The Mako Mori Test: ‘Pacific Rim’ inspires a Bechdel Test alternative
The Bechdel Test has long been the barometer of women-friendly films, but Pacific Rim fans say it doesn’t give the movie’s female lead enough credit.
It’s no secret that Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro’s $200 million love song to Japanese pop culture, was a risky venture from the start. With a multicultural cast, Tokyo used as the main setting instead of New York or L.A., the only real star being a Black Brit many Americans had never heard of, and a storyline full of borrowed tropes that many anime fans felt were ripoffs rather than homages, the sci-fi action flick has fought an uphill battle to draw attention.
But despite what seems to be an infatuated, deeply loyal fanbase—last weekend saw an entire online fan convention, JaegerCon, complete with an appearance from del Toro himself—Pacific Rim has encountered trouble from an unexpected source: the Bechdel Test. ….
In the process of running down numerous arguments for why the Bechdel Test can’t and shouldn’t be the only measurement by which feminist films are judged, Tumblr user chaila has proposed the Mako Mori Test, “to live alongside the Bechdel Test”:
The Mako Mori test is passed if the movie has: a) at least one female character; b) who gets her own narrative arc; c) that is not about supporting a man’s story.
1. Well, this explains why I’ve been getting likes all day on that pair of posts of mine that Chaila linked. I had wondered.
2. At no point did Chaila propose the Mako Mori Test as an alternative to the Bechdel Test. It was proposed in addition to. Two things we would like to see in films. Two things that are each worth praising when they show up. Two things that are each worth calling out when they are absent. Two tests that, together, can each catch some things that the other test misses.