Guillermo del Toro's fanboy-baiting giant robots versus giant monsters blockbuster Pacific Rim opened this week. I have now seen it twice.
It is big, ridiculous fun. Emphasis on the word 'big'.
More so than any other film of late, Pacific Rim is founded on bigness - the bigness of the robots and the monsters that feature in it. The robots are so huge they make the cinematic Transformers look like actual Transformers. The monsters are so massive, they probably wouldn't fit through a cat door.
I am a sucker for bigness. It impresses me. While the sheer scale of Pacific Rim justifies the film, del Toro has considerable fun playing in his super-sized sandbox - the scene where the main'jaeger' robot stomps through downtown Hong Kong dragging a ship behind it like some sort of overgrown street tough with a piece of 2x4 is worth seeing Pacific Rim for alone. Plus it's heaps better than Robot Jox.
I'll never forget how my crest fell when I read that James Cameron had decided to make the Titanic replica in his eponymous film only 4/5 scale - his reasoning being that he wanted the humans to seem larger against the boat and therefore more dramatic. Humans schmumans! I went to that film to see a massive ship, and I didn't want no 80% version. When it comes to movies, I say bigger is (mostly) better.
To celebrate the glorious bigness of Pacific Rim, I am going to cite the biggest examples of various classic movie staples. My process was in no way scientific, so please pipe up in the comments if you think I've gotten any of these wrong.
Until they finally get around to making a film out of The Giant Jam Sandwich, the following will have to do for movie bigness.
Thanks to this handy chart, we can see that the Super Star Destroyer from The Empire Strikes Back (and Return of the Jedi) is the biggest ever movie spaceship.
The manner in which this spaceship is introduced in Empire is fantastic: a shadow is slowly cast over a Star Destroyer - which proved itself pretty huge in the opening shot of Star Wars - eventually revealing the gargantuan nature of the Super Star Destroyer.
But is it bigger than this sucker from Spaceballs?
Biggest Indoor Set
Up until the Pierce Brosnan reboot, it could be argued that the Bond films were defined by their massive sets. The most impressive one to me has also been the villain's lair from 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me - often reported to be the biggest indoor set ever built. It's got room for three submarines.
Others have argued that the UFO landing site from the same year's Close Encounters Of The Third Kind is bigger, but given that it's designed to look like an outside setting, I'm gonna stick with Spy. Still an amazing set though.
Biggest Outdoor Set
I can't say I've ever seen anything that looks bigger than the Great Wall of Babylon set from D.W. Griffith's 1916 silent epic Intolerance. Look how tiny the people are!
Elements of this set were recreated when the Hollywood and Highland shopping centre was refurbished in 2001 in the same location where the original set was mounted. So you can go to Hollywood and be one of those tiny people!
Once we remove exploding planets and nuclear detonations from the running, my first instinct is to say that the biggest 'traditional' movie explosion occurs in Terminator 2 when the Cyberdyne building blows. Watching it again, I realise the ravages of time may have elevated the scope of the scene in my mind.
So I must instead cite the climactic explosion from another equally beloved sequel, Speed 2: Cruise Control, during the finale of which Willem Dafoe crashes into an oil tanker which promptly explodes. Is this bigger than the hospital explosion from The Dark Knight?
The latter is more impressive for being shot practically in-camera with Heath Ledger present and everything, but it feels more like a series of explosions.
This one from Tropic Thunder is pretty massive too. Plus it recalls the huge napalm explosions in Apocalypse Now. And then there's Die Hard: With a Vengeance's opening scenes. And Waterworld's oil tanker explosion. And Starship Troopers' bunker buster. This is difficult. I'm going with The Dark Knight I think.
The Abyss: Special Edition famously features an amazing subplot wholly excised from the cinematically-released version of the film in which the water-controlling aliens threaten the world's major cities with tidal waves because of our destructive ways.
The waves hover unbroken on the edge of the sea, resulting in incredible sights that considerably elevated the film. I wish this was the version I had seen first.
Mick Dundee's legendary knife from THAT scene in '80s classic Crocodile Dundee may not technically be the biggest blade in movies, but no other big knife ever made such an impact on the culture, so this gets the gong. Sorry Rambo.
Gotta be Conan's.
Despite humanity's considerable gun problems of late, the PR machine for this year's G.I. Joe: Retaliation delighted in informing us that the gun used by Roadblock (played by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson) in a key scene is the biggest gun ever wielded by a free-standing human in a movie. Okay then.
The most memorable part (if you don't include Gene Wilder shagging a sheep) of Woody Allen's kooky 1972 adaptation of the famous book Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex *But Were Afraid to Ask involves Allen being chased across the countryside by a giant boob. This scene haunted my dreams as a youth.
Allen also gave us cinema's biggest ever banana in 1973's Sleeper. Naturally, he slips on the peel.
There is a long, proud tradition of hugely fat characters in movies, but none so memorably obese as the gluttonous chap played by Terry Jones in Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life (1983).This scene also gave us cinemas biggest ever puke, with Stand By Me coming in a close second.
An obsession with the male member is apparent all through the work of writing partners Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg, most memorably in Superbad - their debut film as writers. But for this year's apocalyptic comedy This Is The End, which the pair wrote and directed, the obsession reaches its natural apex in the finalé of the movie when (SPOILER ALERT) a Pacific Rim-sized demon stomps around Los Angeles with its giant John Holmes-shaming dong flopping about. It's both funny and disturbing.
The taxi driver's from Live and Let Die. Epic.
Do you like bigness in movies? Such as? Should Guillermo del Toro have shown the monsters' private parts in Pacific Rim? Have you seen it yet? Thoughts? Comment Below!