Well it’s here everyone, my second my anticipated movie of the summer behind the exceptional World War Z. What could possibly be better than a worldwide zombie outbreak starring Brad Pit? How about a summer blockbuster about giant monsters and robots smashing the hell out of each other? It’s like someone watched a bunch of anime and decided that, hell yeah, mechs VS monsters is a freaking great idea for a movie and American audiences will eat it up. I mean, how can you screw that up? Monsters, robots, in an anime inspired brawl to the death? Shut up and take my money! But as amazing as that sounds, Pacific Rim, though fun and most certainly enjoyable at times, doesn't quite manage to live up to expectations.
In 2012 a riff opened up at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean through which monsters of enormous size called Kuaji entered the earth and wreaked havoc on our major cities. First San Francisco was destroyed. Six months later, Manila. As time went on more and more Kuaji emerge from the riff to wreak havoc on our shores. In response to this threat humanities governments rallied together to create the Juager program (perhaps after taking too many Juager Bombs) and begin construction on a series of giant robots to battle the Kuaji. And for a while it works. More and more monsters come out of the riff with less time between attacks, and every time they are destroyed by the Juagers. But things have changed. The Kuaji are coming more and more frequently, and the Juagers are being overwhelmed. Twelve years after the initial breach humanity has placed all its hope in a gigantic sea wall around all its shores (which is exactly as stupid an idea as it sounds) and given up on the Juagers. With only four Juagers left operational, and extinction knocking on humanities doorstep, a last ditch effort is made to close the breach once and for all and end the Kuaji threat for good.
What follows is a disjointed, cheesy, fun as hell mess of a film that at the same time is one of the corniest films of the year and one of the most entertaining. Let me get the negatives out of the way now, and please hold off on the crucifixion if you can. The movie spends way too much time focusing primarily on the characters in the film, which would be great had there not been such terrible character development. Okay, that's a bit harsh. They aren't THAT terrible, but with so much time and effort given to them when we could have been watching a giant monster bash the very least Del Torro could have given us was compelling characters and convincing acting. A character driven story of the world’s desperate fight against unstoppable odds is not a bad idea, in fact it was done quite well when it was called Neon Genesis Evangelion (for those of you who don't know, it’s an anime mech series that has achieved legendary status), but Pacific Rim doesn't even do a passable job in developing its characters into people we’ll care about. We do get a couple of touching moments, esp when it comes to female lead Mako Mori (played by Rinko Kikuchi) but all that is done in flashback and very little is done with her adult self. All the other characters are cheap one dimensional card board cutouts with no depth, little personality, and nothing at all compelling about them.
“But it’s a monster VS robot movie!” you say. “Why would you go see this film if you wanted three dimensional characters?” Well, you have a point. I didn’t go to the movie to see a character driven film. And that’s the problem. Pacific Rim tries to be more than that and does focus on its characters a lot more than other movies of this type. It TRIES to be more then Star Trek, or Iron Man, or any of the other mindless summer fare we’ve seen this year. It just fails at it, and fails badly. EVA this is not. The script is full of pointless tension, cheesy one liners, and wasted characters. It really needed to go through another draft or two before they started filming.
Okay, now that I’ve got that out of my system, let’s get on to what the film did right. For a film like this they really only had to do one thing right and one thing only, and that’s the fights. And yes, I’m glad to announce that what fights they did have were actually quite good. Though I do have quibbles with how the monsters were designed, that was quickly forgotten the first time a Juager punched a Kuaji in the face. Such scenes of epic awesomeness are just too much for the human brain to comprehend. The robots are amazing, reflecting their countries of origin in both design, functionality, and tactics. Whereas the Russian Juager is built like a tank and fights in similar fashion, the Chinese Juager is a lot sleeker and uses its speed and many bladed weapons to their advantage. The tech is also interesting as well as the Juagers require two pilots to operate as it would kill a lone pilot. It may seem like a stretch to give a movie three stars for fight scenes alone, but come on. It’s a giant monster movie. THIS is what people are paying for, so this is clearly the most important aspect of the film. And Pacific Rim blows it out of the water. I’ll call it right now; Pacific Rim is the best live action American movie about giant robots fighting giant monsters. Hands down.
So is Pacific Rim worth seeing? If you want to see robots battle monsters in one of the most epic battle royals of the year, then yes. If not, nooooo. It’s a fun movie, with a good deal of action to keep people entertained for a long time. Though the silliness, the bad character development, and the cheesy script hold this film back it does the battles right and that’s all people really wanted from this film anyway. Is it a masterpiece? No, not even close. Is it a fun romp of a film with fun battles and amazing effects? Hells yeah it is.
Guillermo Del Toro had arrived in American cinema with an impressive resume. Films such as “Cronos”, “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Devil’s Backbone” have made him to be one of the better storytellers in the horror and fantasy genre that he became one of the more influential names in Hollywood. While his American films have been a mixed bag with films such as “Hellboy” and “Blade 2”, you would be very hard-pressed to find a cinema … more
Here's all the important things you need to know about director Guillermo del Toro's sci-fi, action film, 'Pacific Rim'... Planet Earth has been invaded by the Kaiju...Super sized monsters that have risen from a portal underneath the ocean...Millions of earthlings have died and things are not looking good for humanity. … more
If you're going to make a film about giant robots, then this is how to do it - pay attention, Michael Bay. Guillermo del Toro's two hour love letter to Japanese kaiju and mecha movies is monster bashing, robot smashing, debris crashing fun from start to finish. And, somewhat refreshingly, it's a big summer release that's not a sequel, a remake, an adaptation and not part of an existing franchise. This is a film painted in broad, operatic, comic book strokes with a very … more
I am a member of the US Air Force and presently serve overseas at RAF Mildenhall about three hours north of London. I grew up in Pappilion Nebraska and Crestview Florida, but since joining the Air Force … more
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