Winter Wonderland: I am a fragile tropical flower.

I assume no one’s surprised that I’m rolling into a post about thanksgiving way after the actual date. That’s because I am a winner.

 

It’s hard to believe that a year ago I celebrated my first thanksgiving in America. This year was even better than last years though, because I was lucky enough to have my family come out and celebrate with them. Thanksgiving is always a special time for me. It mark the point where I can officially start to celebrate christmas in public, instead of just talking about who excited I am about it (see: the entire month of November. My friends must be sick of my gushing. I just really enjoy christmas, ok?)

No, I’m just joking. Thanksgiving has a special connotation for me because in Hong Kong it would be one of the big parties my parents would throw. I have so many memories of being dressed up and stuffing myself with turkey, watching the adults table longingly when members of the kids table would graduate to that hallowed ground.

This thanksgiving I celebrated again in Oregon, only this time I brought along my roommate with me. She bravely embraced the insanity of my family (we are all very loving in a shouting and arms waving way) and spent five days with me in the beautiful town of Bend and then later Portland.

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Unsurprisingly, neither of us were prepared for the winter. We’re talking temperatures that include snow, ice and all those  fun little things about cold weather like frostbite. The second we stepped off the plane it was right into the middle of Antartica (or so it seemed to two SoCal girls). The second I stepped out of the airport I promptly slipped on a patch of ice and bit the dust. We spent a lot of the weekend talking about how cold it was and staying firmly inside. Any movement to go anywhere required the assembling of an outfit with two many layers to count. It turns out we make very cute marshmallow people though.

 

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We also went snowshoeing for the very first time. It’s something that I’m super glad we did, because it was just so beautiful. There’s really nothing like winter, when it goes all quiet in the soft cold light to remind you just how beautiful the world can be. I certainly admired it as much as possible, until I actually couldn’t feel my butt anymore and we slogged home. Poor Mom got a phone call begging for hot chocolate before we’d even reached the door.

 

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COLD COLD COLD.

In any case, this is just going to be a very quick post about how wonderful it was to take a break from college. The reason why i’ve been so late posting is because everything has gone full speed ahead with finals week. Definitely a good reason to relax and completely stuff myself with good food and better company.

It’s going to be a rough week ahead, that’s for sure. Good luck to anyone going through finals, and remember to be thankful for the amazing beauty that the world holds. Just, you know, from inside.

 

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Paradise – Ireland Through Photography.

I was looking through my photos and found some shots of Ireland that I just had to share. This is a purely indulgent (and sponsored by fond memories) post about how beautiful my trip was.

 

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A real life fairytale…

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Met the cutest little puppy

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I’ve never seen so many different shades of green

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Even the buildings were overflowing with the color

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Along the Wicklow Way…

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Even through fog

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and rain

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and more fog..

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Ireland remains one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

There were times I had to pinch myself, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. Sorry about this mostly wordless post, although I did end up creating a sort of avant garde poetry through the captions (haha).

As always,

Love, Amylia.

Ireland: Rain and Sheep on the Wicklow Way.

At the beginning of the planning process for this trip, Mom sat us down and asked a very serious question ‘Do you want to do a walking trip?’.

Starting off into the Wicklow Mountains

Starting off into the Wicklow Mountains

Fortunately, I agreed. Four months later I found myself on the Wicklow Way, dumbstruck at the sheer beauty of the Irish mountains and countryside.

Reaching the summit

Reaching the summit

It was a far cry from our stay at Edinburgh. Gone were our friends. It was just my mother, my father and me for the next week or so. We’d be hiking a beginners trail, but navigation and pace would be set by us. Before we started, I was nearly certain that this would be one of worst possible ideas for family unity.

This was a common sight on the trip - turns out neither of my parents are brilliant at reading maps...or admitting they'd been wrong.

This was a common sight on the trip – turns out neither of my parents are brilliant at reading maps…or admitting they’d been wrong.

Instead, it turned out to be an incredible hike. I can’t express to you how beautiful the Irish countryside is. Everyday seemed like we were walking in a fairytale. Luckily for us, it didn’t rain as much as we were expecting. But enough about that – I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

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Isn’t it gorgeous? That’s just a bare fraction of all the photos I took. Here’s hoping I find myself wandering the wicklow way again in the future.

I am the Pumpkin Queen.

