The massive stars of Guillermo del Toro's new sci-fi flick may be too big for their own goodThe "plans" for the American-made Jaeger Gipsy Danger (Facebook.com/PacificRimMovie)
This Friday, Guillermo del Toro’s epic new monsters-versus-robots movie Pacific Rim will hit theaters. The summer sci-fi flick is already getting great reviews, scoring 82 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and even getting a thumbs-up from Mr. Kanye West:
I saw a pre-screening of Pacific Rim yesterday and it's easily one of my favorite movies of all time.
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) July 4, 2013
First, you have to accept the premise that instead of pouring resources into building a super-powerful missile, mankind's greatest scientists would instead build oversized robots. The featurette below suggests each Jaeger is about 250-feet tall from head to toe. Rhett Allain at Wired — who has answered such pressing questions as "How strong is a hobbit?" — puts the likely mass of the Jaeger at 9.6 x 10^6 kilograms, just above 21 million pounds.
Assuming strong, lightweight materials could be developed, the sheer enormity of its moving appendages would still cause tremendous strain on its mechanical parts. Managing all the various dynamics involved, including the robot's velocity, acceleration, momentum, heat dissipation, and internal torque, would likely be completely untenable. Even if such a thing could be built, it would likely have to move at an agonizingly impractical slow pace. [io9]Suffice it to say, they couldn't run or jump or do anything they can do in Pacific Rim. In fact, as Dvorsky notes, with current technology they would probably collapse in on themselves or blow over in high winds.
Luckily for humanity, the movie's humongous monsters, known in Japanese pop culture as kaiju, probably couldn't exist either, due to the fact that their skeletons, muscles, and internal organs wouldn't be able to handle that much weight.
"The epic battle between giant robot and giant monster?" writes Movieline's Ross A. Lincoln. "In real life it's going to involve a fragile robot sunk waist-deep in the ground, punching slowly and feebly at a heart attack-suffering reptile reduced to the humiliation of using a skyscraper-sized mobility scooter just to forage for food."
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