The Mysterious Case of “Pacific Rim’s” Box Office Bombing
I must ask why did “Pacific Rim” bomb in the US while “Grown Ups 2” become a big hit? It seemed predictable that one would be a far better film seeing the hype and buzz but how did Del Toror’s magnum opus about giant robots and fierce sea monsters get taken down by a lame, lame, lame, lame, lame, lame, lame and completely unfunny Adam Sandler comedy?
First, Pacific Rim was a hard movie to sell and after watching it, I can see why. The idea of monsters from another world taking over is not a bad idea and the concept of having a facility where that is taken care of by means of giant robots controlled by people is hair-brained but executed in such a clever way. What the tv and trailer ads didn’t talk about is how it takes TWO to control a massive machine and how the people have to be literally linked together in order for the thing to work. Its an interesting theme on relationships and trying to find balance with one another.
But this leads to one problem with Pacific Rim that I have with it. Its a very well set-up universe with complex concepts but in the long run feels way too complex. Its never easy to make a movie that will please anyone when they are either too simple or stuff with too much rules for the universe its placed in. And here, I think there is too much which I feel should have been saved for a sequel. Things like seeing the home world of the Kajui should have been kept a mystery and while I did enjoy Ron Pearlman’s character as a black market dealer with giant monster organs, I feel his presence hinted a bigger role for a future film in some way. Other ideas like how the monsters are possibly and mentally linked are not explained to the point where it feels like they pay off in the end but once again, it feels like build up to a second feature where more is explained.
I heard rumors that a 3 hour cut exists and if that is possible, maybe it has more material that just couldn’t fit a 2 hour summer blockbuster. But what we get is at least tolerable. The characters are well-developed, the fight scenes are cool (even if its CGI heavy and sometimes go on for too long in spots), the creature designs look amazing (even if they appear to be a bit TOO CLOSE to the monsters in Hellboy), and some shots feel iconic in their own right like a little child seeing a massive fight before her eyes.
So if Pacific Rim had the makings of a good blockbuster amidst its flaws, what does that leave for Grown Ups 2? Well, I have a few theories. Either people were unsure to make of Del Toro’s flick or the advertising just didn’t address the complex nature (as addressed earlier) which harmed a unique gimmick that could have saved the film’s marketing department. (They do address the whole “takes two to operate a giant robot” but not a single one said THEY had to be linked…think about it) Or people just wanted a bright shiny movie that even thought it looked stupid they just went for it because it was dumb fun as opposed to ridiculous but clever fun.
As for my thoughts on Grown Ups 2, what can be said that hasn’t? Well, for one the plot….its nothing. Just a random set of events that either don’t pay off or just conclude in a weak way. There are things like David Spade meeting his estranged son or Adam Sandler trying to bond with his kids while the mother has a day off as well as a group of frat college boys out to seek vengeance on the group, but 100% of them have a weak pay off or not one at all.
Worse is the production values. For a movie budgeted at $80 million, they sure needed a CGI deer and CGI David Spade trapped in a moving tire. For a film with that big of a budget, it feels like good money was wasted to sure a cheap quality. I sat though and only laughed with Shaq
was on-screen because of his clueless but fun natured performance. Everything else was met with dead silence or the munching of me eating potato chips to drown out the stupidity. Not even Taylor Lautner as a self parody of his wolf pack from the Twlight films can save this flick. Its just an insult waste of your time that once again brings me to my main point.
Grown Ups 2 was nothing. People paid to see nothing. And instead of being risky and seeing a loud blockbuster with explosions, opted for something less complex. Another theory I have deals with the blockbuster fatigue we had this year but I’m saving that discussion for a future FB post. The only hope I can say is that Pacific Rim will get new life over here on home video cause seeing how huge of a hit it was overseas, it makes me wonder if it qualifies as franchise material for both parties. Then again, Del Toro did make Hellboy 2 even if the first one didn’t go highly well domestically, so only time can tell….
Posted on May 19, 2014, in Thoughts on Hollywood and Stuff and tagged Adam Sandler, Bomb, Comedy, Cult Classic, Del Toro, Flop, Grown Ups 2, Pacific Rim, Sci-Fi. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.