Hey wonderful people! Taking a quick break from all the posts about my summer vacation to talk a little about a trip that happened a lot more recently. This past week I just returned from a quick weekend jaunt from Oregon, where I was lucky enough to stay in a sorority, walk around OSU and go to my first pumpkin patch! (Or at least the first one I can remember- no matter what Mom says, things that happen when I’m so young I don’t remember them happening, it doesn’t count).

 

We couldn't figure out why this pumpkin just had this leaf attached.

We couldn’t figure out why this pumpkin just had this leaf attached.

 

I have to start this post off with a confession – I don’t really get the pumpkin thing. Why is it when it turns to October american’s go bananas for pumpkin? If it’s so popular, then why isn’t it available year round? It just seems strange to me. Whenever I tell my friends I think pumpkin is just alright, they look at me like I’ve personally hurt them. That being said, I found the whole trip out there hilarious and super fun.

The pumpkin patch was definitely nothing like I was expecting. Although in hindsight, I’m not really sure what I was expecting from an event called ‘A Pumpkin Patch’. Seems pretty explanatory, I admit.

 

This post is brought to you by my Dad's oversized 80's sweater.

This post is brought to you by my Dad’s oversized 80’s sweater. Also feat. the corn maze we couldn’t figure a way out of.

 

We pulled up onto a patch of dirt. There are moments in my life where I’m truly struck by how American some things are. That same feeling washed over me as she turned the ignition off and turned to look at me. From my view as we drove by, I’d just seen a whole bunch of hay and a small field stretching out into the distance. This was a far cry from Hong Kong – and also from LA. The first thing we saw was a massively fat turkey. I immediately started laughing – I always laugh whenever I see a turkey. All I can think about is how it could have been the national animal of America, per the wish of Ben Franklin. (To quote: I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character). It makes me giggle to imagine the turkey on any official document. It just also hammered in the fact that I was firmly in America.

 

All of my best american moments happen with this girl!

All of my best american moments happen with this girl!

 

We wandered through the pumpkin patch leisurely. It was nice, the feeling of leisure that seemed washed over the patch. It was such a family place. We were almost certainly the only college aged kids I saw wandering around. Little kids everywhere were running around giggling, with parents wandering after.

I discovered something about myself that day. I am terrible at mazes. Just flat out awful. We kept running into dead ends and giggling at how long it was taking us to get through. By the time we’d finished three mazes, it was official: if I was ever forced to run into a maze for safety, I would definitely get murdered). I think one of the funnest things about the mazes was hearing everyone else trying to figure it out. From the know-alls who follow the left turn rule, to the kids giggling about being lost, to the mom’s trying to figure it out. It was just so interesting being a part of such a group activity, while remaining separate.

After we freed ourselves from our corn and hay cages, the next stop was the main attraction – the pumpkin patch itself. Wandering around the field, K inspected pumpkins with the eye of an expert. This one was too lumpy, the other not orange enough. She seemed to know what she was doing, so I wandered happily behind.

 

My contribution to the great pumpkin hunt.

My contribution to the great pumpkin hunt.

 

In a super coincidence, we ran into a family from Hong Kong. It was so wild meeting people from my home town – especially people who haven’t been back in years. It’s always exciting to catch up on what’s changed and listen to their memories. it just goes to show what a small world it actually is. After a few missed chances (the pumpkin below was sadly left behind…) we found two small pumpkins. Well, more like one small pumpkin and an incredibly misshapen gourd that made both of us laugh so hard we had to bring it home. The guys who weighed the pumpkins looked incredibly unimpressed when we put our choices on the scale.

 

Our rejected pumpkin - strange but lovable.

Our rejected pumpkin – strange but lovable.

 

And of course, what would be an american tradition without some form of food? We bought the largest bag of caramel corn I think I’ve seen, and some hot drinks. Sitting on a hay bale, drinking apple cider and looking over a field of pumpkins definitely made me see why american’s love fall. It’s just so wonderful to have opportunities to go out and enjoy something like that. It’s something I know that I am so pleased to have experienced, and can’t wait to go to another pumpkin patch. Hopefully next year I’ll actually get to carve something.

 

XOXO.

 

LONDON: Alexander McQueen, Bend It Like Beckham, and Tea

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Overlooking the Victoria & Albert.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to share photos from my most recent trip to London. It was just incredible – full of wonderful theatre outings, fashion exhibitions and lots and lots of walking around. London is one of those places where everywhere is an adventure. Nothing ever really disappoints.

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Wouldn’t it be a dream to live here?

Mom and I (cheekily) snuck off to London without my father. It was wonderful just being able to walk around the city with her. I think as I get older and older, the more my mom is becoming one of my best friends. We certainly had a fantastic time, just the two of us.

