If you're looking for a little Coronaivirus catharsis in the form of a big, schlocky, giant monster fighting-robot movie, then may we direct your attention to the Pacific Rim franchise. If you need a refresher, then journey back with us to 2013, a simpler time where the only thing the world had to worry about was a destabilized Syria and the formation of a new terrorist supergroup known as ISIS (ISIL). Pacific Rim centers on giant monsters that have emerged from the sea to attack humanity known as "Kaiju" and the giant mechs known as "Jaegers" which humanity has built to battle them. It is an American take on the Japanese giant monster movies of the past, and with the impending threat of global conflict seemingly all around us, it was the perfect blockbuster of the time.
But we'd argue Pacific Rim is even more suited to the current moment. The Kaiju are a little understood alien species that has appeared from nowhere, not unlike SARS-CoV-2. Our response to both has particularly reshaped urban life -- cities were most susceptible to Kaiju attacks, as they are to COVID-19 outbreaks. It's also a film that extols the virtues of international coordination. Much like how foreign powers worked together to build Jaegers, we now must work together to create a vaccine and to establish international protocols to keep ourselves safe. It even showcases dumbass politicians flailing at finding effective solutions while essential workers/pilots battle against the virus/epic Leviathan emerging from the sea. (Seriously, they build a ineffective seawall nobody really wants.)
The best monster movies and horror films are ones that draw on and reflect the feelings of the time (Night of the Living Dead, Godzilla, etc.). Pacific Rim underwhelmed at the box-office when it premiered, maybe because we weren't steeped in enough global chaos for the themes to resonate, or maybe just because it needed more laser swords. But we're fairly confident that if you watch it now, a couple quarantinis in hand and the feeling of virus-induced panic steeped into your soul, this movie will hit so much harder. Plus, it just flat out rules. You get IDRIS FREAKIN ELBA (one of the first celebrities to get COVID-19) and the greatest "TIME TO GET SHIT DONE!" song ever recorded:
THIS IS AUDIO ADDERALL! I'M GONNA RUN A MARATHON, THEN BUILD A HOUSE!
It's why we can't get a Pacific Rim 3 soon enough. Imagine just how awesome a film with Pacific Rim's scope would be channeling the ethos of Coronavirus. Maybe the Jaegers would shrink down to miniature versions and fight viruses within our bodies. Or perhaps Kaiju could turn invisible or could mutate in untold ways. Pacific Rim 2 introduced the concept of "infected Jaegers," so perhaps that could be built upon, but in a way that doesn't make the movie suck as much as Pacific Rim 2. Dear God, whatever happens, please just make something better than Pacific Rim 2.
Top Image: Pacific Rim/ Legendary Pictures