Why “Godzilla” is better than “Pacific Rim”

I liked Pacific Rim (2013).

I liked Godzilla (2014).

Both made me think I want more. Now.

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But, which movie is better?

To me, Godzilla is the better movie.

This is why:

The soundtrack

The word I would to describe Pacific Rim‘s soundtrack would be “Awesome.” It’s the kind of music that makes you think I can do anything. For example:

In contrast, I feel like the Godzilla soundtrack evokes a wider range of emotions. For example:

The Pacific Rim soundtrack wants you to feel awesome. Feel like you have unlimited power at your disposal. In contrast, the Godzilla soundtrack wants you to feel helpless. Feel like the world is ending and that your efforts to stop it, though admirable, are only making it worse.

The message

The message of Pacific Rim is “You can be a god.”

“There are things you can’t fight. Acts of God. You see a hurricane coming, you have to get out of the way. But when you’re in a Jaeger, suddenly, you can fight the hurricane. You can win.” ~ Raleigh Becket

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The message of Godzilla is “We live, or die, by the whim of a god.”

“The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in our control, and not the other way around.” ~ Dr. Serizawa

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I will take feeling humble over feeling proud any day.

The main character

I understand why people like Raleigh Becket.

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But, to me, he comes across as generic as a piece of bread.

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He’s not an awful character. He’s not a great character. He’s just…there.

Why isn’t Mako the main character? She is so much more compelling.

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I understand why people don’t like Ford Brody.

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But I felt like he was more of a person than Raleigh.

For example:

I can infer why Ford joined the military. (Fords wants to make sure that what happened to him as a kid won’t happen to other kids.)
I understand why Ford is angry at his father. (Ford sees that his father’s obsession with what happened at the Janjira nuclear plant is driving him crazy.)
I understand why Ford wants to stop the MUTOs. (To keep his wife and son safe and, thus, fulfill his father’s dying words: “Keep them safe.”)
I don’t know why Raleigh or his brother joined the Jaegar Program. Their reason for being Jaegar pilots is “We’re Drift Compatible” and nothing more. Did they volunteer for the program? Were they drafted?
I don’t know why Raleigh re-joins the Jaegar Program after the death of his brother. Marshal Pentecost asks him “…where would you rather die? Here? Or in a Jaegar?” so I infer that Raleigh has a death wish: He is re-joining the Jaegar Program in order to go out in a blaze of glory. At best: Raleigh wants to die on his feet, not live on his knees.* At worst: Raleigh is suicidal.

The location

Almost all of Pacific Rim takes place in one location: The Shatterdome.

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That makes the movie feel tedious.

Why?

Because: Since the characters are sitting around, waiting for the next monster attack, I am, too.

The legacy

In Godzilla, nuclear power is humanity’s doom.

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In Pacific Rim, nuclear power is humanity’s salvation.

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Will nuclear power save humanity or doom humanity?

Judging by history…

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…the answer to that question is: It depends on who you ask.

Personally: I think nuclear power will ultimately be the death of us.

*It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees. ~ Emiliano Zapata

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