Beautiful where ever we went.

Beautiful no matter where we went.

Literally the day we landed we both rushed off the the exhibition at the Victoria and Albert. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty certainly lived up to all the hype. It was such a dream getting to see his art in real life – and art it is. It is such a sad thing that we lost such a talented and creative designer. Every single piece of his in the exhibition was just breathtaking. I’m sorry for the photo dump but it was too hard to choose one…

moistmag.co.uk telegraph.co.uk ibtimes.co.uk runway.vn

We both had pretty terrible jet lag, but it’s ok because our apartment was the cutest place ever! Coming back for a restorative cup of tea has never been so nice.

It was small, but perfectly sized for the two of us!

It was small, but perfectly sized for the two of us!

Funnily enough, I think the two places Mom and I spent the most time at was the V&A. Can you blame us? There was another exhibition just about shoes! And of course, the wonderful history and cultural opportunities. It’s strange, but I think that european museums and art places have some of the best cafeteria food I’ve eaten – it surely beats american food by a long shot.

The National Portrait Gallery - one of the few days it was cloudy.

The National Portrait Gallery – one of the few days it was cloudy.

Apart from visiting the museum, we also did a lot of walking. Lots and lots of walking. Not something to complain about though – apart from a few brief spots of rain, the weather was beautiful.

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The view of the London Eye from the park.

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Having huge envy over how green London was…

Of course, an aspiring actress can’t visit London without catching a few West End productions. It’s something I look forward to every time we go to a big city like New York or London. The opportunity to see some of the best theatre in the world – and my gosh, the pickings this time around were incredible. Imelda Staunton in Gypsy, Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet…the list could go on. I think I could happily just spend a week there living and breathing the theatre. As it was, the two shows that Mom and I picked are significantly off our regular theatre path.

variety.com

variety.com

Bend It Like Beckham – the musical! Was one of the most surprising and entertaining things I think we saw on our trip to Europe. Of course, I’m a huge fan of the movie, but I actually think I liked the musical better. The music, the girls kicking butt…what’s not to love? It was just so much fun to watch all these incredible ladies running across the stage and singing about how they were worth it. Probably the highest amount of females I’ve ever seen on the stage alone together. And the Bollywood theatre mixes were the catchiest thing ever. So yes, I did boogie my way down the aisle after the show ended.

The beautiful ceiling of Westminster

The beautiful ceiling of Westminster – probably the most traditional sightseeing we did.

Hey Ladies...how you doing?

Hey Ladies…how you doing?

The other show we saw was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I don’t think we could have chosen a more different play to go see. But it was such an incredible production. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show that brilliantly staged. Let’s just say this – there were times when I gasped, when I cried, and when I was on the edge of my seat. It’s hard to make an audience member do that. The cast were just superb, and the lead – who plays a young boy with autism – was one of the most talented actors I think I’ve ever seen.

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Eventually my dad came to join us…ruining our ladies trip…

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I’m just kidding Dad (I love you!)

My parents are the cutest. Also, I wasn’t sure how to assure you guys that we drank tea – but believe me. We drank a lot of tea.

Driving (Or How I Nearly Killed My Mom Four Times in 48 Hours)

Ah, driving. That thing most hallowed in a teen’s life. Symbolic of freedom, of the dream, of the yearning drive for adventure that finds us wherever we may tread.

Also the cause of my Mom’s ninety-five new stress induced ulcers.

Yes dear listeners! I am successfully inducted into this new and terrifying club of being able to drive. With full compliance to the law, I too, can emerge onto the dangerous and absolutely NUTS freeway. The law allows me to do this! I am legal to drive places! By myself!

Here are all the faces my Mother and I made on the trip down. Coincidentally, also all the faces I make whenever someone makes me drive somewhere.

Here are all the faces I make whenever someone makes me drive somewhere.

What a world.

Around a month ago, I went to go visit my Mom in Oregon. The next two days would comprise of us driving down from Oregon to California. A feat, I imagine, on par with Lewis and Clark traversing west.

The trip went relatively smoothly, except for the four times that I nearly killed the both of us. A common refrain on the trip was ‘JESUS CHRIST!,’ The sound of suppressed panic was the soundtrack that accompanied us down the freeway. (Mom, if you are reading this, I love you!).

Wine played a large part in the recovery process.

Luckily enough, we managed to get there safely, even if my mom says that I shaved ten years off of her life.

