Similarly, the Pacific Rim prequel encourages readers to go beyond fantasy to discover a deeper truth about the characters and ourselves. The graphic novel follows the journalist Naomi Sokolov, who weaves together the testimonies of a survivor from the first Kaiju attack, a scientist who helped develop the technology for the Jaeger robots, and the pilot instructor Stacker Pentecost—played by Idris Elba in the film—who saves the Jaeger program. But while the interviews are very different, together they reveal a core of community values—the importance of family, love, and friendship—which are essential for our own survival, rebuilding and victory against everyday monsters like unemployment, inequality and war.
This solidarity also helps readers reinterpret technology in a positive way. "The presence in your mind. The power at your fingertips. It all becomes so much of who you are," reflected Pentecost in the prequel about being locked in mentally with his copilot through a neural bridge.
While other stories like Battlestar Galactica and the Terminator film series see technology as a potential menace to society—alienating people from each other and even threatening them with extinction—both Beacham and Del Toro present technology as a solution, the ultimate expression of human invention.
This perspective is now more important than ever. At a time when NASA has cancelled all piloted expeditions to outer space, and when city mayors have confined themselves to fight climate change by building oceanfront walls, a renewed faith in science and technology can push us to go beyond our limits, remind us why we fight, and shift our focus from the past to the future.
Pacific Rim opens in movie theaters on July 12.