive like myself and wanted to get just a little bit more from the story, I’d like to go out on a limb and suggest that the Pacific Rim novelization is a great fit for you.