Driving is one of those things that I have always thought quintessentially America. It’s something so tied into the mythos of the country, and especially with being a teenager. My best friend is a huge car person, so I’ve had a little exposure to the world of driving. For most of my life though, driving is something that Happens to Other People. I am perfectly content either being chauffeured places, or taking public transportation. Oh, how I miss good public transportation.

Never to be taken for granted again.

Never to be taken for granted again.

Now that I’ve been fully exposed however, I can safely say that I HATE driving. I HATE IT. It is terrible and scary. I get into the car and it’s like Grand Theft Auto in my mind. Which brilliant mind came up with the idea to pack a whole bunch of humans into death-causing pods and jam them all down a single road? Who decided to just trust that nothing there would go wrong? Everytime I get out onto the road, all I can think is ‘The Government is allowing me to do this. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t think that’s a great idea. They’ve also licensed you, which I’m also not sure about. That guy in front of me is swerving an awful lot, and the lady to my right is checking herself out in the mirror. Oh god, all of you guys are going to be zooming by me, and we’re all just going to do our best’.

THAT IS STUPID. IT IS A STUPID IDEA. Cars are like, a billion times more dangerous than airplanes, bees, sharks, trains and boats combined. Ok, the science might not be 100% accurate there, but I’m not wrong.

And we’ve somehow managed to think: Hey, having a car is great! Why don’t we continue to pollute the world as opposed to building safer and more efficient public transportation?

The point of this post isn’t to completely poop on driving. Driving can be fun!! There’s an indescribable feeling of freedom that comes from being able to go anywhere. It’s amazing to be able to just drive and drive – and end up in places you’ve never even heard of. I love jamming to music in the car. It’s also become the place where I try to practice my harmonies. There’s nothing like the sound of poor Idina Menzel belting out No Good Deed, and then me going incredibly out of tune trying to figure out what a third below her is. But the fact is that I am a new driver in one of the craziest places to drive.

Pictured: PURE TERROR.

TERROR IN IT’S PUREST FORM.

This post was sponsored in part by the fifty heart attacks I have whenever I get behind the wheel, and also the most stressful 20 minutes of my life, when I had to drive at night to pick my friend up at the airport. 25 minutes of a death grip on the wheel, absolute silence except for intermittent yelling at Siri to ‘Direct Me to the right place Goddamnit!, winding up adding an extra 10 minutes driving around the back of the airport in the dark, and then me pulling up, sweaty and shaken, to the curb.

Driving, am I right?

Hello Summer!!

I am officially, 100% finished with my first year of university. All my essays turned in, all my classes over, the end. I have been so incredibly lucky to have had such a great year. Honestly – I’ve met the most amazing people, whom I already miss terribly. It’s funny to look back at where I started, barely eight months ago. I was petrified to begin. I wonder what orientation day me would have thought of the me that I am today. She’d certainly have questions, that’s for sure. And I think the thing that I would answer with is: It’s not easy, but most of the time it turns out better than you ever thought it would. Also, it’s way more fun than you imagined, so go easy on yourself, OK?

Funny how time gives us perspective on things. Of course I have regrets – there are things I could have done differently. But on the whole, I think I did a smashing job flailing my way through uni, america and everything else. Like being a real proper adult – EEK.

Speaking of being a real proper adult – I cannot believe this, but I’m actually staying in my own apartment for the summer. That’s right – staying in america, without any safety net of college. I’ve got some great roommates and am really looking forward to making the best of my internship. I’m researching a lady who worked for the Red Cross in WW2 called Sue. A couple of hours ago I just read a hilarious letter where she describes how her undergarments were stolen by the french maid. That’s not even covering the delightful correspondence between her and her family. It feels creepy sometimes – this is a person’s life I am reading, after all. But most of the time it feels insanely cool. I get a whole new perspective into the war. Alright, enough history geeking for one day.

Still working on driving without feeling like I’m having a panic attack behind the wheel. Driving is the worst. Why didn’t I pick a country or state or city with good public transportation? Bad show, Past Me.

Also, obsessed with the show Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Who amongst us doesn’t want to be a Phryne when they grow up? A fast-talking, feminist, gun-toting, fashionista, lady detective with irrepressible humor? Sign me up for the starter course! The second I finish you can expect a more in depth review.

There are good things ahead – I may be done with first year, but I’m certainly not done with the summer. I’ll keep you posted on future events – and on whether or not Sue ever recovers her stolen underwear.

