So how deeply can you read into a movie about giant robots fighting giant alien monsters? Well, if you’re China’s People’s Liberation Army and you’re talking about Pacific Rim, then you see it as a piece of American propaganda about how the U.S. is the world’s savior and defender, and how all other countries are powerless and victimized without American assistance.
Leaving aside the whole fantasy aspect of the film and the fact it was made by Mexican-born filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, several nationalities were well represented in the film, including the Chinese who had, arguably, the coolest robot, the three-armed Crimson Typhoon. Also, the key battle in the film was about the remaining robots defending the city of Hong Kong, a Chinese city, from being destroyed. You’re welcome, China.
Still interested in what Chinese officer Zhang Jieli has to say about Pac-Rim? Here’s some of his comments from the official paper of the Chinese military, the PLA Daily:
“Hollywood has always been the best American propaganda machine. The decisive battle against the monsters was deliberately set in South China Sea adjacent to Hong Kong … The intention was to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to maintaining stability in the Asia-Pacific area and saving the mankind … [The film pushes] American values and global strategies … Soldiers should sharpen their eyes and enforce a ‘firewall’ to avoid ideological erosion when watching American movies. More importantly, they should strengthen their combat capability to safeguard national security and interests.”
Interestingly, this seems to be the minority opinion as since being released in China a couple of weeks ago, the film was already made more money there than in the United States. At $106.2 million, the total Chinese box office for Pacific Rim accounts for more than a quarter of the film’s $397 million worldwide take. So either the Chinese army is over-reacting or Chinese moviegoers are drinking the Kool-aid. Also, it’s worth keeping in mind that THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS KAIJUS! But I digress.