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On Why I Think Raleigh Becket Is Gay



I quite enjoyed the summer action movie Pacific Rim. Set in the not-too-distant future, its premise is that a rift has opened up deep in the Pacific Ocean, a rift to another world. Gigantic monsters from this world come through the rift to attack and destroy our coastal cities. Humanity has in-turn banded together and created Transformer-sized robots, known as Jaegers, utilizing two human co-pilots as the brains. What ensues is a bushel load of monsters vs. robots battles. It's great fun.

Pacific Rim's box office has been respectable, but not stupendous. Mostly, it seems to be garnering accolades from folks for showcasing a multi-racial set of actors in prominent roles, all the while not making a big on-screen fuss of, 'Oh, look! We have a multi-racial cast!' Consider me amongst the praisers. It was refreshing to have British actor Idris Elba as the main commander, Pentecost, and Asian actress Rinko Kikuchi as the lead heroine, Mako. The latter character, and her relationship with the main protagonist, is what prompted me to write this entry.

British actor Charlie (damn he fine) Hunnam plays the main hero, Raleigh Becket. He is one of the folks who pilots the massive robots developed by humanity in order to save the coastal cities and, ultimately, the world. He soon meets Mako, who desperately wants to pilot a Jaeger. Mako and Raleigh have an obvious interest and concern for one another but, unlike most movies of this sort, it's rather subtle. So subtle, in fact, that I wondered more than once if perhaps Raleigh might not be too interested in persons of the female persuasion.

Throughout the film, we never see Raleigh explicitly sexually interested in a woman, not even Mako. He cares about her, obviously, but it comes across in more of a friendship way. I'd argue there is almost more sexual friction between Raleigh and handsome young Australian Jaeger pilot Chuck Hansen. There a few scenes where they exchange looks that are hard to describe. Not necessarily adversarial, not necessarily suggestive. Just... looks.

Pacific Rim gives Raleigh plenty of opportunity to kiss and/or make love with Mako, yet he never does. There's nothing apparently wrong with either of them (Mako is lovely to behold, and Raleigh is quite fit, as we're witness to in a few gratuitous shirtless scenes), so what's the deal? Top Gun this ain't. There is only one conclusion to be reached from all of this:

Raleigh is gay.

I kid, I kid. Well, sort of. The premise is jokey, but I do posit it for the sake of consideration. We rarely (if ever) have a gay protagonist in a blockbuster movie. Not sure when we'll see one for sure, but I'd kind of like to think that perhaps Raleigh Becket is the one of the first. No, it isn't spelled-out, but then neither is much attention paid to the fact that Mako is Asian or that Pentecost is black. Ok, look, just roll with me on this, all right?

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