 

XX

It’s the Final(s) Countdown

Finals week – EEK.  Two words that strike fear into the hearts of many a college student. So while I’m buckling down under the weight of papers and tests, I decided to day dream a little bit about what this summer is going to bring/things that are making me happy right now.

-I’ve been listening to this 80’s mix for the last several days. I feel like I’m going to a modern 80’s prom, if that makes sense. Two days ago my roommate walked in on my impromptu dance party, which was par for the course. Sometimes a girl just wants to get her groove on – https://8tracks.com/sashayed/beating-hearts.

-In less than 8 days I will officially be DONE with first year. I actually cannot believe how fast the time has flown. I’ve made amazing friends and I feel like I’ve grown so so much as a human being.

-Working on recording some music with a friend. The tracks we are producing sound KILLER, and I’m so excited to share them.

-Going to be attending a film screening that I was lucky enough to work on. This will be the first film I’ve ever helped out with, so I’m super excited to see what it looks like.

-I have a huge list of books that I’m planning on reading and reviewing, so watch this space. A couple of titles that I’m looking forward to – Shadow scale, All Roads Lead to You, Yes Please.

-Planning my trip to Europe!! I’ve been scouring the internet like crazy, looking for fun things to do. If anyone has any suggestions, please drop a comment below.

-That’s about it for now. Day dreaming about the summer ahead – and going to the beach!

Just One Day

Just One Day – Gayle Forman

How gorgeous is this cover?

You never know what you are going to find in the recesses of your computer files. A couple of days ago I was sorting through everything – deleting old documents, trying to figure out if I seriously needed to hold onto that one photo of a cat in a teacup (answer – yes) – and I found this review that I did before starting college. You can find my opinion below – I haven’t actually read the book since, but my review definitely brought back memories.

BLURB:

 From the New York Times bestselling author of If I Stay
Allyson Healey’s life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.

REVIEW:

You know how there are some books that stay with you? This is absolutely one of them. Written by Gayle Forman (the author of the If I Stay series, which are also fantastic) Just One Day is a coming of age, a slow burn growth and exploration of youth and how events can change people’s lives. After meeting Willem on a train, Allyson makes the impulsive decision to spend the day with him in Paris. What happens next leads to an entire year of waiting and introspection.

This was definitely a hard book for me to review – even though it is one of my favourites. What exactly made me love it so much however? It follows a pretty standard plot device. However when I read it I was instantly sucked into Allyson’s world. Her confusion, her heartache, her hope. Maybe it’s because she’s so relatable – everyone can remember that feeling of helplessness before college and during. When you don’t know where you are going or why. It’s such a moving thing to watch Allyson grow into herself and accept the events of the day that changes her.

An interesting thing about this book is that I found the second part of the book much more emotional than the first. While the beginning is arguably more action packed (Day in Paris, etc) I thought that Allyson’s emotional story was far more relatable and touching. It was just so realistic – her struggle to become who she wants to be. And of course, by the end, I was on the metaphorical edge of my seat watching her track Willem down. But the great thing about this book is the open ending – we as readers follow Allyson’s story. We really don’t know Willem at all, which means that we can fill in his character and the end of their story.

While I would have loved to have had a more satisfying sequel (which is from Willem’s perspective and is so lackluster to me that it doesn’t merit a review) there is no doubt that Just One Day holds a special place in my heart. It’s a classic tale of growing up and falling in and out of love. I’m not arguing that this book is perfect however – Allyson has a tendency to look down on nearly every female character in the book, and it really irritated me in the beginning when she kept whining that the cities she was travelling around (London! Rome! Paris!) didn’t look like the movies. I was sitting there thinking: Um, OK, get over it. Apart from that however, I really truly love this book.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

Y’know, reading this review, I was reminded of how nervous I was beginning school. The parts about reading her life in college really stuck with me apparently. Now that I’m nearly done with freshman year, i can completely identity with Allyson’s feelings of isolation and depression. I think college is such a time of downs and ups that her feelings are completely valid, and I know that I have definitely felt the same way at times. It’s such a reward when Allyson decides to go after what she wants, and I think Just One Day is more than the romance it’s advertised as. It’s a very powerful story of a young girl trying to  figure out what she wants and going for it – who amongst us doesn’t want the same? I’m wondering what I’ll think the next time I pick up the book – I’ll be in the same place as she was (and how exciting is that!)

