Here is a really interesting link on Pacific Rim
that I found via frith_in_thorns
's Tumblr and decided to post here, with commentary, rather than just reblogging, because I wanted to SAY THINGS.
The link: http://frith-in-thorns.tumblr.com/post/60389583284/peardita-starseedjenny-a-couple-days-ago-i
Shortest version: The author hypothesizes that Pacific Rim
appeals to the millennial generation because it addresses concerns that resonate with them.
And this really made me go "hmmm" because -- well, first of all, obviously this isn't going to be true (or untrue) of EVERYONE. But I kept feeling there was something about the appeal of Pacific Rim
that I just didn't get
-- I mean, I get the character love and that it's a fun movie, but for me it was just kind of a middle-of-the-road summer action movie. I didn't feel the off-the-charts squee that so many people seem to have gotten from it. It's not like I've never been left behind by the fannish juggernaut before, but in this case I kept feeling like I should
have liked it, it should
have hit my buttons, but it just didn't.
And when I think about it, most (though not all!) of the people I know who really latched onto the movie are somewhere around the millennial ageset, while I'm back there on the trailing edge of Gen X.
It seems like a plausible theory to me -- and again, not trying to generalize to all people in all age groups -- because 10-15 years ago, I was ALL OVER shounen team fighting anime, like Ranma
and Gundam Wing
. These days, they've lost a lot of appeal for me; whatever used to make me wallow in them isn't quite there anymore. I still enjoy an occasional dip into nostalgia, and I'm certainly not going to rule out the possibility of a new team fighting anime coming along and sweeping me off into the deep squee end, but it's just not really what I'm into these days. (The one anime that I've really enjoyed in the last few years, Fullmetal Alchemist
, was mostly appealing to me for its glorious worldbuilding and plots, as well as the older characters rather than the teenagers.)
On the other hand, I latched HARD onto Iron Man 3
this summer, and I think a big part of that is because I felt a lot of resonance with what the characters were going through in the movie -- Tony especially, but also Pepper: the whole theme of learning to live with damage and deal with the cumulative mistakes of the past and just keep moving forward. It's a movie about learning to be a decent grownup, rather than a movie about growing up. One is not a better narrative than the other, but I think the first one is the narrative I relate to more strongly at this point in my life.
And again, it's not an either-or thing; I'm not saying I feel like I've outgrown coming-of-age stories, or that someone who's 15 or 18 or 21 couldn't relate just as hard to the aspects of IM3 that appealed to me. It did make me think, though, about the fact that sometimes you just have to hit a particular story at the right point in your life. A recent example comes from my reread last year of Bujold's Vorkosigan novels, and the way that my opinions on the books flip-flopped from the first time I read them. Back when I discovered the series, I was in my early 20s and going through a lot of mental health issues, and I went for Mark, as a character, in a really big way. Mirror Dance
, with Mark's struggle for self-identity, was my favorite book in the series. In contrast, I remembered thinking Memory
was dull and slow-moving and basically a huge disappointment compared to the early Miles books and the Mark books.
Fast-forward 15 years, and while I did still enjoy Mirror Dance
(and still love Mark), I was absolutely blown away by Memory
-- a book I'd remembered as slow and boring was actually brilliant and insightful and amazing! I just hadn't been at a position in my life where I was able to appreciate Miles's struggle to deal with the changes in his own self-image as he left youth behind.
Again, I want to emphasize that I don't think this is necessarily a function of age, or at least not age alone. People move through their lives at different speeds and in different ways; they find different aspects of books and movies and TV shows that move them. For all I know, 15 years from now I will have hit a mental place that will take me right back into appreciating team anime and other coming of age stories, if maybe for different reasons than I did the first time.
I also think you can go overboard analyzing this stuff. Sometimes what clicks with you is just what clicks with you.
But it's really interesting to me to think about it from that perspective. Maybe I would have absolutely adored Pacific Rim
if I'd seen it 10 years ago (or if I saw it 10 years from now), but I'm just not in whatever headspace I need to be in for it to have really deep resonance for me the way it obviously does for a lot of people right now.ETA:
I want to emphasize (because it seems that some people are reading the post this way) that I'm not trying to imply you can't like the movie if you're over 25, or that there's something wrong with you if you do. Actually, quite a few people I know who are in my agegroup (mid-30s) and older really enjoyed the movie. I'm also not saying that I agree 100% with the Tumblr post I linked to. But I do
think it's worth considering that there might be generational differences in how people react to and interpret this movie. (Well, any movie really, but I don't think it's completely outrageous to suggest that this might be one of the first big-budget movies -- but by no means the last -- that specifically addresses Millennial concerns & thought patterns in a way that is targeted at them
, as opposed to "this is what we think kids ought to like".)