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Safety and the Movies… Pacific Rim

By Matt King

It seems a winning combination for a movie: monsters and robots fighting. Or, sorry, in Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim, it is the kaiju, large Godzilla-like creatures, fighting the Jaegers, equally large robots controlled by a team of human beings. It might be a winning combination for a movie, but in life, that spells danger for everyone involved.

To its credit, Pacific Rim points that danger out, with people being injured, both mentally and physically, throughout the movie. But while watching the monster-vs-robots epic, I felt the urge to say, “These injuries would be totally avoidable if they had any real sense of safety.”

So, in the name of said safety, come take a trip with me to the dark, rainy world of Pacific Rim, where large boats are used as swords and buildings are crushed in an instant. A warning: there may be some spoilers ahead.

1. Don’t bring your anger into the workplace.

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

This is what Pacific Rim got right. As we learn during the movie, Mako (played by Rinko Kikuchi) lost her parents during a previous kaiju attack and has since longed to exact her vengeance against the enormous beasts. But when she brings those painful memories into the fray, she immediately gets lost in her own anger. Since her teammate is connected to her via the “Drift” (a weird thing that somehow syncs up a team’s memories and minds so that they fight better—it’s a metaphor for teamwork or something), he too gets lost, and this causes havoc in their Jaeger, which in turn causes havoc elsewhere. What’s more, her teammate doesn’t know this and so is taken completely by surprise by the chaos that erupts around them. Anger and violence, when brought into the workplace, can cause serious damage. It is best to calmly talk about things and resolve them, rather than acting on some issue right away. If you think your anger is coming from somewhere else, then it is still best to talk about it. Your employer may know some resources that can help with that. A workplace of respect, not one of violence, is what we ought to always strive for.

2. Pay attention to your environment; or, adhere to safety protocols.

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

During the fights between kaiju and Jaeger, several buildings are destroyed, putting the lives of thousands in danger. This is partly to do with the kaiju, who lumber around mindlessly looking for the next target to destroy. Indeed, the Jaegers are mostly deployed at sea so that they can stop the monsters from getting to the mainland. However, when they inevitably fail at this, they instead fight them in town anyways, which causes tons of destruction, with buildings seemingly folding in on themselves and collapsing. The city is destroyed because the Jaeger and its beastly nemesis pay no attention to its surroundings. Indeed, they seem glibly unaware that these buildings, where people live and work, are being destroyed. It’s begging for one of the Jaegers to be destroyed or impaled on a tower or something—they should be paying better attention to their environment. That being said, they also get a bit right here. It is great, for example, that the Jaegers do their utmost to keep the monsters at bay, but it is even better that the city has safety protocols in place, with people running into designated hideouts to try and remain safe. Safety protocols are there for a reason—to keep you safe—and it is best they be learned and followed.

3. Remember your equipment.

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Your PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is there to help you, yet in Pacific Rim, they seem to forget that constantly. Case-in-point: During an early fight between a kaiju and a Jaeger, the Jaeger mostly does a lot of monster-punching. It punches and kicks and apparently completely forgets that it has a giant sword—which, let it be said, can only be PPE for a giant lizard-fighting robot—hidden in its arm. The Jaeger eventually remembers this, but after how long and at what cost? The fight could have been over in a heartbeat, with the quick use of its sword, but the team completely forgets about their equipment at hand, causing more destruction than necessary. So the same is with PPE. Remember your PPE and its uses; you’ll be much safer if you KNOW how to use all the necessary tools and instruments at your disposal.

While you may not be fighting enormous kaiju from otherworldly places, safety is important no matter where you are. So, as always, please remember to work smart, work safe.

What movies do you think could work for our Safety and the Movies? If you have any suggestions, let us know, either in the comments below, or through Twitter or Facebook.

2 Responses to “Safety and the Movies… Pacific Rim”

  1. A safety lesson Pacific Rim made very clear was that if you aren’t following or making the right safety protocols, you’re likely putting others in danger. It’s a great way to focus the need for safety: it isn’t just you who could end up paying the price.

    Maybe a good movie to cover would be The Avengers. You could talk a bit more on not bringing anger into the workplace!

  2. Great post. You were right about the sword.

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