Movie Name: Pacific Rim
Studio: Legendary Pictures
Release Date(s): July 1, 2013 (Mexico)/July 12, 2013 (US)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
A portal has open up in the waters under the Pacific, and through it a pathway to a world of monsters. The creatures known as Kaijus wreak havoc along the coastal waters of the Pacific and the countries of the world have joined together to create giant robots called Jaegers to defend the land. The Jaegers are controlled by duel operating systems powered by operators linked together mentally through something called drifting. While the Jaegers worked for years, the war is no longer going well. The Kaijus are getting stronger and their arrival on Earth is getting faster. Now, the Jaeger program is being decommissioned, but the Kaijus onslaught might just be the part of a new invading force. With Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) returning to the Jaeger program for one last push, he must enter the Jaeger that almost killed him with a new partner in Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi). Monitored by Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) and with scientists Newt Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) trying to formulate a plan, Earth’s last stand is coming!
Directed by Guillermo del Toro, Pacific Rim is both an action-adventure sci-fi-fantasy film and an ode to big monster movies like Godzilla. The movie received strong marks from fans and critics but struggled a bit at the box office…profiting but underperforming in the U.S.
I fell into the “interested but not interested enough to go to the theater” crowd on Pacific Rim. I like Guillermo del Toro, and I like monster movies like Godzilla, but something about Pacific Rim had me hesitating (its over two hour run time didn’t help). I find myself regretting this a bit having seen it now and believe that this film might become one of the sleeper hits of the era.
Don’t get me wrong, Pacific Rim has faults. As mentioned, the movie is long, but fortunately it does keep trucking along. The plot however is rather predictable. It feels like a bit of a derivative blend of Independence Day and other big blockbuster films. I think it is much better than Independence Day, but everything from the scientists, the tortured characters, and the heroes all seem like rather bland stereotypes. Fortunately, the writing is a bit more creative and the dialogue has some punch without being cliché and trying to force out one-liners (like Independence Day).
The cast is rather strong, and other than a few standouts, is rather unknown for such a big picture. Charlie Hunnam is good as the Jaeger operator trying to find his feet and Idris Elba is strong like normal (and actually with his accent) as the boss and surrogate father to Rinko Kikuchi (also good). There is the typical “jock” character Chuck Hansen (Robert Kazinsky) that Raleigh has to prove himself to. I am not a huge fan of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia so Charlie Day didn’t wow me as the Kaijus-loving scientist nor did I like Torchwood alum Burn Gorman as the nerdy scientist. Ron Perlman who always makes appearances in Guillermo’s films was good like normal as the illegal Kaijus trader Hannibal Chau.
The real pull of Pacific Rim are the perfect special effects. The machines seem to have real weight and power behind them and if you can suspend belief in them actually working (why they didn’t all have retractable swords is a bit odd since the battles are hand to hand is unknown). The monsters are a bit generic, but it still fun to see what Godzilla would look like in a real battle. It is like a kid from ’70s and ’80s dream version of Godzilla and Transformers combined (I hope Transformers takes note of this film as they continue to pop out a less than satisfying product).
Pacific Rim is a must. If you skipped it and were leery, it is worth the time. Both action and sci-fi fans will enjoy it and if you think you’re too old for big monsters and robots, think again. With a profit, but less than hoped for earnings, it is unknown if there will be a sequel for the film, but there has been talk of one by the stars and Guillermo del Toro.
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