XX

Pacific Rim

PACIFIC RIMthDirector: Guillermo Del Toro

Actors: Charlie Hunnam

Idris Elba

Rinko Kikuchi

Charlie Day

Rob Kazinsky

Max Martini

Ron Perlman

Genre: Action & Adventure

Run Time: 132 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%

Amyliabedelia Grade: A+

Plot Summary: A ragtag band of humans band together in the year 2025 to fight legions of monstrous creatures rising from the sea. Using massive piloted robots to combat the alien threat, earth’s survivors take the fight to the invading alien force lurking in the depth of the Pacific Ocean. Nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless enemy, the forces of mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes – a washed up former pilot and an untested trainee – who now stand as earth’s final hope against the mounting apocalypse.

Review

ARE YOU READY TO CANCEL THE APOCALYPSE?

As my friends can attest, I love this movie. LOVE. This. Movie. If I could see this movie all day everyday I probably would, but since I am a ‘functioning’ person, I cannot. But why? The plot is dumb. ‘It’s just Godzilla vs. Transformers’ my friends complain to me. ‘Hush up’, I snap back, ‘and prepare to listen’.

In the future massive alien beasts called the Kaiju have emerged from a rift in the ocean floor, sending humanity into a mad scramble to survive. Their solution? Giant robots piloted by two people whose minds are linked together. These giant robots – called Jaegers – engage the Kaiju directly, preventing them from making it to land. Over time however the Kaiju have become more evolved, and it’s becoming harder and harder to push the invaders back. In a last ditch effort to save the world, Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) recruits veteran Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnan) to pilot one of the last remaining Jaegers in the world. That’s right – humanity’s solution is literally to fight aliens with the power of friendship.

Pacific Rim’s fight sequences and overinflated technology is undoubtedly one of the biggest draws to this movie. The visuals are stunning, and each fight between Jaeger and Kaiju amps up the ante, unleashing new moves for each one. While I enjoy watching robots and aliens pummel the crap out of each other, I love Pacific Rim because of the emotions behind it, silly as that may sound.

The ‘hero’ of the story is Raleigh Becket, who loses his brother in the films exposition and gives up Jaeger piloting as a result. This is doubly traumatic – jaeger pilots have to link on every level, physical and emotional. Raleigh believes that he has lost his co-pilot, and quickly fades into obscurity to work on the wall, a bureaucratic response to the Kaiju invasion (hint: it doesn’t work). While his backstory is super predictable I was pleasantly surprised by Raleigh’s character. When he is introduced to Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) his future co-pilot, he treats her with respect and deference. It is so REFRESHING to see such a humble, well-characterized ‘hero’ of an action film. Usually they just do whatever they want to do, spewing misogyny and getting the girl anyway. This doesn’t happen here! Mako and Raleigh’s relationship is far more friend/friend or mentor/student than girlfriend/boyfriend. Let me repeat that: HE RESPECTS HER. THEY ARE FRIENDS AND COWORKERS AND DON’T END UP TOGETHER. But such a thing is typical for Pacific Rim, which at its core is about relationships.

The movie may be billed as an action film, but it has a huge heart behind it. I watch it and I think of all the important relationships in my life – siblings, friends, family – and all the way that we work together. Sure the characters in Pacific Rim are just that – characters. But they feel so real. They have to struggle to work together, and nothing comes easily for them.

Moving away from the story aspect of Pacific Rim, this movie also deserves recognition for its fantastic shots. As I said before, the visuals are stunning. The Shatterdome (the home base for humanity’s last stand) reminds me of a World War 2 bunker. It’s a refreshing change from all the futuristic movies that I see today, where interiors seem to be composed almost entirely of white chrome. Pacific Rim is a movie based on people’s sweat, tears and blood. Nothing about it is pretty, but it’s such an effective visual piece.

Guillermo Del Toro has often been hailed for his visions and in depth world building. Pacific Rim is no different. We are treated to decades of backstory in twenty minutes, and he considers how finances would work, how popular culture would absorb the jaegers and the ‘celebrity’ of jaeger pilots. It’s amazing the amount of detail that he manages to create in such a short time – Hong Kong’s bone slums, for example, are just a small piece of the movie that has a powerful impact. Del Toro manages to build a world that feels lived in, even if you’ve only seen it in a minute.

Pacific Rim is a movie about people, first and foremost. It’s about humanity deciding to work together to keep out a threat, and they do it in the best of ways – by creating literal soul bonds. That’s awesome. This movie is awesome, and I could probably keep going on and on about how important this movie is to me, but I should stop now. Please, go watch Pacific Rim. If you think it’s just another dumb action movie, that’s fine. But if you think it’s as brilliant as I do, then please drop by my inbox.

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