Movie robots even harder to believe after walk across Duluth's little blue bridgeBEVERLY GODFREY: My daughter and I took a break from the tall ships festival in July to see a movie at the nearby theater, walking across the little blue slip bridge to see “Pacific Rim.”
By: Beverly Godfrey, Duluth News Tribune
My daughter and I took a break from the tall ships festival in July to see a movie at the nearby theater, walking across the little blue slip bridge to see “Pacific Rim.”
The filmmakers probably didn’t have our demographic in mind, but we thought it was fun.
A narrator explains this in the first minute, so it’s no spoiler to say huge monsters are rising from the ocean, and people have built giant robots to fight them.
It’s “Godzilla” meets “Transformers” a la “Power Rangers.”
I was able to suspend my disbelief for all the preposterous ideas in the movie except for one: Those robots work way too well to have been built by people.
Take, for example, that little bridge we crossed to reach the theater. It had been recently fixed then, and was broken again this week.
A quick glance through the News Tribune archives finds frequent reports of it being broken since it was built in 1991: August 2006 during bluesfest; March 2002 under a headline that said it “could be left down for good”; in 2007, labeled “the little blue bridge from hell,” and on and on.
“It’s going to break again in the next year. It’s a given,” said Jim Benning, Duluth’s public works director — in July 2011.
And this week, an original designer of the bridge warned it could “pose a threat to public safety.”
It’s a platform that moves up and down, and we can’t keep it fixed. What hope has our city if giant monsters rise from the lake? All we can hope for is that the slip bridge gets stuck, the monsters have to walk all the way around the Irvin, they get tired and go back home.
I should not be pointing a finger, though. I could just as easily make fun of myself. I drive a car with broken door handles, use a computer with a fried Internet connection and still walk on plywood in my living room since last summer’s flood delaminated the laminate floor.
Stuff breaks, all the time, and it’s too expensive or inconvenient to fix it.
That is, unless the stakes are higher. I let the door handles slide, but I got the brakes fixed. I can use the Internet on my husband’s computer, so that issue isn’t very urgent. And those $30 carpet remnants Menards sells covered up my floor just fine. For now.
And that’s what the “Pacific Rim” monster-fighting robot builders had going for them: The stakes were high. And in the case of the slip bridge, I guess it’s just never been deemed important enough to fix the problem for good.
When the bridge falls onto a boat full of people or dunks some hapless tourists into the harbor, then Duluth will have its metaphorical monster.
Of course, it could be worse. It was reported this week that California entrepreneur Elon Musk wants to fling passengers at 700 mph in a 400-mile-long tube that works like those things they have in bank drive-throughs.
What could possibly go wrong?
Beverly Godfrey is a copy editor for the News Tribune. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.